Courtesy Choctaw Nation
Following the sudden retirement of Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory Pyle, Gary Batton, pictured, was named his successor.

New Choctaw Chief Gary Batton and His Council of Wisdom

Brian Daffron

How will your administration continue leading in the role of water rights in Oklahoma, like Chief Pyle was a part of, along with the Chickasaw Nation?

(Chickasaw Nation) Governor (Bill) Anoatubby and I have been dear friends for probably 27 years. We definitely will keep the water fight up. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. I don’t care if it’s water, air or natural resources, I’m a firm believer in protecting those.

We’re a land-based tribe. To me, if we can’t protect those things—if you don’t want to protect your home, you’re going to lose your home. We’re definitely going to keep up the water fight and anything else that comes along in regards to our natural resources.

What are some primary issues that you see in Indian country as a whole?

Our sovereignty is always attacked. As our tribes are gaining more recognition, there’s certain people who don’t like that. There’s always the biggest attack on how can they get their hands on those dollars. How can they limit our sovereignty? Whether they’re trying to gain our water or timber, we just have to stay at the forefront of our sovereignty of our tribes. Number one.


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