Vicksburg teen crowned Coushatta Indian princess

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Warren Central High School senior has been named princess of her American Indian tribe in Louisiana.

Haley Sellers, 18, was crowned the 2011-12 senior Coushatta tribal princess earlier this month.

She was graded on cultural talent as well as an interview and written essay.

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“It’s a lot of responsibilities, but it’s a great experience,” said Haley, the daughter of Greg and Rocki Sellers. “It gives me a chance to tell people about my tribe.”

Haley was the only contestant in the senior competition, which was open to Coushatta girls ages 16 to 18.

A junior princess, open to Coushatta girls ages 12 to 15, also was selected.

New princesses are chosen each year.

“She’s considered an ambassador to the tribe and she’ll represent us culturally,” said Leland Thompson, head of the princess committee that selects the Coushatta princess, a contest started 25 years ago.

Haley’s mother is a Coushatta Indian, and was a tribal princess from 1974 to 1980.

“I think Haley (will) be a great representative and ambassador,” she said.

The Coushatta Tribe reservation, based in Elton, La., is about 200 miles southeast of Vicksburg.

The tribe was recognized by the federal government in 1973, but the Coushatta people with origins in Tennessee and Alabama date to the 1500s.

They settled in the Elton area around the 1880s.