The role of Principal Chief is the highest position one could hold in a tribal government. It is a post that carries the heaviest responsibilities of an indigenous society. It takes countless
hours, morning, noon, and night. Hours away from loved ones, away from personal goals and hobbies. It is not a job to be taken lightly.
Chief Creppel gained his title on June 16, 2018, and served until June 18, 2022, after falling to current Principal Chief Lora Ann Chaisson in this year’s Principal Chief’s election. Prior to becoming Principal Chief, he served the Nation as a councilman for ten years. Out of those ten years served on council, he served one as Vice Principal Chief. Still, with a decade of experience under his belt, his term as Principal Chief would prove to be a challenge unlike any he’d seen before.
“I thought I knew what was going on as I was on the council, and even the year I served as Vice Chief I thought ya know, hey man. Until I became Chief. Then I realized it’s so much
more involved. It’s a full-time job with no pay,” Chief Creppel said of his time in office.
The Nation faced multiple obstacles, including two years of the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the devastating effects of hurricane Ida, one of the strongest storms to hit the coast in recorded history, during Chief Creppel’s term. Although the challenges faced were difficult, Chief Creppel was gratified by the ability of the staff and tribal council to provide for the community in times of need. “After the hurricane we served thousands of people. Not only tribal people, but other people too,” he said. Adding that, “I am very proud of the [Tribal] Council we had together and the amount of people we served.” The United Houma Nation set up distribution sites throughout its service districts during the recovery effort, handing out food and supplies to those affected by the storm’s crippling wind gusts and torrential rain. The supplies were donated to the United Houma Nation for disaster relief from several organizations.
Chief Creppel is also proud of the acquisition of the Nation’s new main office on Monarch Drive in Houma.
“I won’t always be here forever, but that building will always be here for our people.” Some other accomplishments Chief Creppel is proud to have happened during his term are the creations of the Public Relations, Marketing and Media Committee and the Education Committee. Yet, among the many achievements of his term, Chief says his greatest honor came from serving our elders.
“First thing, you know, when I came into office, I said it was about our elders and our kids. So, I’m most proud we got to serve our elders as much as we did.” While his primary focus may have been on the youth and the elders, Chief Creppel says he was just as privileged to serve all the citizens of the United Houma Nation and had this message to leave them,
“I just want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to serve them for four years. It was my pleasure to serve our people.”
As for now, the former leader of the United Houma Nation said he is enjoying all the extra time he has to spend with his family, but hasn’t completely ruled out running for another term in the future stating, “We’ll see. Just leave a question mark.”
The United Houma Nation would like to extend our deepest gratitude for the contributions and sacrifices made by all those, both past and present, who have volunteered to serve our citizens.
by: Janzen M. N. Verdin
Les Nouvelle Ecrevisse