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HomeCommunity2023 Sovereignty Day Celebration dance scheduled March 11 in Pawhuska

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2023 Sovereignty Day Celebration dance scheduled March 11 in Pawhuska

For the first time, dance organizers have added an Osage-only category for Men's Straight and Women's Cloth contests

In paying homage to the 2006 reformed government, the Osage Nation is hosting its 2023 Sovereignty Day Celebration with a dance on Saturday, March 11, at the Osage County Fairgrounds south of Pawhuska.

The celebratory event will be held in the fairgrounds Ag Building starting at 2 p.m. with gourd dancing and a dinner at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., the dance’s grand entry will take place followed by competitive dancing with several age and dance categories for cash prizes.

The 2023 Sovereignty Day Celebration Committee consists of Andrea Kemble, Jane Perrier, Tim Lookout, and Avis Ballard.

2023 marks the 17th anniversary of the Nation’s reformed government and its constitution. The Nation has celebrated Sovereignty Day each March to commemorate the government and Constitution approved by voters in 2006. The Osage Constitution has been amended four times by Osage voters in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

All community members are invited to join the celebration.

In observance of the Nation’s Sovereignty Day, ON government offices will be closed Friday, March 10, including the Nation’s schools and three fitness and wellness centers across the Osage Reservation and the WahZhaZhe Health Center in Pawhuska.

Dance emcees will be former Osage Congressman and Grayhorse District elder Archie Mason and Bruce Cass. Tim Lookout and John Bighorse Jr. will serve as arena directors, Dana Whiteshirt Maker is the event’s head cook and the Osage Gourd Group is the hosting group.

More event and dance competition information:

Head Staff

Head Man: Ralston Moore

Head Lady: Erin Lookout

Head Singer: William Kemble 

Jr. Straight and Jr. Cloth

1st Place: $100

2nd Place: $75

3rd Place: $50

4th Place: $25

Teen Straight and Teen Cloth

1st Place: $150

2nd Place: $100

3rd Place: $75

4th Place: $50

Straight, Fancy, Buckskin, and Cloth

1st Place: $1,000

2nd Place: $750

3rd Place: $500

Special Contest – Osage only – Men’s Straight, Women’s Cloth

1st Place: $1,000

2nd Place: $750

3rd Place: $500

Further event updates will be provided on the Osage Nation website and social media platforms.

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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