Bill Anoatubby

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Bill Anoatubby
Gov Bill Anoatubby.jpg
Governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Assumed office
Preceded by Overton James
Personal details
Born November 8, 1945
Denison, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janice Anoatubby
Children Two sons, five grandchildren
Parents Opal Anoatubby (mother)[1]
Education attended Murray State College, Bachelor's degree in business and accounting from East Central University, and graduate studies in business and finance at East Central University and Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Known for Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987; two terms as Lieutenant Governor, 1979 to 1987

Bill Anoatubby (born November 8, 1945) is the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, a position he has held since 1987. From 1979 to 1987, Anoatubby served two terms as Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Governor Overton James.[2]

Early life[edit]

Anoatubby was born in Denison, Texas, and moved to Tishomingo, Oklahoma, the tribe's capital following his father's death before his third birthday.[3] In 1964, he graduated from Tishomingo High School, where he played football and was active in student government. Following graduation from high school, he attended Murray State College in Tishomingo, before transferring to East Central University in Ada, where he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting. Furthermore, he undertook additional studies in business and finance at ECU and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.[4] During his college years, he served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard, attaining the rank of staff sergeant and command of a light truck platoon, before his honorable discharge in 1971. From 1972 to 1974, he was employed as an office manager for American Plating Company. From 1974 to 1975, he was employed by the Little Giant Corporation, working in the areas of accounting, budgeting, financial analysis, and electronic data processing.[2]

Early tribal career[edit]

In July, 1975, Anoatubby joined the Chickasaw Nation government, then based in Sulphur, Oklahoma, as Director of Tribal Health Services, where he was responsible for management of tribal health programs in a 13-county region of south central Oklahoma. The following year, he accepted appointment as director of the tribal accounting department, where he was responsible for development and improvement of tribal accounting systems. In 1978, he was appointed as Special Assistant to the Governor and Controller, where he was responsible for program and personnel management, including supervision of tribal department directors. The following year, he became the first popularly-elected Lieutenant Governor of Chickasaw Nation, and was reelected in 1983.[2]


In 1987, Anoatubby was elected as the 30th Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, the twelfth-largest tribe in the United States. He was reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015; on three occasions (including the most recent) he faced no opposition. [5]

As Governor, he is responsible for administration of more than 13,000 employees, more than 200 tribal programs and services, and more than 100 tribal businesses. As Governor, he has devised a multi-pronged approach to improving conditions for the tribe in the areas of tribal finance, education, business and economic development, environmental protection, and healthcare.[2]

Governor Bill Anoatubby appointed Charles W. Blackwell as the Chickasaw Nation's first Ambassador to the United States in 1995.[6] At the time of his appointment in 1995, Blackwell became the first Native American tribal ambassador to the United States from any tribal government.

Community involvement[edit]

In addition to his duties as Governor, Anoatubby has been a member of several civic and governmental organizations on the local, state, regional, and national levels. Since 1978, he has served as a member of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, including stints as president and vice president of the council. In 1988, he was appointed to both the President's Council and the board of directors of the Ada Chamber of Commerce. That same year, he was appointed to the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission by Governor Henry Bellmon, and was reappointed by Governor David Walters in 1991. Governor Anoatubby also served on the Advisory Committee on Indian Economic Development for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. From 1990 to 1992, he served on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Advisory Committee for the United States Department of the Interior. From 1991 to 1998, he served on the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma City University. During 1992, he served on the Oklahoma Governor's Healthcare Commission, established to study rural healthcare in the state. That same year, he was appointed to an Environmental Protection Agency advisory group, studying the application of agency rules in Indian Country. In 1995, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation by President Bill Clinton. From 1995 to 1998, he served on the Oklahoma State Board for Easter Seals and Crippled Children.[7]In 1998, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for the 3rd District U.S. House seat, taking third place in a four-candidate field.[8] Following his defeat in the primary, he endorsed the party's eventual nominee, then-state senator Darryl Roberts. He was mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2014 U.S. Senate special election to replace Tom Coburn, but decided not to run.[9]


Bill Anoatubby was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.[8]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Ada, Oklahoma with his wife, Janice Anoatubby. They have two sons, Chris and Brian, and five grandchildren, Brendan, Eryn, Chloe, Preslea, and Sydney.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Overton James
Governor of the Chickasaw Nation