Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to Distribute Sustaining Meals to Tribal Elders

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is shipping healthy meals to their most vulnerable in Louisiana, Texas, Illinois and across nation

MARSKVILLE, LA – (April 16, 2020) – Today, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and its members are proud to announce that tribal elders across the county will be receiving packages of healthy meals which will sustain them for the next 4-5 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shipments are designed to assure the Tribe’s elders remain safe and fed no matter where they are located. As the elder population is one of the most vulnerable to the virus, the Tribal Council felt it was important to facilitate an easy meal distribution to its citizens living away from the Tribe’s reservation, many of them without access to federal services or in areas under curfew which restrict their access to grocery stores nearby. 

“We must continue to do all that we can to support our elders and keep them healthy and safe,” said Tunica-Biloxi Vice Chairman Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr. “As a Tribe, we honor our elders in all that we do. They are our forbearers who have paved the way for our continued success as a people. I am grateful to the Tribal Council for working together with key staff members to make this feeding effort so effective so quickly.”

The 200+ meals are being sent out via FedEx as one-time shipments of 16 pre-packaged meals to all tribal elders in tribal areas in Marksville, LA; Chicago, IL; and Houston, TX. Additionally, some meals were also shipped to elder tribal members living as far as California, Michigan and Idaho as well as some additional areas throughout the nation. 

The meals, which have been prepared fresh and frozen, are friendly to those with diabetes and other health considerations. Each includes a starch, vegetable and a protein. Several meal options include Creole Blackened Chicken, Meatloaf, Chicken Piccata, BBQ Turkey Burgers, Farmhouse Pork Tenderloin, Bean Chili and breakfast options as well. 

“Many of our elders have been unable to leave their homes on the reservation and across the country. We must do everything we can to ensure that we are caring for those in need, no matter where they currently reside,” said Council Member Jeremy Zahn, who introduced the program due to the nationwide impact of COVID-19. “We are committed to continuing this program, and the Tribe urges each of our members to contact us for assistance as we weather this pandemic.”

The measure to fund the meal distribution was passed with a unanimous vote of approval from the Tribal Council on April 2. The Tribal Council is continuing to work with Nikki McDonald, Director of the American Indian Center of Houston, and Tunica-Biloxi families throughout the country to assess continuing needs for its members. 

“This is an important effort to keep our treasured Tribal elders safe and healthy,” said McDonald. “We are grateful and proud that we could get this program coordinated so quickly. It will have a huge impact in bettering the lives of our members in this trying time.” 


About the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana: 

The Tunica-Biloxi people first appeared in the Mississippi Valley. In the late 1700s, they settled near Marksville, where they were skilled traders and entrepreneurs. Today, the Tribe has more than 1,200 members throughout the United States, primarily in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe received federal recognition in 1981 for its reservation within the boundaries of Louisiana. The tribe owns and operates the Paragon Casino Resort, the largest employer in Central Louisiana. Through its compact, negotiated by the late Tribal Chairman Earl J. Barbry Sr. and the State of Louisiana, the Tribe has assisted local governments in the area with its quarterly distribution of funds, totaling more than $40 million over two decades. For more information about the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, visit www.tunica.org and “like” us on Facebook