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The CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA (commonly referred to as the CHOCTAW NATION) is a federally recognized Native American tribe with a tribal jurisdictional area comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
governments.

As of 2011, the tribe has 223,279 enrolled members, of which 84,670 live within the state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and 41,616 live within the Choctaw Nation's jurisdiction. A total of 233,126 people live within these boundaries. The tribal jurisdictional area is 10,864 square miles (28,140 km2). The tribe has jurisdiction over its own members.

The chief of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is Gary Batton , who took office on April 29, 2014, after the resignation of Gregory E. Pyle . The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Headquarters is located in Durant . The Choctaw Capitol Building is in Tuskahoma ; it is now used as the Choctaw Museum and home to the Judicial Department Court System.

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is one of three federally recognized Choctaw tribes; the others are the Jena Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians and Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians . The latter two bands are descendants of Choctaw
Choctaw
who resisted the forced relocation to Indian Territory . The Mississippi Choctaw
Choctaw
preserved much of their culture in small communities and reorganized as a tribal government under new laws after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 .

Those Choctaw
Choctaw
who removed to the Indian Territory, a process that went on into the early 20th century, are federally recognized as the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma. The removals became known as the "Trail of Tears ."

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 2 Government

* 2.1 Executive Department

* 2.1.1 History * 2.1.2 List of Chiefs

* 2.2 Legislative Department * 2.3 Judicial Department

* 3 Economy * 4 Health system * 5 2008 Freedom Award

* 6 History

* 6.1 Treaty
Treaty
of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830) * 6.2 Great Irish Famine
Great Irish Famine
aid (1847) * 6.3 Territory transition to statehood (1900) * 6.4 Pioneering the use of code talking (1918) * 6.5 Citzenship (1920s) * 6.6 Termination efforts in the 1950s * 6.7 Self-determination 1970s-present

* 7 Notable tribal members * 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 External links

GEOGRAPHY

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma's tribal jurisdictional area covers 10,864 square miles (28,140 km2), encompassing eight whole counties and most of or portions of five counties in Southeastern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
:

* Atoka County , * most of Bryan County , * Choctaw
Choctaw
County , * most of Coal County , * Haskell County , * half of Hughes County , * a portion of Johnston County , * Latimer County , * Le Flore County , * McCurtain County , * Pittsburg County , * a portion of Pontotoc County , and * Pushmataha County .

GOVERNMENT

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Headquarters in Durant The historic Choctaw
Choctaw
Capitol in Tuskahoma

The Tribal Headquarters are located in Durant . It is a complex of three three-story buildings, and several one-story buildings. The current chief is Gary Batton and the assistant chief is Jack Austin, Jr.

The tribe is governed by the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Constitution, which was ratified by the people on June 9, 1984. The constitution provides for an executive, a legislative and a judicial branch of government. The chief of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Tribe, elected every four years, is not a voting member of the Tribal Council. They are also elected for four-year terms. The legislative authority of the tribe is vested in the Tribal Council, which consists of twelve members.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

The supreme executive power of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is assigned to a chief magistrate , styled as the "Chief of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation". The Assistant Chief is appointed by the Chief with the advice and consent of the Tribal Council, and can be removed at the discretion of the Chief. The current Chief of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is Gary Batton, and the current Assistant Chief is Jack Austin, Jr.

History

Before Oklahoma
Oklahoma
was admitted as a state to the union in 1907, the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation was divided into three districts: Apukshunnubbee , Moshulatubbee , and Pushmataha . Each district had its own chief from 1834 to 1857; afterward, the three districts were put under the jurisdiction of one chief . The three districts were re-established in 1860, again each with their own chief, with a fourth chief to be Principal Chief of the tribe. These districts were abolished at the time of statehood, as tribal government was dissolved. The tribe later reorganized to re-establish its government.

List Of Chiefs

Former districts and capitals of Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, Indian Territory, that existed from 1834-1857, shown with present-day Oklahoma
Oklahoma
counties.

Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, Indian Territory (1834-1906) DISTRICTS

MOSHULATUBBEE APUKSHUNNUBBEE PUSHMATAHA

DISTRICT CHIEF TERM DISTRICT CHIEF TERM DISTRICT CHIEF TERM

Moshulatubbee 1834-1836 Thomas LeFlore 1834-1838 Nitakechi 1834-1838

Joseph Kincaid 1836-1838

John McKinney 1838-1842 James Fletcher 1838-1842 Pierre Juzan 1838-1841

Nathaniel Folsom 1842-1846 Thomas LeFlore 1842-1850 Isaac Folsom 1841-1846

Peter Folsom 1846-1850 Salas Fisher 1846-1850

Cornelius McCurtain 1850-1854 George W. Harkins 1850-1857 George Folsom 1850-1854

David McCoy 1854-1857 Nicholas Cochnauer 1854-1857

Districts abolished in 1857

UNIFIED NATION

GOVERNOR TERM

Alfred Wade 1857-1858

Tandy Walker 1858-1859

Basil LeFlore 1859-1860

PRINCIPAL CHIEF TERM

George Hudson 1860-1862

Samuel Garland 1862-1864

Peter Pitchlynn 1864-1866

Allen Wright
Allen Wright
1866-1870

William Bryant 1870-1874

Coleman Cole 1874-1878

Isaac Levi Garvin 1878-1880

Jackson F. McCurtain 1880-1884

Edmund McCurtain 1884-1886

Thompson McKinney 1886-1888

Benjamin Smallwood 1888-1890

Wilson N. Jones 1890-1894

Jefferson Gardner 1894-1896

Green McCurtain 1896-1900

Gilbert Wesley Dukes 1900-1902

Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma (1906–Present)

CHIEF TERM

Green McCurtain 1902-1910 (Appointed by Roosevelt in 1906)

Victor Locke, Jr. 1910-1918 (Appointed by Taft )

William F. Semple 1918-1922 (Appointed by Wilson )

William H. Harrison 1922-1929 (Appointed by Harding )

Ben Dwight 1929-1937 (Appointed by Hoover )

William A. Durant 1937-1948 (Appointed by Roosevelt )

Harry J. W. Belvin

1948-1959 1959-1970 (First appointed by Eisenhower ) 1971-1975

C. David Gardner 1975-1978

Hollis E. Roberts 1978-1997

Gregory E. Pyle 1997-2014

Gary Batton 2014–Present

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

The legislative authority is vested in the Tribal Council. Members of the Tribal Council are elected by the Choctaw
Choctaw
people, one for each of the twelve districts in the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation. Current district map of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma.

CURRENT TRIBAL COUNCIL

DISTRICT PORTRAIT COUNCILMAN TOOK OFFICE TERM ENDS

District 1

Thomas Williston November 29, 2010 September 2, 2019

District 2

Johnathan Ward September 7, 2015 September 2, 2019

District 3

Kenneth Bryant September 6, 1999 September 2, 2019

District 4

Delton Cox September 3, 2001 September 4, 2017

District 5

Ronald Perry September 5, 2011 September 2, 2019

District 6

Joe Coley September 6, 2004 September 4, 2017

District 7

Jack Austin September 3, 2001 September 4, 2017

District 8

Perry Thompson September 7, 1987 September 2, 2019

District 9

Vacant

September 4, 2017

District 10

Anthony Dillard September 5, 2005 September 4, 2017

District 11

Bob Pate

September 2, 2019

District 12

James Frazier September 3, 1990 September 4, 2017

Award-winning painter Norma Howard is enrolled in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

In order to be elected as council members, candidates must have resided in their respective districts for at least one year immediately preceding the election. "Candidates for the Tribal Council must be at least one-fourth (1/4) Choctaw
Choctaw
Indian by blood and must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older at the time they file for election." Once elected, a council member must remain a resident of the district from which he or she was elected during the term in office. This policy ensures the involvement and interaction of successful candidates with their constituency.

Once in office, the Tribal Council members have regularly scheduled county council meetings. The presence of these tribal leaders in the Indian community creates a sense of understanding of their community and its needs. The Tribal Council is responsible for adopting rules and regulations which govern the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, for approving all budgets, making decisions concerning the management of tribal property, and all other legislative matters. The Tribal Council Members are the voice and representation of the Choctaw
Choctaw
people in the tribal government.

The Tribal Council's assists the community to implement an economic development strategy and to plan, organize, and direct Tribal resources to achieve self-sufficiency. The Tribal Council is working to strengthen the Nation's economy, with efforts being focused on the creation of additional job opportunities through promotion and development. By planning and implementing its own programs and building a strong economic base, the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation applies its own fiscal, natural, and human resources to develop self-sufficiency.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

The judicial authority of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is assigned to the Constitutional Court and the Court of General Jurisdiction. The former consists of a three-member court whom are appointed by the Chief. At least one member, the presiding judge (Chief Justice), must be a lawyer licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. The current members of the Constitutional Court are Chief Justice David Burrage, Judge
Judge
Mitch Mullen, and Judge
Judge
Frederick Bobb.

ECONOMY

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation's annual tribal economic impact in 2010 was over $822,280,105. The tribe employs nearly 8,500 people worldwide; 2,000 of those work in Bryan County, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is also the largest single employer in Durant. The nation's payroll is about $260 million per year, with total revenues from tribal businesses and governmental entities topping $1 billion.

The nation has contributed to raising Bryan County's per capita income to about $24,000. The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation has helped build water systems and towers , roads and other infrastructure, and has contributed to additional fire stations , EMS units and law enforcement needs that have accompanied economic growth .

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation operates several types of businesses. It has seven casinos , 14 tribal smoke shops, 13 truck stops, and two Chili\'s franchises in Atoka and Poteau. It also owns a printing operation , a corporate drug testing service, hospice care , a metal fabrication and manufacturing business, a document backup and archiving business, and a management services company that provides staffing at military bases , embassies and other sites, among other enterprises.

HEALTH SYSTEM

Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Tribal Services Center in Hugo, Oklahoma
Oklahoma

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is the first indigenous tribe in the United States to build its own hospital with its own funding. The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Health Care Center, located in Talihina , is a 145,000-square-foot (13,500 m2) health facility with 37 hospital beds for inpatient care and 52 exam rooms. The $22 million hospital is complete with $6 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment and furnishing. It serves 150,000–210,000 outpatient visits annually. The hospital also houses the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Health Services Authority, the hub of the tribal health care services of Southeastern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
.

The tribe also operates eight Indian clinics, one each in Atoka , Broken Bow , Durant , Hugo , Idabel , McAlester , Poteau , and Stigler .

2008 FREEDOM AWARD

This section DOES NOT CITE ANY SOURCES . Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed . (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )

In July 2008, the United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
announced the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients. They are awarded the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve .

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation was one of 15 recipients of that year's Freedom Award, selected from 2,199 nominations. Its representatives received the award September 18, 2008 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation is the first Native American tribe to receive this award.

HISTORY

TREATY OF DANCING RABBIT CREEK (1830)

At Andrew Jackson's request, the United States Congress opened a fierce debate on an Indian Removal Bill. In the end, the bill passed, but the vote was very close: The Senate passed the measure, 28 to 19, while in the House it passed, 102 to 97. Jackson signed the legislation into law June 30, 1830, and turned his focus onto the Choctaw
Choctaw
in Mississippi Territory.

On August 25, 1830, the Choctaws were supposed to meet with Jackson in Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee
, but Greenwood Leflore, a district Choctaw chief, informed Secretary of War John H. Eaton that the warriors were fiercely opposed to attending. Jackson was angered. Journalist Len Green writes "although angered by the Choctaw
Choctaw
refusal to meet him in Tennessee, Jackson felt from LeFlore's words that he might have a foot in the door and dispatched Secretary of War Eaton and John Coffee to meet with the Choctaws in their nation." Jackson appointed Eaton and General John Coffee as commissioners to represent him to meet the Choctaws at the Dancing Rabbit Creek near present-day Noxubee County, Mississippi .

“ Say to them as friends and brothers to listen the voice of their father, & friend. Where now are, they and my white children are too near each other to live in harmony and the justice due father to his red children will them. beg you, tell them to listen. is the only one by which perpetuated as a nation.... I am very respectfully your friend, & the friend of my Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
brethren. Andrew Jackson. -Andrew Jackson to the Choctaw
Choctaw
however, a provision in the treaty made removal more acceptable: In 1830 Mosholatubbee
Mosholatubbee
sought to be elected to the Congress of the United States. 1834, Smithsonian American Art Museum

“ ART. XIV. Each Choctaw
Choctaw
head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying his intention to the Agent within six months from the ratification of this Treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land.... - Treaty
Treaty
of Dancing Rabbit Creek, 1830 ”

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty
Treaty
of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed. It represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the US government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaws signed away their remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American settlement. The Choctaw
Choctaw
were the first to walk the Trail of Tears. Article XIV allowed for nearly 1300 Choctaws to remain in the state of Mississippi and to become the first major non-European ethnic group to become US citizens. Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Choctaw
Choctaw
at this crucial time split into two distinct groups: the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians . The nation retained its autonomy, but the tribe in Mississippi submitted to state and federal laws.

“ To the voters of Mississippi. Fellow Citizens:-I have fought for you, I have been by your own act, made a citizen of your state; ... According to your laws I am an American citizen, ... I have always battled on the side of this republic ... I have been told by my white brethren, that the pen of history is impartial, and that in after years, our forlorn kindred will have justice and "mercy too" ... I wish you would elect me a member to the next Congress of the States.-Mushulatubba, Christian Mirror and N.H. Observer, July 1830. ”

GREAT IRISH FAMINE AID (1847)

Choctaw
Choctaw
Stickball Player, Painted by George Catlin, 1834

Midway through the Great Irish Famine
Great Irish Famine
(1845–1849) , a group of Choctaws collected $710 (although many articles say the original amount was $170 after a misprint in Angie Debo 's The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Republic) and sent it to help starving Irish men, women and children. "It had been just 16 years since the Choctaw
Choctaw
people had experienced the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
, and they had faced starvation… It was an amazing gesture. By today's standards, it might be a million dollars," according to Judy Allen, editor of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma's newspaper, Bishinik. The paper is based at the Oklahoma Choctaw
Choctaw
tribal headquarters in Durant, Okla. To mark the 150th anniversary, eight Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears.

Ferguson states, "1903 MISS: Three-hundred Mississippi Choctaws were persuaded to remove to the Nation in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
."

TERRITORY TRANSITION TO STATEHOOD (1900)

By the early twentieth century, the United States government
United States government
had passed laws which depleted much of the Choctaw's sovereignty and tribal rights in preparation for the Indian Territory
Indian Territory
becoming the State of Oklahoma. In violation of earlier treaties, the Dawes Commission registered tribal members in official rolls, and forced individual land allotments upon the Tribe's members allowing the "surplus" land to be ceded for white settlement. Many of the allotments were given "guardianship" to third parties while the owners were underage. During the oil boom of the early 20th century, the guardianships became very lucrative; there was widespread abuse and financial exploitation of Choctaw
Choctaw
individuals. Charles Haskell, the future governor of Oklahoma, among other elites, took advantage of the situation. An Act of 1906 spelled out the final tribal dissolution agreements for all of the five civilized tribes and dissolved the Choctaw
Choctaw
government. The Act also set aside a timber reserve, which might be sold at a later time and specifically excluded from allotment coal and asphalt lands. After the 1907 statehood of Oklahoma, tribal chiefs were appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

PIONEERING THE USE OF CODE TALKING (1918)

During World War I the American army fighting in France became stymied by the Germans' ability to intercept its communications. Even worse, after intercepting them the Germans were also able to decrypt the codes, reading the Americans' secrets and knowing in advance their every move.

Several Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians serving in the 142nd Infantry suggested using their native tongue, the Choctaw language
Choctaw language
, to transmit army secrets. Their gambit proved very successful, and almost immediately contributed to a turn-around on the Meuse-Argonne front. Captured German officers said they were baffled by the Choctaw
Choctaw
words, which they were completely unable to translate. According to historian Joseph Greenspan, the Choctaw language
Choctaw language
did not have words for many military ideas, so the code-talkers had to invent other terms from their language. Examples are "'big gun' for artillery, 'little gun shoot fast' for machine gun, 'stone' for grenade and 'scalps' for casualties." Historians credit these soldiers with helping bring World War I to a faster conclusion.

There were fourteen Choctaw
Choctaw
Code Talkers . The Army repeated the use of Native Americans as code talkers during World War II, working with soldiers from a variety of American Indian tribes. Collectively these Indians are known as code talkers .

CITZENSHIP (1920S)

Because the terms of the Burke Act of 1906, imposed full citizenship on the tribe 25 years after the law was passed, tribal leaders organized in 1928 by calling a convention of Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw tribe members from throughout Oklahoma. The meeting was held in Ardmore with the purpose of discussing the burdens being placed upon the tribes due to passage and implementation of the Indian Citizenship Act and the Burke Act. Since their tribal governments had been abolished, the tribes were concerned about the inability to secure funds that were due them for their coal and asphalt lands to provide for their tribe members. Czarina Conlan was selected as chair of the convention. They appointed a committee composed of Henry J. Bond, Conlan, Peter J. Hudson, T.W. Hunter and Dr. E. N Wright, for the Choctaw
Choctaw
and Ruford Bond, Franklin Bourland, George W. Burris, Walter Colbert and Estelle Ward, for the Chickasaw
Chickasaw
to determine how to address their concerns. The committee met to prepare the recommendations and broke with precedent, sending Conlan and Estelle Chisholm Ward to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
to argue in favor of passage of a bill proposed by U.S. House Representative Wilburn Cartwright for sale of the coal and asphalt holdings, as well as continuing the restrictions of selling Indian lands. It was the first time that women had been sent to Washington as representatives of their tribes.

TERMINATION EFFORTS IN THE 1950S

As part of the Indian termination policy pursued by the US government from the 1940s through the 1960s, a series of laws was passed to enable the government to end its trust relationships with native tribes. One of the first of these laws passed on 13 August 1946—the Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946, Pub. L. No. 79-726, ch. 959. Its purpose was to settle for all time any outstanding grievances or claims the tribes might have against the U.S. for treaty breaches, unauthorized taking of land, dishonorable or unfair dealings, or inadequate compensation. Claims had to be filed within a five-year period, and most of the 370 complaints that were submitted were filed at the approach of the 5-year deadline in August, 1951 In 1946, the government had appropriated funds for the tribal sale of coal and asphalt resources. Though they won their case, they were charged almost 10% of the $8.5 million award in administrative fees. In 1951, the tribe took advantage of the new law and filed a claim for over $750,000 to recover those fees.

When Harry J. W. Belvin was appointed chief in 1948 by the Secretary of the Interior, he realized that only federally recognized tribes were allowed to file a claim with the Commission. If he wanted to get that money back, his tribe needed to reorganize. He created a democratically elected tribal council and a constitution to re-establish a government, but his efforts were opposed by the Area Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
. Ultimately, the tribe was able to file a claim with the Commission on a technicality in 1951. The suit was classified as a renewal of the 1944 case against the US Court of Claims, but that did not stop the antagonism between Belvin and the area BIA officials The BIA had had management issues for decades. Poorly trained personnel, inefficiency, corruption, and lack of consistent policy plagued the organization almost from its founding. For Belvin, relief from BIA oversight of policies and funds seemed as if it might pave the way for the Choctaw
Choctaw
to maintain their own traditional ways of operating and reform their own governing council.

After eleven years as Choctaw
Choctaw
chief, Belvin persuaded Representative Carl Albert of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
to introduce federal legislation to begin terminating the Choctaw
Choctaw
tribe. On 23 April 1959, the BIA confirmed that H.R. 2722 had been submitted to Congress at the request of the tribe, and would sell all remaining tribal assets, but would not affect any individual Choctaw
Choctaw
earnings. It also provided for retention of half of all mineral rights which could be managed by a tribal corporation.

On 25 August 1959, Congress passed a bill to terminate the tribe, which was later called Belvin's law as he was the main advocate behind it. Belvin created overwhelming support for termination among tribespeople through his promotion of the bill, describing the process and expected outcomes. Tribal members later interviewed said that Belvin never used the word termination for what he was describing, and many people were unaware he was proposing termination. In actuality, the provisions of the bill were intended to be a final disposition of all trust obligations and a final "dissolution of the tribal governments."

The original act was to have expired in 1962, but was amended twice to allow more time to sell the tribal assets. As time wore on, Belvin realized that the bill severed the tribe members' access to government loans and other services, including the tribal tax exemption. By 1967, he had asked Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Congressman Ed Edmondson to try to repeal the termination act. Public sentiment was changing as well. The Choctaw people had seen what termination could do to tribes, since they witnessed the process with four other tribes in Oklahoma: the Wyandotte Nation , Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, and Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. In 1969, ten years after passage of the Choctaw
Choctaw
termination bill and one year before the Choctaws were to be terminated, word spread throughout the tribe that Belvin's law was a termination bill. Outrage over the bill generated a feeling of betrayal, and tribal activists formed resistance groups opposing termination. Groups such as the Choctaw
Choctaw
Youth Movement in the late 1960s fought politically against the termination law. They helped create a new sense of tribal pride, especially among younger generations. Their protest delayed termination; Congress repealed the law on 24 August 1970.

SELF-DETERMINATION 1970S-PRESENT

Ron Anderson, Choctaw- Chickasaw
Chickasaw
installation artist, painter, and sculptor from Oklahoma
Oklahoma

The 1970s were a crucial and defining decade for the Choctaw. To a large degree, the Choctaw
Choctaw
repudiated the more extreme Indian activism. They sought a local grassroots solution to reclaim their cultural identity and sovereignty as a nation.

On August 24, 1970, just hours before it would become law, Richard Nixon signed a bill repealing the Termination Act of 1959. This close call prompted some Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Choctaw
Choctaw
to spearhead a grassroots movement to change the direction of the tribal government. In 1971, the Choctaw held their first popular election of a chief since Oklahoma
Oklahoma
entered the Union in 1907.

A group calling themselves the Oklahoma
Oklahoma
City Council of Choctaws endorsed thirty-one-year-old David Gardner for chief, in opposition to the current chief, seventy-year-old Harry Belvin. Gardner campaigned on a platform of greater financial accountability, increased educational benefits, the creation of a tribal newspaper, and increased economic opportunities for the Choctaw
Choctaw
people. Amid charges of fraud and rule changes concerning age, Gardner was declared ineligible to run as he did not meet the new minimum age requirement of thirty-five. Belvin was re-elected to a four-year term as chief.

In 1975, thirty-five-year-old David Gardner defeated Belvin to become the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation's second popularly elected chief. 1975 also marked the year that the United States Congress passed the landmark Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act . This law revolutionized the relationship between Indian Nations and the federal government.

Native American tribes such as the Choctaw
Choctaw
were granted the power to negotiate and contract directly for services, as well as to determine what services were in the best interest of their people. During Gardner's term as chief, a tribal newspaper, Hello Choctaw, was established. Along with the Creek and Cherokee, the Choctaw successfully sued the federal and state government over riverbed rights to the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
.

Discussions began on the issue of drafting and adopting a new constitution for the Choctaw
Choctaw
people. A movement began to officially enroll more Choctaws, increase voter participation, and preserve the Choctaw
Choctaw
language. In early 1978, David Gardner died of cancer at the age of thirty-seven. Hollis Roberts was elected chief in a special election, serving from 1978 to 1997.

A new publication, the Bishinik, replaced Hello Choctaw
Choctaw
in June 1978. Spirited debates over a proposed constitution divided the people. In May 1979, they adopted a new constitution for the Choctaw
Choctaw
nation.

Faced with termination as a sovereign nation in 1970, the Choctaws emerged a decade later as a tribal government with a constitution, a popularly elected chief, a newspaper, and the prospects of an emerging economy and infrastructure that would serve as the basis for further empowerment and growth.

In 2014, the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation was criticized by many of its own members when it announced that Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Governor Mary Fallin
Mary Fallin
would be participating in the tribe's annual Labor Day Festival and unveiling a statue meant to honor strong Native women. The reaction was fast and sharp, with comments such as that of Summer Wesley : " Mary Fallin
Mary Fallin
has demonstrated to not be an ally to Native tribes, yet has been chosen to not only appear at Choctaw
Choctaw
Fest, but to unveil a statue in honor of our women," Wesley said. "As a Choctaw
Choctaw
woman, I am appalled that she is being given a platform for her insincere pandering and her participation in the unveiling causes the statue to lose all honor to me. Further, I think this sends the wrong message to Indian Country regarding the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation's priorities and loyalties. Fallin's participation implies that our Nation condones her anti-Native policies."

NOTABLE TRIBAL MEMBERS

Marcus Amerman, bead, glass, and performance artist, enrolled in the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation Choctaw
Choctaw
actor Blake Farris (far left) with a costar and director on the red carpet

* Lane Adams , Major League Baseball player, Kansas City Royals (Nephew of Choctaw
Choctaw
Tribal member and attorney Kalyn Free) * Marcus Amerman (b. 1959), bead, glass, and performance artist * Scott Aukerman (b. 1970), actor, comedy writer, podcaster * Michael Burrage (b. 1950), former U.S. District Judge * Steve Burrage (b. 1952), Oklahoma
Oklahoma
State Auditor and Inspector * Choctaw
Choctaw
Code Talkers , World War I veterans * Clarence Carnes (1927–1988), Alcatraz inmate * Czarina Conlan (1871-1958) first woman to represent the tribe in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
and first elected woman on a school board in Oklahoma * Samantha Crain (b. 1986), singer-songwriter, musician * Tobias William Frazier, Sr. (1892–1975), Choctaw
Choctaw
code talker * Kalyn Free , attorney * Rosella Hightower (1920–2008), prima ballerina * Norma Howard , visual artist * Phil Lucas (1942–2007), filmmaker * Al McAffrey (b. 1948), first openly LGBT person elected to serve in the Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Legislature , Oklahoma
Oklahoma
House of Representatives 2006-2012, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Senate 2012-2015 * Green McCurtain (d. 1910), Chief from 1902–1910 * Cal McLish (1925–2010), Major League Baseball pitcher * Devon A. Mihesuah (b. 1957), author, editor, historian * Joseph Oklahombi (1895-1960), Choctaw
Choctaw
code talker * Peter Pitchlynn (1806–1881), Chief from 1860–1866 * Gregory E. Pyle (b. 1949), former Chief of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation * Summer Wesley , attorney, writer, and activist * Wallis Willis , composer and Choctaw
Choctaw
freedman

SEE ALSO

* Indigenous peoples of North America portal

* John Hope Franklin his mother was of Choctaw
Choctaw
descent * Choctaw
Choctaw
culture * Choctaw
Choctaw
mythology * Choctaw
Choctaw
Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
* Jena Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians * Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians

NOTES

* ^ A B C "2011 Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory" (PDF). Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Indian Affairs Commission. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2011. * ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120512040555/http://www.ok.gov/oiac/documents/2011.FINAL.WEB.pdf * ^ http://www.odot.org/OK-GOV-DOCS/PROGRAMS-AND-PROJECTS/GRANTS/FASTLANE-US69/Reports-Tech-Info/Tribal%20Data.pdf * ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=B0YZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=cherokee+nation+total+area&hl=en#v=onepage&q=cherokee%20nation%20total%20area&f=false * ^ A B "Executive Branch - Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation". ChoctawNation.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017. * ^ A B Ferguson, Bob ; Leigh Marshall (1997). "Chronology". Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved February 5, 2008. * ^ https://www.choctawnation.com/sites/default/files/constitution_1983_original.pdf * ^ http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v017/v017p192.html * ^ "Tribal Council Members - Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation". choctawnation.com. * ^ "Constitution of Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation 1983". Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma. * ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-06. Retrieved September 9, 2010. * ^ http://www.okmag.com/blog/2012/11/26/great_companies_spotlight_sovereign_nations-2/ * ^ "Choctawnationhealth.com". ChoctawNationHealth.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2017. * ^ A B Sharyn Kane & Richard Keeton. "As Long as Grass Grows". Fort Benning - The Land and the People. SEAC. Retrieved August 7, 2010. * ^ Remini, Robert. ""Brothers, Listen ... You Must Submit"". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. p. 272. ISBN 0-9650631-0-7 . * ^ Green, Len (October 1978). " Choctaw
Choctaw
Treaties". Bishinik. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved March 21, 2008. * ^ Len Green (2009). "President Andrew Jackson’s Original Instructions to the "Civilized" Indian Tribes to Move West". The Raab Collection. Retrieved 2009-09-28. * ^ A B C Remini, Robert. ""Brothers, Listen ... You Must Submit"". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. ISBN 0-9650631-0-7 . * ^ A B Kappler, Charles (1904). "INDIAN AFFAIRS: LAWS AND TREATIES Vol. II, Treaties". Government Printing
Printing
Office. Retrieved 2008-04-16. * ^ Baird, David (1973). "The Choctaws Meet the Americans, 1783 to 1843". The Choctaw
Choctaw
People. United States: Indian Tribal Series. p. 36. LCCN 73-80708 . * ^ Council of Indian Nations (2005). "History & Culture, Citizenship Act - 1924". Council of Indian Nations. Retrieved 2008-05-02. * ^ Carleton, Ken (2002). "A Brief History of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians" (PDF). Mississippi Archaeological Association. Retrieved 2009-05-04. * ^ Kidwell (2007); Kidwell (1995) * ^ "An Indian Candidate for Congress". Christian Mirror and N.H. Observer, Shirley, Hyde & Co. July 15, 1830. * ^ Ward, Mike (1992). "Irish Repay Choctaw
Choctaw
Famine Gift: March Traces Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
in Trek for Somalian Relief". American-Stateman Capitol. Retrieved 2007-09-20. * ^ Angie Debo, And Still the Waters Run, Princeton University Press, 1972, pg 159-180 * ^ A B C D E Kidwell, Clara Sue. "The Resurgence of the Choctaws in the Twentieth Century" (PDF). Indigenous Nations Studies Journal. . 3, No. 1 (Spring 2002): 8–10. Retrieved 26 December 2014. * ^ A B "World War I’s Native American Code Talkers Greenspan, Joseph. "World War I’s Native American Code Talkers.", History, 29 May 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. * ^ "Chickasaws and Choctaws to Send Delegation to Capital". Ardmore, Oklahoma: The Daily Ardmoreite . March 25, 1928. p. 3. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via Newspaperarchive.com . * ^ "Indians Break Precedents to Send Women Representatives". Ardmore, Oklahoma: The Daily Ardmoreite . April 3, 1928. p. 2. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via Newspaperarchive.com . * ^ Philp, Kenneth R. (1999). Termination revisited : American Indians on the trail to self-determination, 1933-1953. Lincoln : Univ. of Nebraska Press. pp. 21–33. ISBN 0-8032-3723-5 . Retrieved 29 December 2014. * ^ Kidwell (2002) , pp. 10–12 * ^ "Indian Lands, Indian Subsidies,". Downsizing the Federal Government. * ^ A B "Department Supports Choctaw
Choctaw
Termination Bill Introduced in Congress at the Request of Tribal Representatives" (PDF). Department of the Interior. Retrieved 29 December 2014. * ^ "Public Law 86-192". US Code. Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 29 De