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franklin county times

Choctaw income rises 346 percent in the 90s

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 20, 2001
The average annual income for members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians rose 346 percent during the 1990s, according to Creda Stewart, director of public information for the Choctaw Indians.
Stewart discussed the tribe's successes during Monday's meeting of the Meridian Rotary Club.
The Choctaw Indians have been recognized again and again for their success with the Silver Star Hotel and Casino. The casino business was enhanced with the opening of the Dancing Rabbit Golf Course which offers two top-notch 18-hole golf courses.
The entertainment business is growing again. Chief Phillip Martin broke ground Nov. 16 for a second casino and hotel, the Golden Moon, which will be located across the street from the Silver Star.
Stewart said 2,000 new employees will be needed when the Golden Moon opens, adding that a training center is being developed on the reservation to begin in-house training.
When the Silver Star opened in the 1990s, it was owned by the Choctaws but managed by Boyd Gaming of Las Vegas. The tribe now operates the casino.
Not all of the tribe's success has come in the casino and entertainment business. Under Martin's leadership, the Choctaws have branched out into other business and industrial pursuits. Stewart noted that much of the work is high-tech, and that more labor-intensive jobs have been contracted out to plants in Mexico.
Like many other businesses in Mississippi, the Choctaws are looking for ways to supply the new Nissan Plant.
The Choctaw industries, casinos and hotel businesses provide 12,112 jobs at last count, Stewart said.
Steve Swogetinsky is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@meridianstar.com.