Osage Nation Sovereignty Day is celebrated each year on March 11 in recognition of the ratification of the Constitution of the Osage Nation on March 11, 2006. Since that day the Nation has celebrated by hosting an open to the public Sovereignty Day dance. This year, the festivities have grown to include Osage people of all ages and activity levels.
The celebration will begin on the historic day, Wednesday, March 11, with a gathering of Osage Nation leadership at the Osage Minerals Council Chambers in Pawhuska, Okla., at 2:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear will provide a welcome address and speech. Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn will follow. There will also be a youth speaker and representatives from the judicial, legislative branches and Osage Nation Minerals Council.
Day two of celebrations, Thursday, March 12, will include one of the Nation’s most precious resources, Osage Nation youth. There will be a series of story times with Osage Nation leaders at the Nation’s eight Head Starts and daycares in Pawhuska, Hominy, McCord, Barnsdall, Hominy, and Fairfax. Story time is not open to public; however, Osage Nation Communications and Osage News will provide photos for web updates and social media.
The third day, Friday, March 13, is dedicated to Osage Nation elders. There will be a Tai Chi demonstration at 11 a.m. at the Title VI in Pawhuska followed by a “Lunch with Elders” at 11:30 a.m. This event is open to the public with lunch available for purchase.
The last day of celebrations, Saturday, March 14, will be the biggest day and all activities are open to the public. The day’s events include an Osage Sovereignty Walk and Family Fun at the Osage County Fairgrounds, Agricultural Building in Pawhuska. Registration opens at 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. A lunch will be provided at 11 a.m. and family activities will also start at 11 a.m. Families can enjoy face painting, Indian Dice, beanbag toss, and orange relay.
The annual Osage Sovereignty Celebration Dance is the conclusion of all events and immediately follows the walk and family fun at the fairgrounds. The public is encouraged to attend and take part in this colorful display of togetherness, traditional singing, dancing, and world championship dancing. The dance starts at 2 p.m. with a gourd dance hosted by the Osage Gourd Clan. Supper will be provided for the public at 5 p.m. and grand entry is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Immediately after supper and before grand entry, William S. Fletcher will speak about Osage Sovereignty. Fletcher is a descendent of Chief Black Dog; he is the lead plaintiff in the Fletcher v. United States case, and a long-time proponent of Osage sovereignty and the protection of Osage headrights.
Contest categories include men’s straight and women’s cloth or buckskin, children’s junior contests for ages seven to 12, and teen contest for ages 13 to 17. There will also be a tiny tot contest for children ages birth to five years.
For more information about Osage Nation Sovereignty Celebration Week contact the Osage Nation Executive Office at (918) 287-5582.