Archives for category: Oklahoma City Choctaws

Halito Sisters & Brothers,

I noticed on Facebook many Chahta proudly displaying their ballots for the upcoming elections. It warms my heart just to see that we actually have people who are brave enough and are willing to stand up to a decades old system that is well known for it’s unfriendly (to say the least) attitude for those candidates who are not incumbents. We have come quite a ways since the last election cycle and we have so much farther to go for the sake of our descendants.

While there is no candidate to run against Perry Thompson so I can’t vote for council I have cast my vote for Chief. I paused to think before marking my ballot because I know next to nothing about the challenger. I don’t know about her background and I don’t know where she stands on the issues that have plagued our Chahta government for decades but I marked her name as my choice because I do know a thing or two about our current Miko.

I know that he most likely has good intentions but no business experience outside of the CNO. I know that his efforts toward election reform while historic were very shallow. I know that there is no TERO at the CNO. This means that Choctaw business owners and employees have no recourse in their own tribal nation to take advantage of Choctaw preference. I know that he has never answered the question concerning the campaign fund. I know that he is surrounded by the old guard and that, to me, is what we have had since I was a child riding along with my mother campaigning for Wendell David. That campaigning cost my mother her job at the tribally owned Indian Clinic in Hugo all for the right of Choctaw people to have a vote that actually counted. I know that during this election year I have seen more expensive commercials with Miko’s face in them than any other time that I recently remember. I know that some Chahta’s with large families are now receiving some big promotions. Ironically, these are promotions they should have had long ago.

So tonight I want to really encourage our absentee voters (I count myself among you) to think about the legacy Gary Batton proudly carries into his office, an office that we didn’t elect him into. He carries with him corruption, greed and disregard for the well-being of the Chahta people. He carries with him a legacy of intimidation and force. He carries with him a false sense of importance and that is due to lack of experience in other business arenas. I had hoped that he would carry something else. I had hoped that he would change the system. That he would speak frankly and honestly. That he would announce that any employee using intimidation and threats during the election year would be immediately terminated. I had hoped he wouldn’t participate in the jobs for votes practice. He proved my hopes to be futile. Absentee voters we need YOU to set the stage for real change by voting for the challenger. You can break the strength of the chain that has held us back for decades. The opposition has no secret campaign fund and she doesn’t have the power to intimidate those Chahta who work for the nation. If she doesn’t fulfill the duties of a Chief with integrity and business acumen we will have the choice to vote her out next election cycle. Remember the longer those corrupt old guard people hold top positions in our government the longer it will take for us to rid ourselves of them. This is our chance to send a clear message concerning integrity and answering to the very people leadership is charged with serving.

I would also like for you to view this short documentary concerning the struggle we have dealt with in our corrupt political system. When I first watched it I was shocked. Even though I had known about the intimidation and the strong armed tactics to see even a glimpse of it against one of our elders infuriated me. What you should remember is that this is the legacy that Batton continues to proliferate. The link to the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugc1AoPs_gk

Chi Pisa La Chike,

S. Crowder  (CW)

Halito Brothers & Sisters,

There is no doubt that the fight for transparency and free elections is gaining ground and that, in part, is due to Chief Batton. I want to give credit where credit is due. The recent inclusion of short bio’s of the candidates and the incumbents into the Biskinik is a historical event as is the committee on election reform. The option to have candidate information sent to registered voters is also of historical significance. There’s your credit.

Now, let’s look at how far we have to go. The CNO has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a beautiful state of the art website. Why aren’t there candidate/incumbent interviews on it? I am an absentee voter and I would like to get a feel for the candidates running for office that’s hard to do in a short bio. Where were the questions? There are so many how could anyone just simply leave them out? The first one would be, “why do you want to run for a Chahta council seat”? I think that’s a pretty simple question that our tribal newspaper failed to even ask. The crusaders for opposition to the status quo, The Choctaw National party, were the ones to video candidate forums. It’s amazing what can happen when Chahta voters can’t get the information needed from your own tribe. I applaud the efforts of the fledging opposition party.

I also applaud the new candidates running for council seats and am especially happy to see Ohoyo Chahta running for Chief and District 11 Council. I am, however very disappointed that Perry Thompson (District 8), Thomas Williston (District 1), Kenneth Bryant (District 3) and Ron Perry (District 5) have gone unopposed. Tell me Okla Chahta what message does this send to have these candidates unopposed since they are the very men who have continuously slapped down releasing the voters registration list? It’s obvious to me we need to remove the residency requirements for candidates from the Choctaw Constitution.

I am saddened to see huge amounts of money being spent on this campaign by the Chief and incumbent council and no one wants to answer where the campaign monies are coming from (when you vote that should be a major major deciding factor for the Chief’s Office). Even as I write this I think about the man who is to serve 15 years in prison for monies that went through several hands not just his. He shouldn’t be sitting in federal prison alone.

Not to mention using residency requirements to disallow other candidates to run for office especially when it wasn’t an issue when Tony Messenger lived in Durant but had a home in Broken Bow. Now, I like Tony Messenger I believe his heart is in the right place but if you are going to have rules then those rules need to apply to everyone or no one.

Lastly, the election board should be independent of the chief and council offices – period. To have them appointed by our leadership is another shallow attempt at the appearance of propriety and truth. Any board that is appointed by the Chief answers to the Chief, it just makes sense.

Chi Pisa La Chike and don’t forget VOTE VOTE VOTE!

S. Crowder (Choctaw Wright)

Halito Brothers & Sisters,

I have received word that the lavish kick off campaign party for Miko Batton was paid for out of a long standing campaign fund. Council members and Chiefs in the past have not had challengers for their seats in office, hence the surplus. My question would be where do these funds come from? Is the bank account where the funds are housed pay interest and if so to whom? Are these funds from Enterprises? Are they donations or a combination of both? To me, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, sound like funds that belong to the Chahta people. Why, you may ask. Well because they wouldn’t exist without the sovereignty and existence of our tribe and our tribe wouldn’t exist without our people.

The question about whether these funds were added to by a former Chief with donations from certain construction companies is also in question. Is this the same fund mentioned at the Jason Merida trial? Which begs the question, why do we even have to ask all these questions? This my Chahta family is at the heart of transparency. I personally don’t see anything wrong with having a special campaign fund that acquired it’s monies through any of the above mentioned ways. I would just like someone, anyone to stand up and say “yep it’s a campaign fund and here is the money trail”.

Also, as you know I think it’s ludicrous that a person would have to be well above upper middle class to run for an elected office within our tribe. I’ve said this on numerous occasions. Listen carefully to what I am about to write, if this campaign fund, belongs to the Chahta people then it shouldn’t benefit ONLY the sitting elected officials as it does now. An agreed upon amount should be divided evenly to all the candidates that qualify to run for an elected office. Then after receiving the amount of funds no one candidate should be allowed to spend an exuberant amount of money over that fund amount. If receipts need to be turned in showing the funds were actually used for campaign materials then so be it. We don’t want our tribe to mirror that particular trait of our federal government where millions are spent to attain an elected office.

So as we are readying ourselves to vote I ask only that as a Chahta citizen that you gather all the information you can about the candidates in each council district and the candidates for Chief. It is important to discern between expensive campaign materials and rhetoric verses grass roots efforts for change. This election year is so very important after the exposure of corruption and the rejection of transparency concerning distribution of the registered voters list. Our elected officials must be held accountable. So far, they have refused to answer questions that we as Chahta deserve answers to. They may even have logical legitimate answers but the silence is deafening and reeks of the old school mentality of keeping our people in the dark.

I suspect that you, like me, could handle the truth.

Chi Pisa La Chike

S. Crowder (Choctaw Wright)