Ben named new chief of MBCI

By THOMAS HOWARD,

Members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians chose Cyrus Ben as their new Tribal Chief last Tuesday in a runoff election between Ben and incumbent Phyliss J. Anderson.

Ben, a business owner and former member of the Tribal Council received 2068 votes across MBCI’s nine polling locations, soundly defeating Anderson’s 1109 votes by more than 900 ballots.

Anderson, the first woman to serve as Tribal Chief, released a statement Friday congratulating Ben on his victory and thanking the tribe for allowing her to serve as their chief.

“I’m so grateful to the Choctaw people for the support and faith you have placed in my leadership over the last eight years. I offer my congratulations to Mr. Cyrus Ben on this victory, and it is my hope that our tribe quickly moves past this divisive election and remember always the great pride it is to be Mississippi Choctaw and the importance of loving one another.”

Anderson said the passion and “vigorous discussion” of the election was “as it should be in a democracy.” However, she said in her statement she hoped any negative feelings tribal members had due to election issues would quickly subside and the tribe could move forward together.

A ceremonial oath of office was held Tuesday for Ben at the Silver Star Convention Center in Choctaw, Miss.

Photo caption: Newly elected Chief of The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Cyrus Ben greets the crowd after being sworn in on Tuesday at the Silver Star Convention Center in Choctaw. | Robbie Robertson