The Grayhorse Community Building, located in the Grayhorse Indian Village, will receive a natural gas generator along with the Hominy and Pawhuska villages. CODY HAMMER/Osage News
The three Osage villages are each receiving a natural gas generator after the Seventh Osage Nation Congress approved $150,000 to purchase the generators with American Rescue Plan Act funding.
During the 11th Special Session, Congress passed bill ONCA 22-05 (sponsored by Congresswoman Paula Stabler) “for the purchase and installation of natural gas generators for each of the three Villages, Grayhorse, Hominy and Pawhuska.”
Stabler said she is sponsoring the bill to provide the community building with gas generators in the event of freezing weather when the buildings can be used as temporary shelters for residents.
“When we went through this horrible winter this past (February), there was a lot of discussion about using these community buildings in the villages as shelters and people have always thought of them that way,” Stabler said during a Congressional Governmental Operations Committee meeting to initially consider legislation. “Nobody ever realizes when there’s an electrical crisis or something, it includes these buildings. Even though there were people without heat, the buildings had no heat because they had no way to power up. That’s the whole premise behind this – is to have them functioning through any emergency.”
“When you’re dealing with these ice storms, winter storms or tornadoes or anything like that which can cause this kind of a problem, you don’t have time to get a little generator and fill it with gas and keep it going with gas. So, this (bill) would be for generators that are large enough to carry the capacity load for these community buildings, which is not incredibly high … There is a little maintenance to them, test them once a month, but all in all, I think it’s a great benefit because it does then turn these new buildings that we’re building into shelters if we need them,” Stabler said.
The discussion also comes as the Hominy and Grayhorse villages have received new community buildings in the last few years. Construction on a new Wakon Iron Community Building in the Pawhuska Village is slated to start after the 2022 Inlonshka dances. Construction on a larger Pawhuska Village chapel is ongoing in the meantime.
Stabler said she spoke with an architect familiar with the Nation’s community building projects who said the natural gas generator would cost $50,000 for each structure.
ONCA 22-05 passed with a 12-0 vote on Oct. 27. Afterward, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the bill to take effect.
Original Publish Date: 2021-12-16 00:00:00