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Congress passes appropriation bills during special session

Funding was passed for summer youth, the adult workforce program, and a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for the formal dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in November 2022

In the 13th and final special session for the Seventh Osage Nation Congress, the legislative members approved appropriation bills including increases in pay for the summer youth and adult workforce program.

On June 16, Congress approved bill ONCA 22-63 (sponsored by Congressman Scott BigHorse) “to authorize and appropriate $1 million to the Financial Assistance Department with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the Summer Youth and Workforce Development Programs.”

Financial Assistance Department Director Andrea Kemble said she is noticing a high increase in individuals seeking employment through her department, which also seeks to help people develop workforce skills. With the increase in workers, Kemble’s department requested the supplemental increase to keep up with the program demand and administration costs.

The program helps Osage and Native American adults and youth seek jobs, especially those who lack job skills or those having difficulty attaining employment, Kemble said.

According to a fiscal analysis of the bill, the ARPA funding would be used to fund the program through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. The program is serving 123 youth (108 Osages) and 75 adults in the current 2022 fiscal year.

The bill passed 11-0 with one absence that day from Congressman Eli Potts.

Also, during the special session, Congress passed bill ONCA 22-64 (sponsored by Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt), which is a $71,700 appropriation and donation toward planning a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for the formal dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in November 2022.

Pratt sponsored the bill with funds sourced from a private donation line item. Located outdoors on the grounds of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Native American Veterans Memorial comprises a stainless-steel circle placed over a carved stone drum and includes water features and benches surrounding in a circle pattern for visitors to gather, remember and reflect.

The bill passed 11-0 and was signed into law by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear with other passed legislation.

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    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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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

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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