(Photo Courtesy of AARP Oklahoma)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 4, 2018
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief, Citizens Among Those Recognized as AARP Oklahoma’s 10th Annual Indian Elder Honorees
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd was among the six Muscogee (Creek) citizens who were recognized as AARP Oklahoma’s 10th Annual Indian Elder Honorees at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla. Oct. 2, 2018.
Before his role as MCN Principal Chief, Floyd served as the Director of the Eastern Oklahoma Veterans Affairs in Muskogee, Okla. Floyd has an extensive background in the health care system.
His background in health won him numerous honors including; American College of Healthcare Executives’ Regent’s Award, a lifetime achievement for demonstrating leadership ability and innovative and creative management.
Floyd also managed the first tribal-owned hospital in the U.S. and negotiated the transfer of several clinics from Indian Health Services to tribal management.
As the leader of the fourth largest tribe in the Nation, Floyd was recognized by Oklahoma Magazine as one of the top five leaders in the state. The magazine told MCN Public Relations that Floyd was chosen for all that has been accomplished for his people and mainly for his business interests.
When Floyd came into office in 2015, he inherited a $70 million deficit and in less than a year he turned it around. He was also credited for the completion of the $365 million River Spirit Casino Resort and the recent land into trust project at the Fountainhead Resort. The prime acreage near Eufaula Lake is now tax-free and fully tribally-owned.
“My job as a leader is to listen to the needs of my people,” Floyd said. “It’s very humbling to receive awards like this because I know it comes at the nomination of the people. That’s why it means even more.”
Rachael Sourjohn, a tribal citizen who works with the Mvskoke Nation Youth Services, nominated Floyd for this year’s Indian Elder Honors.
“He was the first person I thought of… To see how much he’s done and how much he cares about our tribe,” said Sourjohn. “He’s turned our tribe around and got us flourishing and got us back to our roots, preserving our culture and language. It was a gift to me to be able to honor him.”
Sourjohn also noted Floyd cares deeply for our elders and supports the children’s programs 100 percent.
“I love how he loves our youth, he’s like our number one fan,” Sourjohn said.
In addition to Floyd being honored at this year’s banquet, recognition was also given to Muscogee (Creek) citizens Delois Louise Dunzy Roulston, Joy Harjo-Sapulpa, Justice Leah Harjo-Ware, Mickey White, Thomas Yahola and eight other honorees with Mvskoke ancestry for their contributions.
Since 2009, AARP has honored 500 members from all 39 of Oklahoma’s federally-recognized tribes who have made positive contributions to their tribes, communities, state and Nation.
Out of the 50 or older and living Native Americans nominated for this year’s award, AARP Oklahoma selected 50 of those elders whose contributions are consistent with the organization’s mission and vision to inspire others to service, as stated in the honoree announcement letter.
A full biography of each honoree and their contributions is available at the AARP Oklahoma website: https://states.aarp.org/aarp-recognizes-native-elders-at-10th-annual-indian-elder-honors/.