Together, we're more.

How do you show Chahta spirit?

Together, we're more.

Published May 1, 2022

At the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, we pride ourselves on preserving and celebrating our many unique traditions. Together, we celebrate and honor the rich traditions passed down to us from our ancestors.

I’ve always shared my traditions with family and friends. I usually engage in cooking traditional foods and feeding and sharing the knowledge and history of the past and what I may think the future might be with the Choctaw Nation as well as my heritage and love for my tribe. I also talk to the younger generation how they need to respect the elders because they have a lot of information of the past. I think it is very important for the younger generation to realize how far we came from the past.
Joyce Gilmore

By securing a spot in my local San Jacinto Community Garden located on Galveston Island and developing a “Three sisters” garden with the seeds I received from our Growing Hope program.
Taryn Neh-ka

Mine would have to be my Choctaw tag. I catch myself looking for Choctaw tags driving down the highway. I absolutely loved getting the Choctaw tag. Thank you, Choctaw Nation!!
Ava Hilton

By always helping others when I can. Whether it is other associates, tribal members, other departments, or anyone in need. The Choctaw people have always believed in giving back.
Stephanie Barnes

By waking up and saying prayers in Chahta every morning. Doing work for the people, providing ICW work, planting tanchi, singing in Chahta, doing my best for others and myself every day.
Karyn Kameroff

I show my Choctaw spirit by helping feed the homeless through a local restaurant. The Choctaw people have been so kind to me; this is just a small part I do to show my appreciation for all they do for others.
Judy Kay Corley Willis

My Choctaw Grandmother always helped others, sometimes giving what she actually needed herself. I try to be kind the same way with the homeless around my town; never give money but food. It breaks my heart to see the dogs they have with them, hungry. I keep extra dog food in my car so when I see a dog like this I stop and give the person food for their pet. “All creatures. Great and small, the Lord God loves them all. My Choctaw Spirit has always loved animals.
Sharon Broadrick

When my sister-in-law’s baby passed away at just a few weeks old, the funeral cost was a major financial burden for the family. I wrote a letter to then Chief Pyle and told him about the situation. At the time my sister-in-law was not registered, just my husband. I got a phone call from Chief Pyle’s secretary, and she said the Chief read my letter and wants to take care of all funeral costs. This was my first introduction to the Chahta spirit. Our family will always be thankful for his kindness. This was about 20 years ago, and I will continue to tell this story to our family. God bless the memory of Chief Pyle and God bless the Choctaw people.
Tamara Johnson Gilbreath

I show my Choctaw spirit by painting and drawing pictures of Choctaw history and culture. When I take my paintings and drawings out to an art festival, they start conversations. Sometimes people see my work and ask questions. I feel like a history teacher. Sometimes people stop and just want to talk and relate their stories of growing up Choctaw. My dad always told me to be proud of my heritage even when I was a small kid. I didn’t really understand that at the time. Now my Choctaw pride is in my art. I love it when someone else learns something from it or just enjoys it for seeing the beauty of our Choctaw culture.
Gwen Coleman Lester

I do all that I can to help preserve this natural world as we face the challenges of climate change. I follow the Chahta ways of contributing to my neighboring communities. The Chahta spirit is with me here in the mountains.
Marianne Locke

Be the best person you can be, honest and true all the time, not just when it’s convenient.
David Hill

I show my Choctaw spirit by being honest and by caring. There is a feeling I get when I go to the Skullyville Cemetery. I really do feel the presents of my ancestors. And the feeling I get when I walk the Trail of Tears Walk. I know in my Heart that the spirits of those who walked from Mississippi are RIGHT THERE WITH US. I know others feel it too… Chahta Sia Hoke! I heard this years ago: “It only takes one drop of Choctaw blood to feel your whole heart.
Michael W. Rose

I show mine by giving back to fellow Choctaws and other Native Americans in my work every day. I manage a CCDF Block grant for a local tribe and get to help pay for childcare for all federally recognized tribal members that live in our area. My team and I work hard to advocate for the needs of children and families in our community and look at innovative ways to use our funds to meet those needs. This career has been my biggest challenge and my proudest!
Tanya Hutton

My wife and I regularly donate clothes, household goods and other sundries to the less fortunate. I also ensure my mother (Dollene Price) stays up to date with our tribe’s activities. Though we live in North Texas, we attend as many Choctaw events as possible so we can be closer to our culture. Though we love to travel up to Durant for events, we greatly appreciate the cultural meetings held closer to us. Chahta sia hoke!
Brian Price

The generosity and love that was passed through generations to me is something I try to pass to others for the next generations by working in Indigenous safety and education in Oklahoma. I feel this is very in the Chahta spirit. To show my spirit in an outward manner, I tend to use makeup to replicate traditional inchunwa or add the tattoos to my artwork.
Hoshont’omba Bridgette

My giving back is not as grand as those on here, but I give back what was given me by my Granny, Maybelle Scott and my grandmother, Anna Mae Parish. Both full blood Choctaw and I loved to hear them speak. I watched as they demonstrated giving to others even if they had little to give…to always offer a helping hand and to always show respect for our elders. To help where needed and not sit around waiting to be told what to do…to follow your church guidance and pray daily. I learned as I watched them go without so that I could have extra things and they’d never complain. I have passed all these teachings to my children and today; they are adults and I see them giving to others. The homeless, new mothers, elders. I watch them as they become a network of help when there is a function or a benefit that needs volunteers. If my granny or grandmother could sit in amongst us now, they’d be proud… I’d be proud that I have given my children what I had when I was growing up… not so much what I didn’t have. Because I had everything.
Deb AntiStalking Grayson

I tell stories to my kids and friends of other races. I use the Choctaw Tales book for inspiration sometimes. I give my kids names with Choctaw meanings. I write poetry in Choctaw sometimes. I try to feel my grandmother’s words in my mouth.
Tony Albright

Every tee shirt I wear displays the Choctaw symbol and acknowledgement.
Dennis R. Moon

Sharing information of our people to keep the history alive.
Sonya Deaton

A few ladies and I have started Project Prom. Through donations from florists and boutiques/private individuals, we will be helping Juniors/Seniors in the 10 1/2 counties who are in need be able to have a beautiful dress and corsage or tux/boutonniere for this memorable time.
Monica Brooks

I love to tell people the origin stories of the Chahta people.
Dennis Davis

Speaking the Chahta language to the elders, and to my children and grandchildren! Also decolonizing myself.
William Isaac

I just love to chat about my Choctaw heritage with my family.
Tammy L. Browne

I collect data of real raw Choctaw stories and share them with the public for self and tribal identification, so no one loses or forgets who we are where we came from and where we are going, through import and export of DNA and genealogy outlets. Through their merging alliance they became one. Past, Present, Future…
Frank Lucas

One word, frybread!
Wayne Riley Easter

Growing Choctaw gardens for four years currently; Indian territory.. Hawaii, PCNW, Florida prior. My five-year-old’s first language was Chahta. Cultural exchange with elders outside corporate entity. Teaching people how to combine traditional building with renewable green technology. And that’s what I do…reveal the tools, abilities, ABC’s the path to healing. Aiokoa Avlakofi.
Kanale Ali’iliokoa

I show Chahta spirit by my traditional actions toward mankind and nature. My ancestors taught us to first love God and his creation which includes respect for others.
Patsy Eyachabbe

I like making Choctaw flutes and playing them.
Garon Wood

I show the Chata spirit because our grandparents speak the Choctaw language, and my parents, that’s all Chahta language they speak, even Chahta songs. I’m very proud.
Evelyn James

Through giving and contributing to the community around us.
Jennifer Fitzgerald

I am slowly learning our Choctaw language; I remember some things my grandfather told me not a whole lot.
Jerri Lyn Sorrels Thompson

Telling the story’s my dad told me to my family.
Helen Haynes

I show the Chahta Spirit by example and practice, not just cooking the traditional foods or making Pottery or beating, talking to the younger generation about our past and our future, also teaching the younger generation how to respect our elders.
Joyce Gilmore

Learning the Chahta language and honoring all things Chihowa provides.
Rita Hart

By giving.
Glenda Cocke

By speaking my language.
Floyd Johnson

Connecting with Chahta culture learning and seeing heart sprit of family. My family left way back to move to California, so reconnecting is very real to me, and I appreciate the journey.
Danny Abril

By sharing what I’ve learned growing up with my elders and carrying those stories and traditions on through my children every day.
Shalan Pearson

By support of education and encouragement of my tribe, I have the first master’s degree in my family. I moved closer from California to East Texas, closer to my tribe and family members to hopefully give back and help any way I can. I’ve had some trials since moving here 11 years ago, and Choctaws have been able to help me in various ways. I want to thank you and be available if you need my services in any way.
Linda McChesney

By spreading awareness of how my tribe supports our communities, schools, churches, etc., and giving back to our tribal members is our priority.
Danielle Bullard

I always tried to take care of my family and others because that’s who we are and what we do. I’m proud to be a God-Fearing Choctaw Native, and I’m proud of our Chief, our Council Members and our Tribe for helping each other and those who are not Choctaw.
Linda Thompson

By giving freely.
Deborah Keyes

Learning Chahta Anumpa. Traditional beading and moccasin making. Connecting with other tribal members in Oklahoma, California, and Mississippi. Learning our tales and stories. Teaching others of our history.
Melanie Gonzales

Serving others.
Billie Karstetter