CHOCTAW, Miss. (AP) — Cyrus Ben has won a second term as chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
Ben defeated former chief Phyliss Anderson and one other candidate, Tarina Anderson, in Tuesday’s election, according to tribal election results posted on the Choctaws’ Facebook page.
Ben was first elected chief in 2019, when he defeated Phyliss Anderson in a runoff for the office she had held since 2011.
Ben served on a commission that designed a new Mississippi flag in 2020 after legislators retired flag that prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem that critics saw as a racist reminder of slavery and segregation. Mississippi had used the old flag since 1894, and the change came amid a national reckoning on race after police in Minnesota killed a Black man, George Floyd.
The new Mississippi flag has a magnolia encircled by the phrase “In God We Trust” and 21 stars, with 20 of them representing Mississippi as the 20th state. One star at the top of the circle is formed of diamond shapes that Ben said are significant to the state’s Choctaw culture.