ON Congress confirms several board members during 2020 Tzi-Zho Session

The Seventh Osage Nation Congress confirmed several individuals to serve on various ON boards and commissions during the 2020 Tzi-Zho Session.

On Oct. 2 before adjourning the regular fall Congressional session, Congress voted to confirm 11 individuals to three-year terms on the respective boards they were appointed to serve on.

As part of the confirmation consideration and vetting process, the individual appointees submitted professional bio information and completed a questionnaire provided by the Congressional office. All individuals who received confirmation votes, are reappointments and were initially considered during an Oct. 1 Congressional Governmental Operations Committee meeting.

“We certainly are blessed to have this list (of appointees), this is what they call the cream of the crop within our tribe,” said Congressman Scott BigHorse who is the committee chair.

The following confirmed individuals are:

- ON Veterans Memorial Commission: John Henry Mashunkashey and Franklin McKinley. Both men served inaugural terms on the five-member VMC and worked on the design and building of the Veterans Memorial monument, which opened in Pawhuska on Veterans Day in 2018. McKinley serves as the VMC chair and is a Navy veteran. Mashunkashey is a Marine veteran who served during the Vietnam war and both men have been active in veteran organizations including the Harold Bigheart Smalley American Legion Post 198 in Pawhuska.

The Congress voted 12-0 to confirm McKinley and 11-0 to confirm Mashunkashey. Congresswoman Jodie Revard, who is related to Mashunkashey, abstained from the vote.   

Grayhorse Village Committee: Judy Hazelbaker Johnson, George Pease and Chuck Tillman. All three have served prior terms on the five-man board with improvement projects that included building the newer current dance arbor and village community building, which was completed in May 2020.

Johnson and Pease each received a 12-0 confirmation vote and Tillman received an 11-0 vote. Congressman Joe Tillman, brother to Chuck Tillman, abstained from the vote.

ON Traditional Cultural Advisors Committee: Mary “Liz” Ricketts, George Shannon, Jerry Shaw, William Fletcher and Norman Akers are all elders reappointed to the TCA committee which serves as the advisory review board for the ON Historic Preservation Office and comprises individuals known for their knowledge and appreciation of Osage culture and heritage.

Ricketts is retired executive director of the Osage Tribal Housing Authority and served as head cook for two Pawhuska District drumkeepers. Shannon is a retired investment advisor and is now serving a third TCA committee term. Shaw is a retired Wichita State University instructor who taught Native American history and is a former Grayhorse District Head Committeeman. Fletcher served as Hominy District Drumkeeper from the ages of 12-16. Akers is the TCA committee chairman and has served as a college instructor at institutes including the University of Kansas where he taught art. Akers has several painting works that have been displayed in museums and art galleries across the United States through the years.

The Congress voted 12-0 to confirm Ricketts, Shannon, Fletcher and Akers. Jerry Shaw received an 11-0 confirmation with one abstention from his daughter-in-law Congresswoman Pam Shaw.

ON Foundation Board: Chad Renfro is confirmed for another term on the five-member Foundation Board. Renfro has his own interior design business Chad Renfro Designs with projects that include houses, commercial properties and office buildings. The Congress voted 12-0 to confirm Renfro.

The confirmed individuals are scheduled to take their oaths of office for board service on Oct. 30 with an ON tribal court judge administering the oaths via teleconference. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tribal courthouse in Pawhuska is closed except for appointment visits and judges are holding court hearings and proceedings by electronic means per an administrative order.