Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief George Tiger's annual 'State of the Nation' address in Okmulgee drew a large crowd Saturday, as he emphasized changes and progress made since he took office.
"He has brought our nation a long way," said tribal member, Tilda Harjo after the address.
Tiger took office two years ago, getting to work on changes he believed were necessary. It's something Harjo says, was overdue. "He's being very vocal, he's being very public, he is speaking the needs of our tribal citizens."
But Saturday's address was not all about looking ahead. The chief emphasized the importance of preserving the past as a key to future success. "It is important that we focus on revitalizing some of those things that have become dormant for us, such as our language, our history, and protecting what is rightfully ours, so that we never lose our collective identity."
When it came to visions for the future of the tribe, specifics included the much-anticipated River Spirit Casino expansion in Tulsa, along with the Jenks Riverwalk Crossing development. "I really feel like that area's getting ready to explode - a big economic boom - and we want to be a part of it," Chief Tiger said.
For tribal members like Harjo, coming out to hear what the chief had to say, the progress report looks good. "I was very impressed. I'm very impressed with the numbers," she said.
The chief reported a significant spike in the number of tribal employees in the past year - over 600 added to the workforce.