Good evening Sisters and Brothers,

I have been thinking extensively about a comment made by a very intelligent and educated Chahta concerning an assistant chief stepping into the chief position.

If it is true that our current chief is indeed stepping down in two years and Gary Batton is taking the chief’s office then, as our esteemed colleague pointed out, we once again have a chief the Chahta people have NOT elected.

*if* the Chief steps down or is forced out, like Hollis Roberts was, then Gary Batton will be Chief. We will have an unelected leader controlling our billions of dollars worth of revenue, our land and resources, and our communities. We need a new constitution and a new administration. In the very least, we’d need understanding from this administration. I am not sure whether Pyle will step down, or not, but Batton is certainly at the very highest level meetings in his place, these days. (I saw him two weeks ago @ a Consultation meeting w/ tribal leaders w/ Larry Echohawk). So, again, we have an UNELECTED LEADER, in place making the highest decisions for our Choctaw government as well as the People… Greg Pyle assumed leadership as an unelected leader when Hollis Roberts was arrested… it could happen again w/ Batton.

Brothers and Sisters it is time we exercise our rights to actually elect a candidate of OUR choosing.  A chief should not hand pick his successor.  From what I hear it’s a well devised plan so that Batton doesn’t have to run and when he does run for chief he will be running as the incumbent candidate with all the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s money behind him.  This isn’t right.  Our chief needs to be elected by OUR people.  I cannot say it enough:  Our chief needs to be elected by OUR people.