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DURANT, Okla. — Tribal members, government officials, associates, friends and family gathered Friday, April 26, to celebrate Chief Gary Batton's 10 years of service as Chief of the Choctaw Nation.   

Batton was sworn into office on April 28, 2014, as the 47th Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under his leadership, the tribe has evolved, significantly expanded its operations and continued improving its members' services.  

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Chief Batton spoke of what drives him as Chief, saying, "I think about our people that came across the Trail of Tears, that lost lives, but they fought for us to be here today. And we have to keep that fight for our language, our culture, our history, our sovereignty to remain and stay strong."  

Under Chief Batton's leadership, food distribution centers, summer education programs and healthcare facilities have expanded, tribal housing has increased, and employment has more than doubled.  

"We want to grow our language and culture, along with opportunities like health, housing, education and social programs so that our tribal members can have a better way of life," said Chief Batton.  

Chief Batton's commitment to the community extends beyond the Choctaw Nation. He is actively involved in various organizations, including the Choctaw Nation Chahta Foundation, the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Foundation.  

Recognized for his exceptional leadership, Chief Batton has received numerous accolades throughout his career. He has been honored as one of Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and appointed as an Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador. Chief Batton's outstanding achievements were further acknowledged when he was named Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Outstanding Alumni and received the Happy World Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in Global Citizenship. In recognition of his significant contributions, Chief Batton was also inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. 


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