Rolin honored by tribesPublished 8:56am Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Outgoing Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) Tribal Chairman Buford Rolin was specially recognized recently by the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET), a non-profit organization that includes 26 federally recognized Tribal Nations.
Rolin was honored during USET’s Semi-Annual Meeting in Bar Harbor, Maine. Rolin has served as chairman of the PCI Tribal Council since 2006 and has been a council member for more than 40 years. He announced earlier this year that he does not intend to run for re-election.
“USET is moved to take this moment, when our hearts are heavy with joy, to express its gratitude for the love and passion you have given to your tribe, its citizens, the USET family and to Indian Country,” USET President Brian Patterson told Rolin. “It is admirable and a privilege to be a tribal leader and do great things for your Nation. But it is inspiring to learn from a great leader, like you, who demonstrates confidence and courage to be keenly aware that your accomplishments and good work instilled in the community will carry on a legacy of empowerment and provide for many generations to come.
“Anyone in leadership should all aspire to follow the example you have set.”
Rolin has served on the boards of the Native American Rights Fund, USET, the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee, National Indian Health Board and the National Congress of American Indians. In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Rolin to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Rolin has received many awards over the years, including the Jake Whitcrow Award in 2007 from the National Indian Health Board, and the Indian Health Service Director’s Special Recognition Award in 2013.
Rolin told USET that he first became involved in tribal issues after returning home to Alabama, following his service in the U.S. Armed Forces more than 50 years ago.
“For as far back as I can remember, Calvin McGhee, our first official chief, had always called me ‘son,’” Rolin said. “It always felt natural because his son and I were about the same age.
“But one day, just after I had gotten out of the [military] service, my parents called me and said, ‘Calvin wants to see you.’ Of course, I went, and the first thing he said was, ‘Son, I need your help.’ And that was the beginning of my life working for our tribe.”
In March, PCI honored Rolin by dedicating its new health clinic in his name.