Phillip Martin is the democratically elected Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a federally-recognized American Indian tribe of 9,100 enrolled members living on or near 35,000 acres of reservation land in east central Mississippi. Martin has a 45-year record of service and leadership in the Tribal government, including having served as Tribal Chief since 1979. Chief Martin is currently serving his seventh consecutive four-year term.
Nationally, Mr. Martin has served as president of the National Tribal Chairmen’s Association, and president of United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET), an association of the 23 federally-recognized tribes in the eastern portion of the U.S. Martin founded the USET organization in 1969. He was the first president of the Board of Regents of Haskell Indian Junior College, between 1970 and 1976 (now Haskell Indian Nations University). In that period Mr. Martin worked with other tribal leaders to acquire and maintain accreditation for Haskell, and to improve campus facilities, including construction of dormitories, a cafeteria, resource center, and field house. In 1992, Mr. Martin founded the United South and Eastern Tribes Gaming Association. He currently presides over the organization.
Locally, Chief Martin serves the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on numerous Boards of Directorship. During his tenure as Tribal Chief, Mr. Martin has established many successful Tribally-owned and operated businesses and service operations, most of which are located on the Choctaw Indian Reservation, and some of which are located in Mexico and in major cities across North America. The result has been the creation of a very strong and widely diversified local economy, with the Tribe now ranking among Mississippi’s three largest employers.
A strong and well-known advocate for education, Chief Martin serves on the Advisory Committee for the Division of Technology, Mississippi State University, Meridian Branch. He has also established the Choctaw Tribal Scholarships Program to ensure that all Mississippi Choctaw students can attend the colleges and universities of their choice.
During his tenure as Tribal Chief, Phillip Martin has helped to create approximately 9,000 permanent, full-time jobs on the reservation. Chief Martin’s business savvy and leadership skills have propelled the Tribe to the forefront of economic development in the Southeast. The Tribe is the largest employer in east central Mississippi, and among the three largest employers in the State. The Tribe’s achievements under Martin’s leadership have been the subject of major magazine features, newspaper articles, and books in the recent past.