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ON Historic Preservation Office receives grant to demolish house on Sugarloaf Mound

The Osage Nation’s Historic Preservation Office is receiving additional grant money for its operations, including plans to demolish the house on Sugarloaf Mound in St. Louis.

In 2009, the Principal Chief Jim Gray administration purchased Sugarloaf Mound, which is located south of downtown St. Louis close to the Mississippi River. The mound is one of the last standing mounds in the present-day Missouri-Illinois region and was built by the Indigenous society when Osage ancestors were in the region, according to archeological research.

The Sugarloaf Mound property purchase included a vacant house built on top of the mound in 1925 and the Historic Preservation Office has said it planned to raze the structure and a cultural interpretive center would be planned and built at the site. According to Historic Preservation staff, part of the grant funding will be used for the house demolition costs.

The Congressional Cultural Committee heard from Congressman John Maker on July 18 during the second special session regarding the appropriation bill (ONCA 16-75) for the incoming grant money. Maker, who sponsored the legislation on behalf of the Executive Branch, said the bills do not require tribal funds to be appropriated.

The Congress unanimously passed ONCA 16-75 the following day during the two-day special session, which was signed into law by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

According to a fiscal analysis of ONCA 16-75, the Nation is receiving a $40,000 Tides Foundation MICA grant for the Sugarloaf Mound preservation project and the Historic Preservation Office is also receiving a separate grant for $52,914 from the National Parks Service, which totals $92,914.

Pascha Enzi, a GIS/ computer technician for the Historic Preservation Office, said the $40,000 would cover the house demolition costs and hazardous materials abatement in case of asbestos or lead paint. Enzi said the house has a basement, which will be filled with dirt as part of reshaping the mound back to its originality. The grant will also cover travel costs for two office staffers who will monitor the demolition activities, she said.

The $52,914 is for a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Grant through the NPS and will be used to hire an archeologist on a contract basis for a 30-hour workweek, Enzi said. The archeologist will be hired for monitoring activities for new pipeline construction and to respond to project complaints and reports. The grant money will also be used for expenses for the next Osage Heritage Site trip coordinated by the ON Historic Preservation Office, she said.

Last year’s Historic Site trip took a group of enrolled Osages to St. Louis to view various mound sites in the area and to meet with guest speaking archeologists.

For more information on the ON Historic Preservation Office and to read more about Osage history by Director Dr. Andrea Hunter, visit its website at:


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2016-08-02 00:00:00


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Benny Polacca
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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