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OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Discussions of Osage politics filled the atmosphere here at the South Oceanside Elementary School where United Osages of Southern California members met Oct. 3 for their fall gathering.

The Osage Nation’s 2010 election to be held in June is on the minds of many tribal members. The UOSC invited candidates for Congress, the Minerals Council and the principal chief’s office to speak at the meeting and to meet California’s Osage residents.

“I think it’s essential for our information gathering,” said Bill Myers who is chairman of the UOSC. “There’s nothing like face-to-face” contact in getting to know those seeking election, he said.

Seven tribal members who have publicly identified themselves as election candidates spoke at the meeting discussing why they should be elected.

Assistant Principal Chief John Red Eagle is seeking the office of the principal chief and told the 40-plus attendees “our government is transitioning from the old government to the new reformed government.” He is son of the late Assistant Chief Edward Red Eagle, Sr. and has been a member of the dance committee for the In-Lon-Schka dances for the Pawhuska District.

As part of his campaign platform, Red Eagle said he wants to bring more transparency and accountability to the Nation. “If I get elected, I’m going to do an outside audit.” He has established his own MySpace page and Web site at www.johnredeagle.com.

Red Eagle reported the economic impact to the Nation in 2007 was $222 million, which includes revenues from oil and gas, gaming, tobacco and taxation. He wants an audit conducted on all Nation government programs to determine their cost effectiveness and to issue annual reports to all constituents disclosing the status of the Nation’s resources.

Tim Tall Chief, deputy commissioner of administration at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, is also running for principal chief and plans to retire in February to concentrate on the campaign trail after 26 years of working in state government. Tall Chief, son of former Principal Chief George Tall Chief, said he would make sure tribal members have access to information they need including “every check copy available to see” if elected.

As part of his current post, Tall Chief is responsible for his department’s budgets, accounting, human resources, information technology and building management. He oversees an annual budget of $370 million for an agency of 2,300 employees with facilities in 70 Oklahoma counties and also teaches at the University of Oklahoma in its College of Liberal Studies Administrative Leadership program.

“Everything I’ve done up to this point has prepared me,” Tall Chief said of his first-time run for tribal office. He serves on the Nation’s Health and Wellness Advisory Board, other committees focusing on health and is also a committeeman for the Grayhorse District. His campaign Web site is www.timtallchief.com.

Roy St. John, who is retired following a career with IBM, is seeking the principal chief’s office and is running under the motto: “Putting People First.” He is the son of Ida May St. John who was a member of the UOSC in the 1970s.

“I have a lot of issues with the way our current government is running, I hope I have a plan and I have goal setting,” he told the attendees. “I will represent everyone,”

St. John said if he is elected. St. John said he promises to bring a more open and responsive government touting his experience with IBM’s company policies and management practices. Like Red Eagle, St. John says he would order an independent audit of the Nation’s finances so the constituents are informed of their status.

Raymond Red Corn is seeking a second term as congressman and told the attendees: “I’m interested in knowing what you are interested in.”

“We try to make change in the way we feel is necessary. In doing that, we really must listen to the majority of Osages and what they want from their government,” said Red Corn who is a committeeman for the Pawhuska In-Lon-Schka District.

Red Corn described being a congressman as a job “which is challenging. It is, without question, the most interesting job I’ve ever had.” As a congressman, Red Corn has written and sponsored legislation including a bill which established the Nation’s Limited Liability Company for handling economic development opportunities independent of gaming for the tribe and a whistleblower act to protect tribal employees for reporting illegal or unethical activities of fellow employees.

California-born Jake Heflin is also seeking a congressional seat. He is currently a firefighter/ paramedic for the city of Long Beach, Calif., and believes Osages residing beyond the reservation’s boundaries should also be represented.

“I think there is a genuine interest in the affairs of our own people across this nation, not just in Oklahoma, but basically Osages around the country,” he said. “And I want to be the voice to represent those people.”

Heflin believes the Nation should “look at where other tribes have invested their money” to create infrastructure. “That is how you bring people back,” he said of offering employment opportunities to educated and experienced Osages living away from the reservation.

Myron Red Eagle plans to run for a Minerals Council seat and said if he’s elected, he will “strongly uphold and preserve the Osage Minerals Estate.” His professional background includes manufacturing and working with public utilities including five years with the Public Service Company of Oklahoma in Tulsa.

“I believe the Minerals Council can be a much stronger unit if they could establish a working bond with the Osage Nation Congress not only for the sake of the… voters but for the welfare of our mineral shareholders as well,” Red Eagle said.

Red Eagle lives in Pawhuska and has participated in the In-Lon-Schka dances all his life mostly as a singer. His campaign Web site is www.myronredeagle.com.

Daniel Boone is making a second run for Congress. He is son of Minerals Councilwoman Cynthia Boone and Tom Boone from the Grayhorse District.

“No questions are off limits to me,” he told the attendees. “I look forward to hearing any and all questions you have and if I can’t give you the answer I will research the information and candidate and give you the information you’re looking for.”

This is Daniel Boone’s first trip to meet the California Osages as a candidate. He also sought a seat on the Nation’s 1st Congress in 2006. Cynthia Boone also attended the meeting to answer constituent inquiries but did not announce whether she’ll seek another term on the Minerals Council.

Myers said the next UOSC meeting is slated for April 24 with candidates invited to meet the residents again. He expects the upcoming meeting attendance to double, drawing about 100 people.