Barbry has been chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana in 1977.
He was chairman in 1978 when the federal government acknowledged the tribe, culminating more than 40 years of work by tribal leaders. The Tunica-Biloxi was the first tribe to gain federal recognition under provisions set for the recognition of unacknowledged Indian Tribes.
Barbry, along with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council, now oversees one of the largest labor forces in central Louisiana. The casino complex employs 1,500 people and other businesses employ nearly 200.
“Chairman Barbry is an exceptional leader,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb. “He led the way in achieving federal recognition for the Tunica-Biloxi tribe and remains engaged in national activities, many of which include collaborationwith other tribes. He seeks to better the lives of his tribal members, of course, but he also is dedicated to improving the quality of life throughout his region.
“One of his exemplary accomplishments was the recent official opening of the Tunica-Biloxi Educational and Cultural Resources Center in Marksville. NorthwesternState is honored to share in his vision to expand postsecondary educationalopportunities to people there and in surrounding parishes.”
Barbry is a nationally known American Indian leader, serving on the board of the United South and Eastern Tribes, representing federally acknowledged tribes from Louisiana to Maine. He also has a leadership role in the Louisiana Inter-Tribal Council, an organization that serves federal and state-recognized Indian communities. Barbry is descended from a long unbroken line of Tunica-Biloxi chiefs. His grandfather, Elijah Barbry was the first activist chief in Louisiana to attempt to get a federal response to the needs of the Louisiana Indian people.
Under Barbry’s leadership, the Tunica-Biloxi repatriated artifacts looted from their 18th century cemetery near St. Francisville, a court action that set the scene for the development of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Barbry has worked to extend tribal lands. He has overseen the construction of major housing developments, paved roads, constructed a tribal center, court complex, welfare office, a hotel-casino recreation complex and a new multi-million dollar cultural andeducation center. The tribe also has a tribal health center/gymnasium and agaming board office.
Barbry was named the recipient of the Avoyellean of the Year Award in 1993 by the Avoyelles Journal, the highest award given in the parish. In 1996, the Marksville Chamber of Commerce named him Minority Businessman of the Year. He received the 2005 Leadership Award of the National Indian Gaming Association. In 2006, he was named a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public Broadcasting in recognition of his cultural, educational and economic contributions to the region and the state. He was the first American Indian to receive this honor.
Barbry was born and raised onTunica-Biloxi land near Marksville. He is married to Gail Kelone Barbry and they have two sons and two grandchildren.