Former Choctaw Chief Hospitalized


Phillip Martin, the former Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, died Thursday after suffering a massive stroke on Monday.

Phillip Martin, the former chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, has been hospitalized at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson. Martin, 84, held the democratically elected post of the group's chief for 32 years, with his tenure ending in 2007. His condition is unavailable at this time.

Martin led what some have called an economic revolution for the Choctaws in Mississippi, establishing numerous businesses including casino resorts throughout the state.

"Chief Martin has been one of the great path-breakers in the movement of tribal self-determination," Andrew Lee, executive director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development in Cambridge, Mass., told the Associated Press in 2001.

"What he's done is amazing, and it was grounded in the pursuit of self-governance," Lee said. "He was determined to do it his way, the Choctaw way, better than what the government could do."

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Chief Martin passed away last night.

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