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Congressional committee to study Daposka Ahnkodapi, WELA education programs

The committee unanimously voted to open the interim study of both WELA and Daposka Ahnkodapi, which will be conducted by the committee members.

The Osage Nation Congressional Education Committee is planning an interim study of the Nation’s education initiatives Daposka Ahnkodapi and the Wah-Zha-Zhe Early Learning Academy. 

On Feb. 14, the committee met and unanimously voted to open the interim study of both WELA and Daposka Ahnkodapi, which will be conducted by the committee members. Current education committee members are Whitney Red Corn (chair), Eli Potts (vice chair), Scott BigHorse, Otto Hamilton, John Maker and Second Speaker Pam Shaw.  

Red Corn told the committee she is requesting the study to examine the two entities, noting other education programs, specifically the higher education scholarship program, has received more legislative attention in recent times and believes the two school entities should also be reviewed. 

“We’ve had a lot of discussion since I’ve been on Congress about those two programs and about their value and what they contribute and how they’re constructed and we all know how important they are,” Red Corn said. “They’re two of our programs within our Education Department per se, our education budget at minimum, that I don’t think that have been given the chance to have a deep dive in an interim study done into their programs and they’re a huge part of what we do. They’re a huge part of our education system, so I think they deserve the chance to have an interim study done in their programs. 

Red Corn noted she has visited with both directors of WELA and Daposka Ahnkodapi and “the goal that I had in mind of this committee that I’m asking you all to join me in is to do this study to ensure that we’re meeting the needs that they have and as a Congress, I want to make sure we’re supporting them in the best way we can.” 

To start the study, Red Corn said “I really just want us to start the discussion of doing this interim study, maybe discussing goals.” 

Maker asked if there would be a cost of the proposed study. 

Red Corn responded: “This committee would do the study and there shouldn’t be any cost related to it because it should be mostly internal looks and would be our work, having conversations, looking at budgets, looking at program details, annual plans. The only cost that might be associated is if we decided to go look at other programs nearby, but I can’t imagine there’s going to be a significant cost from it.” 

Maker said he asked the question wondering if an outside entity would be involved. Red Corn said the committee would address it if the need arises. 

After the discussion, the committee voted to open the study. A date for the next Congressional Education Committee meeting was not set as of March 21. 

For more ON Congressional information on sessions, committees and to view filed legislative documents, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch  

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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