FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2019
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd Delivers State of the Nation Address
OKMULGEE, Okla. – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd delivered the State of the Nation Address during the National Council Quarterly Session Jan. 26, 2019.
Principal Chief Floyd began the address by noting the 40th anniversary of the ratification of the MCN constitution, which reaffirmed the Nation’s sovereignty.
Taking it back to the start of his career with the Nation in 1978 with less than 100 employees, Principal Chief Floyd put today’s numbers in perspective by reporting the Nation now employs more than 5,000 and has a payroll that exceeds $169 million.
He also disclosed on the Nation’s financial security by stating the Permanent Fund has grown to more than $372 million since it was created.
“As your Principal Chief, I repeat my promise to you to not borrow or decrease our base, but to increase it and to increase the interest for our vital needs,” Principal Chief Floyd said. “We must keep this foundation in place for a strong future for our Nation.”
Progress in healthcare was acknowledged with acclaim to the opening of the Creek Nation Community Hospital in Okemah, Okla., and the Eufaula Indian Health Center, a joint-venture development with Indian Health Service.
Principal Chief Floyd conveyed in his address the difficult decision making that took place when he came into office, as it relates to refining the financial and operational deficit in the Nation’s healthcare system.
“… I am glad to report that our healthcare system is financially sound,” Principal Chief Floyd said. “We can now place a greater focus on programs that will improve the overall health in our communities. We had to make tough decisions to get there but now it is rewarding to know we did what was right to serve our people and to protect our sovereignty; the greatest promise I can make to you.”
The address also celebrated the passage of the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018, as Principal Chief Floyd shared what a humbling opportunity it was to present the U.S. Senate with testimony for the act, as the Nation was the only tribe to testify on the legislation.
In respect to the Nation’s sovereign rights, he continued the address by praising the diligent work of tribal entities that lead to the MCN District Court prosecution of the first non-Native domestic violence offender under the Violence Against Women Act implementations.
“I want everyone, citizen and non-citizen alike, to know we are serious about combating domestic violence and will take action to the fullest extent of the law to eliminate it,” Principal Chief Floyd stated.
He also acknowledged the Office of Attorney’s General staff for their dedicated work in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Carpenter v. Murphy as it relates to criminal prosecution within the Nation’s jurisdictional boundaries.
Principal Chief Floyd expressed his gratification for the Muscogee (Creek) veterans and all veterans for their service to our country. He then shared the story of Vietnam veteran John Sloan’s trip to France as he attended the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I that took place Nov. 11, 2018.
Sloan was chosen among 30 citizens that were considered to represent the Nation and visit the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France, where the graves of four citizens who were killed in action during WWI are located.
Sloan was able to sprinkle Oklahoma soil on each of the four citizens’ graves and leave them with the Nation’s flag.
Looking at the year ahead, Principal Chief Floyd announced the development of the Master Site Plan, which will guild the Nation’s expansion in Okmulgee, Okla., over the next 20 years. The plan includes securing funding that will not draw from the Permanent Fund or require high-interest loans.
He said he is hopeful the Nation will break ground on the first buildings in 2020, which include a Museum and Cultural Center on the Okmulgee Country Club property, as well as new venues at the Claude Cox Omniplex.
In closing, Principal Chief Floyd expressed his commitment to the continued improvements to the Nation and the betterment of the citizens.
“Many of you know that we started with few resources but we have always had our greatest resource, our people,” Principal Chief Floyd said. “It is your strength that flows through us and your struggles to overcome that ensure us today. It is our people that have always kept us moving forward.”