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HomeHealthOsage citizens organize to help at-risk populations in preparation for COVID-19

Osage citizens organize to help at-risk populations in preparation for COVID-19


Shannon Shaw Duty

Soon, there could be Osage volunteers bringing groceries, medication, information and more to your front doorstep.

A grassroots organization called the “Osage Volunteer Community Response Group – Covid,” formed on Facebook March 15 and within four hours had more than 70 members. Spearheaded by Osage artist Dante Biss-Grayson, the group is public and inviting more Osages to join their cause.

“Please forward to anyone who wants to volunteer and help out during the Covid Response,” Biss-Grayson posted. “Focus will be Osage Community Members in need during this time.”

He said the group’s focus will fall under the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center’s efforts and Village Committees for support. The health center established a task force to minimize the risk of further spread and they are also developing a risk assessment protocol.

The community group will focus on elders and at-risk populations “for the pending surge of patients and economic turmoil that is involved with Covid.”

Tribal member Lisa Myers has volunteered to be the liaison for the group with the health center.

The group is immediately working on the following:

–       Assessing the needs of the three Villages and Osage groups outside Osage County
–       Donation locations, places to store donations, trucks for deliveries
–       Forming a legal and legislation development team for additional resources for any staff or Osages placed on home quarantine, or similar
–       Prayer for their efforts

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on March 15 that there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, including counties bordering Osage County. Kay County had one confirmed case and Tulsa County had three.

The OSDH call center for COVID-19 is (877) 215-8336. For daily updates on the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center’s response, follow their Facebook page at


Original Publish Date: 2020-03-16 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. 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. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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