Ribbon Cutting Opens New Choctaw Nation Community Center in Talihina
TALIHINA – Shovels turned on Sept. 27 last year breaking ground for a new Choctaw Nation Community Center in Talihina. On Thursday, May 18, the ribbon was cut opening the new facility. An estimated 200 Choctaw Nation leaders, tribal elders, Talihina officials and residents were on hand for the ceremony.
“What an impressive turnout here in Talihina, Oklahoma,” said Chief Gary Batton. “It’s for all of our elders,” he said of the new Community Center. He gave credit to the Choctaw Tribal Council, saying, “They’re the ones who allocated the dollars so that we can provide not only healthy meals but services – from social work to community center helpers.”
He noted how it was the latest of several facilities in town constructed by the Choctaw Nation.
Located at 201 Dallas St., the new Choctaw Nation Community Center replaces the previous one which had been at the same downtown site. With the accompanying storage unit, the new construction totals 11,185 square feet.
Ralph E. Taylor, with Childers Architect, designer of the facility, stated that the “New Community Center would be able to hold up to 295 people inside the assembly space. The administrative area will hold several administrative functions with a center conference room that also acts as a safer place. The full-scale commercial kitchen will allow for delicious meals served for a variety of roles.”
District 3 Councilman Kenny Bryant told the story of his grandmother, who lived to be 107 and never went to the hospital. If she got sick she would ride sidesaddle on her horse and be gone all day gathering roots to boil for medicine, he said. His grandmother did not speak, read or write English, only Choctaw. “She signed with four Xs,” Bryant said. “And because she couldn’t read English, she lost everything she had.” Bryant added that sometimes he recalls her memory and says, “Grandma, I’m going to do my best to serve and help the Choctaw people. Fifteen years ago we couldn’t have gotten this done, but with the Council leadership that we have today, we made it happen.”