Chief Anderson Receives 2019 Tribal Leader of the Year Award at NAFOA’s 37th Annual Conference


The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) hosted its 12th Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon during the 37th Annual Conference at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront Hotel. NAFOA presented its first Leadership Awards in 2008 and continues to honor innovative and dedicated tribal leaders, tribal financial professionals, educational programs and landmark financial deals that advance tribal economies.

“The NAFOA Leadership Awards celebrate excellence in advancing tribal economies. Each year we are continually amazed by the advocacy and dedication of our honorees on behalf of their local communities and Indian country,” said NAFOA 1st Vice President, VaRene Martin.

The luncheon attracted an audience of over 500, as NAFOA’s federal, tribal and professional partners convened to celebrate the 2019 awardees’ service and excellence in tribal economic development.

NAFOA presented Phyliss J. Anderson, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Chief with the 2019 Tribal Leader of the Year Award. This award honors a tribal leader who has displayed significant foresight and resolve in the financial advancement of his or her tribal nation.

Chief Anderson, fluent in the Choctaw language, has more than 30 years of experience with tribal government management and is the first woman chief in Choctaw history. She was sworn into office on October 4, 2011 and is currently serving her second term as tribal chief. As Tribal Chief, Anderson leads more than 11,000 enrolled tribal citizens and oversees the successful operation of the Tribe’s enterprises, educational and healthcare systems, law enforcement and police protection, tribal courts, and social services. She is responsible for a tribal government

operations budget of more than $150 million and tribal enterprise revenues of more than $300 million. Over the years Chief Anderson has shown a strong commitment to financial responsibility, operating an accountable and transparent government, and building the quality of life on the Choctaw Indian Reservation. Under her leadership, she has effectively pulled her Tribe out of a financial recession, restored confidence among financial partners, and led a new renaissance for the Choctaw people.

Chief Anderson is active locally, regionally, and nationally. She was recognized by The Mississippi Business Journal in 2013 as one of Mississippi’s Top 50 Leading Business Women. She has served on a number of governing boards and committees for multi-million-dollar enterprises including those in the tribal manufacturing, tribal government contracting, and the gaming and hospitality industry. Regionally, she serves on the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (SPF) Board of Directors. Chief Anderson was also appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE). Chief Anderson lent her influence and time to lobby Congress on key pieces of legislation that had a tremendous impact on Indian Country, including the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the General Welfare Exclusion Act (GWE).

She is a graduate of East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. and is married to Ricky Anderson, Sr. They are the parents and grandparents of a growing family.

NAFOA is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen tribal economies by promoting excellence in financial management, advocating sound economic and fiscal policy, developing innovative education initiatives, and providing essential information, resources, and support to meet the challenges of economic growth and change. NAFOA will host its 2019 Fall Finance and Tribal Economies Conference at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Pryor Lake, MN on October 6-8, 2019.

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