Bill Anoatubby

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Bill Anoatubby
Gov Bill Anoatubby.jpg
Governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Assumed office
Preceded byOverton James
Personal details
Born (1945-11-08) November 8, 1945 (age 74)
Denison, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Janice Anoatubby
Children2 sons
EducationMurray State College
East Central University (BS)
Southeastern Oklahoma State University

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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[1]

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,[a] and was reelected in 1983.[1]


In 1987, Anoatubby was elected as the 30th Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, the twelfth-largest tribe in the United States. He is now serving his 9th consecutive term in this office, having been reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019; on four occasions he faced no opposition.[4][5]

As governor, he is responsible for the administration of all Chickasaw Nation employees, which numbers more than 13,500 people. He also oversees 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[6].

Anoatubby is a modest, almost self-effacing politician who seems happy to share the credits for the Nation's successes. These characteristics, plus his apparent administrative skills, have undoubtedly contributed to his political longevity. A few of the social programs are listed below to illustrate tangible successes that are already impacting everyday Chickasaw lives:

  • Higher education was one area the Anoatubby administration tackled early on. Prior administrations had depended on an annual budget in which the BIA provided $200,000, supporting 157 scholarships. By 2017, the Nation provided more than $19.4 million in annual funds for scholarships, grants and other contributions.[7]
  • In 1994, the Chickasaw Nation took responsibility for establishing, growing and maintaining its own health care system. Using its own funds, the nation opened its own $150 million medical center, supplemented by four health clinics.[b] The Chickasaw Department of Health, which oversees the facilities, saw more than 552,000 patient visits and filled more than 1.7 million prescriptions in 2017.[7][c]
  • The Chickasaw Nation was the first Native American tribe to become a partner in the Healthy Meals for Kids program sponsored by the federal government.[7]

Governor Anoatubby appointed Charles W. Blackwell as the Chickasaw Nation's first Ambassador to the United States in 1995.[9] At the time of his appointment in 1995, Blackwell became the first Native American tribal ambassador to the United States from any tribal government. Governor Anoatubby named Neal McCaleb ambassador at large following Blackwell's death in 2013.

Community involvement[edit]

In addition to his duties as governor, Anoatubby has been a member of numerous civic and governmental organizations at the local, state, regional and national levels. His current memberships as of June 2018 include service as member and past president of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, the American Mothers Advisory Council, the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation, the Arkansas Riverbed Authority, the Dean A. McGee Board of Trustees, Murray State College Foundation, past chairman of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Board of Advisors, chairman of the Native American Cultural and Educational Foundation, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable Executive Committee, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Board of Directors, Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. Board of Directors, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Oklahoman's for the Arts Board of Directors, OU Price School of Business Board of Advisors, Task Force on the Future of Higher Education and the Goddard Center Primary Board.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]


Bill Anoatubby was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.[13] In 2017, he was awarded the Harland C. Stonecipher Award for Entrepreneurial Vision, the James R. Tollbert III Crystal Orchid Award, the World Experiences Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in Global Citizenship and the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award.

Awards and honors include:

  • 2019 NAFOA Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2019 Oklahoma Center of Community and Justice Humanitarian Award
  • 2019 Force 50 Foundation George Nigh Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2018 National Cowboy Museum's Annie Oakley Society's Frank Butler Award
  • 2017 Harland C. Stonecipher Award for Entrepreneurial Vision
  • 2017 James R. Tolbert III Crystal Orchid Award
  • 2017 World Experiences Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in Global Citizenship
  • 2017 Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2016 Creative Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador
  • 2016 Louis B. Russell, Jr. Memorial Award for Service to Minority and Underserved Populations
  • 2016 Helen Chupco Leadership Award
  • 2015 Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Board Member of the Year
  • 2015 Cherokee National Historical Society Stalwart Award
  • 2015 Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2015 Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma Leadership Award
  • 2015 Ada Area Chamber of Commerce Ted Savage Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 Knights of Columbus John F. Kennedy Community Service Award
  • 2014 Oklahoma Academy Key Contributor Award
  • 2013 Oklahoma Israel Exchange Light, Leadership and Legacy Award
  • 2013 ASTEC Fund Door Opener Award
  • 2013 East Central University Distinguished Philanthropist Award
  • 2013 Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2012 Citizen Energy Advocate of the Year of Award
  • 2011 Chisholm Trail Heritage Center Trail Boss Award
  • 2011 Oklahoma Health Center Foundation Treasures for Tomorrow, Outstanding Innovative Leader
  • 2010 International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Leadership Award for Public Service
  • 2010 Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business Chairman's Award
  • 2009 Festival of Hope Honoree, Heartline Organization
  • 2009 Leadership Oklahoma's Distinguished Graduate
  • 2009 Board of the American Indian Exposition Indian of the Year
  • 2008 Native American Finance Officers Association Tribal Leader of the Year Award
  • 2008 Oklahoma Conference on Aging Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2008 National Governors Association Private Citizen Award
  • 2007 Red Earth Ambassador
  • 2007 Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Outstanding Service to Oklahoma's Children Award
  • 2007 Minority Advocate of the Year, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • 2007 Oklahoma Heritage Association “Centennial Leadership award for Preservation of State & Local History”
  • 2006 Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council “Humanitarian of the Year” Award
  • 2005 Awarded the “Most Honored One” and “Friend of the Court” by the Oklahoma Supreme Court
  • 2004 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2004 Jacobson Foundation Honoree Award
  • 2000 Distinguished Service Award from the Murray State College Foundation
  • 1999 Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation Leadership Award
  • 1998 Honoree, Community Literacy Center
  • 1997 Ada Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award
  • 1997 City of Ada A+ Award
  • 1997 Oklahoma Governor's Arts Award
  • 1997 Distinguished Alumnus, East Central University
  • 1997 Distinguished Alumnus, National Community College Association
  • 1995 Minority Advocate of the Year, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in the South and Southwest

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Ada, Oklahoma with his wife, Janice Anoatubby. They have two sons, Brian and Chris. Chris and his wife Becky have three children, Brendan, Eryn and Sydney. Brian and his wife Melinda have two children, Chloe and Preslea[14].


  1. ^ Anoatubby served as Lieutenant Governor in the two administrations of Governor Overton James, who resigned in 1987
  2. ^ The satellite clinics are located in Ardmore, Purcell and Tishomingo.[8]
  3. ^ In 1994, the principal source of healthcare for the tribe was the Carl Albert Healthcare Facility, which the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had designed to handle 25,000 patient visits annually.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Archived April 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Chickasaw Nation Governor Anoatubby-Meet the Governor-Education Archived January 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby takes oath of office, Oct. 3, 2011 Archived December 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Chickasaw Nation Announces Election Results". The Chickasaw Nation. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Biography". Office of the Governor. The Chickasaw Nation. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Chickasaw Nation governor working to improve tribe’s health." American Heart Association News. July 8, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby files for re-election." Ada News. June 2, 2015. Accessed December 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles W. Blackwell – a Man of Vision". KXII. 2013-01-04. Archived from the original on 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  10. ^ "The Official Site of the Chickasaw Nation | Affiliations". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  11. ^ Oklahoma Primary Results, August 25, 1998 (
  12. ^ "Former US Rep. Dan Boren Won't Run For Tom Coburn's Senate Seat". News on 6. January 21, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  13. ^ Oklahoma Heritage Society. 'Oklahoma Hall of Fame:Bill Anoatubby."
  14. ^ "Biography". Office of the Governor. The Chickasaw Nation. Retrieved February 22, 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Overton James
Governor of the Chickasaw Nation