Vol. LIII No. 9
September 2018

Chickasaw Nation mission based on tried and true ideals


Many large organizations develop statements that define their mission, vision and core values. Ideally, these statements outline principles, goals and standards that help the people within the organization work together more effectively toward a common purpose.

In the Chickasaw Nation, our mission, vision and core values are based on the ideals that have enabled the Chickasaw people to thrive for generations.

Throughout our history, Chickasaw people have been able to successfully adapt to constantly changing situations. One reason we have been able to succeed as a people and a nation is our shared belief in certain core values.

Today, our values continue to set the standard for how we do the things we do. Those values also serve as the foundation for our mission “to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.”

That mission was developed because the Chickasaw people have always placed a high value on enhancing the well-being of our family, our fellow Chickasaws and the Chickasaw Nation.

We are committed to helping one another and working together because we have long understood there is strength in unity. That belief in the power of unity is an important aspect of our vision “to be a nation of successful and united people with a strong cultural identity.”

We place a high value on cultural identity, because our culture binds us together as a people. Therefore, we strive to preserve our cultural history and incorporate it into everything we do.

One important aspect of our culture can be seen in our view of leadership. Chickasaw leaders have long operated from the belief that they are accountable to the people they serve and they must put the needs of the Chickasaw people first. Today, servant leadership continues to guide the actions of our leadership team.

Strongly related to servant leadership are the values of selflessness and loyalty, which can be seen throughout history in Chickasaw warriors – both men and women – willing to give of themselves for the betterment of other Chickasaws and the tribe as a whole.

Today, while many Chickasaw warriors still serve in the armed forces, the warrior spirit can also be seen in those who serve as police officers, lawyers, health care providers, educators or in other fields vital to the success of the Chickasaw Nation.

Historically, Chickasaws have exhibited the closely related values of a positive attitude and perseverance. Today, we continue to adopt a positive can do attitude and strive to persevere, just as the Chickasaw people have done when faced with extremely difficult situations such as removal from our homelands.

When Chickasaw people made the difficult decision to leave the homelands, they knew they must retain those values, such as stewardship, that had helped them succeed.

Stewardship is a natural outgrowth of the close relationship Chickasaws have long had with the land on which they live. For hundreds of years, stewardship grew out of the knowledge that it was vital to make the most of available water, wildlife, plant life and other natural resources to ensure those resources would supply current needs and remain available for future generations.

Today, stewardship remains vital as we strive to make use of the resources entrusted to our care in a manner which meets our current needs while maintaining the financial, structural and natural resources necessary to meet the needs of our children and grandchildren.

Part of that stewardship effort includes construction of facilities needed to fulfill our mission through economic development, healthcare, housing, education, cultural revitalization and all the other activities involved in our day-today operations.

Those buildings, such as the pharmacy and wellness center, are resources our employees use to work toward fulfilling our mission – resources that will be available for years to come.

However, what goes on inside those facilities is even more important than the building itself.

Inside those buildings, hardworking, dedicated employees serve the Chickasaw people. Those employees understand that teamwork, honesty and integrity have always been essential to the success of the Chickasaw Nation. They also appreciate the fact that they must earn one another’s trust and respect in order to work effectively as a team.

Teamwork is as important today as it has ever been, because it is the only way to fulfill the mission of the Chickasaw Nation “to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.”

In a recent survey we found that a very high percentage of our employees know that mission by heart. That is important.

Even more important is the high percentage of our employees who put their heart into that mission and live out the values behind it on a day-to-day basis.

For that, we should all be thankful.