Bryan ‘humbled’ by historic election

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Newly elected Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) Tribal Chairwoman Stephanie Bryan said she was “humbled” to be elected as the first female chair in the tribe’s history.

“When my name was announced [as the winner], my immediate reaction was tears of joy and an immense feeling of humbleness,” Bryan said. “It is such an honor to serve my people in this capacity, and to know that they have put their confidence in my leadership abilities.”

Bryan noted that it was especially an honor to be chosen as the first female tribal chair.

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“It truly in a privilege and an honor to be the first women in our tribe’s history to be elected as the tribal chair,” she said. “The Mvskoke [Creek] people are traditionally a matrilineal society and hold great respect for women. I hope I am a role model for the youth of our tribe, especially our young ladies, and that they will truly grasp the realization that each of them is capable of doing whatever they desire to do — regardless of gender.”

Bryan has been serving as the PCI vice chair since 2006, and when previous chairman Buford Rolin announced his retirement, it was a natural progression for Bryan to run for the tribal chair position.

“Since serving on the PCI Tribal Council, I’ve seen an increasing amount of female leadership in both the tribal and non-tribal political arenas,” she said. “Witnessing other women stepping into leadership roles was certainly encouraging for me in my decision to campaign for the chair position.

“Once Chairman Rolin announced his retirement, the decision to vie for the position of chair was both a logical choice, and a natural transition for me.”

Bryan added that PCI has taken tremendous strides in the past few years, and she feels that the tribe’s best times are still ahead.

“The Poarch Creek Indians have grown by leaps and bounces over the last decade,” she said. “Truly, the sky is the limit for our tribe, as long as we remain a unified and humble people. Throughout my time on the council, my vision has continued to be that the tribe prospers, grows, and maintains its sovereignty and sustainability.

“More than ever, it is of the utmost importance that we continue efforts to educate various levels of government about our tribal sovereignty and tirelessly protect it.”