Halito Brothers and Sisters,

As most of you know Chief Greg Pyle is retiring. Love him or not it’s the end of an era, or is it? Since former Chief Roberts created the Assistant Chief position the election of Chief has been a carefully, ardently controlled process and we, the voters, have not had any say. Our votes are controlled by those who would lose the most if their regime was voted out. Remember money and power are aphrodisiacs to even the strongest most moral of men and women.

I see that even some members of the opposition to this one party system have crossed their fingers and bowed their heads hoping that Chief Gary Batton will change the way Chahta leadership does business. He is the first Chief to publicly support the opposition to the pipeline across our tribal jurisdiction. This is significant because he has put his name beside members of the opposition, traditionalists who are calling for change. Is this a sign that Batton is more supportive of Chahta rights? Were his hands tied all this time in making true significant change? Will he be able to call off the goons who intimidate, rip up signs, threaten and ridicule opposition candidates? Will he provide space in the Biskinik for ALL candidate platforms? Will he truly let the people decide? Will he enact a TERO department?

This is what I know he has done:
* He plays stickball (I happen to like this)
* He supported and implemented a Choctaw University for CNO employees
* He supported the opposition to the pipeline
* He implemented audits throughout the CNO (several incidents of embezzlement were found)
* He and his wife have adopted Chahta children
* He is a hard worker and his right hand people have good work ethics – they are Chahta

This is what disturbs me:
* He has promoted known liars and greedy leaders into high positions of power
* Some who were revealed in those audits to be unethical were moved to different positions or their involvement kept quiet
* Due to the audit lower level leadership took the fall to cover the true criminals
* He has continued the same managerial style that gives employees no recourse against an unethical manager or supervisor

So we are back to the question of hope. We are back to the questions of transparency and true democracy. We are back to the questions of truly serving the Chahta people.

It is no secret that I am a religious person. I believe in the power of prayer. I think we should pray for our new leader to have the moral armor to lead us into an era of Chahta rights and a redistribution of power. What is there to be afraid of? By opening our elections, by ending the oppression he could RIGHTFULLY be Chief for many many years. However, if it’s more of the same corruption, secrecy and greed then we have nothing but what we have had for almost four decades.

Yakoke,
CW

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