I am very honored to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame because of the great people in this state and to represent my Choctaw ancestry. Oklahoma is a Choctaw word that means 'Red People' or 'Clan'.
A native of Clayton, Oklahoma, Chief Gary Batton has strong ties to southeast Oklahoma and the citizens of the Choctaw Nation. Batton began his career with the Nation as a clerk in the purchasing department and rose to become the Choctaw Nation’s 47th Chief. He has worked for more than two decades to improve the health of the Nation’s people, creating the first tribally-funded health facility in the United States, while overseeing the effort of serving more than 200,000 tribal members. As the largest employer in southeastern Oklahoma, with close to 11,000 employees, the Nation continues to expand its business ventures, increasing profitability and opportunities for growth. Batton has been named Most Admired CEO by The Journal Record, Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador by Creative Oklahoma, and recognized by Southeastern Oklahoma State University as an Outstanding Alumni.
Batton serves as the 47th Chief of the Choctaw Nation, only the third elected Chief since reestablishment of the constitution of 1983. Between 1830 and 1983 the President of the United States appointed the Chief.
Batton's grandparents were both full blood Choctaws and their original allotment of land in Indian Territory is located in what is now known as Pushmataha County in Oklahoma.