The Chickasaw Nation has survived despite attempts throughout history to destroy or undermine its sovereignty. That's why positive interactions with the U.S. Government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs benefit everyone. On the local level, the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police maintains partnerships with adjacent law enforcement jurisdictions. The Chickasaw Nation also has its own executive, legislative and judicial branches, and all Chickasaw citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote.
Self-governance is an exercise of sovereignty, but it's more than just that. Thomas John, Undersecretary of Community Services for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Community Services, describes how it gives the tribes the legal authority to assume the operation of federal programs, allowing each tribe to tailor and execute each program to best fit the needs of its citizens.