Photo by Deidre K. Elrod/Choctaw Nation
District 8 Councilman Perry Thompson balances a grandchild while preparing to cut the ribbon at the new Choctaw Community Center in Hugo Tuesday, November 8. Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., the Choctaw Nation Tribal Council, and other officials and citizens of Choctaw County joined in the ceremony.
HUGO – The Choctaw Community Center in Hugo is not only new, but it’s also one of a kind. Tuesday (Nov 8) they cut the ribbon in front of the Center at 1306 W. Victor St., but much of the ceremony was held indoors and out of the rain-threatening weather. The interior of polished wood-look tile flooring and great staging area, backed by natural rock, overhead beams, and tract lighting offered a warm and inviting setting on a fall morning.
Speaking to the crowd, Chief Gary Batton, said, “It is always a great day when we can come together and have an opportunity like this for our senior citizens.”
Chief Batton noted the local growth, such as the Choctaw Travel Plaza in Hugo and expansion of the Choctaw Casino in nearby Grant, among the tribe’s more than 40 major construction projects in southeast Oklahoma. He said, “so many great things going on within the Choctaw Nation.”
Hugo’s is the first Community Center built by the Choctaw Nation of this design. The center in Hugo is 10,274 square feet in size and sits on 3.43 acres of the Hugo campus. Located on the north side of U.S. Route 70, it is east of the Choctaw Nation Tribal Services facility.
The new facility is equipped to hold a variety of activities. It features a large assembly space. The fluorescent lighting, square, and flush against the vaulted ceiling is tilted to give a traditional diamondback appearance above.
There are also an additional conference room, Tribal Council offices, and full-scale commercial kitchen.
At the ceremony, members of the Choctaw Tribal Council were recognized, along with another city, county, and state leaders.
District 8 Councilman Perry Thompson brought thoughts of how the center will serve generations to come as he spoke at the podium while holding his toddler granddaughter. Thanking the Council for its support of the facility, which growing numbers needed, he said, “We’re proud of the new building. We were in that little building a long time. It had been added onto twice. It was getting too small for us.”
The 10 a.m. Choctaw County ceremony aired live on Facebook. By lunchtime, it had nearly 1,000 views, 177 likes and 22 shares. The event can still be seen on the Internet site.
About The Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw Nation is the third largest Indian Nation in the United States, with close to 200,000 tribal members. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, the historic boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma. The vision of the Choctaw Nation is “To achieve healthy, successful, productive, and self-sufficient lifestyles for a proud nation of Choctaws.” Tribal business success over the past few years has enabled the Choctaw Nation to begin to achieve this vision, as well as to assist the communities that are in the Choctaw Nation. Faith, Family and Culture are important values to Choctaw people. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com.
Choctaw Nation Tribal Council
District 1 – Thomas Williston, southern McCurtain County District 7 – Jack Austin, Pushmataha County
District 2 – Tony Ward, northern McCurtain County District 8 – Perry Thompson, Choctaw County
District 3 – Kenny Bryant, southern LeFlore County District 9 – Bryan County
District 4 – Delton Cox, northern LeFlore County District 10 – Anthony Dillard, Atoka County
District 5 – Ron Perry, Haskell County District 11 – Bob Pate, Pittsburg County
District 6 – Joe Coley, Latimer County District 12 – James Frazier, Coal & Hughes