A dedicated public servant for the Chickasaw Nation

Lila Dean McManus spent 40 years of her life in service to the Chickasaw Nation. Born in 1938 in Madill, Oklahoma, she attended schools in Kingston and Madill. In 1975, she went to work as one of only 25 employees of the Chickasaw Nation in Sulphur.

McManus began working as a Community Health Representative for southern Pontotoc County. She went on to serve as supervisor and coordinator of the department that she started in. In 1995 she was appointed Chickasaw Nation Director of Human Resources, and in 1997 she was named Director of Training and Development.

After nearly 25 years as an employee of the Chickasaw Nation, McManus quit in 1999 in order to run for a seat in the Chickasaw Nation Legislature. She was elected to Seat 4 of Pontotoc District and went on to be re-elected five times. She also served the Legislature as Secretary in 2002-2003, chaired the Human Resources Committee and sat on numerous other committees.

McManus was a voting representative of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, board member of the National Indian Council on Aging, a member of the National Foundation for Women Legislators and other distinguished nationwide organizations. She was awarded the Stellar Leadership Award from the U.S. Indian Health Service and was one of 25 Native American elders honored by the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP).

Mrs. McManus passed away in 2017, predeceased by her husband Harrel D. McManus. She is survived by three daughters and 11 grandchildren.


  • Six-term member of Chickasaw Nation Legislature
  • Inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2018