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“Who ever thought I would be chief?” Texas’ Alabama-Coushatta tribe elects first female chief

Millie Thompson Williams was elected the tribe’s first female second chief, a lifetime appointment, last year. For the first time, her accession comes as women make up the majority of the tribe’s council.

Myra Battise helps newly elected second chief Millie Thompson Williams with her official regalia after a press conference on Monday, January 3, 2023. Battise nominated Williams for the leadership role. Williams is the first female elected as a chief in the tribe’s history.
Mille Thompson Williams behind her desk at the Head Start building on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

A fight for sovereignty 

Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe rallied outside of the Texas Capitol on Sept. 25th, 2020 to help increase voter turnout. Tribal Council Chairperson, Cecilia Flores hopes that a higher voter turnout will result in tribal issues to be taken more seriously.
Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe rallied outside of the Texas Capitol on Sept. 25th, 2020 to help increase voter turnout. Tribal Council Chairperson, Cecilia Flores hopes that a higher voter turnout will result in tribal issues to be taken more seriously.
Alabama Coushatta Second Chief Elect Millie Thompson Williams in traditional regalia inside of the Indian Village Assembly of God Church on Thursday, December 22, 2022. Thompson will be the first woman to serve in this leadership position in the history of the Native American Tribe.

Amid personal heartbreak, a chance to make history 

A beaded bear worn by chief elect Mille Thompson Williams designates Williams a member of the Bear Clan, one of the 12 clans of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe.
Mille Thompson Williams points out a chart used for teaching children numbers is both English and the Alabama language at the Head Start building on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.
Fog fills the air around a message of encouragement for Millie Thompson Williams on inauguration day for the new chiefs of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe on Saturday, January 1, 2023.

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