Culture , Government

Osage Congress passes $250K appropriation to design ON Museum expansion

Plans to expand and improve the Osage Nation Museum will move toward the design process after the Sixth ON Congress approved a $250,000 appropriation bill to fund the conceptual design work with the hopes donors will fund its construction later.

The move for the conceptual design comes after a production team working for film director Martin Scorsese visited the Osage Nation in May as the filmmaking process moves forward for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which is an adaptation of David Grann’s national bestseller about the Osage Reign of Terror. 

On June 24 during the 4th Special Session, the Congress unanimously passed ONCA 19-46 (sponsored by Congressman RJ Walker) with an 11-0 vote to appropriate the $250,000 for the conceptual design costs. The bill received initial review and discussion during Congressional Appropriations Committee meetings held during the Special Session.

Walker, who visited with the Executive Branch before agreeing to sponsor the bill, told the committee Grann has also visited the Nation and inquired on the Nation’s future plans for the museum. The visit spurred discussions in the Executive Branch on expediting plans to improve and expand the building, which is considered the oldest tribally-owned museum in the United States dedicated in 1938.

During the committee meetings, Walker said he would like the $250,000 to come out of the existing Museum Fund established in 2017.

An original version of ONCA 19-46 was filed as a $300,000 appropriation bill proposing the money to come out of the commercial property fund, but the amount and money source received amendments during committee discussions.  

As of June 19, Walker said the Museum Fund balance was $275,182, which is previously appropriated money that would not count toward new appropriation spending for the current 2019 fiscal year.

Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn said the Executive Branch supported the amendments to the bill. The appropriations committee approved the amendments on June 20.

Casey Johnson, Director of Operations for the Executive Branch, said Grann also asked for conceptual drawings and plans for the museum expansion “so he can go to New York City and hopefully get the big donors to open their big checkbooks and write us money for the museum expansion at the same time this Scorsese movie is coming out. The hope is if we can get the concept and the architecture stuff started, that there’ll be enough (Grann) can take in front of those donors and get plenty of money to build the expansion of the museum.”

The Congress passed ONCA 19-46 on June 24 with 11 “yes” votes and one absence from Congresswoman Shannon Edwards before adjourning the special session.

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