Statement made on 02 December 2010 by Senator Rod Zimmer (retired)
Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer:
Honourable senators, I rise today to draw your attention to a visitor in the gallery, Mr. Michael Chang, Vice-President, Global Gaming Solutions, of the Chickasaw Nation, in Ada, Oklahoma, United States of America. The Chickasaw Nation is a Native American tribe that extends over 13 Oklahoma counties. The Chickasaw Nation strives to build a strong, stable economy and self-sufficient community for the Chickasaw people by generating funds to their commerce division to provide services and programs to the Chickasaw community's family, youth and elders. Their slogan, United We Thrive, describes the mission of the Chickasaw Nation.
One of the top priorities of the Chickasaw Nation is to preserve and share the heritage of the Chickasaw history, language and culture that has been passed down from generation to generation through storytelling. The nation organizes programs designed to continue the process with the youth and elders of the tribe. Chickasaw people have always valued their communities and family and the Chickasaw Nation preserves this value by providing programs and services that benefit the Chickasaw families, children, youth and of course the elders, whom they consider living treasures.
The Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, Bill Anoatubby has initiated an impressive effort to focus on the potential of Chickasaw youth, the tribe's most valuable resource, as a means of preserving the tribe's culture and securing its future success. This is being done through a multitude of services and programs focused on youth in addition to upholding education as a top priority within the nation.
The nation's commerce division owns and operates 58 commercial businesses with 10,000 employees, and these businesses include 17 casinos, 2 of which are Oklahoma's largest casinos: Riverwind and WinStar.
The WinStar World Casino is one of the five largest in the world. In addition, they also own and operate hotels, restaurants, retail travel plazas, tobacco stores, a family entertainment centre, a chocolate factory, radio stations and a newspaper.
Honourable senators, net income from the commerce division, in particular Chickasaw Nation casinos, provides the Chickasaw people with the opportunity to receive vital and essential services, including health care; aging, youth and family, education; and transportation services. Such revenues offer the nation the opportunity to invest in yet other businesses and industries that together will create stable, quality jobs and a self-sufficient community of the Chickasaw people for years to come.
Honourable senators, I am proud to introduce Mr. Chang to you today, as he is a dear friend of mine.