Renowned Osage artist Anita Fields is pondering her next beautiful creation. Will it be a clay sculpture, something she’s famous for, a painting, a collage – or a birdhouse?
Yes, a birdhouse. On Dec. 14, from 4-6 p.m., the Pawnee/Osage Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) nonprofit will hold their annual fundraiser and auction at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska. Up for auction are intricate birdhouses and aprons, painted and adorned. Some of the best artists in Indian Country donate their time to decorate the houses and the artists never disappoint.
“We’ve auctioned off aprons in the past, and they raised quite a bit of money for the Pawnee CASA,” said Helen Norris, Pawnee/Osage CASA director. “So that’s something we’re adding new this year in addition to birdhouses.”
Participating artists include Fields, Gina Gray, Joe Don Brave, Ryan RedCorn, Wendy Ponca and others. Last year 45 birdhouses went up for auction and $4,700 was raised.
Fields has yet to start working on her birdhouse but the idea has already been formed. At last year’s CASA auction her birdhouse raised up to $1,000. This will be her fourth birdhouse.
“I have the birdhouse, it was delivered to me, I’m thinking about following some of the things in my own work. But, they take different forms,” Fields said. “For a while I’ve been thinking about the Osage division between the earth and the sky and how that kind of dictates a thought. So I think it will depict the division between the earth and sky.
Fields gets asked to donate works throughout the year but she always makes time for CASA.
“I don’t mind doing it because it is a good cause,” she said. “As an artist we are asked to donate quite often. I do have to kind of pick and choose who I support and it’s not because I don’t want to support people, it’s just because it’s hard to do.”
The Pawnee/Osage CASA program is one of 946 community programs with volunteers serving at-risk children in court cases in both Pawnee and Osage counties. Started in 2009, the Pawnee/Osage CASA program takes on court cases in state and tribal courts with the CASA program now available in the Osage Nation Trial Court.
There are 11 CASA volunteers in Osage County with six of them being Osage citizens. The volunteers are assigned to abused and neglected Native American children in the Osage County or Osage Tribal Court system and they monitor their living situation, school activity, and general well-being and report directly to the judge handling the child’s case.
According to Norris, 60 percent of cases heard in Osage County court involve Osages. To prepare for state and tribal cases, CASA volunteers not only complete 30 hours of required training, they also have 10 additional training hours on Osage and Pawnee history and cultural customs.
The Pawnee/Osage CASA office is one of four (CASA offices) in the United States that cross-trains CASA volunteers for both tribal and state cases, Norris said. If a case begins in state court but moves to tribal court, the CASA volunteer stays on the case and vice versa if a tribal case transfers to state court jurisdiction. The CASA volunteer would keep a constant presence in transferred cases because state social workers handling cases transferred to tribal courts cannot follow the cases once they leave the jurisdiction, Norris said.
For more information about the birdhouse auction, on becoming a CASA volunteer or to donate, contact Pawnee/Osage CASA at its Pawhuska office at (918) 287-4120. The Pawnee office can be reached at (918) 762-3776.
Donations can also be sent to:
Pawnee/Osage CASA Program
100 W. Main St.
Suite # 206
Pawhuska, OK 74056