Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive July 2016 Show 1631 Bill Anoatubby - Spirit of a Nation

Bill Anoatubby - Spirit of a Nation

Value Added: Leader of the Chickasaw Nation Bill Anoatubby talks about the tribe’s successes and its new state-of-the-art medical facility.
Bill Anoatubby - Spirit of a Nation

Bill Anoatubby - Spirit of a Nation

For more information visit this link:
Chickasaw Nation

Show Details

Show 1631: Bill Anoatubby - Spirit of a Nation
Air Date: July 31, 2016

Transcript

Rob McClendon: Now despite the economic success of Oklahoma’s native tribes, difficulties, well, they do remain. Disputes over water rights remain a contentious subject at the state Capitol, yet when it comes to our shared success it’s a path Gov. Bill Anoatubby believes we should all walk together.

Rob: Undoubtedly, the gaming portion of your business portfolio is quite important and drives many of the things that you do in rural Oklahoma. How dependent or interdependent are Chickasaw business enterprises with the gaming portion of your portfolio?

Bill Anoatubby: Well, it’s, uh, obviously it’s the largest revenue generator. We have optimized, or we’re working to optimize, the revenues that come from gaming. And it’s very important to us. It’s a large, large percentage of what our revenues are, but our direction is that we diversify, that we get into other kinds of industry that offers opportunity, opportunities for revenue generation and opportunities for jobs. This study that you referred to shows that we have continued to improve the economy in our area. That’s been part of our goal, we wanted to improve the economy within our area and not only within our, just the 11 counties, or 13 counties that we’re part of, but for the whole state, it has been improved.

Rob: Now I understand that you started your career here in tribal government as the health services director and just recently you’ve been able to complete a state-of-the-art facility that now serves what, over a half a million people annually?

Anoatubby: That’s correct.

Rob: I want to hear more about it.

Anoatubby: Well, it’s a wonderful facility, and the previous facility, it was built in 1980, uh, finished in 1980, and it was constructed by the United States as an Indian Health Service facility. And they anticipated a much smaller service population at the time. Well, in 1994 we actually began the operation of our own health system, and as time went by, those numbers improved dramatically. And before we actually constructed the new medical center, we were sitting at over 300,000 patient visits per year and were operating within a facility that was designed to handle less than 100,000. So we obviously needed more space, and we considered an expansion of the existing space, but opted for the construction of a brand new one. And it’s a state-of-the-art facility. It has more services available than we had in the other facility, and we’re able to offer the services in a more efficient and a better manner than what we offered before.

Rob: I am struck by the fact that all the things that we’ve talked about, how interwoven the successes of the Chickasaw nation, whether they be business or socially, are just interwoven with the success of Oklahoma.

Anoatubby: Well, we’re Oklahomans; we were here before Oklahoma became a state. And, uh, so we’re part of this state; as I mentioned, we’re part of the fabric. Many of our leaders, whenever Oklahoma became a state, actually took leadership roles in Oklahoma; we have people that served on school boards, they served in county government. We had a person who was elected as the first congressman from the district, I believe it was the third district of Oklahoma, Charles Carter, and served from 1907 to 1929. We’ve had an individual who served as governor and leaders of the state; married Chickasaws, you know, Alfalfa Bill Murray was actually married to a Chickasaw. So I mean, there’s, uh, we’re part of this state, and we love Oklahoma; we want to see Oklahoma prosper. We have our own tribal identity, and we hang onto that identity, it’s part of us, but we’re also part of Oklahoma.

Rob: Gov. Anoatubby, as always it is a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to visit with you.

Anoatubby: It’s been very good, thank you very much.

Rob: Thank you.

Rob: Now if you’d like to learn more about Oklahoma’s native tribes and the issue of sovereignty, I did have that discussion with Gov. Anoatubby, and it’s streaming on our website at okhorizon.com.