Beasley Denson

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Beasley Denson
Residence Mississippi
Nationality Mississippi Choctaw
Occupation Tribal chief
Title Miko
Predecessor Phillip Martin
Successor Phyliss J. Anderson
Spouse(s) Lena Denson

Beasley Denson served as Miko or Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians from 2007 to 2011. He is the third person to become Tribal Chief since the tribe adopted its modern constitution.[1] Beasley Denson defeated 28-year incumbent Phillip Martin by 211 votes with Denson receiving 1,697 votes to Martin's 1,486.[2] The votes were disputed, and Sunday was the last day to challenge the results. But Martin issued a written statement saying the campaign is over, offering his congratulations to Denson and urging tribal members to move on from the election. Now, with Martin's words, "Let us unite as a tribe."[3]

Denson defeated Martin on a campaign predicated on putting the interests of tribal members ahead of non-tribal members. Ultimately, the slogan and chant "Chahta First" emerged as the theme of Denson's successful campaign.[4]

Personal life[edit]

A fluent Choctaw speaker, Miko Beasley Denson was born in the Conehatta Community and raised in the Standing Pine Community of Choctaw, Mississippi. He is the son of the late David Denson and Bema Steve York. He graduated from Choctaw Central High School and earned an associate’s degree from Hinds Community College and Mississippi State University.

He has been married to his wife Lena John Denson of Red Water and Pearl River, for 36 years. The couple has two sons, Michael David and Darren Keith, one daughter, Lane, a son in law, Oga, and six grandchildren. He has two sisters, Angela and Rita, and a brother, Douglas Sam.

Political career[edit]

Miko Denson assumed the responsibilities of the office in 2007 with extensive experience in Tribal government and Tribal industry. He was first elected to the Tribal Council in 1975. During his five terms, he served as both Secretary Treasurer and Vice Chief.

Miko Denson also served on the Choctaw Gaming Commission for two years and was an officer on the National Indian Education Board and the Board of Directors for United Southeastern Tribes. Currently, Miko Denson serves on the Board of the Native American Rights Fund, the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Native Americans and Tribes and he is Treasurer of the Sovereign Nations Alliance, a political action committee created to further the legislative goals of Indian Country at the federal level.

Miko Denson prides himself on being an open and accessible leader and believes in putting Chahta first. His adherence to this philosophy can be seen across the Reservation. He is passionate about improving life on the Reservation for Tribal members and in his two years as Chief, despite the country’s economic recession, he has made progress reducing the back log of Tribal housing, improving the health care system and upgrading educational facilities.

Tribe information[edit]

The MBCI, with an enrolled membership of 9,660, is the only federally recognized tribe in the State of Mississippi. The Tribe provides a range of government services for its members including schools, a hospital, medical clinics, police and fire protection, courts, an elderly care center and many others.[5] The Choctaw Indian Reservation contains some 35,000 acres (140 km2) of tribal lands situated in ten different Mississippi counties. This land is held in trust for the benefit of the Choctaw Tribe by the federal government. The Tribe has eight officially recognized Choctaw Indian communities. The names of these sites are Pearl River, Red Water, Bogue Chitto, Crystal Ridge, Standing Pine, Tucker, Conehatta, and Bogue Homa. Pearl River, located in Neshoba, is the largest Choctaw Indian community, and is the site of Tribal government headquarters, as well as Pearl River Resort.[6]


  1. ^ "Beasley Denson: Sworn in as Chief of Mississippi Band, Denson assumes title of Miko". Tanasi Journal. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  2. ^ "Recount Done, Martin Concedes Defeat". WTOK. 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  3. ^ "Choctaw election continues reservation shake up". News From Indian Country. 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  4. ^ "Office of the Miko Archive (November 2008)". News From Indian Country. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Miko Beasley Denson takes over Choctaws". The Meridian Star. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  6. ^ "Welcome from Miko Beasley Denson". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Phillip Martin
Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Succeeded by
Phyliss J. Anderson