The eight newly elected members of the Third Osage Minerals Council took their oaths of office July 1 in a packed minerals council chambers in Pawhuska. The council is responsible for the roughly $4 billion Osage Minerals Estate for the next four years.
The new council consists of: Cynthia Boone (serving her third consecutive term), Joseph Cheshewalla, Galen Crum (serving his second consecutive term), Stephanie Erwin, Kathryn Red Corn (served on the first council), Talee Redcorn (served on the first council), Everett Waller (served on the 30th Osage Tribal Council) and Andrew Yates (serving his second consecutive term).
The Inauguration festivities began with a Catholic mass at the Immaculate Conception Church, in which seven of the eight council members attended, along with their families and friends. Poor health kept Crum from the mass. Father Christopher Daigle, who wore Osage men’s woven hang downs and whose vestments were adorned with ribbonwork made by Cheshewalla’s wife Debbie Cheshewalla, presided over the 45-minute mass.
Toward the end of the mass, he called up the council members one by one and anointed their foreheads with oil and blessed them with incensing, which looked very similar to the Native American tradition of blessing with cedar smoke.
“I anointed them with oil, prayed for the coming, spirit of wisdom, guidance, gratitude and leadership,” Daigle said. “The incensing was to show the sacredness of each of them and their duties to be carried out.”
Deacon Robert Axson read from the Acts of the Apostles and the Lord’s Prayer was said as the mass progressed. Afterward, the attendees wished each other peace.
“What you have been entrusted to, is the keys to the kingdom, so to speak,” Daigle said. “What you choose to do is done. What you choose not to do is not done. It’s a heavy responsibility … to lead. That ability to be there for the people.”
Daigle said all Osages are not allottees, but that all the council members had to think and work for all Osages.
“You all have your own visions of leadership, but I ask on behalf of your people, which is strange because I’m about as white as they come,” Daigle said, in which everyone laughed. “But, I ask on behalf of your people, to give them hope.”
Following the mass was the swearing in of the new council members at the council chambers. The ceremony went quickly, with each member, including Crum who was still feeling ill, taking their oaths to uphold the Osage Constitution and to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Osage Nation Trial Court Chief Judge Marvin Stepson swore in the council members. William Fletcher placed Pendleton blankets on the new council. Susan Forman, natural gas consultant and Osage shareholder, was the guest speaker.
Amy Farid, an Osage makeup artist living in New York City and whose aunt is minerals councilwoman Cynthia Boone, has been in Oklahoma throughout the month of June working on the film, “The Heart Stays.” The film just wrapped filming in Pawhuska and she leaves for New York this week. She said the Inauguration festivities were a great way to end her trip home.
“It’s so great to be here for the Inauguration and be here for my aunt Cynthia [Boone],” Farid said. “The Inauguration was a great expansion of the Osage In-Lon-Schka dances for me because I was able to attend all three while I was here. For someone living out of state it was really nice to be able to be here for both our culture and our governmental side of our Osage people.”
The minerals council meets every third Wednesday and Friday of each month. For more information about meetings visit: http://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/minerals-council.