DURANT, OK – Four Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) tribal members have recently been named to ION Oklahoma Magazine‘s “55 Over 55 Inspiring Oklahomans” list. Included in the list were Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation; Jack Austin, Jr., Assistant Chief of the Choctaw Nation; Michael Burrage, Co-Founder of Whitten Burrage and the first Native American Federal Judge; and Stacy Shepherd, Executive Officer at Choctaw Nation.
Nominees for selection to the listing of Oklahomans must have successful career experiences benefiting Oklahomans. The list also includes public servants, entrepreneurs, scientists, and military professionals, among other distinguished positions.
Batton has been Chief of the Choctaw Nation since 2014 and with the tribe since 1987. He has served in many capacities, starting in purchasing and working with the healthcare system before being appointed – then twice elected – as Chief.
Austin, a U.S. Army veteran, has been with the Choctaw Nation since 1991. He is a certified behavioral health case manager and has previously served as the Director of the Choctaw Nation Recovery Center in Talihina.
Burrage is an inductee of the prestigious fellowship of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been selected as one of Oklahoma’s top lawyers by various statewide publications. Judge Burrage also serves as General Counsel for CNO.
Shepherd serves tribal members in the departments of housing, education, culture, outreach, and special services, as well as preserving the Choctaw language. Her previous roles have focused on employment and career development and helping revitalize the Chahta Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting tribal members through scholarships, wellness, and culture.