Tunica-Biloxi Veterans Memorial Survey

Greetings Tribal Families,

The Tribe is quite excited to announce the Museum Project Uplift for 2022-23.  It is a positive indication that we are ready to place the last three years of the pandemic in our rearview mirror for good, as we look to the future and moving the tribe forward.  The facelift will include:

·       Updates to the “Memorial Wall” and “Tribal Council Wall” exhibits. 

·       Two new exhibits, featuring “Our Tribal Base Roll” and the “Native American Warrior Wall” will create a beacon of light.  The exhibits recognized those that were instrumental in gaining federal recognition, as well as honoring our native warriors for their unwavering service, as exemplary members and representatives for Indian Country and to all Americans. 

We are aiming for an early 2023 unveiling.  The new exhibits will add an innovative touch and a much-needed improvement, with an emphasis on our Native American culture, leaders and our people.  The museum gift shop is scheduling to open simultaneously and will feature a new online store option.

We are asking our families to help us identify our military warriors, by completing the attached form and submit by November 28th.  List name, military branch, whether active, retired, or deceased, and the time served.  The names and information will appear under the appropriate branch.  For any questions, please email Elder Council Chairwoman, Joanie Arteta, at jarteta@tunica.org.

Many thanks,

Elders Council and Museum Committee

Take the Survey

USDA Takes Steps to Support Food Sovereignty with the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2022 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the tribe seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.

“USDA is excited to partner with the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”

Through the LFPA funds, the tribe will work with tribal government units such as the Social Services Department, Education Department, Health Department, Housing Department, the Tribal Criminal Justice system, and collaborate with state and local agencies to identify underserved farmers and food producers to procure from and distribute the purchased foods to tribal families facing food insecurities.

“Our local farmers and ranchers are proud nutrition providers and critical to our local economy,” said Chairman Marshall Pierite. “We are blessed to announce this government-to-government agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to provide quality local food to those who need it.  Our goal is to bring food sovereignty to those who suffer from food insecurity.”

USDA’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program provides up to $900 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements to enable state, territory, and tribal governments to support local, regional and underserved producers, and maintain or improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination. Funding for the program comes from the American Rescue Plan and the Commodity Credit Corporation.

AMS looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.

More information about the program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.

Chairman Discusses Historic Land Swap

Chairman Marshall Pierite discussed the historic land swap of the Historic Marksville Park on Indian Country Today. Pierite discussed the Tribe’s plans for the 42 acres of land the Tribe recently regained ownership of and the value of their ancestral lands.

Regaining ownership of the park allows Tunica-Biloxi tribal citizens to reconnect with their roots and celebrate culture on the same land their ancestors inhabited.

The journey to obtain this land spans decades, and Chairman Pierite expresses his gratitude that years of hard work finally paid off.

Check out the whole interview here.

Traditional Weaver Shares her Story

Tunica-Biloxi tribal citizen and traditional weaver, Elizabeth Pierite Mora, was interviewed by Karl Lengal on WWNO 89.9 to discuss this year’s Basketry Summit. Pierite Mora highlighted the cultural significance of basket weaving and gave further insight into the traditional tribal craft, including how Tunica-Biloxi basket weaving differs from other tribal weaving.

Listeners learned that baskets from the Tunica-Biloxi tribe are traditionally made from long-leaf pine needles. Although other tribes might use similar materials for basket weaving, tribal basketry is distinguishable by style and technique.

Mora encouraged the public to join the Tunica-Biloxi basket weaving summit to learn through hands-on practice. Tunica-Biloxi encourages indigenous people, youth and the local community to learn about cultural awareness and appreciation. The summit will include a beginner’s class to long-leaf pine needle weaving for those who are just beginning their journey in the craft.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to Host Special, Free Screening

Marksville, Louisiana, October 25, 2022 – On April 26, the state of Israel will be celebrating its 75th birthday. As a leadup to the anniversary, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe will sponsor a free screening of Upheaval: The Journey of Menachem Begin on November 1 at Paragon Cinema in Marksville, Louisiana. Organized by David Sickey of Sickey Global Strategies, an advisor on issues affecting Native Americans, Upheaval tells the story of Menachem Begin, the sixth prime minister of Israel and one of the country’s founders, as well as the history of the nascent nation.

In 2008, when Israel celebrated the 60th anniversary of its birth as a modern nation-state, David

Sickey took note, moved by the young nation’s story of struggle and hard-won independence. Then vice chairman of the Sovereign Nation of Coushatta of Louisiana, one of four federally recognized Native American tribes in Louisiana, Sickey extended a hand to Israel. “The idea came to me how can we come together and celebrate independence, sovereignty, self-determination and a shared spirit of endurance,” said Sickey, who later rose to the chairmanship of the Coushatta, an office he held until last year.

Later that year, in an affirmation ceremony on tribal grounds in Elton, La., he pledged friendship to Israel on behalf of the Coushattas, the first Native American tribe to so honor the young nation. Sickey saw the parallels, he said, in the experiences of Native Americans and those of the Jews who found refuge in Israel under British rule and who later fought for statehood, turning the ancient home of their people into an independent and thriving nation. Like the Israelis, “we have managed to preserve our identity and the language of our ancestors despite challenges and external influences,” he said. “Even though we might not be Jewish or Israeli, we understand what they’ve been through, and we wanted to send a message that we are here to support them.”

Upheaval includes Begin’s meeting in Jerusalem in 1977 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and, later, the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. A turning point for the Jewish state, the treaty was an act of unprecedented courage at a time when Israel was surrounded by countries that wished only for its demise. It was in acts like this, Sickey said, that he found inspiration, calling Begin’s courage and determination a role model for humanity. “He helped create a nation out of wilderness and paved the way for Israel’s founding.”

And soon, on November 1, another outgrowth of the Coushatta-Israel friendship will take shape

at Paragon Cinema at the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s Paragon Casino Resort. When thinking about where to host the screening, Sickey turned to the leadership of the of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, a generous partner that shares its resources and goodwill across the state of Louisiana. “Part of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s mission is to educate others on our rich history and the trials we’ve faced on our journey,” Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr., Vice Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and General Manager of Paragon Casino Resort said. “When the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Paragon Casino Resort are able to assist in telling the stories of others, it is a win for everyone.”

Upheaval doesn’t gloss over the contradictions in Begin’s character or whitewash the controversies that surrounded him, but the message of the film is one of courage, leadership and the lasting impact Begin had on a controversial piece of land less than 20% the size of Louisiana. The screening is being held on November 1 at 7:00 pm at Paragon Cinema in Marksville, Louisiana. Admission is free of charge; registration is required. To register, visit: https://bit.ly/3yt7tyK.

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.