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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)

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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

Halito Sisters & Brothers,

These are sad days for us.  Here we are knowing more than we probably wanted to know about our government.  Once again our leadership is in Federal Court and again the Chahta people are the ones to pay with our dignity and our programs.   Concerned citizens have been giving reports via web pages and Facebook.  YOU need to discern from a variety of reports and perspectives of what has been going on during the trial of Jason Merida.  The media has let our people down on this coverage so has the Biskinik but we knew that would happen.

I applaud those Chahta citizens who have taken off from work and covered this trial for our people.  They can’t silence all of us.  However, the tone of some of the reports does not communicate what an unfortunate time this is for all Chahta.  I find myself analyzing Miko Batton and I find myself dismissing former Chief Pyle.  Former Chief Pyle and his family have and should spend their remaining days together in peace no matter his sins.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease and its effects according to those I have been communicating with, were evident in our former Chief as he took the witness stand.  I send his family my prayers.

Our current Chief and former Chief gave monies from “campaign contributions” to various charities and educational institutions.  We are left to wonder, did they donate that money AFTER the investigation?  And, whose monies were they donating?  Were the funds given directly to them so therefore they made a personal donation?  If that were the case why were they given a personal donation in the first place from major players in the construction industry in correlation with Tribal affairs and businesses?  Or was it monies donated to the Chahta people and when the waters started to boil it was decided to quickly donate the monies without the consent or knowledge of the very people they serve?  Did the IRS have any say in the matter? Either way the situation was unethical to say the least and since the verdict we know they were definitely criminal.

There is no denying Jason Merida could not have committed the crimes he was found guilty of without considerable support from people very high in our government structure.  Now whether that support was just turning a blind eye or partaking in the embezzlement or setting up as “business as usual” it is up to YOU to decide but one thing is perfectly clear we have been dealing with this for forty some odd years. It is clearly time for change.

So my question for Miko is this, how much more illegal, unethical, abuse of power, embezzlement and criminal behavior are we going to endure before there is legislative change?  Must we always look to the Federal Government to clean our house?  Do you know there are people tasked to go onto Social Media to try to shut down the very people reporting from the court house?  What other types of governments do this?!  China!  Iraq! North Korea!  You see Chief what happens when they cannot rely on their own tribal paper to write the truth they have to go find it themselves and report back to their families and friends.  Free us from the suppression of our Choctaw constitutional right to free speech and our first amendment rights to free speech.

There is something very important I want all Chahta to consider if Miko and Council are removed by the Federal Government then we are at the mercy of that same government until we could change our constitution and re-structure our entire election process.  Assistant Chief Austin would be the third Chief put into office without a vote of the people.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs would occupy us and create a plan for us that we should be creating ourselves.  This would happen AGAIN, how demeaning for us to once again be forced to rely on the Feds to clean our house as if we were children.

Please hear me out on what I am about to say, we could work with our current Chief to change our system.  Batton has met with attorney and Choctaw citizen Doug Dry who has been fighting for free and unbiased elections for decades. No one has been willing to do this since Mr. Dry ran for Chief in the 90’s and blacklisted from the tribe so for Chief Batton to sit with him for two hours really says something about our leader.  A trusted source informed me that he has also demanded a new call to truly support preserving our traditions and he has terminated one of the major sources of anti-Choctaw personnel policies.  If we as Choctaw people were to work with Batton then we as a united people right our own government through compromise and issue voting.

Chief Batton the citizens of the Choctaw Nation know too much not to hear from you. They will draw their own conclusions and you nor I can blame them.  I ask you out of support and good faith to address our tribal nation.  What a historic event it would be for ANY government leader to stand in front of his people and say “I’m going to speak honestly so we can heal”.

I know many are saying it’s time to rid the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma of all current leadership but our constitution is too weak but Miko could strengthen through reform. He could call for a new order, new elections, freedom of information, balance the constitution and right the rift that separates us.

He may be the Chief who will put his own personal embarrassment aside to empower our people and to change our tribe for the better.  What we need from him is to open our paper to all opinions and platforms.  We need him to balance the power of the political system which means lessening his own power.  Our leadership should support and make into Choctaw law transparency.  Our people should be able to access the budgets and know where every dollar is spent.  Any contractor doing business with the CNO should have to follow TERO guidelines which would drastically lessen the opportunity for unethical behavior.  He should apologize for taking the money.  I want to hear him speak plainly and openly.  If he would then we might stand a chance of taking care of our own business.  It may be too late.

Years ago I was angry and I spoke my mind, but I haven’t felt anger since the trial started.  I kept waiting for it but I only felt intense sadness.  I saw the cartoonish memes and the disrespectful behavior toward all those involved and it was like an earthquake.  Our people are splintering in the middle and ready to do whatever it takes to remove our top leadership and in their haste may sign away our right to have Choctaw people lead our tribe.  Choctaws Rising is not Choctaw Voting Block we respectfully distanced ourselves from them after Tushka Homma and although we tried to work with them and I even announced the petition I don’t support that anymore.  I will not support removing the blood quantum requirement for Council and Chief.  It chips away at our fabric as Chahta people and insults those of a higher blood quantum by insinuating we are not intelligent enough to operate our own tribe.  In addition my motives have always been transparent in the fact that I don’t expect gain from my writings.  I expect Chahta to participate freely in their government and for our leadership to welcome and encourage the participation.

As the opposition we need to concede on issues as well without letting our leadership fall back into the same old corrupt government.  We need to stop disrespecting the OFFICE of Chief (and I freely admit to this particular offense) but on the other hand we need leaders who deserve our respect.  If we aren’t careful we will lose Choctaw people running the Choctaw Nation.  Are we prepared to sign Choctaws Rising’s petition to remove the ¼ blood quantum requirement for leadership?  If we lose it we have lost it forever and the days of our Chief and Council being elected from our own Choctaw families is lost to us.

One last thing please keep in mind I write under the name Choctaw Wright and I haven’t written anything concerning the trial those who are quoting almost verbatim past blog posts and taking those words as their own are not speaking as me.  I speak now as I always have from my love for my Chahta family – we must work together and if Miko Batton is willing to compromise on election reform and implement internal controls then I say let’s support him and rebuild our own house.

Chi Pisa La Chike,

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

My Chahta Family,

Today the Choctaw Voting Block has logged in 49,197 views since it’s inception.  I remember Susan Stockton said our little blog wouldn’t last a month and all of this would blow over in a year.  I don’t think the Nahullo’s that run the CNO realize what it means to answer to the people.  I know she certainly doesn’t.

What have we seen since the inception?  Well, we have seen Greg Pyle step down and give the reins to Gary Batton (without our consent or a vote), we have seen the indictments of many high ranking nahullo’s within the CNO be indicted by the FBI and the IRS Criminal Division, we have seen a council candidate win the absentee vote yet lose the election, we have seen groups of Chahta exercising their rights to free speech such as Eaglemanz Blog (Ben Carnes), Choctaws Rising (Kalyn Free) and of course Choctaw Voting Block.

We have seen our people sharing their stories on this blog.  They have spoken about lack of adequate descent housing for our elders, we have heard about YEARS on waiting lists for trailer homes, we have heard about the lack of available dentures, help for orphaned Chahta children, assistance for parents desperate to get their kids back, we have heard about illegal working conditions and discrimination toward Chahta tribal members within our own government, we have heard about degreed Chahta working menial jobs, we have heard about corruption that reaches so far I am ashamed to write about it.  What do you think my people when you see the millionaires who run our nation?  They aren’t millionaires because they are self made businessmen they are millionaires because there were millions coming in by the truck load and it had to go somewhere.  So let’s give the people a little and we will take A LOT – so say the ones in power.  Someday I plan to write about comparable salaries in corporations and see how these ticks compare to, I hate to say it, Corporate America.

The services we do have are shallow and like a dusting of care for appearances sake.  However, you Chahta who are working to help other Chahta just by doing what you do every day with little budget don’t think you aren’t appreciated because you are.  A kind word on a phone can sometimes mean the world to someone who has lost a loved one and needs burial assistance.  Those kind words are what and who we are.  It keeps us banded together despite the corruption and greed that have infiltrated the upper levels of our house.

I recently read a post about a young man who was angry that his grandfather made too much money on his small retirement income to receive assistance for much needed renovations for his house.  If there are income guidelines then it’s probably federal monies which means it’s not tribal dollars (I am purely guessing here) so where is the tribal money spent?  It’s a big question and could be asked on so many different levels.  Really, forensic audits are needed and I guess that’s where the IRS Criminal Division comes in.

Our people, our children deserve so much better than this.  The things our children could do if given all the opportunities made possible by money.  Our elders could have clean sturdy homes and still live in the mini mother-land.  I say this because in far eastern Chahta country in the beautiful Kiamichi and Ouachita Mountains our people live in some of the poorest conditions in the U.S. all because they don’t want to leave their families who have been there for generations, since removal.  Ben Carnes said it best when he expressed the joy in his heart when he found out, after years of living away from home, that his extended family still had a bit of allotment land.  He now lives there with his family.  We have a connection to our land and our ancestors.  No matter how much the current administration would like to move on and leave the past in the past we are connected because we are Indian people and our people died by the thousands traveling to these Western Choctaw lands. Sometimes, when I go to those areas to walk I imagine our people and how it must have looked to them.  They were sick and starving but they had finally made it.  I don’t know why but I become very emotional because even to just imagine it fills me with sorrow.  Those brothers and sisters who live away from our Western homelands – someday you should come here and walk through the mountains and feel the connection.  I am not talking about Labor Day I am talking about the quiet of our ancestral lands.  You will be touched as well.

I hope the CVB blog will hit 50,000 views because our people need to know what is happening and they need to exercise their rights to make change.  Not in 40 plus years have we, as Chahta people, been so close to revolution.  So you see Miko Batton you could be the one to make change if you so choose.  Wouldn’t that be a powerful legacy to leave your descendants?  Your own family?  You could balance the system, you could make the entire nation transparent, you could take the money out of the elections, you could turn the tribal paper into a true balance of information for our citizens, you could open up our elections and welcome differing points of view, you could purge our government of the ticks and fleas and you could start with term limits.  It is within your power and that is the only way by which to measure whether you are any different than Roberts or Pyle.  This blog may slow but it won’t go away until the Chahta are once again empowered within our own nation.

For my Chahta Family,

CW