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Osage Congress approves $8.5 million for scholarships, $8 million for health benefit for Osages under age 65

The Sixth Osage Nation Congress unanimously approved an $8.5 million appropriation for the higher education scholarship fund on Sept. 12.

The bill (ONCA 19-60 sponsored by Congresswoman Shannon Edwards) received a 12-0 vote with the funding to come from the Nation’s general fund in the Treasury. The appropriation is a replenishment for the higher education fund to carry out the purposes of the Nation’s higher education scholarship act for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to the bill.

Also, the Congress unanimously approved an $8 million appropriation bill (ONCA 19-66 also sponsored by Edwards) to replenish the Nation’s health benefit fund for direct assistance to enrolled Osages under age 65.

After discussion of accounting numbers for the health benefit’s usage in the Health and Social Services Committee, the Congress considered a revised bill at $8 million from an earlier proposal of $14 million.

In a separate bill, the Congress approved $500,000 for the Nation’s burial assistance program administered by the Constituent Services Office.

The bill (ONCA 19-75 sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts who is chairman of the Congressional Appropriations Committee) passed unanimously on Sept. 12 with the funding to come from the general fund for the 2020 fiscal year.

In a fourth bill passed on Sept. 12, the Congress approved a $173,673 appropriation bill (ONCA 19-70 sponsored by Potts) for employee merit payments in accordance with the Nation’s Workforce Pay for Performance Act. Potts said the bill amount is in accordance with information provided by the Executive Branch.

All four approved bills will be submitted to Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear’s office for signature consideration.

Congressional meeting notices and agendas for sessions and committee meetings are posted online to the Legislative Branch calendar at:

The session and committee meetings held in the ON Capitol Building are public meetings (excluding executive sessions allowed by Osage law) and will be live-streamed at:


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2019-09-23 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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