MARKSVILLE, La. – The Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council met on Friday, August 23, 2013, to select a replacement for the position of Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in wake of the recent passing of Chairman Earl Barbry, Sr. In accordance with the tribe’s Constitution, the Tribal Council was required to fill the vacancy with one of the remaining Council members or officers. Former Vice-Chairman Marshall Pierite will assume the duties and title of Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana effective immediately. Chairman Pierite was sworn into office at the Tribe’s General Membership meeting held on Saturday, August 24, 2013 by Judge Angelo Piazza.
Chairman Pierite served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a young man. He began his career with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana in June of 1988 as Contract Care Medical Clerk. From there he was promoted to Social Services Director and has served in the position for more than twenty years providing assistance and guidance to tribal families in times of need who faced challenging social, medical and economic struggles.
Pierite has been elected to several positions on the Tribal Council over the course of his 20 years in Tribal office, first as Council Member at Large (7 years), Secretary-Treasurer (4 years), Vice-Chairman (9 years), and now as Chairman of the Tribe. Over the last four years and especially over the last 18 months as Chairman Barbry’s health deteriorated, Chairman Pierite has assumed more responsibilities relating to federal and national issues of interest to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and all of Indian Country across the United States. He has visited and consulted with Tribal leaders throughout the United States to foster a groundswell of support for protection of Native American rights and sovereignty. In addition, he has developed strategic relationships with existing Representatives and Senators in the U.S. Congress.
Chairman Pierite has stated that he wants to focus on a unification of tribal goals with the help of the entire Tribe, having all members work together cooperatively to bring continued prosperity to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. His term will expire in April 2014. He will finish out the remaining term of former Chairman Earl Barbry, Sr.
With the appointment of Chairman Pierite to the Tribe’s top leadership position, the office of Vice-Chairman remained open and had to be filled by the Tribal Council from among the remaining leaders. Council Member Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr. was selected to move into the position of Vice-Chairman. He was also installed at the meeting on Saturday, August 24, and he will serve out the remaining 2 years and 8 months of the office of Vice-Chairman. His term will not expire until April 2016.
Vice-Chairman Sampson has served on the Tribal Council as a Council Member at Large since the spring of 1997, a little over 16 years. He is a graduate of Southwestern University of Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has been employed by Paragon Casino since its opening in June 1994, and he now holds the position of Assistant General Manager of Operations. Sampson has served on numerous community and pan-Native American boards on local and regional levels.
About the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe
The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is a federally recognized tribe with a reservation within the boundaries of Louisiana. The tribe owns and operates the Paragon Casino Resort, the largest employer in Central Louisiana.
The tribe also runs the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Political Action Committee (TBIPAC) that helps state and national legislators understand the importance of the tribe and the role it can play in the economic well-being of the state and its citizens.
The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe has donated over $3,000,000 since 1994 to various non-profit organizations on the local, regional and national level. In addition to monetary contributions, Paragon Casino Resort employees have also volunteered their time and talents to local community organizations.
For more information on the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe visit www.tunicabiloxi.org and more information on the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Political Action Committee www.tbipac.org.