POLK COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - On Tuesday, the traditional bell of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe rang to commemorate the death of Chief Mikko Colabe III Clem Fain Sylestine.
According to a post on the tribe’s Facebook page, Colabe was 91 years old.
“The traditional bell of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe rang this morning, notifying the community of the passing of a tribal leader as it has for decades,” the Facebook post stated. “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.”
The tribe will observe a period of mourning through the end of 2019, the Facebook post stated.
According to the Facebook post, Colabe had served as a tribal leader for most of his 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 principal chief,” the Facebook post stated. “He followed in the footsteps of his father, Bronson Cooper Sylestine who served as the chief from 1939 to 1969.”
Colabe was a direct descendant of Chief Colabe who served as the second chief to Principal Chief Antone in the early 1800s.
The chief received a bachelor of arts degree from Austin College in Sherman in 1952. He was a teacher and worked as a teacher and coach at Southmayd High School, Holland High School, Shepherd High School, Woodville ISD, and Goodrich ISD. He retired in 1988.
Colabe also served as an elder for the Indian Village Presbyterian Church, which is located on the Alabama- Coushatta reservation.