Miss. Choctaws' 1st female chief swearing-in Tuesday

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Mississippi Band of Choctaws will inaugurate their first female chief this week, with “Our Moment in History” as the theme.

The Tribal Council will hold a closed swearing-in for Phyliss Anderson at 9 a.m., with her official inauguration at 11:30 a.m. in The Arena at Golden Moon Hotel and Casino, the Laurel Leader-Call reported.

Her inaugural parade is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., temporarily closing Highway 16, said Erica Clemmons, spokeswoman for the Pearl River Resort.

The parade route will begin near the Choctaw Central baseball field and travel east to the casino.

The inauguration is to be broadcast live at http://www.livestream/com/mbcinews.

Anderson got 56 percent of the vote last month, receiving 2,139 votes to 1,602 for current chief Beasley Denson and 76 for Shirley Berg.

She also won an earlier runoff against Denson, but it was thrown out because of alleged voting irregularities in the 10-candidate primary.

Denson, who cast the deciding vote to throw out the first election after the Tribal Council deadlocked, conceded in a memo dated Sept. 13, calling on members to give Anderson their full cooperation and support.

“A majority of Choctaw voters have voted for change in leadership and we must honor and respect the majority’s decision,” he wrote. “We are grateful to enjoy a peaceful, representative democracy in the United States and on the Choctaw Indian Reservation. We must uphold and protect those strong democratic values in which the majority rules and promote the best interests of the entire electorate.”