Culture

Fundraiser to benefit Osage youth causes controversy

An Osage Holiday Gala hosted by a group of Osage citizens to help raise money to benefit Osage Youth and the Osage Tribal Museum will be held on Dec. 10 at the Osage Casino Events Center in Tulsa.

The Osage Tribal Museum, The Osage Foundation, the Notah Begay III Foundation and the Nike N7 Fund will all benefit from funds raised at the gala. The money raised for the foundations and fund will essentially benefit the Osage youth.

Ticket prices are set at $200 a plate and $10,000 for a premium table of 10 that includes a VIP Reception at the host hotel.

The gala has already raised $100,000, with large donations coming from the Osage Nation Chief’s Office and the two law firms that represented the Nation in the Osage Trust Case – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Pipestem Law Firm. All three donated $30,000 each. The Osage Minerals Council recently donated $10,000 to the gala as well.

The Museum will host its annual Christmas tree auction with a tree decorated and donated by Osage artists. A silent auction, a live painting by Osage artist Yatika Fields, a dinner and concert performance by Native American country music artist Crystal Shawanda will also take place. The inaugural gala committee will also honor a local community activist who contributes to the wellbeing of Osage youth through sport, according to a press release.

Controversy

Some Osages feel the gala is inappropriate.

Osage shareholders across the country are coming into large settlements from the Osage Trust Case and some feel that the gala may be preying on their newfound funds, and others feel the price of $200 a plate may be excluding others.

Osage Congressional candidate for the 2012 election, Texas-Osage Jim Ryan, recently posted to his Facebook group page, “Osage for Fiscal Responsibility,” that he was disappointed at the price of the tickets for the gala ($200 a plate). He said the Osage families who have been attending the OTM’s annual Christmas Tree Auction for years would be excluded.

"I am therefore calling on anyone who reads this to contact the planners of this event and ask them to offer these families tickets to this event at reasonable cost based on last year’s price plus a modest increase for inflation,” he wrote. He then added a letter he had sent to Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle.

Amanda Proctor, Osage attorney, who represents the plaintiffs in the Fletcher Case, which seeks to return headright shares to Osages, posted on the page that when she first initially heard about the gala the majority of the profits were not going to Osages.

“When I initially received the copies of the internal memoranda between the lawyers, the tribal officials and proposed organizers, I read that the money raised from the event would benefit the Notah Begay Foundation. The email stated that some money also ‘could’ go to the soccer field project. This was the information at hand at the time the tribal leaders voted to support the event,” she said. “It seems to me that the beneficiaries of the event changed only AFTER the outcry on this and other chat boards. I just think that is an important facet to note.”

Osage graphic design artist and community organizer, Ryan Red Corn, who also did the artwork for the gala and has done artwork for the Notah Begay III Foundation and the Nike N7 Fund, said the major beneficiaries of the gala will be Osage youth and that if any Osage out there wanted to organize a fundraiser to benefit Osages, he would do their art work for free.

“I'm certain if you still want to donate [to] this cause or any other cause they will happily accept your money. If this is not a charity of your choice then that's fine, pick another one, or none at all. If you want to keep every last cent of your settlement money, that is your prerogative. If you are unhappy with your leaders making this type of contribution to Osage youth then take it up with them,” he said. “But if you step up and contribute to the youth in this form or any other form for that matter, I will stand beside you and THANK YOU. Because as far as I am concerned there are way to [sic] many talkers on this board and not enough doers.”

Osage youth

Moira Redcorn, Osage physician and a board member for the Notah Begay III Foundation, is one of the many “Osage citizens” behind the event who is interested in raising money for a soccer field to be built in Pawhuska. She said the group of Osages simply wanted to help the Osage youth.

“I know as a doctor I’m in a position to give back to my tribe, and I hope my efforts with this group of Osage citizens I am able to affect the lives of young Osages in a positive way,” Red Corn said.

According to the release, the evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a reception, silent auction and a live art painting by Osage artist Yatika Fields, who is well known for his live art paintings. 

The silent auction will feature a mix of art, jewelry, packages and sports memorabilia.

A dinner and live auction will follow at 6:30 p.m. and the event will wrap up with a live concert from Ojibwe country singer Crystal Shawanda, who is also a board member for the Nike N7 fund.

In the release Osage Foundation Board Chair Alex Tallchief Skibine said the Foundation and all the other organizations are pleased to be a part of the event.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support the Osage Foundation and Osage youth,” Skibine said.

One-third of the proceeds will go to the Osage Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation created by the Osage Nation, to build a brand new soccer field in Pawhuska.

One-third of the proceeds will go to The the Notah Begay III Foundation, a 501c3 corporation started by PGA Golfer Notah Begay III (Navajo/Pueblo) that strives to reduced childhood obesity and diabetes through soccer and golf programs for Native American youth. The money will be used to conduct sports camps through the NB3 Foundation for the Osage youth.

Lastly, proceeds will go toward the Nike N7 Fund, a fund inspiring a movement toward healthier tribal communities through the Nike N7 Summit and by awarding grants to health and wellness programs in tribal communities with profit gained from the selling of Nike N7 products. Sam McCraken (Assiniboine/Souix), the visionary and chairman on the N7 Fund board will attend the gala and participate in the honoring of the Osage community activist, according to the release.

Begay said he’s excited to bring the services of his foundation to the Osage youth.

“I’m looking forward to visiting the Osage Reservation for this event and bringing out sports programs to young Osages,” Begay said.

Tickets can be purchased at the Osage Box Office at 951 West 36th Street, Tulsa, OK 74127 or online at osagecasinos.com or by phone at (918) 699-7667. Osage Box office hours are 9-11 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Osage News Editor Shannon Shaw contributed to this report.

Location

Osage Events Center
951 W 36th Street North
Tulsa
United States