Modern Tribes: How Native Americans have evolved in the 21st cen - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Modern Tribes: How Native Americans have evolved in the 21st century

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Native American tribes continue to evolve in the modern world Native American tribes continue to evolve in the modern world

DURANT, Ok --- There are more than 550 federally recognized tribes in this country; two of them have been in southeast Oklahoma for hundreds of years.

There are 5 civilized tribes in Oklahoma. Their leaders meet quarterly for Inter-tribal Council to discuss prominent topics, including Texoma's own Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. "I get a mixture of emotions meaning to be chief in this day," says Chief of the Choctaw Nation, Gary Batton, "and age its exciting, its fulfilling, but its also very challenging."

Batton says being the leader of thousands of tribal people comes with pressures. "The challenge is trying to balance between this ever growing fast paced world that we live in and remain true to our culture and our values from years ago," says Batton. 

Governor Bill Anoatubby with the Chickasaw Nation says that same challenge holds true for his nation. "We live in a different world so we need to be able to live in the world of today," says Anoatubby, "and know also who we are and what our identity is."

Both tribes have evolved to keep up with technology, such as drones creating an empire of business and gaming. They have also made significant strives in providing healthcare and resources for members."To me I see fulfillment when I see tribal members live change, when I see improvement, poverty level goes down, healthcare starts dropping," says Batton.

Jack Austin, the Assistant Choctaw Chief, says the Nation has come the furthest in the last decade. "I think it takes a team of people with a common goal and a great heart and that's what we have hear."

Tribal nations used to be almost completely reliant on the federal government, but now their progress and commitment to innovation has allowed them to operate self-sufficient governments. "A government that serves its people in whatever fashion the people would like and so the priorities that we set are based on what the people want." 

As each tribal leader looks ahead, both Choctaw and Chickasaw leaders say their priority has always been their people. "For me its that I left the tribe in better shape then when I arrived," says Batton, "and that's it's poised for the next seven generation."

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