NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma turned over control of an Okmulgee physical rehabilitation hospital to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Monday.
OU President David Boren and tribal Chief George Tiger finalized the sale of the Okmulgee-based George Nigh Rehabilitation Center at a signing ceremony Monday at OU. The $1 million sale marks the first time a public university in Oklahoma has transferred a property to an American Indian nation.
The tribe owns several medical facilities in towns throughout northeastern Oklahoma, including health centers in Eufaula, Coweta, Okemah, Okmulgee, Sapulpa and Wetumka.
During the ceremony, Boren praised the tribe's health care system, saying he expected the hospital would enhance and expand the tribe's existing health care services. The tribe has done an “exceptional” job improving the quality of life for people in the 11 counties it covers, he said.
“The Creek Nation has brought health care to all the people in its boundaries,” Boren said. “We're placing this facility in the right hands.”
During the ceremony, Tiger said the tribe appreciates the opportunity to work with OU. He praised the tribe's National Council and the Oklahoma Legislature for their work in working out the transfer.
“We're pleased that this day has come, and we're looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with the University of Oklahoma,” Tiger said.