Chief Martin begins seventh term
INAUGURAL CEREMONY Bill Brewton, left, and Ken Jones are welcomed by Chief Phillip Martin before ceremonies during which the chief was sworn in for his seventh consecutive term as head of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The ceremony took place at the Silver Star Hotel &Casino, part of the Choctaws' Pearl River Resort. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 2, 2003
In the beginning, Phillip Martin never predicted he would serve seven terms in office.
But the chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians was sworn in for another four years Tuesday night at the Silver Star Hotel &Casino a symbol of the economic powerhouse he has created since he was elected in 1979.
Martin, 77, is the chief executive officer of the Choctaw Tribal Government. The Choctaw Indian Reservation spans 35,000 acres in 10 counties. Tribal government headquarters are in Pearl River, one of seven officially recognized Choctaw Indian communities.
Pam Diaz, a worker with Choctaw Social Services, and Maurice Calistro, director of Choctaw Social Services, said they are excited about another four years of Martin's leadership.
At the inauguration and swearing-in ceremony, the two women and members of the local Boys and Girls Club helped serve the tribal elders dinner.
Martin said he has a good track record and the people wanted to continue the growth not only with the Pearl River Resort, but within the tribal community.
He said one of the goals of the next four years will be to bring "brand name" businesses to the area, such as the Hard Rock Cafe &Beach Club that opened this summer next to the resort's Geyser Falls Water Theme Park.
Martin won his seventh term of office in tribal elections on June 10. He received 64 percent of the vote and the majority in all seven Choctaw communities.
In his inaugural address, Martin pledged to continue work toward other goals of growth, including construction of a new school in the Pearl River community; a new Choctaw medical complex; new home construction; a new day care center; and road improvements.