|Tyler County Booster - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
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Chief Oscola Clayton Sylestine is Mr. East Texas
Tyler County Booster - March 2009
Tyler County Dogwood Festival Executive Director, Kim Shaw, has announced Chief Oscola Clayton M. Sylestine, Principal Chief of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas as “Mr. East Texas” 2009. Shaw says Sylestine was selected for his dedication to the growth and development of East Texas and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Chief Oscola has devoted himself to serving his people by promoting economic diversity and development while striving to preserve the Tribe’s culture and history. Chief Oscola will be accepting this honor Saturday, April 4, during the Dogwood Pageant. Clayton Marion Sylestine was born on February 11, 1932 and is a third generation descendant of the Alabama-Coushatta Sub-Chief Colabe. His tribal name is Oscola. Chief Oscola was selected to serve his people as Second Chief in 1992 and was inaugurated on January 1, 1993. Chief Oscola Clayton Marion Sylestine began serving the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe as their Principal Chief on January 1, 1995. The position of Chief is selected by popular vote of tribal members and Chief Oscola was elected by unanimous vote to become Principal Chief. His term of office is lifetime. He has diligently served his people as an elected Tribal Council member and in his role as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Prior to serving as Second Chief, he served four terms as a Tribal Council member and as Chairman for several years. After a brief absence, he was re-elected to a tribal council seat in 1992. He is well noted for his long career as an outstanding pitcher in the fast pitch softball circuit, playing for over three decades. The mention of “Smiley” as the starting pitcher brought the adrenalin flowing in opposing batters who hoped to, at least, get a foul tip from his rising fast ball. He retired from Champion International in 1988 after a seventeen-year career. Today, in his spare time, he weaves split river cane and pine needle baskets. In addition to public appearances representing the Tribe, he also takes the time to visit local schools talking about the history and culture of the Tribe. Chief Oscola and his wife, Ethelyn, live on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. He has two daughters and two sons, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.