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HomeGovernmentLegislativeCongress passes waiver with Pendleton Woolen Mills for 150th commemorative blanket

Congress passes waiver with Pendleton Woolen Mills for 150th commemorative blanket

The Osage Nation Visitors Center will receive all proceeds from the blanket

Efforts to make the Osage Nation’s Sesquicentennial Commemorative Pendleton available for sale are continuing after the Eighth ON Congress approved a sovereign immunity waiver in its manufacturing agreement with Pendleton Woolen Mills, Inc.

On Jan. 17, the Congress unanimously approved Resolution ONCR 23-05 (sponsored by Congressman Billy Keene) to “authorize a limited waiver of sovereign immunity from arbitration with (Pendleton) to create the custom-designed blanket in accordance with its manufacturing agreement between the two parties.” Efforts to make the blanket available in time for the Nation’s 150th commemoration on Oct. 22, 2022, were unsuccessful due to supply chain issues at the time.

Osage artist Jasmine Phetsacksith entered a blanket design contest last year and her design was chosen for the Nation’s commemorative Pendleton blanket. The Wahzhazhe Cultural Center hosted the contest with a panel of seven individuals who considered more than 50 design entries for the event.

Keene said he visited with WCC director Addie Hudgins regarding the blanket and invited her to visit with the Congressional Commerce, Gaming and Land Committee as the 5th Congressional Special Session was taking place.

Hudgins said during the agreement discussions, Pendleton asked for the waiver after the company would not agree to be under the Nation’s rules or laws. In the event of a dispute, the Nation and Pendleton would “hereby give irrevocable consent to and submit themselves to the jurisdiction of any arbitration proceeding convened pursuant to the terms of the Custom Manufacturing Agreement,” according to the resolution.

Congresswoman and committee Chair Jodie Revard said Congress has approved similar waivers of sovereign immunity in other respective contracts with outside entities doing business with the Nation.

“Once we get through this contract phase, (Pendleton) will give us a production date of when the blankets will get in line on their mill and we will get 250 (blankets to sell) in the first round,” Hudgins told the committee. “

Keene said the limited sovereign immunity waiver is a one-time authorization with no end date listed in the resolution, so another waiver would not be needed if the Nation decides to order more blankets beyond the initial 250.

Revard asked if the Nation’s Visitors Center will be receiving the proceeds from the blanket sales and Hudgins (also the center’s director) said “yes.”

The committee unanimously passed the resolution onto the 12-member Congress for a final vote, which took place before Congress adjourned the special session.

For more information on Osage culture resources online, visit:

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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