Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe of Texas Principal Chief Oscola Clayton Sylestine walked on Thursday, January 31. (Photo courtesy Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe of Texas)

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Lifetime Chief Walks On

ICTMN Staff
2/1/13

He was elected to the position of chief of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe of Texas in 1992 and installed as lifetime chief January 1, 1993. He served the tribe most of his adult life—as chairman prior to becoming chief.

Chief Oscola Clayton Sylestine succumbed to illness and walked on Thursday, January 31. He was 80 years old. According to a press release from the tribe he was a third generation descendant of Alabama sub-chief Colabe.

“This truly is a sad occasion and day, not only for our tribe but for all tribal nations, the citizens of both the state of Texas and this great nation,” said Kyle Williams, Alabama-Coushatta tribal council chairman, in a press release. “Chief Oscola actively represented the tribe at numerous cultural and social events while promoting a better understanding of the tribe’s rich history and heritage.”

Chief Oscola’s career was with Champion International Paper, a company he spent 17 years with before retiring in 1998.

He loved the culture of his tribe. So much so that he gathered river cane from the river bottoms, split the cane and would weave it into intricate patterns using basket weaving methods passed down for generations. He was so skilled at this that passed on his knowledge teaching basket weaving classes.

He played basketball and fast pitch softball. In the independent fast pitch softball leagues in east Texas he was known as “Smiley.”

“The mention of his name as pitcher brought uneasiness to opponents who had a challenge with his rising fastball,” says a press release from the tribe. “He was a premier fast pitch softball pitcher for his generation.”

Chief Oscola is survived by his wife, Ethelyn, two sons, two daughters and numerous grandchildren.

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Cassandra Pierce's picture
Cassandra Pierce
Submitted by Cassandra Pierce on
I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful human being & leader when my family and I lived in Livingston. He gave me the courage & advice to look for my birth family. Many thoughts of love & prayers to the family and members of the tribe.....East Texas has lost a good one..........

Douglas Johnson's picture
Douglas Johnson
Submitted by Douglas Johnson on
My deepest condolences to Chief Oscola and his family of our Alabama Coushatta tribe. Thank you for your training, guidance and support on my vision quests. My he rest in peace.He will be remembered with honor

SONJA JACKSON's picture
SONJA JACKSON
Submitted by SONJA JACKSON on
IAM FROM THE SENECA NATION IN NEWYORK. I DO LIVE HERE IN TEXAS. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE FAMILY AND TO THETRIBE ALSO.I KNOW HE WILL BE MISSED BY SO MANY PEOPLE THERE AS THE LEADER OF THE TRIBE. BLESSINGS TO THE FAMILY, SONJA JACKSON

Kathy Schleyhahn Biroschak's picture
Kathy Schleyhah...
Submitted by Kathy Schleyhah... on
ai came across this article almost by accident, but I was very touched and moved by this good man's life. I am part native american myself, so something special seems to draw your spirit to such good people as this man. I give my sincere condolences to his family and my utmost respect to Chief Oscola.

Xochitezca - Chikawa Aztec Dance Conroe Texas's picture
Xochitezca - Ch...
Submitted by Xochitezca - Ch... on
Our deepest condolences to his tribal family and close family from Chikawa Aztec Calpulli from Conroe, Texas. Ma cualli ohtli in Mictlan, Huey Tlacatecuhtli Oscola Clayton Sylestine.
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