Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Osage Nation Judicial Branch closed the Tribal Courthouse to the public in Pawhuska and conducted its operations by electronic means and by telephone.
The courthouse remains closed until Monday, July 6. In the meantime, tribal judges are conducting proceedings by phone as needed. The Clerk’s Office also is conducting its business by email, fax and phone, according to a courthouse notice posted on the Nation’s website.
“All hearings will be conducted by telephone,” the notice stated. “If you are requesting an emergency order by petition or motion, you must provide a current telephone number when filing your petition or motion by any method – mail, email or fax. If you cannot appear by telephone, contact the Court Clerk’s office to discuss options.”
Court proceedings also conducted by telephone include oaths of office for incoming board and commission members. On May 29, the court conducted swearings-in with 12 individuals selected or recently confirmed for vacancies on the Nation’s respective boards and commissions.
All individuals called the designated phone number to be connected to Court Clerk Alexandria Toineeta and Associate Trial Court Judge Lisa Otipoby-Herbert, who administered the oaths of office to each individual. Those boards with more than one person taking oath were sworn in with those individuals reciting the Nation’s oath of service together.
The following individuals took their oaths with Otipoby-Herbert:
Election Board: Shannon Lockett and Terry Hazen. Both received confirmation votes from the Sixth ON Congress to serve another three-year term on the three-member board during the 2020 Hun-Kah Session held in April.
Gaming Enterprise Board: Former ON Congressman Mark Simms also received a Congressional confirmation vote to serve another three-year term on the five-member Gaming Enterprise Board, which oversees the seven-property Osage Casinos enterprise.
Veterans Memorial Commission: Former Trial Court Chief Judge Marvin Stepson took his oath to serve his inaugural term on the five-member Veterans Memorial Commission. He received his confirmation vote during the 2020 Hun-Kah Session.
Osage Foundation Board: Monte Boulanger received a Congressional confirmation vote to serve another term on the five-member Foundation Board.
Home Health Board: Carla Brown and Debbie Cheshewalla each received Congressional confirmation votes to serve another term on the five-member Home Health Board.
Utility Authority Board: Paul Bemore, Gary Burd and Mike Wellner each received Congressional confirmation votes to serve another term on the five-member Utility Authority Board.
Osage LLC: As with the other board individuals, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear recently appointed Danny Sadler to the five-member Osage LLC Board. Sadler took his oath to serve as an interim board member. He will be subject to confirmation consideration when the Seventh ON Congress meets for its first Tzi-Zho Session in September.
Gaming Commission: Standing Bear also appointed Tammy Fugate Baldauff to the three-member Gaming Commission Board. A first-time appointee, Baldauff will also be considered for a Congressional confirmation vote during the 24-day Tzi-Zho Session, which starts after the Labor Day holiday.
For more information on the ON Tribal Courthouse/ Judicial Branch, call (918) 287-5400 or visit its website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/judicial-branch