Community , Culture

Elders Series: Dolores Goodeagle

Osage Elder Dolores Goodeagle in the Osage News offices in downtown Pawhuska. Chalene Toehay-Tartsah/Osage News

Dolores Goodeagle, 82, was born and raised in Fairfax, Okla., just five miles west of Grayhorse. She is the daughter of Thomas Green (Sac & Fox of Kansas) from Mayetta, Kans., and Mary Osage Green (Full Blood Osage) of Fairfax. She has three sisters, Beverly Brownfield and the late Thomasine Elizabeth Moore and the late Eunice “Dolly” Lane. She is the granddaughter of Liza Osage-Bigheart and Amos Osage.

She is of the Grayhorse District, she is of the Eagle Clan and her Osage name is Hompe Toka, which means Wet Moccasin.

She has five sons and one daughter, Ronnie Dee Goodeagle, Terry Lynn Goodeagle, Kenny Paul Goodeagle, Candace Toehay, and Thomas “Go Go” Goodeagle. She has 11 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild and another arriving in December; and one deceased great-grandchild.

She comes from a long-line of championship powwow dancers and her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are carrying on the tradition. She has danced and contested all over Indian Country. She has lived in Bell, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., Anadarko, Okla., and Pawhuska. She worked for Travelers Inn Hotel going across the country from coast to coast in Hotel Management. She also completed training in Los Angeles and worked for Best Western. During the 1970’s she worked at the Cliff Dwellings in Colorado Springs as a business manager in the gift shop for a couple of years. She also worked as a Community Health Representative in Pawhuska for the Osage Nation during the 1980s.

Osage News: When did you start dancing at In-Lon-Schka?

Dolores Goodeagle: In the old round house, that had to be when I was 12 or 13 years old. I used to love to wear my Osage clothes, and every time they had something up at the school, Barbara Bowman and I used to be up there in our Osage clothes. We sure enjoyed that.

ON: What are the differences in the In-Lon-Schka today from when you were young?

DG: It’s very different. We were taught by the elders like Rose Pipestem and Aunt Eva. They said to stay simple. You just wear a shirt, your pins, your necklace, and your Osage moccasins. Nothing fancy. They used to tell us to stay simple. We used to only wear red and black skirts. Nowadays, you see nothing but blingy shirts. Back then our shirts were satin. There’s been such a great difference in our In-Lon-Schka. Times have changed tremendously. I remember when committees only had eight men on their committee. Back when I remember, they only had about four cooks. But, always had young helpers. I remember Rose Pipestem would always be at the door and would be seating us. Those are the times I remember. Lots of things have changed.

ON: What is your favorite thing about the In-Lon-Schka and why?

DG: Watching all of our kids go into that arbor. Year after year our family has always been involved. I really enjoy watching that.

ON: How has the Osage Nation evolved in your lifetime?

DG: I’m glad that we have senior housing now. I’m happy for the elder nutrition centers. When I was in senior housing in Pawhuska, the staff used to bring me my food. I’m really thankful for that. They used to bring my sister, Dolly, her food too. The Nation has lots of things now that I’m very happy for. I’ve benefited a lot.

ON: What is your favorite Osage food?

DG: All of em! (laughs) I like the real corn they used to make back in the day. They used to soak it, shuck it, and sometimes add things. It used to really taste good. Of course I love meatpies and chicken and dumplings!

ON: Who are your heroes?

DG: John F. Kennedy ... and John Wayne.Father Albert. He was such a great teacher at the Catholic church.

ON: What was the happiest moment of your life?

DG: When my eldest son, Ronnie Dee went into our arbor. That’s when it took hold. My momma told my son, “That’s my lifetime gift that I give to you,” and that’s something that I tell all my kids now when they go into our In-Lon-Schka. That was a very proud moment of my life. He was on there for 21 years. I remember when my nephews went, my sister Thomasine’s children. And they were also put on the committee back then. Those are proud moments in my life. I felt so proud when my son’s Terry Lynn and Go Go went in as well. And when I saw my great grandsons go in, that really got me. I felt so proud for my family. All those Grayhorse family moments are very proud memories for me. We all try to carry on with what my mother taught us. Our camp up there has grown so much. My mother use to sit up on that hill and watch our boys walk down. We feed lots of people at our camp. My momma use to tell us to make sure that everyone is fed. Our family tries to keep with what my mother taught all of us up at our camp. She use to tell us to be good to people. She was always proud of her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. We try to carry on with what my mother always expected of us. I have lots of proud and happy moments in my life.

ON: What is your earliest memory?

DG: Lucille Hampton, she used to work for my mother. She used to get me up early in the morning and help me fix my hair. At noon time, Johnny Lee Wells used to come on and she taught me how to dance. I remember my sister’s dad taking us up to church all the time.

ON: Who, or what, did you love the most?

DG: Being in our big house. We have many memories there. We used to have the biggest Christmas’s there. My mother was a giver. I sure loved those times.

ON: What is your favorite thing to do for fun?

DG: I would have to say Bingo! I love to play bingo. I love going to Las Vegas and going to Tulsa. That’s my game. It’s been very good to me. Going to powwows and going to rodeos. My favorite all time powwow was Schemitzun Powwow in Connecticut.

ON: What was your favorite decade and why?

DG: Have to be the 60’s and 70’s. Those were good years for me. But, I don’t want to go into detail. (laughs) They were all good years.

ON: What world events had the most impact on you?

DG: President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Because that was the very first year my husband and I ever took part in politics and trying to get Indians to vote. We used to give out pamphlets. I really believed in what he believed in. He used to say that he was liked by the minority people. I think that’s why he got assassinated. It was also sad when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed too. I was glad to have been able to see Pres. Barack Obama sworn into office. I just couldn’t believe it. That was something to see on television.

ON: What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

DG: I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I did back then. I would’ve liked to have got more college in. I would’ve got more education.

ON: Is there anything else you would like to add?

DG: For all the elders to get more involved in what’s going on with our tribe. We need to take part. And we need to speak up more often. They all need to get up and get involved. And if the shareholders would stick together we might get something done if they hear our part.

I have represented this tribe in Germany and visited the airbases there. I went with the Osage Nation Museum. I also went to Paris. I went up on top of the Eifel Tower and I thought about my Osage people. I’ve talked to the college in Arkansas about my Osage people and showed them Osage clothes.

I’ve also danced on stage with Billy Ray Cyrus in Las Vegas with some of my powwow friends. I went to several concerts with him. And I also danced on stage with Willie Nelson, because he was looking for Native dancers too.

I’ve been on The Price is Right three times, went to the Jimmy Kimmel Show, Let’s Make A Deal once, and this year I’m going to see Ellen DeGeneres.