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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)

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Halito Sisters & Brothers,

Our Chief is announcing his candidacy by throwing a huge party in McAlester with none other than Neal McCoy as entertainment. Here I sit shaking my head again. Who will be the guest speaker the anti-native Governor Mary Fallon? Who planned this kickoff event? It must be the same old people who seem to always plan them because it’s just like the ones the former chief and the felony chief had to announce their “candidacy”. I am trying so hard to see the silver lining for our current Chief but so far I see a man who cannot get true election reform and who is walking in the same muddy foot prints as those who have come before him. Let me tell you the sad part – this Chief has so much potential. Who in the world is advising him to throw an obviously outrageously expensive party only months after the Merida trial? How much is it costing? Who is paying for it? Who will be working it? Where is the million dollars noted in the federal trial that former Chief Pyle put away for your campaign? Is this where the money is coming from? Will there be transparency concerning how much JUST the kickoff event cost? And I mean down to the last lavish give away.

Can you not see and hear the Chahta people questioning your integrity? Let me tell you what I had hoped you would do and really what I thought you would be advised to do. Announce your candidacy in the most dignified possible way in the same fashion as “town hall” meetings. Invite any opponents or just regular hard working, struggling, Chahta’s to bring you their questions in a public forum and answer them as honestly as you can. Invite the absentee voters to participate by sending in questions by joining a meeting via Skype. Chahta’s are soooo tired of the smoke and mirrors and it’s very disappointing to know you cannot see that. If you must have music then have our Chahta people sing. Our tribe has some of the most beautiful voices out there, turn your candidacy announcement into a CHAHTA celebration. I’m sure Neal McCoy is a swell guy and a fantastic 90’s singer but I don’t associate him with our people. It’s insulting to think that this is part of your strategy for clearing your name? Insulting and very frankly, ineffective. You will have mostly employees there and some Choctaw people there as well but the whisperings will be about the money and you walked right into it. I would take a good long look at who is advising you concerning your strategy and let them know what worked in previous decades will not work the same way now not after all of the corruption. Pandora’s Box has been opened and a new flat screen isn’t going to close it.

This Chief, while not elected by the Chahta people, has so many positives working in his favor such as having managed a multi-billion dollar business. I bet a lot of you don’t know that he has been the one overseeing a business as the CEO for years now. Not just checking on it now and then but down in the trenches making big decisions. Why wouldn’t that be the focus? Why the circus? Tell me, tell us everything that qualifies you to be our Chief because it’s so much more than a title.

Be your own man don’t isolate yourself with the old guard. When I see that over the top party (and I’ve seen it in the past – was made to blow up balloons for it) I think of my grandmother and my room at her house. I would be lying in my bed and if it was windy outside my hair would blow in the wind as if the window was open. Why can’t we use all of these political dollars to insure safe and secure housing for our elders? Why does it take millions of dollars to run as a candidate for Choctaw Chief? Where did this go wrong? We have to look at this my Chahta family for what it is. We have to hold the amount of money it takes to throw this celebration in one hand and our elders’ needs in the other and see which is heaviest. My guess would be it’s about the same except the money hand benefits our people the least and our elders are still struggling. It’s a shame. The hunting trips, the fake boobs, the extravagant cars and the elitist parties while our elders do the best they can. I am beginning to wonder if we will ever be given the chance to make it right.

Chi pisa la chike,

CW (S. Crowder)

(S. Crowder has written under the pseudonym Choctaw Wright and Muriel Wright since December 21, 2011)

Halito Sisters & Brothers,

I have received word just today that Chahta employees can no longer run for an elected office unless they resign their positions. Good thing Tony Messenger, Greg Pyle, Gary Batton, you were assigned your positions before this new rule was enacted. Whew…really dodged a bullet on that one. What happened did Birdie get too many votes? Was this rule brought before the council or introduced by the council? If it was, man that got passed fast. I thought things took a few decades longer than that. Were the people consulted about this new rule at all? I didn’t think so.

You may sense a little anger and frustration and believe me you do. I have heard from other Chahta employees about past voters registration list usage. Yes, my Chahta family the sacred voter’s registration list has been shared in the following ways:

“We were given pages of voters with all of their contact information. We were dropped off in a different county and went door to door. We would call and offer to pick up their vote. We would call continuously if they were undecided about who to vote for. Everyone saw that list and working to get the vote was not a choice it was a command”.

So let me get this straight. Thousands of employees are forced to work the elections? Yes, I believe it because I’ve seen it. Yakoke for contacting me and telling me about your experience. This concerned Chahta wasn’t the only one who contacted me. Please read further:

“I’m tired of this. I’m just not going to do it anymore and I have done it. I have let them (CNO) tell me what to do and when; whether it was my time or theirs. I have let them tell me who to vote for and when to work at fundraisers. My children are grown and live on their own. I don’t have to let them take away my rights ever again and if I get fired at least I have only myself to worry about supporting”.

Is this where we are Chief? Is this where we are Councilmen? Did Tony Messenger not say he didn’t like people ignoring the election reform progress and choose to attack them on releasing the voter’s list? He said he felt like it was the Middle East or something. How do you think we the Chahta people feel Tony? I agree with you it DOES feel like the Middle East or something. We have no rights and it’s still condoned to intimidate and threaten candidates. Is this the century where we will still take away people’s livelihoods for exercising their right to vote? I agree Tony after all this time it’s still like some violent dictatorship. Why don’t we use this expedited Council process to pass a regulation about intimidating and threatening candidates? Why not say if you do this you get fired because that’s not what democracy is all about. Could that be passed as quickly as employees can no longer run without resigning their positions?

Okay, now tell me what Indian nation doesn’t allow their candidates to campaign at their community centers but does allow the nahullo political candidates who are running for senate or whatever office campaign at their community centers – that’s right the CHOCTAW NATION of OKLAHOMA. Our own candidates cannot campaign at our own community centers but the Boren family can. Tell me this is something that went before the council? Did they vote on this too? Once again if they did that was passed quickly? If not who made that rule? Please someone let me know because this is Tiananmen Square China not the 10 ½ counties of the Choctaw Nation.

I congratulate and I challenge this Chief on election reform but it’s a long way from being done and the time is approaching to elect new officials. Come out with it! Tell the truth and be proud of it. The Chahta our TIRED of the tyranny and the threats and intimidation. It’s time to make the changes necessary and if we don’t watch out brothers and sisters the reform will be delayed and pushed back until the elections have come and gone. Now is the time to show them who they are charged to represent and reclaim your right for free and unbiased elections. Register to vote, encourage people to run let’s get rid of this council and get a council that can get things done who are honorable and have the welfare of the Chahta people uppermost in their mind and not their enormous rates of pay.

Chi pisa la chike,

CW (S. Crowder)

(S. Crowder has written under the pseudonym Choctaw Wright and Muriel Wright since December 21, 2011)

Halito Brothers & Sisters,

This is a time of pivotal change.  It will be written in the history of our tribal nation.  We are about to lose the inherent right of our people to govern ourselves.  I am not talking about tribal self-governance and the relationship we as a sovereign nation have with state and federal governments.  I am talking about within ourselves.  We are about to sign away our rights to leadership that is Chahta.

Who is heading this movement to remove Chahta from our government – Kalyn Free the creator of Choctaws Rising.  Does she do this out of a love for the people?  Does she do it out of some obligation to rid us of corrupt leaders?  Corruption – that’s a heavy word with all kinds of nahullo meanings.  If corruption is defined as greedy and selfish (which by the way is the definition of nahullo) then maybe everyone should be measured with the same veracity.

Ms. Free reported this excerpt on her web page Choctaw’s Rising with scathing remarks concerning Chief Batton’s integrity and his moral character.  “I felt guilty about it.” This was Chief Batton’s response when asked why he wrote $27,500 checks to charities. Chief Batton was on the stand today for nearly four hours and testified to the following: (1) Batton went an all expense paid hunting trip to NM paid for by now convicted Brent Parsons of Builder’s Steel. Two of the four on that trip have pled guilty, the third is Merida, and the fourth is Batton. It was “not a business trip.”

Parsons flew a private plane to Hugo to pick up Batton. When asked if there were any other trips, Batton said “No.”; (2) When asked if he had gone to Ft Worth, Batton remembered that he had flown yet again on Brent’s private plane, this time being picked up in Durant, to Cabela’s in Ft Worth to “buy gear” for the NM hunting trip. Brent paid for everything. Batton wasn’t asked about the dinner Batton allegedly bought for the four of them during that trip and whether he used the tribe’s credit card or his own. Perhaps Matt Silverstein can ask the Chief to answer that question? (3) Batton admitted that Parsons paid $50,000 into Pyle’s campaign fund to have a private dinner at a fancy restaurant in Tulsa with Pyle and Batton;…”

In 2004 Kalyn Free made an unsuccessful bid for the United States Congress.  She blames much of this loss on then Chief Greg Pyle who didn’t support her in the democratic primary.  As part of the public record which can be accessed at http://eqs.fec.gov/eqsdocsMUR/28044212013.pdf Kalyn Free was found guilty of violating several federal campaign laws (see page 7 for a listing).  You will also see her signature acknowledging she stole money from her federal campaign for Congress.  http://eqs.fec.gov/eqsdocsMUR/28044211963.pdf

As you can see Ms. Free committed the following federal violations during and after her 2004 campaign:

  1. Accepted a lump sum of $15,000.00 from campaign funds AFTER the loss
  2. Accepted a lump sum of $30,000 from campaign funds AFTER the loss
  3. Set up an accounting system to pay her an advance AFTER the loss
  4. Did not report the monies paid as a debt thereby nullifying the monies as a loan

The above were violations of USC 2 Improper Use of Federal Campaign Dollars for Personal Use.  All told the monies added up to almost $50,000.00 the same amount she is so outraged by in the above reference post on Choctaws Rising.

My question is this why does she want to remove the blood quantum restrictions? She has no interest in running for Chief?  However, she does have interest in acting as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma legal counsel as she currently does for the Cherokee, or so she says.  As a person who often quotes what the Chahta Chief and Council are being paid I think you will be delighted to know the Cherokee Nation Executive Branch (which is basically the Chief) pays Ms. Free some $275,000 per/year.  Her first year with the Cherokees she made more than half a million dollars in nine months and the Tribal Council voted to forbid any one not Cherokee from being Chief Counsel, this was targeted directly at her.  So she changed her title and moved her invoices over to the Cherokee Nation Businesses where it is not available for public review and denies FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests from the Council.  She’s taken more than a million from the Cherokees in less than four years by instigating the removal of blood quantum and greatly helping Bill John Baker 1/164th Cherokee become the current Cherokee Chief.  Is this what our people want, a Chief that is 1/164th?

I think what really affects me concerning these revelations is how powerfully and with ease she throws stones in her own glass house.  Tell us Ms. Free after breaking federal campaign laws did you give that amount to charity, because Chief Batton broke not one federal campaign law, as a matter of fact, he did not break any law and yet he gave the money to charity.  This Chief as Assistant Chief began the very process that brought the illegal activities to light. You signed the above referenced documents in federal court admitting your guilt and yet you call for campaign reform?  These reforms were discussed and created, written and re-written long before you or I ever started our separate efforts to change the CNO.  Yes the amendments were discussed except for removal of the blood quantum requirement YOU insisted on that little change.

Did you feel bad? Did you track down who donated that money for your own campaign and pay it back to them?  Or did you pay back the Federal Government and call it a day after you were caught?  You demand so many answers from Chief Batton how about providing some answers to your own actions?  At the end of the day Ms. Free I want to know do the Cherokee people welcome you with open arms or do they keep asking themselves how you managed to ingrain yourself into their nation at more than one million dollars a year.

Chahta people we have so much to do to make change but signing our Chahta away is not one of them.

CW

Good evening Brothers and Sisters,

The following is a guest editorial:

“These past days and weeks of the Merida Trial have been some of the darker days we

have faced as a Nation. The Choctaw People have witnessed mockery, public debasement, and

dramatization of the trial on Social Media. At a time when we needed to join together as a

Nation, instead we experienced the opposite: gossip, calls for changes to election requirements

for personal gain and more.

 

            This decades long lack of unity will potentially be the issue that rips apart the fabric

sacrificially woven by our ancestors.

 

            Chief Batton, you did not deserve the disrespect that was shown to you by various

 individuals and organizations. As struggling simple people, most of us do not have good

feelings about this money changing hands. A simple press conference would have prevented

much of the confusion swirling in the minds of many. It is possible this was contrary to what

was recommended by legal counsel. Even an acknowledgement of a press conference to come

after the trial would have been sufficient. The silence has been deafening. We respectfully ask

that you address your people.

 

The lessons learned from this are;

No one is infallible

There must be accountability

Checks and balances are absolutely necessary

Financial transparency is a must

Annual audits of all Tribal accounts by an independent firm are nonnegotiable

Audits of personal accounts of Chief, Assistant Chief and Council should perhaps be considered

 

            As Choctaws we must remain true to our traditions and conduct ourselves in a manner

that brings honor to our Tribe, our ancestors, our families, and ourselves always-even during

difficult times, if not especially.

Vlichi”

I would like to invite other’s who would like to express their opinion to contact me.  If the message isn’t vulgar or demeaning I will gladly post it for you whether you agree with my opinions or not.  As Chahta’s we need at least one place where we can be heard as we speak our truth.

Yakoke,

CW

Good Evening Sisters and Brothers,

I’ve heard many native people say our history, the old wounds and tyranny should be left in the past and that today is a new day. They want to concentrate on progress and prosperity after all it didn’t happen to we modern day American Indians. I beg to differ, baby Veronica was taken away from her biological native father almost a year ago crippling the Indian Child Welfare Act . This was done in 2013 not the 1930’s.

The United States has a long history of removing Native American children from their native families the Indian Child Welfare Act was supposed to protect us from losing our children…wait let me rephrase that the Indian Child Welfare Act was supposed to give our leadership the legislation to PROTECT our children. Yet in celebration the CNO created a statue to salute the strength of the Choctaw woman. Good concept I could really get on board with that one except then they ask one of the most anti-American Indian governors in history to unveil it. Yakoke to Creator God for the strength of our Chahta people who voiced their opinions on this decision very strongly. In case you missed it Governor Fallin was instrumental in returning Baby Veronica to her adoptive parents Read the rest of this entry »

Good Evening Brothers & Sisters,

Many of you have requested to see the information that will be distributed at this year’s Labor Day Festival. We have been granted a space after explaining that our right to have a space is protected in our current constitution. Our intent is to peacefully distribute information. We don’t want to be arrested or harassed and we plan on occupying our 10 X 10 space and going no further. You my family must come to us. We will be by the amphitheater.
I apologize for getting you this information so late but we have been debating the issue of removing the blood quantum limits for elected officials. I will not ever support such a move but I agree with all of the other proposed amendments so what you see below is true compromise. We must not let this one issue (designed by the federal government to eventually separate us) curtail our efforts at regaining are inherent freedoms. I believe this issue is one for the people and not for a few lone voices.
Below is the brochure in a plain text form. The petition is as we speak (per/say) is receiving last minute polishing and editing before going to the printer. The proposed amendments will be there for all to see at Labor Day. If we gather enough signatures (we need approximately 7000) we will be able to vote for each amendment separately. They are not rolled into one big bill like you would see in Washington. I encourage you to speak with a Cherokee Citizen to find out how they feel they are being represented since the removal of the blood quantum restriction for their elected officials. I know I will.

CW

Did You Know?
A non-Indian Tribal Attorney has represented both the Chief and the Council for nearly 40 years? In 1991 his “salary” was raised to more than $30,000 every month. Just since 1991, that is well over $8 MILLION Dollars. It is believed that this lawyer has been paid over $30 MILLION while the Choctaws have suffered. This non-Indian attorney controlled Hollis Roberts and Greg Pyle and many believe he controls Gary Batton.

Your Tribal Councilor makes as much as $175,000 per year?

The Chief sets his own salary and the salaries of high-ranking employees and you can never see the tribal budgets?

For the last 40 years, all our chiefs, except one, was “chosen” and not elected by the people?

Chief David Gardner, who died in office in 1978, was the last chief elected by the people? He was the last chief to serve who was not first appointed as Assistant Chief.

The Chief appoints the Assistant Chief and can fire him whenever he wants?

We don’t have term limits for our Chief and Council and that most of the current council has served more than 20 years and some more than 30 years?

All 12 members of the Council are men and that’s exactly how they intend to keep it?

The Chief and the Council used this corrupt system and all the power of the tribe to make sure the last three women who ran for Council did not win?

The Tribal Council conducts all its business behind closed doors and Choctaws are not allowed to attend the meetings where legislation, issues and spending are discussed?

Dozens of non-Indians are running the Tribe, drawing enormous salaries and these “bosses” treat tribal employees terribly?

Tribal employees have no employee rights, live in fear for their jobs and know the Chief can fire them at any time without recourse?

Our tribal Constitution was forced on the Choctaw people in 1983 and was created by former Chief Hollis Roberts to give more power to the Chief’s office?

Our previous Constitution, adopted in 1860, had term limits and didn’t have a blood quantum to run for Chief or Council?

About 130,000 or 2/3 of the Choctaws live “at-large” or outside the tribal boundaries?

These at-large Choctaws have no direct representation on the Tribal Council?

78% of Choctaws are less than ¼ blood and they cannot run for office?

The Chief, Assistant Chief and almost every member of the Council does not want to remove the blood quantum and allow any Choctaw to run for office,but they are counting on you to keep them in office to continue this corrupt government?

Of Course You Didn’t Know Because:
Those who do know, can’t tell those who don’t know.

The Chief and Council will not allow Choctaws to freely exercise our Freedom of Speech at Tvshka Homma except in a 10 x 10 square foot stockade. If we step foot outside of this tent and talk to anyone about these issues, we will be arrested and/or ordered to leave our sacred capitol grounds.

The Choctaw Nation does not have a free press and the tribal newspaper, the Biskinik, is simply a propaganda machine for the Chief’s office.

Candidates who run for tribal office cannot buy an ad in the tribal newspaper and the Biskinik will not print any letters to the editor that are critical of the Chief or Council.

The Chief and Council will not give the list of registered voters names and addresses to candidates running for office, so their opponents cannot tell you about their campaign platforms and vision for the tribe.

The Nation has absolutely no campaign fundraising or reporting laws. Companies doing business with the Tribe can give unlimited money to the Chief and Tribal Councilors to keep them in office so the non-Indians can continue cashing huge checks and running our tribe.

There is no Freedom of Information law in the Choctaw Nation. You cannot write the Chief or Council and ask for information and expect a response. They don’t have to and they won’t answer your questions.

What Can You Do?
You can help change all of this by signing the petition to amend our Constitution. Together we will bring great change to the Choctaw Nation, honor our ancestors, elect our own leaders and implement an open and transparent government that serves the Chahtas, not the Nahollos.
Choctaws Rising
choctawsrising.com
info@choctawsrising.com

Good Evening Sisters & Brothers,

Those of you requesting information, demanding change from the current administration and receiving only vague responses from the office of the current Miko I applaud you for attempting to find out for yourselves who this new Chief is working for – you or himself. I don’t have to say it because if you look hard if you request information and even mention transparency and free elections you get silence or the occasional chirping of a cricket for your efforts.

I want to say this to you Chief Batton: When were you elected by the Chahta people? Where will your campaign monies come from? Do you plan on releasing the voters list? Are you for term limits? Do you agree there should be a reasonable impeachment process for those in leadership positions who abuse their power? Will the CNO employees be given “unspoken” directives to work on your campaign? When will you answer to the people concerning all of the above?

In this new Chief I sense an air of entitlement, a “why would I do that” attitude. Why indeed? Miko Batton by setting term limits would be giving up an approximate $275,000.00 dollars in salary plus benefits and complete power over the finances, social services and future of our nation. Think about this Miko you could take that salary for four years and probably invest in something else that would bring you a very good income and STILL give us term limits without doing harm to yourself? How much money do you need?

Don’t get me wrong I don’t begrudge him the money he makes. CEO’s of corporations relative in size to the CNO make much more. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times New GNC Holdings Inc. CEO Michael Archbold’s base salary in 2014 is $950,000 and he’ll receive bonuses this year totaling $545,000 as part of a three-year agreement. In 2011 GNC was valued at 2.07 billion. So yes this is comparable to our very own CNO.

While I don’t begrudge Miko’s salary I have to ask where are all the funds from Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma the Corporation going? We don’t have an elderly pension? We don’t have brick homes? We don’t have car tags? Many of our people are just barely getting by working hard to put kids through college, make a home mortgage, making a car payment – and we can’t even proudly display a Choctaw car tag?

To me, a man making as much money as Gary Batton should put the people above all else because it’s the status of our tribe, which is made up of Chahta people that affords him such a pay day. The very least he could do is assure us of free elections and transparency? Am I the only one who is offended by this? Mr. Batton when a Chahta tribal member requests an audience with you and is willing to wait weeks to get an appointment the least you could do is meet with that tribal member? The least you could do Mr. Batton is let our people vote. You OWE us that.

Yakoke,
CW

Halito Sisters and Brothers,

It angers me today the thought of once again having the FBI go through our government and weed out our own corrupt leadership. Why can’t we, as Chahta people, do this? Is it naïve of me to think that our people are smart enough, diligent enough and have enough integrity to rid ourselves of the greediness and arrogance on our own?

Let’s go into why we can’t. Our foundation of laws, the Choctaw Constitution has been weak for 181 years. A constitution that served are ancestors in 1831 is not going to serve us well now. A constitution whose amendments have been altered to fit the pockets of leadership willing to swell their own bank accounts at the expense of our children and elders is not going to serve us well now. The lack of compassion to our people who need it most disgusts me.

This new Miko, Gary Batton, is unwilling to give up any of his power. He is unwilling to change the constitution and is very laid back and easy going about it. He may be justifying it to himself as he knows what’s best. Is this the same justification used by Roberts and Pyle? Oh I’m sure it is. How else could any of them sleep at night. He must go. PERIOD. This is our opportunity to make change and he stands in the way. He represents a regime filled with sexual abuse, corruption, greediness, fraud and lies. The worst part is he sees no need for change so what does that say about him? It says everything we need to know.

So what should a Chahta Miko look like? He should be Chahta. He should put our people above the corporation. He should know this is a family business not a corporation. He should give a good deal of his power back to the people. He should be for term limits and balancing the constitution. He should give greater opportunities for representation outside of the Chahta boundaries. He should give a portion of his power back to an uncorrupt council. Where is this man???? OR Where is this woman??? To find this person does it mean we have to drop the residency requirement? Because I’m telling you right now I do not, nor will I ever, support dropping the blood quantum requirement for elected officials. In my mind and in my heart I believe all tribal entities should be operated by tribal members.

We need to find our next Miko my people. We need to find her/him and we need to exercise our right to vote because it’s been taken away from us way too long by the current administration. THE FBI DOES NOT NEED TO CLEAN UP THIS MESS! IT IS OUR MESS AND IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE OUR POWER BACK AND CLEAN IT UP WITHIN OUR OWN FAMILY!

Yakoke,
CW

Halito Chahta Family,

“I want to become the number one employer in Oklahoma and love for the Choctaw Nation to become world renown in the future, said Gary Batton”, http://www.newson6.com/story/25378662/gary-batton-sworn-in-as-new-choctaw-nation-chief

This is a quote from our new Miko.  I respectfully say, number one employer of whom?  World renown to whom?  Love for the Choctaw Nation by whom?  This can’t be directed to us, the Chahta people?  I don’t know about you, my brothers and sisters but I don’t want the world to “love” the Chahta.  I would rather have freedom to vote, freedom to run for election, freedom to work and prosper without henchmen to tear down signs, to intimidate and pay voters, to pistol whip candidates at our annual gathering. I want a workplace that doesn’t see the Chahta as stupid or threatening to those non-Chahta in power.  I want our Chahta people to be informed of the true goings on within our government, I want those Chahta who have left our land boundaries to have incentives to come home or at least know that their sisters and brothers welcome their input on tribal affairs.  I want candidates to not have to be wealthy to run for office.  I want our tribal paper to present both sides of the story and hold accountable our leaders.  We all know what I want.  I have written about it over and over.  I have also prayed to our Creator God for relief from the tyranny and embarrassment of our Chahta government.

Now, I once again respectfully request you read the following letter from attorney and Chahta tribal member, Kalyn Free requesting the desperately needed changes required to truly give our people the freedom we not only deserve but are entitled to as Chahta people. To find out how to sign this petition please see Ms. Free’s email address listed at the bottom of the last page.  It’s not requested as a favor it’s requested because for the first time in forty plus years you may actually have a say in the future leadership of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  Please pay special attention to the “CC” at the bottom of the letter.

I hope this is the Miko who will change our decades long history of being one of the most oppressed and violently controlled tribes in the United States.  We will see…

CW

KALYN FREE

ATTORNEY AT LAW

May 1, 2014

Principal Chief Gary Batton Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr
Speaker Delton Cox & Tribal Council PO Box 1210
Durant, OK 74701

Dear Chief Batton, Assistant Chief Austin, Speaker Cox and Councilors:

This is an historic opportunity for the Choctaw Nation and our people. As we enter this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, my hope is for this new administration to be imbued with the wisdom, integrity and compassion of those who came before us. My prayer is that you, our elected and appointed leaders, will find it in your hearts to embrace the Choctaw people, to engage with us and to welcome participation in our government.

I listened intently to Chief Batton’s inaugural address and his closing words to always “do what is best for the Choctaw people” brought hope to my heart. This chief and council have the ability to right the wrongs of the past and to chart a new and promising course for the future of our great Nation.

During the course of my career, I have been particularly blessed to have traveled extensively throughout Indian Country, having visited almost every reservation in the lower 48. Literally hundreds of times over the years, when people learn that I am a proud citizen of the Choctaw Nation, I have heard remarks of “Oh yes, that’s the tribe that doesn’t have real elections”; “that’s the tribe that is ruled by a dictator”; “that’s the tribe that appoints their chiefs”; “that’s the tribe that won’t let their people participate in elections”; “that’s the tribe that won’t let candidates communicate with the voters.”

Most of Indian Country and engaged people in the state of Oklahoma are fully aware that the past two chiefs, both of whom ascended to office by virtue of appointment, Greg Pyle and Hollis Roberts, adamantly opposed fair elections and the release of contact information for Choctaw voters. In fact, since our removal to Oklahoma, we have only had one chief, C. David Gardner, elected by the people when he took the oath of office as Principal Chief.

Countless Choctaws are cautiously optimistic that Chief Batton and the Tribal Council will reverse this medieval position and release the voter lists so Choctaw citizens can be fully informed, communicate with one another, participate in the electoral process, have a true voice in tribal government and move our Nation forward.

Some tribal councilors and the Choctaw Nation Registration department have told me that the Election Board “does not meet until shortly before an election is called.” In other tribal governments, the requests below would be made to the election board or commission. However, Article IX Section 5 of our Constitution fully empowers the Council to prescribe election procedures and regulations. Given the unique nature and composition of the Election Board, coupled with the Tribal Council’s history on these issues and the timing restraints, I am requesting this information and cooperation from the Chief and Tribal Council.

Article XVI of the Choctaw Constitution sets forth specific procedures for our citizens to propose legislation through the Initiative and Referendum process. Section 1of this Article mandates stringent timelines on the filing of petitions and the timing of special elections, which must be called if the petition is filed more than a year before the next chief s election.

Article XVIII Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that amendments to our Constitution may be proposed by the Tribal Council or by the filing of a petition signed by the requisite 30 percent of the voters who voted in the last chief s election, which was the 1999 election.

In order to propose legislation or amendments to the constitution a citizen must know certain factual information that is not publicly available and which only the Nation maintains records of.

Thus, I am requesting the following information:

1. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over
2. Total Number of registered voters
3. Total Number of Choctaws in each county in Oklahoma
4. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over in each county in Oklahoma
5. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over in each state
6. Total Number of registered voters in each state
7. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over with valid addresses
8. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over with invalid addresses
9. Total Number of registered voters with valid addresses 10. Total Number of registered voters with invalid addresses
11. Total Number of voters who voted in the 1999 chief s election
12. Tabulated results of the 1999 chief s election; specifically, the total votes received by each candidate
13. Total votes received in each precinct by each candidate in the 1999 chief s election
14. Total votes received by each candidate by absentee ballot in the 1999 chief s election

15. If absentee ballots were segregated in the 1999 chief s election, I am requesting the total absentee votes received by each candidate by voters residing within the Choctaw Nation
16. Tabulated results of the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011tribal council elections 17. The names of all candidates who appeared on the ballot in the elections
referenced in #16 above and the results for each candidate by precinct and the number of absentee ballots cast for each candidate
18. A list of voters who voted by absentee in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
19. A list of voters, including names and addresses, who voted by absentee in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
20. A list of voters who voted in person in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
21. A list of voters, including names and addresses, who voted in person in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
22. A list of registered voters, including names and addresses, eligible to vote in tribal elections; please segregate this list by valid and invalid addresses
23. Total number of households the Biskinik is delivered to; it has been rumored that this number is 80,243
24. A list of all Choctaws who receive the Biskinik
25. A list of all Choctaws with complete mailing address who receive the Biskinik
26. Election Procedures or Ordinance that the Tribal Council contends are effective and will govern a special election and/or the 2015 chief and tribal council elections.

If the Tribal Council maintains that the Election Ordinance, referenced in # 26 above and currently displayed on the Nation’s website, is in effect and controlling, please provide documentary evidence that this Election Ordinance was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If there is a different set of election procedures, other than those currently on the Nation’s website, that the Council contends will govern special elections and the 2015 chief and tribal council elections, please provide those.

Article V, Section 1 of the Election Ordinance, which appears on the Nation’s website, purports to fully empower the Election Board with the authority to determine the date of the 2015 election, subject to approval by the chief and tribal council. Assuming only for this limited purpose that the referenced Election Ordinance is valid, please advise as to the month and year the Election Board and/or the Tribal Council intends to hold the next chief and council elections.

While I have faith that a majority of the Tribal Council will ultimately do the right thing and enact a new Election Ordinance that provides for full and open participation by all Choctaws, I recognize that this will take some time. Thus, during

the interim, I am requesting a list of names of all Choctaws who have voted in every election including and since 1999. The Election Ordinance provides at Article VIII, Sections 1and 2 that any candidate who has filed for office, upon request, will be provided a list of the registered voters in each district. The incumbent tribal councilors, some of which have served more than two and three decades, have each had multiple opportunities to acquire and refine said lists. Thus, immediately releasing only the voters’ names to allow the citizenry to participate in the Initiative, Referendum and Petition process is only a small first step in allowing Choctaws to exercise our constitutional rights.

Because the Election Board is not available, I am asking the Chief and/or Council to designate an office or person( s) that I can communicate with and that can assemble the information I have requested. Clearly, there are certain parts of my request that should not be controversial and I am hopeful that I can get responses to these requests quickly. The requests that I believe can be quickly responded to are: ## 1- 14, 16, 17, and 23.

If the requested information is available in an electronic format, please provide it in the same format. For example, lists of citizens and voters are maintained in a digital format and thus are requested in this medium. Other documents, such as election results may be maintained in “hard copies” or pdfs. To the extent possible that these documents can be scanned and sent electronically, I am requesting this be done.

I will gladly pay for any research, scanning, copying or labor costs associated with fulfilling this request. I will be happy to travel to Durant and review records from our previous elections that are publicly available and make my own copies or designate for your staff which documents I wish to copy. If you have any questions about my request or wish to discuss this matter, please call me at 918.916.0716 or email me at kalyn@kalynfree.com .

In closing, Chief Batton I believed you when you said you want to do “what is best for the Choctaw people” and thus pray that you will lead by example and support the Council in their efforts to have a transparent and fair election process. My hope is that each of you will listen to your hearts, your people and pray on these things. If I may ever be of service to each of you or the Choctaw people, please call on me.

Yakoke,

cc: DOI Solicitor General Hilary Tompkins
      Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn
      BIA Area Director Bob Impson