Ninety-eight acres of the Osage Nation’s Tulsa Airpark property has been signed into trust.
Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed a warranty deed to place the 98 acres into trust on Feb. 11 in the Executive Branch conference room in Pawhuska. BIA Osage Agency Superintendent Robin Phillips, BIA Real Estate Services employee Lynn Star McGuire Holloway (Osage), ON Real Estate Services Director Melissa Currey (Osage), ON Director of Operations Casey Johnson (Osage) and ON Deputy Director of Operations Jodie Revard was in attendance.
“We had to delay this presentation because of the government shutdown,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. He said there were many tribal and federal agencies working together to make the event happen and they will “continue to work together.”
The Nation currently has four land-into-trust applications pending with the BIA. The first is a parcel located along State Highway 99, across the highway from a Kum & Go convenience store on the east side of Pawhuska. Officials have discussed the usage for the land as a possible site for future gaming expansion. The second parcel is the Bird Creek Farm property off of Lynn Avenue on the southeast side of Pawhuska. The third parcel is the entirety of the Bluestem Ranch, 43,000 acres. The fourth parcel is located in Bartlesville, closer to U.S. 60, and has been discussed as land for future gaming expansion.
Standing Bear said there are two new land-into-trust applications they will file with the BIA in the near future. The first is property located on the west side of Pawhuska where the Osage Nation Civic Center currently sits. The second parcel is currently located on the site of the Nation’s Domestic Violence shelter in Pawhuska.
The land-into-trust application process takes place with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and involves several procedures to transfer tribally-owned land to the federal government in trust for the benefit of the tribe.
According to the BIA website, the land-into-trust process includes preparing a preliminary title opinion, an environmental compliance review and clearing any preliminary title opinion rejections before notice of the decision and recording the land title.
In June 2018 the BIA signed 75 acres in north Tulsa into trust.