Tribal Council and Services
The Coushatta Tribal Council is the democratically-elected governing body consisting of five members: four council members and the chairman. The first tribal council elections were held in 1985 and members serve staggered four-year terms.
Jonathan Cernek, current chairman of the Coushatta Tribe, took office in June 2021 and is serving a four-year term. Loretta Williams is serving her second four-year term and Kristian Poncho is serving an inaugural four-year term as Secretary-Treasurer. They are joined by Vice-Chair, Crystal Williams and Council Member, Kevin Sickey.
Jonathan Cernek, Tribal Chairman
Chairman Cernek served on the Tribal Council for eight years as Vice-Chair and Council Member prior to being elected Chairman.
He has a master’s degree in management from Liberty University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from McNeese State University.
He has also served as an adjunct teacher for the Indian Bible Academy for 11 years.
“We have so many great minds with the motivation to succeed. Our people continue to be our greatest resource.”Jonathan Cernek
Chairman Cernek is passionate about serving the community and helping others. His vision for the Tribe’s future is to inspire fellowship and promote unity.
He believes that the greatest things in life happen with teamwork and that the Coushatta people are the most important resource we have.
Tribal Council Members
OFFICE OF THE TRIBAL CHAIRMAN
Reta Rich / Executive Assistant
T.A. Wier / Director
COUSHATTA TRIBAL GAMING COMMISSION
Keith Wier / Gaming Commission Chairman
DEPARTMENT OF ENROLLMENT
Lora Langley / Director
DEPARTMENT OF HERITAGE
Jonas John / Director
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Chris Sylestine / Director
LITTLE INDIAN SCHOOL
Heather Williams / Director
COUSHATTA WELLNESS CENTER
Shonna Granger / Director
COUSHATTA TRIBAL POLICE DEPARTMENT
Stuart John / Chief of Police
TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Shana Harmon / Director
OFFICE OF THE TRIBAL COUNCIL
Landon Daigle / Administrative Assistant
OFFICE OF THE TRIBAL ADMINISTRATOR
Christopher Langley / Tribal Administrator
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Shirley Doucet / Director
DEPARTMENT OF GROUNDS MAINTENANCE
Nathan Sylestine / Director
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING
Jill Gradney / Director
DEPARTMENT OF MAINTENANCE
Jerreth Robinson / Director
COUSHATTA TRIBAL FIRE DEPARTMENT
Leland Thompson / Fire Chief, Emergency
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Jerreth Robinson / Director
DEPARTMENT OF ELDER SERVICES
Bridget Robinson / Services Coordinator
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Paula Manuel / Director
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
Rayne Langley / Interim Director
Building and Growing
After regaining federal recognition in 1973, the Coushatta Tribe began investing in a variety of enterprises in order to provide revenue for its tribal government and jobs for community members.
Chief among these enterprises is the Coushatta Casino Resort, which opened in 1995 and has grown into the second largest private employer in the state of Louisiana. The Tribe also operates a variety of smaller business enterprises, as well as health, educational, social and cultural programs, that have economic and social impact on the tribal and surrounding communities.
The Coushatta Tribe now owns roughly 5,000 acres of land in Allen Parish and more 1,000 acres in surrounding parishes. The land is used for Coushatta-constructed tribal housing, rice and crawfish farming and development of new business programs, as well as buildings to house the Tribal Government and Tribal Finance Departments, a Tribal Police Department, and Community, Health and Learning centers.