Arrangements announced for principal chief of Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas
POLK COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is observing a period of mourning after the death of Principal Chief Herbert G. Johnson, Sr.
The 79-year-old passed away Monday after a brief hospital stay, according to the tribe, which is based in Polk County.
Johnson was installed as Mikko Skalaaba in January 2020, serving as the advisor to the Alabama-Coushatta’s governing tribal council, among a number of roles throughout his life.
A member of the Beaver Clan, Johnson was born on April 3, 1942 on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation east of Livingston. After high school, he attended Jacksonville College, where in 1963 he was selected as an All-American in basketball.
“Although he stood only 5′6″, he set a then all-time national recording when he scored 67 points in a single game,” a news release stated. “He went on to average 33.5 points a game for the season in an era that did not feature a 3-point shot.”
Jacksonville College honored Johnson as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2020. He also played sports at the University of Houston.
He worked as the Tribal Security Director for more than 21 years, receiving certifications from Kilgore College and the Angelina Criminal Justice Center.
Johnson served two terms on the Tribal Council and was elected as the tribe’s Second Chief in 2013, remaining in that role until 2019, upon the death of Mikko Colabe III, the late Clem Sylestine.
Johnson also served 48 years as a board member for the Big Sandy Independent School District in Dallardsville.
He was also a deacon and elder at the Indian Presbyterian Church.
A wake service is scheduled for 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 15 at Cochran Funeral Home in Livingston. A celebration of life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 16 at the Polk County Commerce Center in Livingston.
The family asks that masks be worn and social distancing practiced due to COVID-19 guidelines.
“Our Mikko Choba Skalaaba was an inspiration for us all,” said Nita Battise, Chairperson of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. “He was always respectful of all people and listened carefully before forming a decision. His leadership and guidance were a great asset to the Tribe and he will be deeply missed.”
Tribal Offices will be closed on Monday due to the memorial service.
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