Former Choctaw Chief Hollis Roberts ,68, died Wednesday in Hugo.

Roberts began his 19 year term as Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1978 and during his administration the Choctaw Nation “increased services and advantages, thanks to Self Governance,”according Choctawnation.com.

Roberts and the Tribal Council were responsible for the acquisition of Arrowhead Lodge in Canadian in 1987. The nation acquired the lodge from the federal government after the state failed to pay back a loan use to build the resort in 1965.

The Lodge was sold to the Church of Scientology in May of 2007 for $1.9 million.

While serving as Chief, the Choctaw Tribe was awarded  six million dollars by the United States government for tribal lands given to railroad companies to build stations.

 Roberts was born on May 9, 1943 in Hochatown, Oklahoma in McCurtain County. He attended Holly Creek Elementary School his first eight years and graduated from Idabel High School in 1961.

Before becoming chief, Roberts served as city councilman for Hugo or 14 years, was a member of the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce, and was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for a period of six years. He also served as secretary and treasurer of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority.

 Roberts, one-half Choctaw, became Chief in April 1978 after the death of C. David Gardner. 

His term as chief ended when he was convicted of one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse and two counts of Abusive Sexual Contact.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore@jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

For more on the story, see the Friday edition of the McAlester-News Capital

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