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HomeGovernmentFifth ON Congress to meet in special session July 18

Fifth ON Congress to meet in special session July 18


Benny Polacca

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is calling the Fifth ON Congress into its second special session starting on Monday, July 18 at 10 a.m.

According to a July 7 written executive proclamation issued by Standing Bear’s office, the Congress will consider the following subjects:

  • Opposition to eagle take proposed rule
  • Bluestem Ranch fee-to-trust application
  • The 2016-2017 ON higher education scholarship funding levels
  • A Bureau of Indian Affairs self-governance compact
  • A supplemental appropriation for the ON Cultural Division
  • Accounting policy amendments


An earlier proclamation issued June 13 listed the 2017 fiscal year appropriations for the Nation’s scholarship fund, burial assistance fund, health benefit card fund and the Education Division budget appropriation. The amended proclamation comes after Congress members discussed a request to Standing Bear to hold off on those appropriation items until the 24-day fall Tzi-Zho Session during the one-day July 6 special session.

The Nation follows an October-September fiscal year calendar and uses the Tzi-Zho Session, which starts the Tuesday following Labor Day, to consider and pass the upcoming fiscal year budgets for the Nation’s government operations.

Congresswoman Shannon Edwards said she spoke with Standing Bear before the special session and said he told her he would not be opposed to Congress delaying action on the appropriation items until September when the rest of the budget business will be considered.

Congressman Ron Shaw said he did not see the need to have the four fund appropriations approved before the Tzi-Zho Session and preferred to wait until the Congress has more budget information to consider. Last year, the Congress also met in a July special session and passed similar FY 2016 appropriation bills for the scholarship, burial assistance and health benefit card funds ahead of the Tzi-Zho Session and Shaw opposed funding those appropriations at the time.

Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn said the FY 17 appropriation items were listed for same prior reasons “that is we make sure those benefits are obligated and taken care of and move on.” He then recommended a motion be made to send a communication to Standing Bear if the Congress wishes to wait on funding those items.

Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn agreed with Shaw, noting the Congress is slated to receive the FY 2017 budgets by July 15 for their review and “by the 18th there’s no way we’re going to have a comprehensive review of what’s contained in the general operating funds for the (government) divisions… and what’s being requested for the funds, budgets for scholarships, burial assistance, health benefit.”

After discussion, the Congress voted unanimously to have Speaker Archie Mason contact Standing Bear to request that he remove the FY 2017 appropriation items from the executive proclamation.

The ON Congressional website contains copies of filed legislation, resolutions and meeting agenda information for the sessions and committee meetings at:

Original Publish Date: 2016-07-12 00:00:00

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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