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Grayhorse Indian Village could get new community building by May 2012

The Grayhorse Five Man Board hosted a public meeting with the Office of Strategic Planning and Grants Management July 23 to discuss the planning stages for a new community building, something which has been a long time in the making.

“We’re calling it a multi-purpose community center, not just for Grayhorse [citizens] but other services will be provided by the building,” said Jeff Irons, senior grant writer for the OSPGM. “[We’re] going for a million dollar project . . . I know that sounds like a lot of money for a building but there’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be done.”

The tribe has applied for an Indian Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $790,000 to get the project started and Irons estimates the tribe will be notified by January or February of next year if they were awarded the grant.

“We don’t want to ask for more than $790,000 in grant money,” said Irons. “The [Osage Nation Congress] said they are willing to match or give more money [for the project].”

Currently there are no schematics or drawings of what the building will look like, only a rough drawing required for the application, Irons said. They have applied for a 7,200 square foot building that they estimate will be built in the area northwest of the building’s current location, locally known as the area between the Cecilia Tall Chief camp and the John Tall Chief house.

Carol Kliesen, Judy Johnson, Mark J. Freeman, John “Popper” Holloway and Johnny Williams, Osage Nation director of operations, make up the Grayhorse Five Man Board.

There are three areas of trust land on the Osage reservation that make up the Indian Villages. The first one is Grayhorse, which sits approximately five miles from the town of Fairfax. The second Village is located in the town of Hominy and the third is located in Pawhuska. These three Villages are where the Osage In-Lon-Schka dances are held each year. Each Village has a Five Man Board in which they are charged with the upkeep of their Village. Grayhorse’s Five Man Board is appointed by the Principal Chief and the individuals remain on the board until the Principal Chief takes them off. Hominy and Pawhuska’s Five Man Board’s are determined by elections from the residents of their Villages.

Each Village has a community building that is traditionally used for each district’s Drumkeeper to feed the members of his district during that district’s In-Lon-Schka. The building is also used for dances, handgames, funerals, mourner’s breakfasts, the Drumkeeper’s committee meetings, public meetings and dinners.

If the Nation is awarded the ICDB grant for a new Grayhorse community building then Bruce Cass, director of the Nation’s properties office, and the OSPGM will hold more public meetings in Grayhorse to limit confusion and begin the design process with the Five Man Board and the Grayhorse residents, Cass said.

The start of the project has been delayed a year due to the fact that the Nation failed to receive the funds from the ICDB grant last year, even though the tribe qualified for the grant, because the Housing and Urban Development office ran out of money, Cass said. “It’s a complicated grant and it’s never guaranteed,” he said, but the Nation has been successful in getting the grant in the past.

If the Nation receives the grant the grant allows two years for implementation, Cass said. The design process will probably take four to six months and once the design is decided upon they will allow two to three months to bid the project out for construction.

“Provided things run smooth,” said Irons, “the realistic goal to have it finished is May of 2012.”

“I think we need a new community building,” said Grayhorse Five Man Board member Carol Kliesen. “We did do some renovations on [the current building] before but I think the size is inadequate.”

“It was too small for the committee dinners this year, we’re growing,” Kliesen said. “That’s a good thing.”

For more information on the ICDB grant or the Grayhorse community building plans, contact Jeff Irons at (918) 287-5633 or Jennifer Tiger at (918) 287-5549.



Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2009-08-07 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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