theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

July 12, 2013

Green seeks re-election to Chickasaw Legislature


www.theadanews.com

Ada —

Mary Jo Green is seeking re-election to the Chickasaw Legislature. Mrs. Green has represented Pontotoc District on the legislature since 1998. 

Mrs. Green’s legislative tenure has been distinguished by her dedication to Chickasaw elders, exceptional Indian health care and education opportunities.

Prior to her election, Mrs. Green worked for over 20 years at the Chickasaw Nation, principally in elder programs and services. She was, and is, a leader in building dynamic programs and engaging Chickasaw elders fully with their tribe and each other.

A confident and inspired organizer, Mrs. Green brought elders together for Indian taco sales, rummage sales and other fundraisers to help pay for the trips and activities that build elders’ lives and spirits.

“When I first started with the tribe, we came up with whatever we could,” Mrs. Green said. “Our simple mission was to serve elders well. There wasn’t a lot of money, but there were lots and lots of Chickasaw elders who became connected and achieved great things.”

From those humble beginnings, Chickasaw elders now enjoy 12 senior sites across the Chickasaw Nation where they gather for meals, classes, exercise, volunteer work and social time. Mrs. Green was the force behind the establishment of the very first Chickasaw senior site. That site was dedicated in Ada in 1980.

“I have a heart for our elders,” Mrs. Green said. “They deserve our care and our respect. We are honoring our Chickasaw cultural traditions by honoring our elders.”

A longtime advocate of quality health care for Chickasaws, Mrs. Green was an early and powerful proponent of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center. She served as Chairman of the Chickasaw Legislature’s Health Care Committee during the planning, financing and construction of the facility.

The Medical Center, a 280,000 square-foot Indian health care operation located on Ada’s south side, was dedicated in 2009. Chickasaw Nation Health today accommodates approximately 400,000 patient visits annually.

The Medical Center was built through a joint venture with the U.S. Indian Health Service. The tribe funded construction of the facility and has full authority for its operation. IHS has agreed to fund a large percentage of the facility’s professional staffing requirements for a period of 20 years.

“Quality health care is very important to Chickasaws,” Mrs. Green said. “As Health Care Committee Chairman, I supported the Medical Center and all the essential health care programs the tribe delivers. These are the right things to do for Chickasaws and their health.”

Education opportunities have consistently been a priority for Mrs. Green. She has been a backer of increased investment in education programs for all Chickasaws. Today, Chickasaws benefit from a myriad of education programs ranging from grants and scholarships to clothing assistance.

When Mrs. Green came into office in 1998, the tribe was investing about $1 million annually in education. Today, over $22 million is dedicated each year to helping Chickasaw students succeed.

“Education has always been a key for Chickasaws,” Mrs. Green said. “We have understood for generations that good educations lead to successful Chickasaw lives. I’m proud of our students and it is important we provide them every opportunity to grow and prosper.”

Mrs. Green was born the seventh child of hard-working parents on her mother’s Indian allotment four miles east of Fitzhugh, Okla. She married J.L. Green in 1951 and the couple became the proud parents of a son and daughter, followed by three grandchildren. After raising her children, Mrs. Green went to college and began working for the Chickasaw Nation. 

Mrs. Green graduated from high school in Fitzhugh. She attended East Central University. Since 1998 she has served on all committees of the Tribal Legislature and has served as Chairman of the Health, Human Services and Education Committees.

Mrs. Green is a 45-year member of the Ada Business and Professional Women’s Club. She has been a member of the Silver-Haired Legislature, Chickasaw Chapter of the AARP (past president), Roff Chapter of Eastern Star (Worthy Matron) and Southeastern Area on Aging Advisory Board (past president). She is a longtime member of Sunshine Baptist Church near Fittstown, where she taught Sunday School for 16 years.

In 2012, Mrs. Green was named “Woman of the Year” by the Ada Business and Professional Women’s Club. 

“I believe in the value of our Chickasaw history, traditions and culture,” Mrs. Green said. “It is important we preserve the things that make us Chickasaw. 

“It is an honor of the highest order to serve as a Chickasaw legislator,” she said. “I pledge my continued dedication to the people I serve - the Chickasaws of Pontotoc District, and all Chickasaws.”