Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive July 2016 Show 1631 Bill Anoatubby - Destination Chickasaw

Bill Anoatubby - Destination Chickasaw

Value Added: Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby talks about the tribe’s history, which is displayed at The Chickasaw Cultural Center, and its accomplishments.
Bill Anoatubby - Destination Chickasaw

Bill Anoatubby - Destination Chickasaw

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Show 1631: Bill Anoatubby - Destination Chickasaw
Air Date: July 31, 2016



Rob McClendon: Well, while each of our native tribes has its own unique history, nowhere are our native roots better displayed than at the Chickasaw Nation’s Cultural Center.

A $40 million facility that took six years to complete, the center contains countless lifetimes of both culture and history, a true treasure for an Indian nation led for the last quarter century by one man, longtime tribal Gov. Bill Anoatubby.

Well, governor, to fully appreciate the economic impact the Chickasaw Nation has on our state and our nation, I want to talk first about some of the history of the tribe and maybe some of the milestones that you see as important to the success of the Chickasaw Nation.

Bill Anoatubby: Well, you know, of course, our history predates the United States, but in more recent history since maybe the mid 1970s, I can actually relate to them directly. I came to work for the Chickasaw Nation in 1975, and we had about, oh, maybe 30 employees that worked for the tribal office. And, uh, we had a lot of challenges, things that really today we’re engaged and we’re helping with. We have a lot of folks that need work, we had folks that really needed to further their education, a lot of issues in the families, and, you know, it’s just a pretty serious situation. People need to be empowered, they need to be given opportunity, and it’s not always to give somebody a dollar so they can go buy something, it’s -- they need their dignity, they need the ability to do for themselves. And that’s what our people, that’s what our history’s about; we did for ourselves, we were self-sufficient, we were self-governed. And because of some things that happened in our history, prior to statehood and after statehood, a lot of those things were changed within our own Chickasaw society. So from 1975 until today there’s been just a dramatic change. We have many, many people now with higher education degrees, and we have a lot of services that are available today that weren’t available back then. It’s all because of determination an effort, a lot of luck I guess, too, and some resources that we didn’t have available back during that time.

Rob: Now, you’ve been president of the Chickasaw nation since 1987; in that time, which is what, 25 years almost, going on 25 years, there have been some dramatic changes, as you spoke of, especially in terms of business and vision. Can you relate some of those to me?

Anoatubby: You know, in my tenure as governor, we’ve, we’ve seen a lot of, a lot of changes; a lot of it had to do with economics. The tribe itself as a government was dependent upon the United States for a lot of its resources for functioning as a, as a government, providing services to its people. In 1987, our constitution had only been in place for about four years, so we were in a growth and a change period in 1987. But the first set of goals that we had related to economics, related to the tribal government and creating a stable operation, creating economic opportunities for our people and having a level of self-sufficiency for our government and for our people that didn’t exist at that point. Now when I took office, about a year before, a message was delivered to our Chickasaw legislature that said that within five years unless we did something to decrease costs, that we could be bankrupt. We were operating primarily from resources, or trust resources that were held by the United States, and very little income, and so we had to create some income, an alternative source for those revenues that we had been dependent upon. So we had to come with another alternative, that was, would be the operation of revenue generating projects, or in typical terms, businesses.