Choctaw Proud: Altus Motorsports’ Native American Roots

George Nassaney (left), the owner of Altus Motorsports in Altus, Oklahoma, is a Choctaw Native American, and the word “CHOCKTAW” is featured on the team’s crew shirts. Nassaney’s son Jaret (far right) races in both Liqui Moly Junior Cup and Supersport for the Altus Motorsports team. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

For thousands of years, and long before Europeans came to America, the Choctaw Nation was a tribe of farmers that lived in what is now the Southeastern United States, specifically in the Mississippi River Valley.

But, in 1830, the United States federal government seized the Choctaw’s ancestral territory and sent the tribe on a forced migration to Southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaw people were the first to walk the infamous “Trail of Tears,” and nearly 2,500 members perished along the way.

Today, the Choctaw Nation has grown to more than 200,000 strong and is the third largest tribe in the United States

George Nassaney is not an Oklahoma native by chance, but more accurately, by heritage… and also because our federal government put his ancestors there. Nassaney, who is the owner of Altus Motorsports in Altus, Oklahoma, is a Choctaw Native American who has traced his roots all the way back to the Trail of Tears.

George’s great-great grandmother Lillie Carpenter, who was a Choctaw Native American, married Charles Powell, who was also Choctaw, and they had one child named Julia Powell who was George’s great grandmother. Julia Powell had a daughter named Lorma Montgomery who was George’s grandmother, and her daughter was Joanne Montgomery Payer, George’s mother. And, all of them down the line were part of the Choctaw Nation.

George and his wife Janette have two sons Jordan and Jaret, and since Jaret–who competes in both the Liqui Moly Junior Cup and Supersport series–is the youngest son, he is the last of the Choctaw bloodline that extends back to George’s great-great grandmother Lillie Carpenter.

Ironically, the second rider on the team, Miles Thorton, who races in Supersport, is also of Choctaw descent. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

A couple of years ago, the Nassaneys added rider Miles Thornton to the team. Ironically, while at dinner with Thornton one evening during a race weekend, George and Janette both noticed the Native American tattoo on Thornton’s arm. They then discovered that Thornton’s tattoo is a tribute to his heritage as a member of the Choctaw Nation. Thornton lives in West Point, Georgia, but his Choctaw ancestors are from Durant, Oklahoma, which just so happens to be the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The Choctaws are held together by a cultural bond thousands of years older than the United States itself. The Nassaney family, Altus Motorsports, and Miles Thornton are also woven tightly by the same bond: one built from heritage, ageless Native American culture, and strong ethics derived from hard-working people–perfect attributes for a successful road racing team.