JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - "The state of Mississippi and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, known by most of us as the tribe, lost a giant in the annals of history."
Those words come from Lewis Watson, Jackson lawyer for Chief Martin's family.
Martin served for 32-years as a leader of the Choctaws and left a legacy of self determination for Indians everywhere. He was defeated in an election by Beasley Denson, in 2007. The family asked us to talk to his former lobbyist in Jackson, John Lundy of Capitol Resources as their spokesman.
"I don't think there is another human being in this state, who had such a dramatic impact on is people than Chief Phillip Martin," said Lundy.
Although no actual numbers are available, his accountant Paul Breazeale of Jackson is quoted as saying the tribe had about $100,000 when he was elected, but he left them with over a billion.
Every Choctaw could have a free college education if they had maintained a "C" average. They had jobs doing everything from wiring harnesses to construction. Before gambling they were the tenth largest employer in Mississippi. The most successful enterprise was gambling.
"We should make $60 to $100 million here," Martin said in an earlier interview about the prosperity of the casino business.
Former Governor Ronnie Musgove had this to say. "Chief Martin was respected and loved for all of the work he did in Mississippi. But, sometimes we forget, how well known he was, known nationwide."
Chief Martin leaves a legacy of successful casinos on Choctaw land in Neshoba County. Chief Phillip Martin dead at 83.