12 Discover Durant 2018 Ashley Stuteville PHONE (580) 920-0100 FAX (580) 920-0200 EMAIL: astuteville@allstate.com 851 WESTSIDE DR • DURANT, OK 74701 SMART SHOPPER DESIGNS EXCELLENT QUALITY - DISCOUNT PRICES - Silk Flowers - Wedding - Trunks - Candles & Holders 4409 W. Main Durant, OK 580-920-0030 Unique Home Decor & Great Gifts 25 YEARS OF SERVICE - Pictures - Vases & Containers - Custom Arrangements - Western Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is the third largest federally recognized tribe in the United States, whose service territory covers approximately 11,000 square miles in 10 ½ counties in rural southeastern Oklahoma. The Nation is comprised of nearly 200,000 members worldwide. The Choctaw Nation is led by the vision and guidance of Chief Gary Batton, Assis- tant Chief Jack Austin Jr., and 12 Tribal Council members. The Choctaw Nation plays a significant role in the growth of Indian Country and all of southeastern Oklahoma. In 1830 the Choctaws were removed from their homelands in the southeastern part of the United States, becoming the first tribe to walk what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” Their journey was long and what was ahead for them was unknown. Through the many obstacles the Choctaws have faced, they have remained resilient. The culture and traditions of the Choc- taw Nation are handed down through generations. Preserving and passing down the culture, such as our Chahta language, stickball and traditional dancing, are ways values are displayed. All Choctaw Nation Day Care, Early Head Start, and Head Start centers are practicing these traditions with the children. To ensure the legacy of Chahta people continues, the language is taught in communities, through online classes, high schools and universities throughout the United States. Giving back and helping others has been a staple for Choctaws. As far back as the Irish Famine in 1847, not many years after the Choctaw relocation, they were able to raise money to send to the United States famine relief organization for Ire- land. Today the Choctaw Nation still gives to many charities, churches, schools, clubs and public safety agencies. Providing the best service possible to our tribal members is something that we strive to do each day. We want our members to feel valued and cared for; this means taking steps to make sure that our services are conveniently and readily available to them. Choctaw Nation Head- quarters will be moving to its new location beginning in 2018. This will allow for all services that Choctaw Nation provides to its members to be conveniently located under one roof. Education is a top priority for the Choctaw Nation. Educational components of the Choctaw Nation include Higher Education, the STAR reward program for second-through twelfth-graders, adult education for obtaining GEDs, Career Development with a wide range of career guidance and employment services avail- able to tribal members nationwide, and a DARE officer who spreads awareness of the importance of staying off drugs. Young leaders involved in the Choctaw Nation Youth Empowerment and Youth Advisory Boards assist in community events and actively promote prevention of bullying, domestic violence and substance abuse. Public school districts in the Choctaw Na- tion’s service area have received donations Choctaw Tribal Complex See CHOCTAW | 13