First elected governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1987, Gov. Anoatubby focused on economic development, healthcare, education, housing and family services. Gov. Anoatubby said that it is his greatest honor and privilege to serve the Chickasaw people as governor.
“When first elected, we went to work on those areas the Chickasaw people told us were most important,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Together, we have accomplished many of our goals. More Chickasaws than ever are successfully pursuing higher education and meaningful employment opportunities. Quality housing and excellent health care services are more readily available to our citizens than at any time in our history.
“While we have made extraordinary progress, we still have much work to do. With the support of the Chickasaw people, it would be my honor to serve as governor as we continue to deliver on the commitment we have made to progress. Our mission, to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people, will continue to serve as our guidepost as we travel together toward an even brighter future.”
When Gov. Anoatubby was first elected, the Chickasaw Nation had approximately 250 employees. Today, the tribe employs nearly 13,000 people. In 1987, the Chickasaw Nation operated 33 programs and services and was dependent on the federal government for about 99 percent of the funding. Today, there are 280 valuable and needed programs and services available to Chickasaw people.
Education has long been a high priority for the administration. When Gov. Anoatubby was first elected, higher education funding was about $200,000, primarily from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and provided scholarships to 157 students. Today, approximately 5,000 students share in nearly $16 million in annual funding for scholarships, grants and other forms of support for their education needs.
Healthcare is also a high priority. In 1994, a compact with the Indian Health Service enabled the tribe to take responsibility for the administration of its healthcare services. At the time, the Carl Albert Indian Health Care Facility, which was designed to serve approximately 25,000 patient visits annually, was the tribe’s primary healthcare facility.
Today, the Chickasaw Nation operates a state-of-the-art medical center in Ada, as well as four clinics across the Chickasaw Nation. These facilities serve more than 650,000 patient visits annually, while pharmacies fill more than 1.3 million prescriptions each year. While health services have grown exponentially, the tribe continues to expand and upgrade health services to better serve the Chickasaw people. After opening the new Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in 2010, the tribe opened updated, state-of-the-art clinics in Ardmore in 2012 and Tishomingo in 2013. Currently, an expanded clinic is under construction in Purcell.
Chickasaw culture and language revitalization programs are thriving. Language programs include a master-apprentice program to develop new conversational speakers, community classes, a language club for children, language immersion camp, Chickasaw.tv language channel, a language app for smartphones and more. More than 350,000 visitors from around the world have visited the Chickasaw Cultural Center since it opened in July 2010.
Governor Anoatubby also recently announced plans to enhance services for veterans, including construction of a lodge which will serve as a gathering place for veterans and active duty personnel.
“I am excited about what the future holds for the Chickasaw Nation,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “The Chickasaw Nation and its people are strong. Together, we will invest in our current and future generations and continue creating opportunities for all Chickasaws.”