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Nation looks to the future

Chief Pyle delivers his State of the Nation address at the Labor Day ceremony in Tvshka Homma on Monday morning.

 Chief Pyle Speach

 Attendants braved 100-plus high temperatures to be a part of the Choctaw Nation's Labor Day Festival at Tvshka Homma.

 Opening with the pageantry of crowning the 2013-14 princesses on Aug. 29, the five-day festival provided cultural events, sports, concerts, arts and crafts, and just plain fun.

Young ladies from the Choctaw Nation's 12 districts entered the Thursday night pageant to vie for the top titles. Chosen to represent the Nation for the next year are Miss Choctaw Nation Callie Curnutt of Wister, and Junior Miss Kayleigh Powell and Little Miss Isabelle Cox, both of Durant. First runner-up for Miss Choctaw Nation is Rebeckah Boykin of Hugo and second runner-up is Cherish Wilkerson of McAlester. In the junior miss division, first runner up is Adrianna Byington of McAlester and second runner-up is Karen Crosby of Wright City. Little Miss first runner-up is Savannah Herndon of Soper and second runner-up is Lailah Walton of Antlers.

 The princesses made their first public appearance at the Inter Tribal Pow Wow on Friday, Aug. 30.

 Prior to the pow wow, an unveiling of a new sculpture was held along the walking path in front of the Capitol building. Chief Gregory E. Pyle, Assistant Chief Gary Batton and the Tribal Council paid tribute to the late Charley Jones, a former councilman and historian who vastly contributed to preserving the Choctaw culture. The bust, created by sculptor John Gooden, was placed in the circle garden with busts of Chief Pushmataha and the Rev. Allen Wright.

 "Every story I tell, I tell in honor of Charley Jones," said storyteller Tim Tingle before a packed audience at Monday's Labor Day celebration. "He showed me the road and pointed the way and he taught me how to walk it."

 Tingle shared a story about two 10-year-old boys, one was he and the other was his great-great-greatgrandfather, John Harms. At the conclusion, Tingle played Amazing Grace, and then asked the audience to sing the words with him in honor of all those who went before and all those who help us remember to keep our eyes on where we are going.

 "You cannot keep your eyes on the bloody footprints of the past. You must keep your eyes on where you are going," Tingle said.

 Also on Monday, six council members stood before Chief Justice David Burrage to repeat the oath of office for another term. Serving the Choctaw Nation for the next four years are Delton Cox, District 4; Ted Dosh, District 9; Joe Coley District 6; Anthony Dillard, District 10; Jack Austin, District 7, and James Frazier, District 12. Serving the Choctaw people in the other six districts are Councilmen Thomas Williston, District 1; Tony Messenger, District 2; Kenny Bryant, District 3; Ronald Perry, District 5; Perry Thompson, District 8; Bob Pate, District 11. This group of men work relentless hours to ensure the best decisions are made for the Nation and its citizens.

 Chief Gregory E. Pyle began his State of the Nation Monday morning with exciting news of Tvshka Homma's wins to become the Labor Day Festival Stickball Tournament champions.

 "Something historic happened last night after midnight," he said, "Our Tvshka Homma team played not just with their legs and arms, but with their hearts." Coaches and members of the Tvshka Homma team filed in front of the stage to resounding cheers and applause.

 "We won this weekend for the first time against a Mississippi team," said Chief Pyle, who was on hand at 2 a.m. when the final win over the Warriors sealed the championship. "They had to play them twice" in the double-elimination tournament. "They beat us first and we were one and one. We had to play them again. The second game began after midnight and they were extremely tired.

 "True champions play when they are really tired and really down," Chief Pyle said. "When you don't have much energy, you play on spirit alone. That's what our team did. I am so proud. Now our team is the champions. Thank you for giving us all something to remember.

 "This year's Labor Day Festival theme is 'Your Land, Our Land - Choctaws Going Green'," Chief Pyle continued. "And speaking of land, this year, Choctaw Nation went to the council and they approved the purchase of a large tract of land 44,000 acres of our original homeland to help preserve our heritage and create jobs.

 "The Choctaw Nation has always been protectors of the environment, especially water, and we continue to fight for the protection of this precious natural resource in southeastern Oklahoma.

 "An important part of going green is recycling. In fact, we have already recycled almost 5 million pounds of trash that would have otherwise gone into landfills."

 Chief Pyle paused for a moment and then asked all members of the armed forces to stand. "Thank you. We appreciate all you have done.

 "Many years ago in World War I, Choctaws were able to help prevent the German Army from intercepting messages. They didn't understand our Choctaw language. They helped save thousands of casualties and helped bring the war to an end. In World War II, there were more tribes who helped by using their Native language.

 "Now, we have been invited to the United States Capitol to accept the congressional gold medal on behalf of our Code Talkers in November. We are so proud of this!

 "I want to personally say thank you to our employees," Chief Pyle said in closing. "They volunteered their whole weekend up here, but that's just part of it. They work hard all year long to make this Labor Day Festival possible."

 This article and others came from the Choctaw Nation Biskinik. To see more news please refer to the following sites.
Sounds of Choctaw - Social Greeting
Sounds of Choctaw - Weather
Lesson of the Day