Community , Culture

Osage Congress approves $700K toward new Wakon Iron building costs

During the 2019 Tzi-Zho Session, the Sixth Osage Nation Congress approved $700,000 toward costs to build a new Wakon Iron Community Building in the Pawhuska Village.

On Sept. 25, the 12-member Congress unanimously passed bill ONCA 19-90 (sponsored by Congresswoman Paula Stabler), which appropriates $700,000 to the Nation’s capital asset fund for constructing a new multi-purpose building. The money will come from the Nation’s retained revenue fund, according to the bill.

This is the second appropriation approved this year toward costs to plan and build a new Wakon Iron Community Building to replace the current aging one. During the June special session, the Congress approved a $250,000 appropriation bill (ONCA 19-39) for architectural and engineering costs toward the new building.

A former Pawhuska Village Committee Chairwoman, Stabler said the bill is an effort to fund a long-awaited project and possibly by July 2020, the current Village Committee will be ready to break ground on construction. “They’ve been working hard on (planning) what they want in the building and the agreement has been signed for the architects, so if we don’t (pass the bill), that puts it off for another year.”

“At the rate that they’re moving now (with planning), they’re going to be ready to start putting out RFQs by late winter or early spring for contractors and at that point that means they could potentially be ready to break ground on July 1 as soon as the Pawhuska (Inlonshka) dances are over to complete construction by the next year. If they don’t, then they have another year before they break ground because of the time it takes to build,” Stabler said.

The passage of ONCA 19-90 came following debate and consideration of other appropriation bills during the 24-day Tzi-Zho Session as the Congress considered and approved the 2020 fiscal year budgets for the Nation’s three branches and government entities.

Like the other two respective Osage villages’ community buildings, the Pawhuska village’s Wakon Iron building is the venue for cultural and celebratory events including handgames, dinners, holiday, birthday parties, weddings, dances, funerals and residential meetings year-round.

Pawhuska is the last of the three villages to receive a newly built community building after the Grayhorse Village broke ground in May on its new building scheduled to be built by the 2020 Inlonshka dances.

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