Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas recognized at Capitol Day in Austin

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe members, dressed in their traditional regalia, dance on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Texas state legislators recognized members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas at the State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 7, as part of the Tribe’s Capitol Day.

The Tribal Council, along with members of the Tribe and some elected officials from Polk County and the surrounding counties, traveled to Austin from their Reservation near Livingston, and were recognized from the floor of the Senate by State Senator Robert Nichols (Texas District 3) and from the floor of the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Trent Ashby (Texas House District 57).

Principal Chief Donnis Battise, known as Mikko Kanicu, and Second Chief Millie Thompson Williams, known as Mikko Atokla, were accompanied by several Tribe members as they were recognized by the Senate and House members.

Alabama-Coushatta Principal Chief Donnis Battise stands to be recognized from the Texas Senate gallery on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Afterward, the Tribe hosted lunch on the Capitol grounds where they also performed several traditional dances that were accompanied by drums. Information about the Tribe’s history, such as basket-weaving and arts, were on display for guests at the luncheon.

“This is a great opportunity for us to share with legislators from throughout Texas about our history and our contributions to Texas and the state’s economy,” said Ricky Sylestine, chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, prior to the Capitol Day event. “We appreciate the opportunity to help those who are serving in the Legislature learn about our Tribe. We also look forward to visiting with them about Naskila Casino and its critical importance to the East Texas economy.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in Texas, located on approximately 10,200 acres near Livingston. The Tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,400 Tribal members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The Tribe is governed by an elected Tribal Council and advised by the Principal Chief and Second Chief.

The Tribe operates Naskila Casino, an electronic bingo facility on the Reservation. Naskila is the second-largest employer in Polk County and responsible for more than 700 jobs. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of the Tribe to offer electronic bingo on the Reservation.


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