By Michael Bristow
Ha-weh - I am Michael Bristow and I humbly ask for your vote to serve our Osage people as a member of the Osage Nation Congress.
As a licensed Speech Pathologist, I am reminded daily in my practice that when the health care needs of our people are addressed we create a thriving community. As an Osage, I was raised to make sure our elders are treated with love, respect and dignity, our Osage youth are given every opportunity to pursue education and our Osage people thrive in today’s economy and into the future. As a son, brother and uncle, it is my responsibility to my mother, my relatives and my people to do everything I can to make this happen.
I believe the Nation can focus resources into establishing an Osage staffed, skilled nursing facility through sensible economic development of our natural resources, educational opportunity for our youth, and developing a comprehensive Eldercare program. By providing these Eldercare services to our Osage elders we can allow them to age-in-place in Osage county surrounded by family, friends, and care-givers who understand what it means to be Osage.
A facility such as this would also give Osage Scholarship recipients studying in the health care field as Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Nurses an opportunity to come work with their own population upon completion of their respective coursework and establish a way for health care professionals who've been funded by the Tribe to give our elders the benefit of their education.
I am keenly aware these solutions can only move forward if the ON Congress and the ON Executive make the choice to work together for the betterment of the Osage Nation. As we say “Wash KAH” – do your best. It means too that we sometimes give up what we are not best at so that others may do their best and together we achieve our best.
I am proud to have been raised in the proud tradition of Osages. I have been a part of our E-Lon-Schka dances since the age of 8, taking my place under that arbor in the Pawhuska district. I was chosen to serve as a Ni-ah-thee (water boy) for the Pawhuska War Dance Committee at age 12 and have held the position of Committeeman ever since.
My mother is Olivia "Biggie" Mashunkashey Bristow, born and raised in Hominy. My maternal great-grandfather, Ben Mashunkashey, was the first Drumkeeper for the Wa-Ha-Ko-lin district. My father, Bob Bristow, was a member of the Native American Church, and from an early age, I remember, watching him, along with Mongrain Lookout, and Eddy RedEagle, Jr., learning the Osage Language from Tribal elders whose first language was Osage.
As your representative, I will demonstrate my deep commitment to continuing the same Osage traditions, language and culture instilled in me by my parents.
I am Michael Bristow, I am Osage and I seek your vote to serve our Osage people on the 5th Osage Congress with Accountability, Eldercare and Integrity.
[Editor's Note: The Osage News does not edit candidate announcements.]