Halito Sisters & Brothers,

Tonight we have the privilege of viewing an essay from a distinguished citizen of our Chahta nation.  This haitak Chahta, has decided to share his views with all of us as he sees the need for change.  As Chahta’s we have a responsibility to do what is best for our people and this “sense” of being Chahta is being felt in Chahta’s all across the country.




Blessings to you all:

I wanted to share some things with all the people of the Choctaw Nation. I am a 4/4 card carrying Choctaw member, and a veteran just as my father and brother were.  I was taught to defend our country and our tribal nation. Through out my life I never lost my sense of being Choctaw.

I remember shaking the hand of Chief Belvin, as he was a close friend of my grandparents and came to visit often.  My Grandmother (original enrollee) said to me “this is your Chief, you must respect him and look up to him as your leader because you are Choctaw.”  Because of my grandmother’s teachings I have always respected the importance of our tribal leadership.  After becoming an adult, my mother encouraged me to work for our Choctaw people.  I was employed with the Tribe for many years and was blessed by being able to help our people in many ways.  My job at the tribe, I felt, was more than employment.  I felt called to my job and the sense of service I felt toward our Choctaw ancestors showed in my work.

Recently, I have been troubled and my heart has grown heavy because of the way the Choctaw people employed with the tribe are being treated.  Sure I have my personal story but I too have been mistreated like many of you and I have been strengthened by this experience.

I have since had the opportunity to sit with great men and great leaders of Tribal Nations all over Indian Country. What I see most is the importance of Tribal Nations run by Tribal people.  It saddens me that this isn’t the case with my own Tribe.  What I say to you is hold on because without you we are strangers in our own country.  One day you will see justice.

I had the great opportunity to know Charley Jones, past Tribal Councilman, personally and he once told me to be strong, be encouraged and be humbled by the power of our Creator. As many of you know Charley gave selflessly to our people for generations.  His words from the past give me hope for our future.

I have been blessed with the knowledge and wisdom that was taught to me by the elders and I am grateful.  I was raised traditional Choctaw and was taught the ways and language of my people.  To the proud and strong people of the Choctaw Nation it has come time for a positive change in our Tribal Government.  I pray for you all to be given the strength and power to do what must be done.  I pray that the Creator be made real in your lives and that you embrace the things that have been given to you by our ancestors, the ability to overcome adversity.

Change is coming during the next Tribal Election whether it be Tribal councilman or principal Chief.  In these days that we are living in, I humbly ask you all to pray for each other and for your families. 

Remember the greatest weapon we have to battle the issues with our tribe is your prayers!

YoKoKe  Okla Chata

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