Vol. LII No. 9
September 2017

Chickasaw trades track cleats for Miss Oklahoma title

ADA, Okla. - Triana Browne’s decision to trade track cleats for stilettos resulted in a crown.

The 24-year-old Chickasaw citizen won the Miss Oklahoma title in June. She is spending a whirlwind summer preparing for the 2018 Miss America Pageant, Sept. 6-10, in Atlantic City, N.J.

She is also serving as a goodwill ambassador for the state and sharing her Chickasaw culture with young people.

Miss Browne was driven by her desire to get her degree at Oklahoma State University.

“When I got to college, I needed help paying for a bill, and my mother was laid off, Miss Browne said.

“The only thing that was going to keep me in school was a pageant, the Miss OSU pageant. Because I didn’t want to leave school, because I wanted to continue running, I told my mom I was going to win that pageant just so I could stay there. And, I ended up winning.”

In addition to her studies, Miss Browne was a scholarship runner on the OSU track team. She earned a bachelor’s degree from OSU.

Her reign as Miss OSU was so positive and uplifting, Miss Browne entered the Miss Oklahoma City pageant the following year and won that title as well.

“I had such an amazing time and gained so many friendships that I decided to do it again, because the more I get involved the more money I have toward education and the more I can help my mother.”

As Miss Oklahoma City, she competed in the 2017 Miss Oklahoma pageant in Tulsa, and was shocked when she won the crown.

“And now I am here – Miss Oklahoma, she said.

“Everything still feels like a dream, it hasn’t set in whatsoever. And I am really excited to see the growth just within the next couple of weeks, even up until September.

During her recent visit to Ada, Miss Browne read “I Am America” to a class of 3- and 4-year olds, who were noticeably enchanted by their royal guest.

“Reading to the children here at the Child Development Center is something that is really close to my heart, because I wish I could have learned about (my) Chickasaw heritage at a young age,” Miss Browne said.

The book she read mirrors her platform “Bridging the Great Cultural Divide.” She hopes to change the narrative from “they” to “we” and nurture cultural compassion.

“It’s really about sitting down, having a conversation with people who have different opinions, beliefs, and ideas just so we can come together as one,” she said.

Through her platform, Miss Browne has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma City and Tulsa where she teaches Chickasaw heritage to young children as one of the topics.

“Something I love speaking on being Chickasaw and giving (the students) an Oklahoma rose rock and words to learn, so they can say ‘Chokma’ whenever they meet people.”

Working with children, she also hopes to spark curiosity and excitement about the cultures in Oklahoma and challenge them to continue to ask the questions to learn from their surroundings.

“The next time we met, they were telling me of noticing a billboard or commercial,” she said. “Something they never really focused on before. It is a lot of fun.”

Miss Browne’s Chickasaw heritage is traced to her grandparents, Charles and Judith Hearell, of Bennington, Okla.

She discovered her Chickasaw roots later in her young life. Miss Browne began educating herself, through books, museum trips and the internet, about what it means to be Chickasaw.

“Once I learned I was Chickasaw, I wanted to learn what it was about,” she said. “I wanted to grow in that and learn more about Chickasaw heritage and why it’s so amazing.”

Her platform, which promotes cultural inclusion, stems from her search for role models as a young girl.

“When I was a little girl, I went through a very dark phase and just had no one I could really relate to, being that I didn’t know who I was as a multicultural woman, she said.

“I was very alone,” she said. “Because of that, I don’t want anyone else to go through that experience. So I am here to represent the athletes, to represent all women, represent men, too – just to empower others.

“The biggest impact I want to make is a sense of hope.”

Miss Browne is the daughter of Monica Browne and Joel Hearell, who both ran track at Oklahoma State University and are alumni of the school.

She is also a graduate from Oklahoma State, thanks in part, to her decision to participate in the Miss OSU pageant.