Cyrus Ben took a ceremonial oath of office as the newly-elected Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on Tuesday at the Silver Star Hotel and Casino Convention Center at Choctaw. The Hon. Kevin Briscoe administered the oath. Ben greets supporters, above.
Cyrus Ben took a ceremonial oath of office as the newly-elected Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on Tuesday at the Silver Star Hotel and Casino Convention Center at Choctaw. The Hon. Kevin Briscoe administered the oath. Ben greets supporters, above.
Cyrus Ben was sworn in Tuesday as the fifth chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians during ceremonies at the Silver Star Casino.

Ben had the most votes in a six-person election in June but did not garner a 50 percent plus one vote majority. In last week’s runoff, he defeated two-term chief Phyllis J. Anderson. The final vote count showed Ben with 2,068 votes while Anderson received 1,109.

“Throughout the campaign to the June 11 election and finally the July 2 runoff, the voice and will of the people was ready to make a change in leadership for the betterment of all of the tribe.” Ben said. “Myself with a great group of supporters worked tirelessly to make sure their voice was heard and the election results proved and recognized the people’s voice. 

“As the results of the election came in, having the people’s faith and support was quite an honor and blessing. I’ve always been proud to be a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, but this expands that to a much greater level. I am humbled and take this opportunity as a great honor.”  

After the swearing-in ceremony, Ben’s focus will turn to the 70th Choctaw Indian Fair which starts tonight (Wednesday) and runs through Saturday. Next week, he will turn his attention to setting up his government.

“Foundation is key on building anything,” Ben said. “With that I have campaigned with the principal foundation of respect, fairness, equality, accountability, efficiency, support and appreciation.”

Ben didn’t say whether this will mean any immediate changes.

“I lived most of my career on a quote, ‘The road to success is always under construction,’” Ben said. “We as a Tribe have achieved greatness and many successes and I look forward to continuing our self-determination and working for greater success for all of our people. I look forward to leading our great Tribe and its members.”  

As she left office, Chief Anderson thanked the people for their support and wished Ben well.



“I am so grateful to the Choctaw people for the support and faith you have placed in my leadership over the last eight years,” Chief Anderson said. “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.

“I love you all very much and I will always have great pride for all we have accomplished Together in Unity!”

Anderson was the fourth elected Tribal Chief subsequent to the Tribal government's re-establishment of 1945.

Phillip Martin, who had served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, was elected Chief in 1977 and served for 30 years until he was defeated by Beasley Denson in 2007 by one vote.

The position of Tribal Chief was created by constitutional amendment in 1975 prior to which time the Tribe's principal leader was titled Tribal Chairman. In 1975, with the newly-created position of Tribal Chief, Calvin Isaac was elected to the position, which he held from 1975 to 1979.