Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is the only federally recognized Native American Tribe in the State of Mississippi. With an enrolled membership of over 11,100 people, many generations of Tribal members continue to call the Mississippi lands once occupied by their ancestors – home.
Leading the way now is the Tribe’s fifth democratically elected Tribal Chief, Cyrus Ben. A 17-member Tribal Council, the legislative branch, and Chief Ben, the executive branch, together govern the members of Mississippi Choctaws in eight communities on 35,000 acres of Tribal lands.
The Tribe’s commercial, industrial, and private properties are protected by a fully equipped and highly trained fire department that trains in multiple rescue disciplines and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The most well known Tribal enterprise is the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, MS, which encompasses the Silver Star and Golden Moon Hotels and Casinos and the Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville, MS. These Vegas-style properties are frequented by guests throughout the world and rank with the very best in offering unique restaurants, sportsbook, day spa, retail shopping, along with the dynamic action of the casino floor. The Dancing Rabbit Golf Club has two nationally ranked courses designed by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate. The Geyser Falls Water Theme Park attracts capacity crowds for family fun in its seasonal operations.
All funds received from various Tribal enterprises are applied to benefit the people and the community and to the maintenance and expansion of Tribal infrastructure. Law Enforcement, a function contracted away from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1985, is now operated by the Tribe. The Department of Public Safety now employs more than 130 Tribal law enforcement and detention center personnel including uniformed police officers, canine officers, investigators, administrative positions, wildlife and parks, animal control, adult and juvenile detention center staff. All equal in training and quality to any in the state.
Choctaw now has the nation’s largest tribally operated educational system. This comprehensive program begins with early childhood education and continues through quality elementary, junior high, and high school. The school system has prepared thousands of young Choctaw men and women to attend college through scholarships funded by the Tribe. To date, through earned gaming dollars, the Tribe has paid more than $55 Million in tuition for Tribal members.
With the growing percentage of college educated Tribal members, Choctaw pursuits have become increasingly high-tech. In 2005, the Tribe formally dedicated a 154-acre TechParc development as a base for high-tech entrepreneurs. The TechParc is home to customized training programs that further enhance the tech skills of the Choctaw workforce. All told, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has become a recognized force for economic growth in the state and is one of Mississippi’s top employers.
The Mississippi Choctaws are a people who have learned to make free enterprise and the growing sophistication in the political and bureaucratic process work for the betterment of the Tribe, neighbors, and the nation.
And again, we stand upon the lands that were ours before the first Europeans encountered our ancestors, embracing change that benefits our people while retaining the traditions and character that defines who we are.