Watch Videos Class of 2018
Lila Dean McManus
1938 - 2017

Lila Dean McManus devoted 40 years of her life to enhancing the lives of the Chickasaw people. She was born July 20, 1938, in Madill, Oklahoma.

Mrs. McManus attended Kingston and Madill schools and married Harrel D. McManus Feb. 19, 1955. In 1975, she became one of only 25 employees of the Chickasaw Nation, then headquartered in Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Hired as a Community Health Representative for southern Pontotoc County, Mrs. McManus served the Chickasaw people in several capacities in the program, including supervisor and coordinator of the department.

She began serving as Chickasaw Nation Director of Human Resources in 1995 and the Director of Training and Development in 1997. Mrs. McManus was a Chickasaw Nation employee for nearly 25 years before resigning in 1999 to seek election to Pontotoc District, Seat 4 of the Chickasaw Nation Legislature. Mrs. McManus won this election and was re-elected five times.

Mrs. McManus served the Chickasaw Legislature as Secretary in 2002-03, and chaired the Human Resources Committee. She was a member of the legislative, finance, health, historical and cultural preservation committees.

She served as a voting Chickasaw representative on the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, board member of the National Indian Council on Aging, and National Diabetes Association alternate representative. In 2005, she was appointed alternate delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.

While serving as the president of the National Association of Community Health Representatives, she received the Stellar Leadership Award from the U.S. Indian Health Service in 1991.

Mrs. McManus was among 50 Native American elders from more than 25 tribes honored in 2016 by the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP). Additionally, she was a longtime member of the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

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