A proposed Constitutional amendment that would tweak the mineral estate’s relationship with the Osage Nation is not heading to voters quite yet.
Citing a lack of Osage Minerals Council representatives on hand and at least one organizer’s own acknowledgment that more work is still needed, the Governmental Operations Committee voted to table ONCR 19-23 at its Sept. 25 meeting to the call of the chair.
As worded, the resolution would put a ballot question before Osage voters initially proposed by a grassroots organization calling themselves Annuitants for Change.
“We’re OK for now,” group member Julie Malone said. “The current chief is a shareholder, so he wouldn’t do anything detrimental. What we’re looking at is the next generation, for our children and grandchildren.”
Among the group’s proposed changes are striking references to the Tribal Council previously used by the Osage Nation and adjusting language regarding royalty payments to reflect that some of that revenue comes from non-mineral sources.
However, some of the wording in the other proposed amendments would potentially strip the tribal government of any legal authority over the mineral estate and refer any legal disputes to federal court. As was the case when the group presented to the Osage Minerals Council in May, at least one member of Congress took exception to that possibility.
“This is a slippery slope for someone like me,” Congressman RJ Walker said. “I want you to know that any comments or questions I make are to try to help strengthen this proposal. Regardless of how this gets to the floor, it will be a yes vote from me for this to get to the people to vote on.”