Today’s modern world offers us an array of options and conveniences never before experienced in human history. Our lives are often driven by the many choices before us daily, and our day-to-day can sometimes seem overwhelming.
One thing we know for sure is the one constant in our lives as Chickasaw people is change.
From our first contact with Europeans in 1540, when our warriors drove off the adventurer DeSoto, our lives were on the inevitable road to change. The Battle of Ackia in 1736, when we defeated the French, probably seemed a return to normal for our ancestors. But more change would come, and it would soon come faster.
When our leaders signed the Treaty of Hopewell with the new United States in 1786, they may have believed Chickasaw life would return to normal. However, they likely knew more change was ahead and vigilance was of utmost importance.
A great upheaval was forced upon us when our people were removed in 1837 and sent to new lands in the west. We were starting over as a people in a land with which we were not familiar. Together, we rebuilt our communities, our schools, our businesses, our places of worship. And more change was on the way.
By the turn of the century, the allotment was ordered and our world was once again turned over. This was followed by several attempts to terminate our tribe’s existence. We survived those challenges, but not without great cost. The first half of the 20th Century was a time of great challenge for all Chickasaws.
The Chickasaw Nation is about holding fast, being true to each other, and refusing to concede. Praise the Lord for those Chickasaw attributes because we needed every bit of them!
With the appointment of Governor James by President Kennedy in 1963, our sanctioned elections of 1971 and ratification of our new Chickasaw Constitution in 1983, we believed we had taken the first steps to cross the bridge to independence.
Against all odds, we shared a vision and devised a great plan to achieve success. We built businesses, we bolstered our education system, we encouraged opportunity, and we were united in our willingness to innovate. We were on our way to becoming a leader among tribes.
Over these last 40 years, the Chickasaw people have together drawn on their rich history to produce our modern tribe of the 21st Century. Today, we honor our ancestors by nurturing our Chickasaw families and supporting all Chickasaws as they seek full, rich and happy lives.
Yes, our ancestors experienced long periods of tremendous hardship. Some of that hardship was cruel and unfathomable. But we are a multitalented and resilient people. We are warriors, leaders, traders, thinkers, and planners. Things did not unfold quickly for us. Our development stretched out over the generations. I think those who made the path for us to follow would be proud of today’s Chickasaw Nation.
Today we are a growing, strong and prosperous people. We are leaders in education, health care, career development, cultural enrichment and much more. We cherish our unique and storied history of overcoming adversity. We seek opportunity, always with the common good of our people foremost in our thinking.
It’s a great time to be Chickasaw! Engage with your tribe today and experience all the great things the Chickasaw Nation has to offer you.