Don grew up on a working ranch East of Sallisaw, he is a descendant of Obediah Benge and Margaret Blair, and George Blair and Nancy Blythe, who came to Indian Territory on the “Trail of Tears.” Don and Jo Elaine have been married 53 years and they have one daughter, Jill Diane Tipton, a son-in-law, John Tipton, and two granddaughters, Jennifer Dawn Arnold, married to Jerry Arnold, Jessica Lynn Anthis, married to Kevin Anthis. Two Great Grand Daughters, Gracie Dawn Arnold and Alivia Jade Arnold.
Don is a graduate of Sallisaw Central High School, Oklahoma State University, and has a Masters degree from Southeastern State University. He is a veteran of the United States Army and was a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. He has over 43 years experience as an educator/coach. He was a math teacher in Muskogee and our Sequoyah HS, a building contractor, and a Real Estate Broker. He is a member of Central Baptist Church in Muskogee were he serves as Deacon.
Don was elected by the Council, every term, to co-chair the Cherokee Nation Education Committee, and was the Secretary of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council for 6 years. He serves on all Standing committees with almost 100% attendance.
He is a member of the Arvest Bank Advisory Board, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, Trail of Tears Association, National Rifle Association, Five Civilized Tribes Museum, and the National Congress of American Indians, as well as, the National Indian Education Association, Cherokee National Historical Society, National Association on Aging, Oklahoma Education Association, Murrow Indian Children’s Home Board of Trustees, Connors State Alumni Association, and the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association.
Some of Don’s accomplishments while serving on the Tribal council include: the beautiful Three Rivers Health Center, car tags inside CN boundary, CN contributed over a million dollars to the Rural Fire Departments, helped 3,348 families build or purchase their own homes, established the CN Youth choir, dedicated 1% of all new construction to Cherokee Art, building the new Veterans Center, acquired the Hastings Hospital, over 23,000 college students have received scholarships, raised dividend from CNE 5% for Contract Health, and at the present time we have 2,800 Cherokees on scholarship enrolled in the college of their choice.
1112 Sky View Drive
Muskogee, Ok 74403