The 2022 Inauguration Day activities are set for Saturday, July 9 at the Skyline Event Center in the Tulsa Osage Casino & Hotel.
Those Osage Nation officials elected in the June 6, 2022 General Election will take their oaths of office with a presiding Osage judge. The four Judicial Branch judges who were retained by Osage voters in the same election will also take their oaths to each serve another four-year term.
The inauguration ceremony starts at 10 a.m. with former Osage Congressman Archie Mason serving as master of ceremonies with a luncheon to follow.
In the Judicial Branch, Trial Court Chief Judge William Oldfield will take his oath to serve another term. Supreme Court Associate Justices Elizabeth Lohah Homer and Drew Pierce will also take their oaths, as well as Supreme Court Chief Justice Meredith Drent to serve their next terms.
Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear will be sworn in for a third term and RJ Walker will vacate his Congress seat to serve his first Assistant Principal Chief term. Those elected to serve four-year terms on the Eighth ON Congress include Scott BigHorse, Brandy Lemon, Otto Hamilton, Alice Goodfox, Eli Potts and Whitney Red Corn and Paula Stabler will serve the two years remaining on Walker’s Congress term.
In addition, there will be a presentation of honor for the Osage Minerals Council members who were also elected on June 6 in their respective election. Those OMC members elected for four-year terms are Kenny Bighorse Jr., Joe Cheshewalla, Melissa Currey, Talee Redcorn, Myron Red Eagle, Paul Revard, Anthony Shackelford and Everett Waller.
“We’re very happy we’re going to be hosting the event at the Tulsa casino,” said Congresswoman Pam Shaw, who sat on the Inauguration Planning Committee along with Congressional Second Speaker Jodie Revard and representatives from the executive and judicial branches. “We’re looking forward to something really special, more special than we’ve done in the past.”
The 2022 inauguration ceremony at a large venue comes after similar plans for the 2020 inauguration were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a smaller ceremony took place in the Chambers building on the government campus in Pawhuska. This will be the first inauguration ceremony hosted by the Nation at the flagship Osage Casino property since its August 2018 opening.
At the June 22 Gaming Enterprise Board meeting, Shaw said Osage anthropologist Dr. Jean Dennison will be the inauguration’s guest speaker. Dennison is an associate professor at the University of Washington and earned her doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Florida.
According to a news release, the inauguration ceremony will also feature the Harold Bigheart Smalley America Legion Post 198 presenting the colors and Osage singer Scott George will lead a drum group performing during the ceremony. Osage musician Nokosee Fields will also perform a musical selection during the event.
Due to recent increases in positive COVID-19 cases among the Wahzhazhe community, the inauguration committee is encouraging all attendees to take health precautions and masks and hand sanitizer will be available. If you are feeling sick and/or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home and get tested, the release added.