Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Regains Ownership of Ancestral Lands

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana reached an agreement with the City of Marksville to regain control of ancient burial grounds and surrounding lands.

For more high-res images, click here.

Marksville, La. – Sept 23, 2022 The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and the City of Marksville signed an agreement transferring ownership of the Marksville Historic State Park back to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. The park is the location of sacred Native American burial grounds containing ancestral remains from Tunica-Biloxi citizens that once inhabited the area. The Tribe plans to update and restore the property while also maintaining the grounds and educating the public on the cultural significance of the park.

“Regaining ownership of this land and expanding public access to Tunica-Biloxi citizens is integral to the continued mission of Tribal leadership,” said Earl Barbry, Jr., Tunica-Biloxi Director of Community Planning “This land has significant cultural value for our community, and we are pleased to continue preserving our rich culture and heritage on this site.”

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will restore The Historic State Park and generate continued awareness of the storied history of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. The site’s cultural significance is a driving force for the revitalization and beautification of this park. This project will also benefit the Tribe’s museum-focused tourism campaign and generate employment opportunities for tribal citizens and the surrounding community while bringing awareness to the Tribe’s history. 

“This site is of significant value to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe as part of our storied history here in Louisiana,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “Prior Tribal leadership worked for many years to restore this sacred place to the Tribe, and we are pleased to once again be caretakers of our native lands.”

“The City of Marksville has long been a partner with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana,” said Marksville Mayor John H. Lemoine. “This alliance reflects just another chapter in the Tribe’s ancestral history here in Marksville and their work to support this community.”

The 42-acre Marksville State Historic Site is located on a bluff overlooking the Old River, adjacent to the town of Marksville. Archaeologists consider this prehistoric Native American ceremonial center to be of unique significance. The Marksville culture, a southeastern variant of the Hopewell culture centered in Ohio and Illinois, was characterized by elaborate mortuary ceremonialism, the construction of conical burial mounds, complex trade networks, decorative pottery and the importation of certain raw materials. It is also possible that this is the site of agriculture of a limited nature, such as the horticulture of native plants.

Although archaeological sites had been recognized throughout this area for many years, it was not until 1926 that the importance of the Marksville site was established. In that year, Gerald Fowke of the Smithsonian Institute conducted the first scientific investigation of the area and produced a detailed map of the Marksville site. In 1933, James A. Ford, an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University, and F. M. Setzler, also of the Smithsonian Institute, uncovered evidence that connected Marksville to the development of the Hopewell culture, which was then known to be based primarily in Ohio.

The Indian Mound, which is the main portion of the Marksville site, is surrounded by semi-circular earthwork which is 3,300 feet long and ranges from 3 to 7 feet in height. The open side of the enclosure is the edge of a bluff along the Old River. Openings in the earthwork, one on the western side and two on the southern end, suggest that its purpose was ceremonial rather than defensive. This enclosure probably was built to delineate a special area where the dead were buried, and formal affairs were conducted. Six mounds of various sizes and shapes are located within the main enclosure, and others are built outside of it. The Marksville State Historic Site was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1964, and thus joined a select group of properties that have since been recognized for their importance in American history.

It is estimated that this land has not been in the possession of a Native American nation since the early 1800s. The late Earl Barbry Sr was the first tribal chairman to try to regain possession of this land. However, the only terms Chairman Barbry was able to obtain involved the city of Marksville leasing said land back to the Tunica-Biloxi nation. This did not satisfy the chairman’s desire. So, after decades and multiple generations of tribal chairmen and state governors, both sides finally came together to execute this transfer of land ownership.

Tunica-Biloxi Homecoming Schedule

Yoroniku-Halayihku Riyaka

(Tunica-Biloxi Homecoming)

Saturday, September 24, 2022 ~ 11AM-7PM

Tunica-Biloxi Gym and Chief Joseph Alcide Pierite Pow Wow Grounds


  • 10:30 AM Gym Doors & Registration Open
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Welcome Ceremony
    • General Welcome – John Barbry
    • Prayer and Welcome Song (Gym)
    • Greetings & Remarks – Chairman Pierite & Tunica-Biloxi Council
    • 41st Anniversary of Federal Acknowledgement
    • Victory Song
  • 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM Acknowledgment of 2022 High School, College, & Kindergarten Graduates (Gym) – Joanie & Katie Arteta
  • 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch (Gym)
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Pow Wow Dance Exhibition & Round Dance (Gym)
  • 3:15 PM – 5:00 PM Youth Amusement – Water slides and Bounce Houses (Pow Wow Grounds)
  • 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM Youth Stickball& Cornhole Games (Pow Wow Grounds)
  • 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM Talking Circle and Mixer with Elders & Adults (Multi-purpose Room @ Gym)
  • 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Dessert Contest (Multi-purpose Room @ Gym)
    • Categories include Cobbler, Cake and Pie.
    • Participants must bring two of their entry.
    • Youth category ages 10-16 and Adult category 17+
  • 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Bingo (Gym)
  • 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM Dinner (Gym) 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM

LCRP to Host 6th Annual Intertribal Basketry Summit

Saturday, October 29, 2022 ∞ 9am-4pm
Paragon Ballroom, Paragon Casino Resort
711 Paragon Place, Marksville, Louisiana, 71351

The Tunica-Biloxi Language & Culture Revitalization Program extends an open invitation to basket weavers for a day of weaving. Weavers from regional Native American communities will be demonstrating southeast basket traditions using long leaf pine needle, river cane, and palmetto.

The Summit will be an informal forum allowing weavers to talk about their own technique and elements of their culture represented in the craft. Beginners and observers are encouraged to attend.

The Summit is open to the public. Registration fee is $25. Lunch will be served. Space is limited. Participants must register in advance by contacting Julia Barry at jbarry@tunica.org or (318) 240-6431.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to Auction Vehicles and Generator

The Tunica Biloxi Tribe is taking bids on the following items:

2007 Rockwood Travel Trailer
Model M-8315SS
Minimum Bid $5000.00

The tribe is not responsible for any taxes owed on the unit in order to obtain a title through DMV. It can be seen at the maintenance department on the reservation.

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2006 Timberlodge Travel Trailer
Minimum Bid $500.00

The trailer has never been titled with the Louisiana DMV so the sale will be executed with a Bill of Sale. The tribe is not responsible for any taxes owed on the unit in order to obtain a title through DMV. It can be seen at the maintenance department on the reservation.

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Libby Corporation Generator Set on Trailer
Model# MEP 009B
Minimum Bid $500

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All items are “as is” sales. There are no warranties, written or implied.

Sealed bids can be dropped off Monday thru Friday by calling Byron Rachal @ (318) 264-1362.

Sealed bids can also be mailed to:
Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
Attn: Byron Rachal
P.O. Box 1589
Marksville, LA 71351

All bids must be received by Friday, September 16, 2022, before 4:30 pm.

Message from the Tribal Council: State of Heath Within the Native American Community

It’s come to the Tribal Council’s attention that a recent national report says the life expectancy rates for Americans is on the decline. Native American populations had the greatest decrease in that report, with our average life expectancy now standing at age 65, nine years less than those for the total American population. This is troubling news indeed, but unfortunately comes as no surprise.  

It is a well-established fact that Native Americans are marginalized in many aspects, especially when it comes to healthcare. Historically, Native Americans have long experienced a different healthcare reality and overall health outcomes when compared to other Americans. Typically, these outcomes are adversely impacted by system-wide inadequate access to comprehensive health management and preventative care services. Given the higher health status enjoyed by most Americans, the lingering health disparities experienced by Native Americans, including members of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, are troubling – especially those that impact our most vulnerable populations, our Tribal Elders and our Tribal Youth.

The health and wellbeing of our citizens has always been the top priority of Tunica-Biloxi leadership, especially as we continue to navigate the global pandemic. We have taken several steps to address immediate issues while building the foundation for long-term, permanent solutions. I want to encourage our Tribal citizens to remember that true health begins at home – with healthy living decisions and diet. Additionally, the importance of tending to our mental health cannot be overstated.

As you may know, Tribal leadership has compiled extensive programming to support our citizens and their families under the direction of the Indian Health Services, including behavioral healthcare services, immunizations, dental care, elder care and more. We have also established a full-service medical clinic that offers a wide range of clinical services such as physical examinations, laboratory testing, medical management, blood pressure and diabetic treatment. Our hope is to take a holistic approach to meet and exceed the healthcare needs of our tribal citizens and families.

Our population has long been exposed to trials and tribulations that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy and stress-free life. Still, I encourage our community to embrace smart decisions that return to Mother Earth and utilize her natural means for healthy living while developing coping mechanisms to help deal with day-to-day stresses. It’s important for Native Americans to continue to connect to the natural world and to embrace their true purpose in the Earthly Kingdom.

For more information on our healthcare services, contact Cameron Chase, Director of the Health Department, at cchase@tunica.org or at (318) 240-6437.

Pierite Brothers Share Accomplishments, Rich History of Service.

Tunica-Biloxi tribal citizens and brothers Chairman Marshall Pierite, and Tribal Chief of Police Harold Pierite, Sr. shared cultural insights and their paths to becoming pillars within the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe during an interview with Karl Lengal, host of the Louisiana Considered radio show on WWNO 89.9.

The brothers shared stories of their childhood and how their experiences transformed the brothers into the dedicated leaders they are today.

The interview comes as the brothers continue to receive regional and national attention for their accomplishments. Chairman Pierite was recognized by the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) this spring as their 2022 Tribal Leader of the Year, and Chief Harold Pierite was inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame during a public ceremony in June.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Public Notice: TIP Control Schedule is Available for Review

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Transportation Program (TIP) Control Schedule for FY2022 through FY2025 has been developed and is available for public review/comment. The TTP Control Schedule can be reviewed or copies can be obtained at the Tunica-Biloxi Director of Land and Facilities’ office located in the Tunica-Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center (CERC) at 150 Melacon Road, Marksville, Louisiana 71351.

Any comments/questions about the Control Schedule for FY2022 through FY2025 may be sent to Ron Bordelon, Director of Land and Facilities at rbordelon@tunica.org until September 9, 2022.

Paragon Casino Resort unveils new games, amenities in their 28th year

Marksville, La. – (August 25, 2022) Paragon Casino Resort is revving up for a high-volume fall season with 150 new gaming machines on the casino floor. This influx of new machines features the latest gaming technology, featured in both “bingo-style” and “Las Vegas-style” slot machines, in addition to a series of entertainment-focused enhancements Paragon Casino Resort has implemented over the last five years. Paragon Casino Resort is the only casino to offer its players both styles of gaming machines in the state of Louisiana.

“Paragon Casino Resort is continuously exploring new technology and revitalizing our offerings to enhance the gaming experience of our guests,” said Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr., General Manager of Paragon Casino Resort. “With the recent upgrades to our gaming floor and other areas of our campus, Paragon Casino Resort is ready to welcome both regular visitors and new guests this fall.”     

The acquisition of new gaming machines has been a long-term project for Paragon Casino Resort. From the onset, Paragon Casino Resort meticulously researched the latest in gaming technology and sought out highly popular slot machines such as the Cashnado and the Lantern of Destiny on Flex, a pair of video slot machines offering huge progressive jackpots. Additionally, Paragon Casino Resort is currently acquiring the newest bingo-style slots including some of the most popular games such as Crazy Cherry Jewel Hunt, Mr. Money Bags and the Polar High Roller Jewel Hunt, to add to the variety of its offerings.

The new gaming machines will replace 15 percent of the estimated 1,000 total machines currently on the casino floor. Players will be able to experience an assortment of gaming favorites, including the highly-anticipated Wealth of Coins Dancing Lion and Golden Blessings.

In addition to updating its sizeable selection of gaming offerings, Paragon Casino Resort became a forerunner in diversifying gaming offerings in Louisiana with the addition of in-person sports betting. In October 2021, Paragon Casino Resort in partnership with Betfred Sports was the first facility to allow on-site sports betting in Louisiana.

“In-person sports betting and our new machines have opened a new realm of opportunity for Paragon Casino Resort, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and players within Louisiana,” said Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, which owns Paragon Casino Resort. “Paragon Casino Resort now offers a robust gaming experience with the latest gaming technology and hardware to all guests.”

In addition to sports betting, Paragon Casino Resort has seen several physical upgrades over the past year, including the opening of the Draft Room, a 600-square-foot sports bar boasting wall-to-wall sports and gaming options and a North Tower hotel renovation with a relaxed yet modern aesthetic to accommodate overnight guests.


About Paragon Casino Resort

Since opening its doors in 1994, The Paragon Casino Resort has strived to become the most entertaining gaming destination in the South. The facilities feature an impressive lineup of luxury amenities and attractions, including over 1,000 slot machines and over 35 tables on a 64,000-square-foot gaming floor; a hotel with more than 500 rooms; a full-service spa and salon; an 18-hole golf course with a fully stocked pro-shop and grillroom; indoor tropical pool; a soaring bayou themed atrium complete with a live alligator habitat; a three-screen cinema; restaurants; bars; full-service top rated RV resort; Kids Quest child care activity center; Cyber Quest arcade and over 75,000 square feet of meeting space including an expansive showroom hosting concerts and conventions. Over the years, the Paragon facilities have made a significant economic impact on central Louisiana. Currently, the Paragon employs over 700 associates. To learn more about how to participate in sports betting at the casino resort and to experience the rest of Paragon’s amenities, visit www.paragoncasinoresort.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To book a stay at the Paragon Resort or learn more, call (318) 253-1946 or 1-800-946-1946.

Learning Enrichment Program Open to Tribal Elders in Pursuit of Lifelong Learning

PURPOSE: To create lifelong learning that encourages continued brain health and stimulation for our elders. Research has shown that lifelong learning can result in less memory loss and fewer cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So important for our elders to stay actively engaged, mentally, physically and socially. Continued health and wellness for our elders is our goal.

COURSE EXAMPLES: Baking, basket weaving, cooking, creative writing, gardening, interior design and staging, drawing, jewelry making/beading, music instrument, nutrition, painting, photography, poetry, pottery, quilting, sewing, woodworking, writing


  • Must be a tribal member
  • Must be 55+
  • Have not applied for the program within the current year

MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT: $500 per year (Course/materials) – must provide the following:

  • Course registration/documentation
  • Receipts
  • Certification of completion

*The Elders Enrichment Learning is a pilot program and will be determined on a first come, first serve basis, due to limited funds. And therefore, applications will be approved, so long as funds are available. If the program is successful, we will seek additional resources that may help fund this program for future years to come.

Any member who willfully violates the rules of the program, could be prevented from participating in future programs.

Click here for the application.

Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana Open to Tribal Members Looking for Workforce Opportunities

The Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana is a workforce development organization designed to develop the academic and occupational needs of American Indian people living in Louisiana. The ITCLA provides comprehensive employment and training activities in order to make individuals more competitive in the workforce; and promote economic and social development in accordance with the goals and values of consortium member tribes, including the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.

Some of the many services and training that the ITCLA offer include:

  • Online local tribal job listings
  • Job counseling, job placement assistance and referrals
  • Job readiness skills courses
  • Adult basic education, literacy, math skills and GED preparation
  • Youth employment programs
  • Financial aid and planning
  • Food and nutrition services

To learn more about what the ITCLA has to offer, click here.