Seven outstanding citizens will be inducted in the Atmore Area Hall of Fame April 28: Athletics – Willie Parker and Earl Miller; Government – Stephanie Bryan and Weldon Vickrey; Business – Dale Ash and Bill Farr; Medicine – Ima Joan Helton-Crawford
The induction ceremony and dinner will be held Saturday, April 28, 6 p.m., at The Club, Highway 21, Atmore. Tickets, $25 each, are available at Atmore News. and United Bank. Note: Everyone must have a ticket to attend the ceremony and dinner. All former inductees are invited to attend at no cost, courtesy of the Hall of Fame Committee.
This week, Atmore News features inductee Stephanie Bryan. Information provided by PCI and the Hall of Fame Committee.
In 2014, Stephanie Bryan became the first female political leader elected to the position of Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. In this position, not only is she involved with the legislative aspect of the Tribe, but she also oversees all Tribal operations including Tribal Government, Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA), and PCI Gaming Authority (PCIGA). Previously, she served as Vice-Chair of the Tribal Council since 2006.
A life-long member of the Poarch community, Stephanie has been an active and effective advocate for her Tribe on both a local and national level. Even before her time on Tribal Council, Chairwoman Bryan was a known leader in the community. As an employee of the Tribe, she gained a wide range of experiences that has helped inform her decisions even today. Overall, Stephanie worked for the Tribe and in the insurance industry for a combined twenty years.
As a member of the Tribal Council, she advocated for extending health insurance to all Tribal Members and employees and worked to expand educational opportunities for every Tribal Member and First Generation Indian Descendant. She also took an active role in ensuring the opening of Poarch’s new health clinic and its assisted living facility. Furthermore, Chair Bryan strongly values and appreciates her elders and believes it is vital to instill the importance of Creek culture and history into the younger generations.
On a national level, Chairwoman Bryan represents her community with her involvement in regulations affecting Indian gaming as well as legislation affecting the Tribe and Indian Country. She has worked with numerous legislative committees as well as multiple Native American organizations such as the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), and United South and Eastern Tribes (USET). In addition to these boards, the Tribal Chair has exemplified her dedication to the community, Tribe, and Indian Country through her service on a multitude of boards and committees.
While working with these entities, she has had the unique honor of seeing her work aid in the accomplishment of numerous endeavors that have benefited the Poarch Creek Indians, multiple communities, countless organizations, and other tribes as well.
Chairwoman Bryan attributes her devotion to her Tribe and public service to the deep appreciation for what the community has meant to her and her family. Stephanie was reared in the heart of the Poarch Community and has experienced first-hand the metamorphosis of the Tribe from poverty to prosperity. She firmly believes that hardship builds character and well remembers the days of raising her family in federally funded Tribal housing and working two jobs while attending college. Despite the Poarch Creek Indians’ tremendous success, she is never far from her roots and remains very humble and grateful.
The Chairwoman focuses much of her efforts now on making sure the next generation of Poarch families has the education and career opportunities they need. She and her husband Keith enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren who are loving reminders of the work that needs to be done to sustain a healthy, productive sovereign Indian nation like Poarch.
Stephanie hopes, too, that her own personal story will show others that with determination, grit, and the support of a loving community and family, anything is possible and dreams can become reality.