- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DURANT, Okla. (AP) - Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory Pyle is scheduled to formally announce his retirement.

The tribe said this week that Pyle will announce his retirement during a celebration on Thursday in Durant in honor of his 65th birthday.

A spokeswoman for the Choctaw Nation said Pyle was not available for interviews until Thursday, but in a news release he said he intends to spend time with his wife and grandchildren.

“I have enjoyed working with the Council and staff on the many tribal projects and programs. My future is going to be exciting in a whole new way!” Pyle said in the release.

Pyle first joined a tribal ranching board in the 1970s. He later served 13 years as assistant chief and 17 years as chief.

Assistant Chief Gary Batton will succeed Pyle as chief of the Choctaw Nation during a swearing-in ceremony on April 28.

The Choctaw Nation is the third largest tribe in the United States with nearly 200,000 members. Its jurisdiction encompasses several counties in southeast Oklahoma.

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