Martin Laid to Rest

The funeral for former Choctaw chief, Phillip Martin, was held Monday at his home church in his home community in Neshoba County.

Martin suffered a massive heart attack last week and died a few days later. He was 83 years old.

The Air Force veteran was given a 21-gun salute. But the part of his life spent in service to the Choctaw people will be especially remembered.

The beat of a single drum ushered in the Martin family. Students from Tucker Elementary School, where Martin attended classes, lined the highway, and hundreds gathered at Holy Rosary Catholic Church to bid a final farewell to the man known by many simply as 'Chief'.'

Martin's wife of more than 50 years, Bonnie, and their two daughters were joined by hundreds who gathered to reflect on Martin's life and legacy. Among those was U.S Representative Gregg Harper, Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant and Philadelphia Mayor James Young, along with a host of other state, local and tribal dignitaries from around the nation.

'The vision Chief Martin had helped to form the United South Eastern Tribes. It grew from 4 original tribes into 25 recognized tribes, federally recognized from Florida to Maine. That is vision," said Brian Patterson, president of the United South and Eastern Tribes.

Speakers were set up outside the sanctuary to allow those on the outside to hear the service. For about two hours, people filed into the church to pay final respects to the man many credit with taking the Choctaw Tribe from poverty to prosperity.

"He's done a lot for the tribe," said current chief, Miko Beasley Denson. "I'm happy that he gave me an opportunity. A lot of him is part of me. I worked for him for 35 years and he was a great man."

Martin was buried at Holy Rosary Cemetery next to the church.

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  • by tushkaloosa Location: neshoba on Feb 10, 2010 at 02:48 PM
    Beasley is just like his daddy Phillip. All they ever cared about was taking care of their families, the people that took care of them and selling out the rest of the Choctaw People!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Justin Donald Location: Philadelphia on Feb 10, 2010 at 01:34 PM
    Chief Martin was a great great man. NO words will describe how awesome he was. His legacy will always remain in Philadelphia and Neshoba county. He will be greatly missed by everyone. If only he had been president of U.S. that would have even been better.
  • by Anonymous Location: Neshoba on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:55 AM
    Miko Phillip Martin, may you rest in peace.Even though you are gone from us physically but spiritually your legacy will remain here forever.As for the current Miko, what you are saying is you are alot like him that is not the case.You are constantly destroying and lacking a true respect of what Phillip did.Shame on you for your actions and your choice of words.There will never be another Phillip Martin so stop trying.If you're not careful, you will be the indian version of Bernie Madoff so think before you say anything on television about being alot like someone when you're really not.
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