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Choctaw Nation Donates $2M for Tribal Eye Health (Dec 21, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma tribe has given away $2 million in the past few weeks as an investment in the future health of its members.

For more than a decade, residents of the Choctaw Nation have been receiving specialized eye care at a clinic in Talihina.

Now, the tribe is giving back, donating $1 million to the Dean McGee Eye Institute which operates the vision outreach program. The tribe has also given a $1 million gift to a new cancer center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Choctaw Assistant Chief Gary Batton, who also used to work in public health for the tribe… says both gifts will help address ongoing health issues.

"You can’t just make a certain group healthy," Batton said. "You have to make the entire population healthy. And that’s what we’re trying to do by giving these donations. I mean, sure it’ll help our tribal members, but it helps all of Oklahomans out as a whole."

Batton said a reception area at the Stephenson Cancer Center will be named in memory of Charlotte Jackson, a former Choctaw Nation Council member who died from cancer this year.

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