Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Elects Vice-Chairman; Tribal Council Members

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has announced the re-election of Vice-Chairman Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr., and Council Member-At-Large James Craig III, plus newly-elected Dr. Julie Zahn as a Tribal Council Member-At-Large in an election held last week.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribal elections are held every two years and elected officials on the Tribal Council serve four-year terms. Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite expressed his gratitude to past and newly-elected Council Members: “Last weekend’s election illustrates the ever-changing nature of government. As we bid farewell to Council Member Harold Pierite, we welcome the fresh perspective of Dr. Julie Zahn. In every transition, we recognize that as one chapter closes, new pathways emerge, offering avenues for growth and advancement. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to all the candidates for their courage to run, and I eagerly anticipate the remarkable achievements awaiting us in the future.”

“I am blessed to continue to serve the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and our Tribal citizens who reside across the country,” said Tunica-Biloxi Vice-Chairman Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr. “Our citizens have placed great trust in me, and I look forward to continue working in tandem with Chairman Pierite and all Tribal leadership toward our collective goals.”

Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr. has served on the Tribal Council as a Council Member-at-Large since the spring of 1997 and most recently, as Vice-Chairman. Over the years he has worked on budgeting, educational development, political development and community development and has experience in marketing, operations, budgeting, employee training, business development, community relations and expense control. Sampson has more than 27 years of experience in Tribal government operations, gaming operations, information systems, marketing and hospitality administration. An employee of the Paragon Casino Resort since 1995, Sampson now holds the position of General Manager.

“I am thankful that the Tunica-Biloxi citizens have chosen me to serve on their Tribal Council once again. We have plenty of work ahead of us, but I see a bright future in store of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana,” said Tribal Council Member-At-Large James Craig, III.

James Craig III, Tribal Councilman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, exemplifies profound dedication to tribal heritage and national service. Born and raised in Chicago, a city rich with his tribe’s traditions, Craig has become a pivotal figure in cultural preservation and community service. His election on April 5, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, marked the commencement of a leadership tenure characterized by resilience and a deep understanding of tribal sovereignty. He actively contributes to the Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Authority Board, the Tribal Gaming Protection Network Board of Directors, and the Administration for Children & Families Tribal Advisory Committee, vigorously upholding the tribe’s principle of “Cherishing our past and building for our future.”

Craig’s distinguished military career spans 21 years, beginning with his enlistment on January 8, 2003. After undergoing rigorous training at Ft. Benning, GA, he was stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI. His service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom earned him the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, highlighting his valor and dedication. Following his active duty, which concluded in June 2009, Craig continued his service with the Air Force Reserves and the Illinois Army National Guard, focusing on security operations and intelligence analysis. Beyond his military career, he has applied his leadership skills at prominent companies such as Bank of America, MB Financial, Fifth Third Bank, and Harley Davidson. His extensive travels across more than twenty countries and attainment of over forty certifications in both military and tribal governance underscore his commitment to lifelong learning and leadership. Residing in Marksville, LA, on the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Reservation, Craig’s leadership and experiences continue to drive significant initiatives for reclaiming ancestral territories and strengthening the tribe’s future foundations.

Tribal Council Member-At-Large Julie Zahn added, “Although I am the newest member of the Tribal Council, I intend to leave a lasting legacy of success for this council and for generations to come. I am excited to see how we excel, together.”

Dr. Julie Zahn is the Education Program Counselor for the Tunica-Biloxi Education Department at the Houston, Texas, branch office. She previously worked as a teacher, coordinator, and interventionist. Zahn completed her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction/Special Education and researched the educational system in underserved Native American communities. In addition to her doctorate, Zahn holds an Educational Specialist Degree, a Master of Education Degree, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human Services with a certificate in Basic Chemical Dependency. In addition, she has completed a graduate-level Dyslexia program. She recently earned her Board Certification in Special Education and Certification as a Community Health Worker.

During her studies, Zahn completed a counseling internship at one of Texas’s largest substance-use treatment centers for women. She has volunteered at several agencies that help women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

For more information on the Tribal Council, click here.