Another Reflection on Chief Phillip Martin

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

There are many ways people describe Chief Phillip Martin in regards to him as a leader and simply as a human being.

"Very prominent, very powerful, very personable individual who made ya laugh, but who also was very seriousness about the business of his people and making this area prosperous," remembers Philadelphia Mayor James Young.

His accomplishments as Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are countless. James Young, the Mayor of Philadelphia, considers Martin's accomplishments not just countless, but also admirable.

"I think of progressive innovator. One who has taken the rural area and did some things that people didn't think could be done in this part of the state," says Mayor Young.

Philadelphia is a neighboring city of the reservation. As mayor of the city, Young has seen Martin's work throughout the reservation spread beyond its boundaries.

"The industry, the casinos, the thousands of people that were employed by his vision and his hard work fed a lot of people in this county and city."

And it's Martin's hard work that stands out for so many. Cyrus Ben is a Pearl River Tribal Council Representative. Through the eyes of a young tribal member, he says Martin's dedication is what led him to accomplishing so -called impossible goals.

"I believe he was a very determined guy. When he set goals, he worked hard and did whatever it took to obtain those goals," remembers Representative Ben.

Those goals go back many years. Chief Martin led years of economic development within the tribe and is credited for much of the economic success that followed. Representative Ben took note of the changes that have been made over time throughout the reservation.

"Just watching the steps of thirty years of progress that was made. I think it's hard to sum up in a few words, but he goes back into the founding fathers of Native America such as Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Chief Red Cloud, Geronimo, and then the likes of presidential leadership of JFK."

Like Representative Ben and so many others would say, Chief Martin was a man rich in history.

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  • by Mikal Jibril Location: St.Louis,Missouri on Feb 18, 2010 at 06:49 PM
    As a member of the extended family of a Choctaw Tribe member(s)(namely, Olester Hall Culberson and LaMar Hall)I am drawn to current news about the Tribe and Nation. I am deeply saddened by the death of such an important man, who I think I briefly met over the phone circa 1986 or '87. His information he gave me and his contact with the proper department, gave me a free subscription to your great newspaper: The Choctaw Community News. I have since moved and I would like to get another subscription to my current adress. Wish me luck, as I intend to contact the Choctaw Nation Of Oklahoma on tomorrow for that purpose. Maybe they can give me the telephone number of the reservation there in Choctaw, Philadelphia, Mississippi. To all you internet chatophiles out there this is an open invite for your friendship via email. You can find my email address in the heading, and also here; it is: Thankx a million and I hope to hear from my Choctaw brothers and sisters.
  • by has to be said Location: philadelphia on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:06 PM
    Why can't people just reflect and appreciate what this man has done over the course of his life. So what if you didn't personally agree with some of the decisions he made. he worked hard & it benefitted this area as a whole. He accomplished alot and deserves the praise he receives. He did not force any family member to spend the family income at the casinos. That family member has their own mind and decided on his/her own to spend the money. and if you want to look at both sides, then look at the side of how many people are employed at the casino. if that wasn't there, do you know how many people would be out there searching for work? its people like you that stand in your own way or other people's way and won't allow yourself to grow and develop into someone better than you are today. but he didn't let people like you to stand in his way. This man is no longer here. Now is not the time to verbally bash him or the decisions he made. Have some respect for yourself and his family
  • by Jessica Location: Rome, GA on Feb 9, 2010 at 06:55 AM
    I am sad to say that we have lost a great leader. His vision of "self-determination" has gone beyond his, mine, and my grandparents (R.I.P) than what we've imagined. I am proud to say, I was under a great leader who led the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians out of poverty and into what we are today! What we stand for today and being led by another great leader Miko Beasley Denson speaks for itself! I am proud to say that "I am a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians!"
  • by are you serious on Feb 8, 2010 at 09:44 AM
  • by bh Location: meridian, s on Feb 8, 2010 at 07:09 AM
    much is being sain o wtok about chief martain. there is in my opinion, too much praise. Lets look at another side f his life. How mny famiies have been hurt by the loss of the family income at the cosinos.Ths is nothing to prise anyone about. Wtok never metins this. Come on Rachael, give both sies.
  • by Anonymous Location: Neshoba on Feb 6, 2010 at 09:27 PM
    The Choctaw people have lost a find man who really cared for his people I always loved to hear him at the choctaw Indian fair he always told some funny joke i didn't know him personly but i have seen him at wal mart and spoke to him he always spoke to everyone he was a very nice man i want to tell his family that my prayers are with you at the this time of lost may God Bless You ...............
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