- AUGUST 30, 2019 -

press release

Alabama-Coushatta Wildland Fire Management Plan

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Southern Plains Regional Office (SPRO) are pleased to announce the release of the Alabama-Coushatta Wildland Fire Management Plan (WFMP) Environmental Assessment (EA).


The EA addresses a proposal by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and BIA SPRO to develop and implement a Wildland Fire Management Plan to replace the outdated 1999 Alabama-Coushatta Fire Management Plan. The EA is available for Tribal members and the general public for review and can be accessed by clicking the link below. The associated WFMP will follow directions in this EA and address fire management operations for the Tribe to include ecological management and wildland fires on both Tribal trust and Tribal fee lands.


Two alternatives were analyzed in this document.


Alternative A is the continuance of the current fire management practices (No Action Alternative). It involves suppression efforts related to wildfires, some prescribed burning, and mechanical and manual treatments limited to the 4,585 acres within the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation boundary.


Alternative B, the proposed action alternative, involves the management of wildfires for multiple objectives including suppression, prescribed burn treatments, and mechanical and manual treatments, the same as Alternative A, but these activities would be available on all Tribal trust and fee lands. The activities listed below would be added in this alternative to better meet Tribal and BIA goals of hazard fuel reduction, protection of Tribal values-at-risk, and fire regime restoration on Tribal lands in the Alabama-Coushatta WFMP planning area.


  • 0 Due to values-at-risk and other considerations wildfires would continue to mostly be suppressed, but management for resource objectives could be considered under less severe conditions, such as supporting ecosystem fire restoration or hazard fuel reduction goals.
  • 0 Prescribed burning could be more readily used for resource objectives, such as longleaf pine forest ecosystem restoration and maintenance, and supporting Tribal forestry management objectives;
  • 0 More strategic use of mechanical and manual treatments for fuel breaks, defensible space, hazard fuel reduction, preparing for prescribed burns, and forest restoration;
  • 0 Fire management program support of longleaf pine planting, planting of native grasses on fuel breaks for erosion prevention, and potential supplemental planting of native grasses, forbs, hardwoods, and shrubs in support of the forestry program and cultural restoration efforts; and
  • 0 Herbicide treatments to aid in maintenance of fuel breaks and defensible space, silviculture treatments including ecosystem restoration, and reduction of invasive plants.


If you wish to comment on the environmental assessment, you can email comments to or mail comments to the address listed below. This environmental assessment will be open for public review for 30 days, from August 30 through September 30. All comments must be received by September 30.


Gesse Bullock

Tribal Wildland Fire Coordinator

571 State Park 56

Livingston, TX 77351


- JULY 25, 2019 -

press release

H.R 759 Unanimously Passes United States House of Representatives

Statement from Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairwoman Cecilia Flores

“I am pleased House Resolution 759 unanimously passed the United States House of Representatives. This would not have happened without the steadfast leadership provided by both Congressmen Brian Babin (TX-36) and Will Hurd (TX-23), who’s tireless efforts made it possible. We would also like to express our appreciation to Congressman Don Young of Alaska for providing clarification of the intent and purpose of H.R. 759, and to Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva of Arizona for his commitment to navigate this bill through the committee process.”


“The grassroots support throughout Deep East Texas has been overwhelming and we are pleased Congress recognized the tremendous support on this bill across Texas to clarify our rights to offer electronic bingo at Naskila Gaming on our lands.”


“The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has tremendous historical significance in the state and we want to continue our part in providing jobs and ensuring the future economic well-being in Deep East Texas.”


“We understand passage of H.R. 759 in the United States House of Representatives is a stepping stone toward becoming law and look forward to working with Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. We see and hear the outpouring of support from our friends, neighbors and legislators. Together we are all fighting hard for the fair and equitable treatment amongst all three federally recognized Tribes in the great State of Texas. This legislation means so much too so many.”


“Today we all can enjoy this moment and tomorrow it is back to work protecting jobs, economic development and continuing our battle for self-sufficiency.”


- MAY 21, 2019 -

press release

alabama-coushatta tribe mourns

the Passing of chief colabe III

“The traditional bell of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe rang this morning notifying the community of the passing of a tribal member as it has for decades. The tolling of this bell sounded beyond the east Texas forest, across the prairies and mountains for the traditional chief of the Tribe, Mikko Colabe III Clem Fain Sylestine. He was 91 years old.

He was a distinguished tribal leader most of his adult life. He served as an elected Tribal Council member and then served as its Chairman for many years. He assumed his chieftainship role in 1995 as the second Chief and was elected as the Principal Chief in 2014. He followed in the footstep of his father, Bronson Cooper Sylestine who served as the Chief from 1936 to 1969. Chief Colabe III was a direct descendant of Chief Colabe who served as the second Chief to the Principal Chief Antone in the early 1800’s.


He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1952. He was a teacher and coach at Southmayd High School, Holland High School, Shepherd High School, Woodville ISD and Goodrich ISD. He retired in 1988. He was an elder in the Indian Village Presbyterian Church located on the reservation.


The tribe will observe a period of mourning through the end of 2019.”


- MAR. 14, 2019 -

press release

statement by alabama-coushatta tribe of texas

in response to ruling {no. 18-40116} issued by a

three-judge panel of the united states court of

appeals for the fifth circuit on march 14, 2019.


the following statement was issued by

cecilia flores, alabama-coushatta

tribal council chairperson.

“The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe will file a petition to have our case heard by the entire Fifth Circuit. We stand ready to appeal any adverse ruling to the United States Supreme Court as well.”


“There are 371 full-time jobs at stake, and we have a moral obligation to fight for every one of the people working at Naskila Gaming. Our alcohol-free facility is making a significant difference in the lives of East Texans and we will continue to pursue every legal avenue to continue operating Naskila Gaming on our Tribal lands.”


“Naturally we are disappointed by the ruling of the three-judge panel, but the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe remains committed to protecting our sovereign rights and the people whose livelihood depends on this facility.”

- jan. 25, 2019 -

press release

u.s. rep. brian babin files bill to protect

indian gaming jobs in texas; h.r. 759 filed with

13 co-sponsors, including 6 from texas

(Livingston, Texas January 25, 2019) – U.S. Representative Brian Babin (R-Woodville) has filed a bill in Congress to protect over 561 local jobs in Tyler and Polk Counties. Specifically, H.R. 759, the Equal and Fair Opportunity Act of 2019, will clarify the right of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas to offer gaming on its tribal land. The Act clarifies the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s right, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, to offer electronic bingo at its Naskila Gaming facility on their reservation, a facility that injects over $139 million annually into the local economy in Deep East Texas. The bill also provides the same protections for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in El Paso.


Rep. Babin introduced a similar measure in the last Congressional session. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe owns and operates Naskila Gaming, an alcohol-free entertainment facility that has operated since its grand opening in June of 2016. The Tribe, and Naskila Gaming, have emerged as the third largest employer in Polk and Tyler counties.


“We are delighted that Rep. Babin has once again taken action to introduce legislation that will clarify that our operations are to be regulated by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” said Cecilia Flores, Chairperson of the Alabama Coushatta Tribal Council. “Once this measure is enacted, it will remove the legal threat by the state of Texas to shut down Naskila Gaming.”


Chairperson Flores said she was encouraged by the fact that Rep. Babin’s 2019 legislation was filed with 13 original co-sponsors, including six members of the Texas delegation.


“Congressman Babin is building on his momentum from 2018 when he originally filed this legislation,” Flores said. “We need to preserve and enhance the $17 million payroll here at Naskila, and all the related jobs that have been created in Polk, Tyler and surrounding counties.”


The Texas Forest Country Partnership, an economic development corporation for 12 southeast Texas counties, commissioned an analysis of the economic impact of Naskila Gaming last fall. The report reveals that Naskila Gaming is having a significant impact on not only Polk and Tyler counties, but the entire Deep East Texas region. The study found that Naskila had created a total of 561 fulltime jobs, and a staggering $139.6 million in annual economic impact. Naskila Gaming is now averaging over a million visitors a year.


Rep. Babin’s bill is already generating bi-partisan support with Democrats and Republicans

serving as co-sponsors on the bill. Texas co-sponsors include Republicans Will Hurd, R-Helotes;

Michael Conaway, R-Midland; Randy Weber, R-Friendswood; as well as Democrats Henry

Cuellar, D-Laredo; Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville; and Vincente Gonzalez, D-McAllen.

The other original co-sponsors are Ruben Gallego, D-AZ; Bob Gibbs, R-OH; Jennifer Gonzalez-

Colon, R-PR; Doug LaMalfa, R-CA; Austin Scott, R-GA; Don Young, R-AK; and Colin

Peterson, D-MN.


“We are grateful to have Democrats and Republicans alike supporting our efforts to maintain

these jobs,” Chairperson Flores said. “Clearly, both parties understand the importance of

maintaining jobs and economic development. That’s why we are urging the entire Texas

delegation to get on board and help Rep. Babin get this bill passed. This legislation will serve as

a means to create a legal atmosphere for two sovereigns to be of mutual benefit to each other

here in Texas.”

- jan. 15, 2019 -

press release

alabama-coushatta leadership to attend

gov. abbott inauguration in austin

(Livingston – January 14, 2019) -- The 2019 Chairperson of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, Cecilia Flores, will attend the swearing in and inauguration of Texas Governor Greg Abbott in Austin on Tuesday January 15. Joining Chairperson Flores at the Austin ceremonies, will be Vice-Chair Rick Sylestine and Tribal Council Member Roland Poncho.


“We are honored to attend this momentous occasion. We look forward to a productive working relationship with Governor Abbott during the next four years,” said Flores. “Our sovereign nation has a tradition of maintaining a close relationship with the State of Texas. I intend to keep that tradition strong during my tenure as Chairperson,” added Flores.


Flores assumed the position of Chairperson of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe in January 2019 and will serve in that capacity for a one-year term.


The Inauguration of Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will take place on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday. The oath of office for both the Governor and Lt. Governor will be administered at 11:00 a.m. The Inaugural BBQ luncheon will follow at 12:30 p.m. on the south lawn of the Texas State Capitol.




The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is a federally recognized tribe with the oldest reservation in the State of Texas. Their original lands were granted to the Tribes at the end of the fight for Texas Independence with the support of General Sam Houston. Their reservation is located on over 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas, 17 miles east of the city of Livingston on U.S. Highway 190. They are one of only three federally recognized tribes in Texas.

- DEC. 20, 2018 -



and update on

congressional actions

for 2019


571 State Park 56 | Livingston, Texas 77351