William A. Durant

Class of
William A. Durant

William A. Durant

“Few Indians took a major part in governing Oklahoma, but there was one who, after obtaining an education despite a handicap, became a powerful member…of the legislature.”
The Associated Press


William A. Durant was born in the Choctaw Nation and educated in the public schools of the Choctaw Nation before graduating from Arkansas College in 1886. He came home to teach at the Durant Indian School and later became a longtime member of the Choctaw Legislature. He served as the sergeant at arms of Oklahoma’s Constitutional Convention in 1906 and served in the state’s first six legislative sessions. He was speaker of the house during the third legislature and, at the same time, served as speaker of the Choctaw Legislature. He then took a position in the oil and gas division of the state school land department and was appointed Secretary of that commission in 1923. He took the oath of office to serve as Tribal Chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1932.

Fun fact

In 1924, William Durant was famous for being “the only state official, department head, or bureau chief in the statehouse who had been born in Oklahoma” and the city of Durant was named for his cousin, Dixon.

Oklahoma connections

Durant was born in Bryan County, Oklahoma in the Choctaw Nation in 1866.




Public Servant





No items found.
No items found.