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Wah-Tiah-Kah Scholarship: An Osage Mineral Council Educational Program

Wah-Tiah-Kah was a great warrior, profit and visionary. When he spoke he was wise, and the people listened. It seems fitting that the Minerals Council memorializes him in this.

The introduction of the scholarship application reminds us that in 1871, the Osage moved to what is now known as the Osage Reservation of Oklahoma. “Prior to that move … Wah-Tiah-Kah traveled south from our Kansas lands to determine for our people if this was wise and the boundaries of which it would encompass. Wah-Tiah-Kah walked the land; as he did so, he envisioned his grandchildren prospering. He knew this was good and that Wah-Kon-Tah had blessed the land for the Wah-Zha-Zhi.”

The purpose of the scholarship program is to provide incentive, encouragement and financial assistance to Osage applicants pursuing higher education in oil and gas related fields.

The scholarship application states, “We honor Wah-Tiah-Kah, for without his wisdom, we would not have the oil that has sustained the Osage for over 100 years.” By these scholarships, the Minerals Council hopes to help maintain and promote good stewardship over this great gift from Wah-Kon-Tah.

Eligibility requirements include proof of Osage membership, CDIB or Membership Card, completed application, enrollment in an accredited program leading to an academic degree, and certification or licensure in oil and/or gas related fields.

The scholarship program was initiated on Oct. 20, 2010 by resolution, introduced by then-Councilman Melvin Core and passed unanimously with a vote of 8-0. The initial resolve reads “funding for two scholarships for two students at $1,000 each semester for a total of $4,000 per year …” Funding comes from the S-510 account, a PL75-638 contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. No minerals money is used in this endeavor.

The first year was very successful with a full panel of highly qualified eligible applicants. So much so, the following year two more scholarships were added. In July 2014, the Osage Minerals Council reviewed and assessed the program. It was judged successful in number and quality of applicants and in academic achievement. The scholarship program was continued by resolution, again unanimously.

Since the program began in 2010, 26 scholarships were awarded for a total of $26,000. Studies vary from petroleum engineering, environmental management, process technology, energy management and other courses preparing graduates for the industry. Members of the Osage Minerals Council facilitate summer internships whereby scholarship recipients work for and with Oil producers within the Osage.

These scholarships are of great help to the individual recipients, and no doubt to their families and future families. But the Wah-Tiah-Kah Scholarship Program also helps our people as a whole, as a Tribe, as a Nation, as owners of these resources. As a people, the more we learn about our resources the better we will be able to manage and develop them.

Wah-Tiah-Kah told us this is our last reservation. This is our inheritance, and we must be good stewards going forward.