State of the Nation Address
January 25, 2020
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David W. Hill:
Hesci, Good morning.
Second Chief, Mr. Speaker, National Council, Citizens and Employees,
I appreciate the time I have been given this morning. It is an honor to stand before you and deliver the State of the Nation Address of the great Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Today, I am proud to report that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has never been stronger. We have experienced tremendous growth, stability and opportunity. I can proudly say the success of our businesses, the commitment and determination of our leaders, citizens and employees have created opportunities for all to thrive and prosper. As Muscogee (Creek) people, we have a unique strength that will ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.
I want to share some highlights with you. During the 1st quarter of 2020, the Nation had 2,064 employees with a 1st quarter payroll cost of over $24 million. The permanent fund has grown to over $430 million, an increase of over $29 million from the last quarter.
That shows great financial stability which brings us to the Department of Health. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation continues to fulfill its goal of providing quality services that promote health and wellness. Third party collections were over $17 million and this year, third party revenue is projected to exceed funds received from the Indian Health Service.
The department welcomed three new doctors and two new dentists in November and continues to expand programs and services to meet an ever growing demand. Healthy citizens are one of the most valuable assets our nation can have, but when our citizens need care, we want to provide the best care available.
Health care is important, but so is education. Education is a high priority for this administration
And we recognize that education empowers all citizens to pursue a better quality of life,
stronger earning power, self-sufficiency, individual empowerment, and a brighter future for our children and generations to come.
The department continues to grow and expand services. Programs such as the state/tribal education partnership, the native community youth project the tribal education department grant, trauma informed instruction, and Native EDGE provide federal program assistance, professional development and college and career readiness for students.
The department has been recognized by state superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who stated, “the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has been a leader in investing in teacher professional development around working with children that have had hardship, abuse and neglect in Oklahoma classrooms. All of us working together I know can solve this and we can see kids break the cycle of trauma.”
We’ve also committed additional funding to Higher Education and Employment and Training and now provide approximately $15 million to citizens for college and career education and training.
The Department of Education & Training will continue to evaluate services and focus our efforts to provide quality education and training programs for our citizens and strive to create a skilled workforce to compete in today’s global market.
Our most important job is taking care of our people. The department expended more than $3 million in direct client services to assist 57,337 citizens and celebrated the holidays with gift exchanges in addition to providing over 1,000 turkeys and hams to community members.
The department also celebrated the completion of Hanna Community Center with a ribbon cutting and activities for community members. This is a testament to our investment in rural communities.
The Nation is also investing in the modernizing the technical infrastructure to stay up with the times. We have started implementation of the Nation’s infrastructure replacement with Cox Communications.
This network build will also provide service to our local casinos and independent agencies in the area. The initial savings of $13,000 per month on all network circuits with cox pricing will be re-invested into the network, which will pay for the redundancy required.
Another investment for the Nation is a tribal utility authority. The department drafted chartering documents to establish a tribal utility authority. Commerce also evaluated opportunities for broadband development for tribal options in February 2020.
The Mvskoke Loan Fund now has a portfolio greater than $1.4 million and the internal revenue service awarded the fund a tax counseling grant this quarter. The fund will provide seven community-based tax preparation events at MCN community centers and facilities for those 60 and over.
To continue our mission of enhancing the overall quality of life of the Muscogee people, the Nation is committed to providing quality housing programs and services to meet a variety of needs.
The department of housing is currently in the process of developing the 36-acre tract that will service our elder community and provide 72 cottage style units where elder citizens can enjoy a community that is based on sustainability, healthy living and culture. The construction is projected to begin this summer.
The Indian Community Development Block Grant was awarded to the department of housing and will enable renovations to be done to the exterior of 35 of the Eufaula low rent site units with more units to be added at a later date with an anticipated completion June 2021.
Construction wrapped up on 12 new homes in Morris, Okmulgee, and Holdenville this month and will be home to 12 families from the waiting list. Infrastructure has begun on an 8-acre tract in northern Okmulgee County that will be the site of 8 new homes with an anticipated completion this fall. A 12-acre site has been purchased in the Henryetta area and is currently in the planning stages to construct even more homes.
I ask all veterans to please stand and be recognized. Thank you for your service. Since
September 2004, 865 initial/new claims for service compensation opened with the US Department of Veteran Affairs for Muscogee veterans and their surviving spouses.
From January 2005 through December 2019, total compensation paid directly to Muscogee veterans was $97.5 million. This amount will exceed $100 million in 2021. In calendar year 2020, total compensation to Muscogee veterans is estimated to be nearly $10 million.
The average age of the Muscogee veteran is 70. Not only are they veterans, they are elders. We will continue to support them and ensure their needs are met.
Now, for some information from law enforcement. The Lighthorse administration continues to grow and prosper. A tribal resource grant program for equipment and training was awarded to purchase 20 police units. The department’s 49 active patrol officers have logged 476 training hours from law enforcement sponsored programs.
The motor vehicle department is on track to have the highest revenue producing year since the inception of department. Thus far, the department is $30,000 ahead of the previous year.
The annual tax collections over $2.5 million for FY19. Have processed over 200 more requests for registration as compared to the same time period as last year.
Our culture is our identity and the keeping of our traditions. This administration values our cultural assets. Efforts to incorporate the language have increased as we have been raising awareness of the loss of our language.
The Mvskoke and Euchee Language Programs have marketed the available resources and have an ongoing endeavor to build upon our current resources. The Cultural Center and Archives Department continues to collaborate with other organizations and participate in outreach and cultural demonstrations to revitalize and share our heritage.
With that let’s talk about sovereignty.
We must continue to strengthen our sovereignty.
The tribal nations, the state of Oklahoma, and the United States government have had a long history of broken promises and we are not dwelling on it.
We cannot change history, but by working together we can build a brighter future.
We will continue to work with the state of Oklahoma, but
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation will not be controlled or intimidated by Oklahoma’s inability to practice sound fiscal management or dishonest attempts to rectify this failure by interrupting our lawful government activities.
The state must provide a fair and equitable partnership and mutual trust with the tribal nations that have provided so much to Oklahoma and its citizens.
Along with other tribes, we stand firm in our position on the gaming compacts.
We have worked with our community partners with an impact for the state. Would you like to hear how we helped? Since 2010, Muscogee (Creek) Nation has donated 75 vehicles with a value of $950k. 50 computers were donated to local schools for a savings of $60k along with $17k of surplused items.
Each citizen is a shareholder in our Nation.
Our commitment to financial stability, accountability, and transparency will continue to move our nation forward.However, we cannot rest on our accomplishments.
We must continue to expand as we are constantly striving to improve current programs and provide quality services to over 89,000 citizens.
We have made great progress, but there will be many challenges that we will encounter in the days ahead. I know this is a time of great challenges, but I also know it’s a time of great opportunity.
We can meet these challenges with progressive solutions that will be the product of our collaborative efforts. The positive results will improve the lives of our tribal citizens and contribute to the success of the Nation.
Progress should be measured by the success of our people and opportunities for a brighter future for and generations to come.
As we move into the year 2020, I will bring a 20/20 vision that will clearly focus on the people and what is best for our nation.
My wish for this administration is to be recognized as one that brought stability and accountability, prosperity and growth, and opportunities for a better quality of life for our citizens.
I look forward to working with each of you to make this state of our nation as strong as ever and we strengthen our sovereign for a prosperous future.