Born in 1936, Zane Browning graduated from the Haskell Indian School. Soon after, he attended Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. He then began his career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs shortly thereafter. He served as superintendent of a local BIA agency from 1979 to 1993.
Browning made a crucial discovery in the 1980s for the Chickasaw Nation, without even realizing its merit. When he was a BIA superintendent in Ardmore, Browning noticed certain devices in a safe in the realty department at the BIA. Taking a closer look, he noticed these items were the official seals of the Five Tribes. After repeated requests, he was able to obtain the Chickasaw seal and return it to the Chickasaw Nation. Browning also helped establish the Chickasaw Nation Health Clinic in Ardmore, Oklahoma.