ADA — Nominated by Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby to be a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., while in college, Matthew Morgan said he made up his mind at that time what he wanted to do in life — go back to Oklahoma and study law to help Chickasaw people. After serving five years as an in-house attorney with the Justice department and as general counsel for the Office of the Gaming Commissioner of the Chickasaw Nation, Morgan established his own law practice focusing on Indian law related matters. Now Morgan has also entered the political arena running for office of Chickasaw legislator, Pontotoc District Seat 3.
Morgan said he plans to focus on several goals as a member of the Chickasaw legislature. Consulting the people and involving them is a duty he said he feels as public servant he should never forget, recognizing that the strength of the nation is in the Chickasaw people. Development of a Chickasaw curriculum of study is one objective Morgan has in preserving and promoting the Chickasaw culture and heritage, especially the language. Morgan said he plans to promote Chickasaw arts, and expects to see a renaissance of all art forms as opportunities arise with the opening of the new cultural center.
Knowledge of the sovereign rights of the Chickasaw Nation is another goal Morgan said he wants to instill in the general public to have positive impact for the communities where Chickasaws live. Morgan said he believes improvements and expansion of services and programs have to be explored. With the Chickasaw Nation employing thousands of people, Morgan said he supports further development of Chickasaw economy and employment opportunities for Chickasaw citizens.
“I support the diversification of business ventures. Not only does diversification work to ensure the Chickasaw Nation’s future is not harmed by a downturn in a specific business segment, but it allows more Chickasaw citizens to return to their communities to practice in their chosen professions, thus diminishing the cultural and economic drain. We need to explore ways of training Chickasaws for leadership roles,” Morgan said.
Morgan started with the Chickasaw Nation as a summer youth worker assigned to the governmental services department. To help put himself through college, he worked in the ambassador’s office in Washington D.C., Gov. Anoatubby’s office, the finance department and the Northwest Regional Office in Purcell. Some of the highlights of Morgan’s association with the Chickasaw Nation include participation in negotiations to re-establish the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police department, the Chickasaw Nation District Court, and implementation of the Chickasaw Nation Tribal-State Gaming Compact. Morgan serves on the repatriation committee, and represented the Chickasaw Nation at the opening ceremony of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 1856 signing of the Chickasaw Nation constitution Morgan portrayed Chickasaw Gov. Cyrus Harris in a one-act play “Leaders of the New Way.” He also served as an Oklahoma House of Representatives page, was president of the American Indian Alumni Society of the University of Oklahoma and chaired the Chickasaw Bar Association.
Morgan and wife Candessa live in Ada and have two daughters, Jolie, 5, who attends Homer Elementary School, and Kelsey, 3, who attends Chickasaw Nation Head Start. Morgan’s parents are Doyle and Marilyn (Kay) Heck Morgan. He is the great-great grandson of Gabriel and Nancy Sealy Underwood, Rason and Blannie Willis Harris, and Wilson and Elsie Walton Roberts; the great-grandson of John and Bina Underwood Owens and Osborne and Nancy Roberts Harris; and the grandson of Tom and Lora (Polly) Owens Morgan and R.L. (Dutch) Heck and Mary Harris Heck.
Morgan is 1/4 Chickasaw and 1/8 Choctaw and has lived in the Pontotoc District for more than 20 years.
“Most of my family continues to live, as they have for over 100 years, near the Chickasaw-Choctaw boundary in Pontotoc and Coal counties, but like a lot of other Chickasaw families, I also have many relatives who live outside our boundaries,” Morgan said.