Carlos Bullock, 1977-2017. Photo courtesy Alabama-Coushatta Tribe

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe mourns passing of former chairman Carlos Bullock

Carlos Lydell Bullock, a former chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, passed away on August 29. He was 40.

Bullock was first elected to the tribal council in 2004. He served as chair and vice chair and in numerous other positions -- including in housing and public affairs -- on the reservation in Texas.

“When our people needed someone to come to their aid, no matter what the issue, Carlos could always be counted on," Chairperson Jo Ann Battise said in a press release. "He was far too young to pass and he had too much left to accomplish. His passing is a great loss to our tribe.”

Right up to his death, Bullock was carrying out his calling. He was sharing information about weather conditions as Harvey hit the reservation and nearby communities last week.

Tribal leaders also credited Bullock, a 1999 graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University, with helping secure the opening of Naskila Gaming, the tribe's Class II casino. He was a frequent booster of the facility, in the media and in the local community, even as the state attempts to shut it down through the court system.

“From the time that he returned home, both during his time on council and otherwise, Carlos worked tirelessly to help our tribe permanently secure the right to offer gaming,” said Vice Chairman Ronnie Thomas. “He truly believed that gaming would help our tribe in its drive for self-determination and would help bring jobs and opportunity not only to the tribe, but for all of Deep East Texas.”

“To many of Naskila’s employees and local community leaders, Carlos was ‘Mr. Naskila,’” added Secretary-Treasurer Nita Battise.

A visitation and memorial service took place over the weekend on the reservation.