Longtime Osage Nation employee Jewell Purcell is enjoying some leisure time these days after retiring as Archives Department director.
Purcell retired her post on Oct. 31 ending 17 years of work for the Osage Nation. Two days later, Purcell’s fellow government employees and family members attended a lunch hour party honoring Purcell at the Title VI building in Pawhuska. Purcell, of Hominy, received countless hugs, well wishes and handshakes and gifts, including a purple-monogramed Pendleton blanket from the Executive Branch. Purple, being that she’s from Hominy.
“Jewell’s been a great asset to the tribe absorbing a great deal of knowledge over the past 17 years,” said Joe Tillman, the division leader for the Nation’s cultural and educational departments including Archives. Tillman said he recalls several occasions when people would say: “just ask Jewell,” whenever someone had a question. He then turned to Purcell and joked, “Don’t be surprised if you get calls from time to time.”
A former Bureau of Indian Affairs employee, Purcell’s tribal government service started in August 1995 and stretches across three Principal Chief administrations and two forms of tribal government. Purcell worked in an administrative position when Principal Chief Charles Tillman was in office. She became an office manager in 2003 during the Principal Chief Jim Gray administration.
When the 2006 reformed Osage government launched, Purcell was elected to a four-year term on the First Osage Minerals Council. That year, she also became the Nation’s archivist and became Archives Department director when it was created in the 2007 fiscal year.
Osage Tribal Museum Director Kathryn Red Corn also served on the First OMC and said Purcell was the entity’s first chairperson. “I don’t think it would’ve run smoothly without her,” she said.
Fi Davis, Purcell’s brother, spoke of his sister’s work ethic during the party. “She got everybody organized so things got done,” he said.
Tillman presented Purcell with the purple Pendleton, a corsage and a tiara as he congratulated her in front of a standing ovation.
Expressing gratitude, Purcell said she was glad to contribute to the Nation through the years. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we had more ups than downs. I pray that each and every one of you do good and continue to support the Osage Nation.”
Despite her increase in free time, Purcell isn’t quite ready to step away from office work just yet. Purcell said she plans to start working from home as a medical transcriptionist but would take a break first and consider travel ideas.
More photos of Purcell’s retirement party are available on the Osage News Flickr page at:www.flickr.com/photos/osagenews/sets/72157632047005591/with/8199261383/