Culture , Government

Congress passes resolutions for Grayhorse Community Building and statue of Chief Claremore

Due to a change in Osage law regarding the capital asset and improvement fund, the Fifth Osage Nation Congress passed two resolutions for two separate projects during the Feb. 27 special session.

Those resolutions passed are for proposed projects to build a new Grayhorse village community center and a sculpture of Osage Chief Claremore. Both projects received Congressional approval in the 2016 Tzi-Zho Session, but additional information on the projects was needed before the projects proceeded due to the law change.

Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn said the law change occurred with the passage of ONCA 16-58 for the capital asset and improvement fund, which now says “no funds may be expended out of the Capital Asset and Improvement Fund until a capital budget is prepared and approved by Congressional resolution.”

That day, both projects were reviewed in committee meetings before the resolutions (ONCR 17-10 for the Grayhorse building and ONCR 17-11 for the Chief Claremore statue) passed with Congressional votes.

- ONCR 17-10 (sponsored by Congressman Ron Shaw) is the resolution for a new Grayhorse village community building. In past Congressional committee meetings, discussions noted there is irreparable roof damage to the current building next to the dance arbor. The resolution passed 11-0 with one absence that day from Congresswoman Shannon Edwards.

- ONCR 17-11 (Congressman John Maker) is the resolution to authorize the expenditure of $100,000 out of the capital asset and improvement fund for designing, creating and erecting a sculpture of Osage Chief Claremore. Maker reiterated his support for the resolution stating the statue project is an effort to pay respect to past Osage leaders and to beautify the Nation’s government campus in Pawhuska where a Chief Bigheart statue was erected last year.

Bruce Cass, Tribal Development Department director, presented the Congress with a similar budget for the Bigheart statue that will be also used for the Claremore one. He said the Bigheart statue cost was about $90,000.

Not everyone was in support of ONCR 17-11 with Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead noting she was against it due to spending constraints, the statue was not on top of her priority list and she voted against the first bill last fall.

ONCR 17-11 passed with a 9-2 vote with “no” votes from Buffalohead and Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt.

Also passing during the Feb. 27 special session was bill ONCA 17-23 (Congressman Joe Tillman), which is a $41,000 supplemental appropriation bill to construct a green house at the Nation-owned Bird Creek Farms.

Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn told the Congress the proposed green house would measure 30 by 40 feet.

Candy Thomas, of the Nation’s Strategic Planning and Grants Office, said the money is coming from leftover Bureau of Indian Affairs money from the Osage Agency, meaning no additional tribal money would be needed to fund the construction. The bill passed with an 11-0 vote and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed all passed legislative items on Feb. 28.