David Brown’s achievements during his tenure as lieutenant governor for the Chickasaw Nation are extensive. The first Journal of Chickasaw History was published, he opened successful businesses in Tishomingo—his hometown—and Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program was established, the Upward Bound Program at Murray State College in Tishomingo was started, and a community center in Achille and a senior nutrition site in Allen were opened.
Since his passing on June 6 at the age of 70, those accomplishments are now being remembered. Brown served as lieutenant governor from 1991 to 1999. During that time he was also involved in the repatriation of remains of 20 American Indians uncovered during an archaeological dig in Tupelo, Mississippi. Brown was also involved in early efforts to repatriate remains unearthed at a building site in Tennessee in 1997.
In his message to the Chickasaw people as a candidate in the 1995 election, Brown said he wanted “to continue working with the people so that—together—we can make the Chickasaw Nation stronger, better and even more successful.”
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said Brown had a passion for serving the people.
“Our condolences are with the family and friends of David Brown, a man who came from humble beginnings in rural Oklahoma to live and work in one of the largest cities in the country,” Anoatubby said in a release. “Those diverse experiences helped him understand a broad range of life experiences when he returned to work for the Chickasaw Nation.”
Brown was born to Mattie Brown at Chilocco Indian School on June 20, 1942. He grew up in the Tishomingo, Oklahoma area and graduated from Ravia High School in Ravia, Oklahoma. He served in the military after high school and moved to Los Angeles, California where he served as chairman pro tem for the South Bay Indian Services Board of Directors. While in California he also served as the vice chairman of the Los Angeles Indian Center and as chairman of the Long Beach Indian Center.
He studied at Chaffey State College in Rancho Cucamonga, California as well as at the University of California and California State University of Los Angeles.
He returned to Tishomingo, where he lived with his wife, Rhonda (Whittington), an instructor at Murray State College and a nurse practitioner at the Chickasaw Nation Family Practice Clinic. They have three sons: Jeff, Brandon and Bryant.
Brown also taught as an adjunct professor at Murray State College, served as a member of the state executive committee of the Democratic Party of Oklahoma, as a board member of the Tishimingo Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Ethnic Diversity Council for the City of Ada.