It is with great sadness that the Tribal Council of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas announces the passing of our Second Chief, Mikko Poliika Istaaya, Millie Ann Thompson Williams. Millie made history as the first woman to ever be elected to a Tribal Chief position for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Mikko Istimatokla passed away on Friday, August 25, 2023, at a hospital in Lufkin, TX. She was 67 years old.
Poliika Istaaya, a proud member of the Bear clan, was inaugurated as the Second Chief of the tribe on January 1, 2023. She had been married to her husband, the late Kenneth “Woody” Williams for 47 years. Millie worked most of her life as a teacher with the Alabama-Coushatta Head Start Program and eventually became the program’s Health and Mental Health Manager. Being the first female to serve as a Tribal Chief, she hoped to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. Millie was quoted as saying “I would like to encourage them; you can be whatever you want to be in life. You can go and reach for your goals. Reach out to the stars.”
Mikko Istimatokla valued education, however her faith and relationship with the Creator were also very important to her. Her Chief name, “Poliika Istaatya”, means one who carries prayers which was very fitting as she was a mighty prayer warrior. She attended the Indian Village Assembly of God, where she taught an adult Sunday school class in the Alabama language. Preserving the Alabama language was important to her, as she was a consultant for language preservation for the tribe.
The passing of Mikko Istimatokla is a profound loss for the Tribe and she will be deeply missed. She was truly compassionate, loving, selfless, and kind. She will be remembered and honored for a life that was beautifully lived. A period of mourning is being observed by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.