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ON Congressional Committee votes to rename former bank building as ‘Capitol Building’

The former First National Bank building will now be referred to as the “Osage Nation Capitol Building” after the Congressional Affairs Committee approved a name change for the structure where the Legislative Branch is currently located.

Before the Fifth ON Congress held its fall Tzi-Zho Session, the Legislative Branch relocated staff and Congressional member offices and its session venue into the former bank building in Pawhuska while the Congressional Chambers building undergoes repair efforts for mold caused by flooding and roof leaks. The committee considered a name change for the building considering the relocation could last a few years while government officials consider repair and other plans to house the Legislative Branch and office staff.  

During an Oct. 20 Congressional Affairs Committee meeting, the Congress members who sit on the committee discussed the building name change, which would also include an Osage language reference for the Main Street building.

Congresswoman and committee member Shannon Edwards proposed the “Capitol Building” name along with building reference in the Osage language: “Kee-shto-moi Tsi.”

Congressman John Maker, a former Osage Language Department teacher, said “Kee-shto-moi Tsi” includes “tsi,” which is the Osage word for “house” and “Kee-shto-moi,” which is a reference to a “group of people talking back and forth” and is also the word used by the Language Department for the Congress today. Maker, who worked on the proposed name change with Edwards, noted earlier Osage generations used those words in Osage conversations to refer to the Osage Agency building “when the first superintendent and Indian agent was here assigned to the Osages.”

During discussion, Edwards said an email was sent to the 12-member Congress in September asking for possible building names. Second Congressional Speaker and committee Chairwoman Alice Goodfox said she did not receive any feedback from Congress members on a building name change. Congressman Archie Mason said he did not have a building name in mind at the time during the meeting.

Afterward, Edwards motioned for the committee to approve the building name change to “Capitol Building” above and “Kee-shto-moi Tsi” underneath. The name change passed with committee and Congress members Otto Hamilton, Edwards and Goodfox voting “yes” and Mason voted “no.”

The former bank building at 100 W. Main St. contains a bronze marker on the side indicating the structure “marks the site of the first Osage Agency Building” with the marker “erected by the Department of Interior for the Osage Indians” and “placed by the Pawhuska Chapter, Daughters of the American Resolution.” Constructed in 1927, the bank building is 25,540 square feet, four stories tall with more than 20 offices and the building is also a registered Historic Site in Oklahoma. 


[This story was corrected on Dec. 11, 2017 to reflect the name of the building is Capitol Building and not Capital Building. The Osage News regrets the error.]


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2017-12-11 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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