Tahrohon Wayne Shannon is the state of Oklahoma’s first African-American Speaker of the House. He is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, and even served as the chief administrative officer of Chickasaw Nation Enterprises.
“We have been blessed to have had members of the tribe who have worked to keep our heritage alive and keep our government alive,” Shannon said. “I think those that are continuing that fight and furthering that cause are our modern-day Chickasaw warriors.”
“My family came to Oklahoma during the Chickasaw removal during the 1800s,” Shannon said, and his grandmother made sure that he knew “what it meant to be Chickasaw and that [he] appreciated it.”
Shannon obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Cameron University and went on to launch his own public relations business. He also holds a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University Law School. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 from his hometown of Lawton, Oklahoma, and became the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2013.
“When you’re trying to bring people together from different walks of life in such a diverse state, I think that it helps when you’ve had some experience working with different people,” Shannon said. “Speaker of the House — the role is really about bringing people together, forming a consensus and setting priorities for the state.”