Miss Oklahoma USA 2019, Triana Browne-Hearrell
Chickasaw citizen and Miss Oklahoma USA 2019, Triana Browne-Hearrell, is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in human development and family sciences with a focus in psychology and a minor in sociology. As Miss Oklahoma USA, Triana will travel the state, spreading awareness of her platform, “Bridging the Great Cultural Divide.” The Chickasaw Nation is proud to support Triana and her platform. We recently sat down with Triana to ask her about her work, as well as her journey to the Miss America competition. Continue reading for an exclusive glimpse into the life of Miss Oklahoma.
Learn more about Triana
Six Native American artists collaborated to create an original ensemble to highlight Miss Oklahoma USA Triana Browne-Hearrell’s platform - “Bridging the Great Cultural Divide.”
Triana wore the ensemble designed and created to spotlight her Chickasaw culture at the 2017 Miss America Pageant “Show Us Your Shoes Parade.”
How was the design of the “Show Us Your Shoes” parade garments inspired by Chickasaw culture?
I was honored to work with several distinguished Chickasaw artists on the design, ensuring Chickasaw culture was reflected in each piece of the garment. From the hair comb to the intricate beading on the boots, the garments represented the unique aesthetic of the Chickasaw Nation.
The lavender romper was designed as a modern-take on a traditional Chickasaw ribbon dress. The traditional ribbon dress was popular among Chickasaws in the 19th century. The ribbons on the dress are worn for adornment, but can also represent family or clan colors.
The romper and attachable skirt featured detailed beadwork by Chickasaw artist Courtney Parchcorn and Cherokee artist Buddy Parchcorn. Butterflies, an important symbol to the Chickasaw people, were incorporated into the beautiful design of the beadwork. The Butterfly symbol signifies transformation.
Chickasaw artist Kristen Dorsey designed the gorgeous necklace, earrings and hair comb. Each piece shared a cultural connection through the design, technique and materials used.
The rose gold pieces represented the ancient copper working traditions of our Chickasaw ancestors. The black freshwater pearls represented Chickasaw’s ancient tradition of pearl adornment dating back to the Mississippian period.
The one-of-a-kind gorget necklace encompasses a four-direction symbol. The number four plays an important role in Chickasaw culture, representing the four directions of the earth and the four seasons.
Gorgets, a French word meaning “throat” or “of the throat,” were traditionally worn as a symbol of rank and status. Shell and copper gorget necklaces were reserved for the most influential tribal citizens.
The spiral symbol, etched onto the gorget, symbolizes wind -which is representative of each person’s passage from birth through life and into the afterlife.
The beaded earrings embodied the four directions symbol, as well as an opossum grape design -which is a traditional Chickasaw food.
The hair comb also included the four directions symbol and traditional ribbons. After European contact, a silver comb was worn by Chickasaw women with long ribbons that hung to their ankles.
The finger woven belt was created by Ashley Wallace, who still practices the ancient craft of finger weaving.
Finger woven belts are still part of the Chickasaw woman's ceremonial attire. These colorful adornments were woven entirely by hand. Finger woven belts are always worn on the left, with the tassels facing toward the fire in a stomp dance.
Chickasaw artist, Maya Stewart, designed a silver leather belt, inspired by the geometric lines of Southeastern tribes.
The turquoise stiletto boots featured detailed beading by Chickasaw artist Courtney Parchcorn and Cherokee artist Buddy Parchcorn. Thousands of tiny beads in shades of lavender, green, rose gold and blue were beaded by hand to create two seals, The Great Seal of the Chickasaw Nation and The Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma.
The Great Seal of the Chickasaw Nation features Chickasaw Leader Tishominko, and reflects the courage of the Chickasaw people.
The Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma features a five-pointed star and the state motto “Labor Omnia Vincit.” Inside each point of the star is an emblem of the Five Civilized Tribes, with the Chickasaw Nation’s warrior featured on the top point.
Chickasaw artist Margaret Roach Wheeler weaved a beautiful blanket inspired by the colors of the Chickasaw flag. The small blanket was designed to lie on the back of the car during the parade; however, it can also be worn as a shawl.
What did it mean to represent the Chickasaw Nation and Oklahoma on the national stage?
It really meant a lot to be able to represent the Chickasaw Nation at the Miss Oklahoma USA competition and on a national level. I met Governor Anoatubby and it was one of the most memorable experiences I have had. He is an outstanding leader and role model of not only the Chickasaw people, but all citizens of Oklahoma. I am very proud of my heritage, and I feel honored that I might be an example for young Chickasaw girls to follow.
How did it feel to have the support of these elite Chickasaw artists in a combined effort to enlighten the world about the Chickasaw culture?
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with these amazing artists. Their work is incredible, and I can’t wait to showcase it to the world. Their support, and the support of the whole Chickasaw Nation, pushed me to do my best and really represent what the Chickasaw Nation is all about
In what avenues do you educate Oklahoma’s youth about the Chickasaw culture and Native Americans?
I partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma City and Tulsa to teach Chickasaw heritage to young children. Being Chickasaw is something I love speaking about and I enjoy giving the students Chickasaw words to learn. Working with children, I hope to spark curiosity and excitement about the cultures in Oklahoma and challenge them to continue to ask the questions and learn from their surroundings.
Tell us about the importance of your platform, “Bridging the Great Cultural Divide.”
Through my platform, “Bridging the Great Cultural Divide,” I hope to change the narrative from “they” to “we” and nurture cultural compassion. It is really about sitting down, having a conversation with people who have different opinions, beliefs and ideas just so we can come together as one.
As Miss Oklahoma USA, in what other ways are you serving as a cultural ambassador?
I also have the privilege of being a Nike N7 influencer. The Nike N7 line is made up of shoes and athletic wear inspired by Native American and aboriginal communities. The N7 collection supports the N7 fund and its commitment to help organizations provide sport and physical activity programming to Native American and Aboriginal communities across North America.
What does your Chickasaw heritage mean to you and how does your family celebrate your Chickasaw culture?
I was taught that culture is the way our ancestors speak to us. As a multicultural woman, that message carries a lot of meaning because I went through a time where I did not know myself or where I belonged. Once I started to learn about my Chickasaw heritage, I finally began to feel like I belonged somewhere and was no longer alone. My great-grandmother, as well as my grandparents, are highly involved with the Chickasaw Nation. They enjoy promoting our culture and passing on our history to as many people as possible.
What are you most looking forward to during your reign as Miss Oklahoma USA?
I'm looking forward to traveling all over the state, carrying my message of cultural compassion into schools so that I may talk with students about my platform, "Bridging the Great Cultural Divide." As part of my presentation, I share my Chickasaw heritage.
What advice would you give to young people who are trying to reach their goals?
When it comes to reaching your goals, know that the path to success is never easy but makes the journey worthwhile. Be sure to surround yourself with like-minded people. Practice positive self-talk all day, every day. Stay open minded to all situations and take adversity as motivation. Soon you can watch your life manifest into the dream you have always had. You are capable of anything you set your mind to as long as you work hard.