Choctaw Chief Gregory E. Pyle will announce his retirement during a celebration April 24 in honor of his 65th birthday.
Pyle’s career with the Choctaw Nation began on a tribal ranching board in the 1970s. He served 13 years as assistant chief and 17 years as chief. The Choctaw Nation has progressed consistently since Pyle took office in 1997. Growth in tribal revenue, jobs, services and cultural knowledge are among the goals that have been reached in the past 17 years.
Pyle, recently named a distinguished alumni and benefactor by Southeastern Oklahoma State University, also has represented the tribe far from home. He has served several terms as a National Indian Health Board member and a year as elected president of the Oklahoma Area Indian Health Board. He was appointed by former Secretary of Interior Manuel Lujan to serve on a task force to reorganize the Bureau of Indian Affairs and reappointed two years later by former Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt, heading up several subcommittees on the task force.
Pyle has testified in recent years at congressional hearings on various subjects, including Code Talkers, sovereignty, Arkansas River Bed and health care.
“I have enjoyed working with the council and staff on the many tribal projects and programs,” Pyle said. “My future is going to be exciting in a whole new way. My wife, Pat, and I have plans that include traveling and spoiling our grandchildren, spending many years building memories during our retirement.”
The Pyles have two children and seven grandchildren, according to the Choctaw Nation Web site.
As the Choctaw Constitution provides, Assistant Chief Gary Batton will step into the role as chief of the Choctaw Nation during a swearing-in April 28.
Batton has worked for the tribe since 1987, when he was employed as a purchasing agent. He has served in various capacities, including housing authority deputy director and health executive director.
Batton was appointed assistant chief in 2007.
Batton and his wife, Angie, have two children, Stacy and David, and two grandchildren, according to the tribe’s Web site.