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Death in Pawhuska Indian Village most likely a suicide

Jack “Rusty” Cheshewalla, the Osage veteran who was found dead in his sister’s home Monday may have taken his own life, according to Osage Nation authorities.

Cheshewalla was scheduled to appear before a jury trial in Osage County court on Sept. 29 for allegations of sexually molesting a young child.

“It was a suspicious death, we’re taking all precautionary measures to ensure there was no foul play,” said ON Police Chief Nick Williams. “We’re waiting on the medical examiner’s report.”

The investigation into the death of Cheshewalla is being handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and calls to the FBI’s media representative in Oklahoma City have gone unanswered.

According to Jeff Jones, former ON Attorney General who is still working on contract with the AG’s office, said authorities suspect a family member of Cheshewalla’s tampered with the scene before authorities could arrive. He said it was most likely going to be ruled a suicide.

The Pawhuska Indian Village Five-man Board Chairwoman, Paula Stabler, said the village community will handle the investigation and cope with the death of Cheshewalla as they’ve handled all other crimes and investigations that have gone on in the village over the past 10 years.

“Crime or various crimes go on in the village and have gone on in the village, it’s nothing new, it’s not something we haven’t had to do,” she said. “Efforts have been made in the past two years to alleviate as much of the crime as much as possible, but we still have a long way to go.”

She said the village at one time had the highest crime rate in northeast Oklahoma and this year they’ve had five major drug houses eradicated. 

“They’ve either been put in jail, moved, or banished,” she said. “We don’t have nearly the activity we used to have. The ONPD has really done their best, things are getting a little bit better all the time.”


Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2015-09-23 00:00:00

Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

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