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Osage Congress OKs memorial name change to Osage Veterans Memorial

The planned monument honoring all Osage military veterans is now the Osage Veterans Memorial after the Fifth Osage Nation Congress approved a name change.

During the June special session, the Congress considered a bill (ONCA 17-83 sponsored by Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt) that renames the monument from the Osage War Memorial to Osage Veterans Memorial to honor all veterans whether they served during wartime or not.

The bill also renames the five-member War Memorial Commission as the Osage Veterans Memorial Commission and amends the original Osage law (ONCA 11-86) establishing the memorial commission to remove a spending restriction that the Congress approves construction contracts over $25,000 for the building, planning, maintenance of the memorial. 

Pratt, who is an ex-officio non-voting member of the Veterans Memorial Commission along with Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, said commission members brainstormed planning for the memorial and the question arose of whether names of Osage military veterans who did not serve during war (i.e. WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm) should be included on the planned memorial’s walls. The commission approved the name change during a May meeting.

According to the bill, the intent of building the memorial is “to provide a physical reminder to the present and future generations of the contributions and sacrifices of the Osage veterans and their families by building the Osage Veterans Memorial at the Osage Agency Campus” in Pawhuska.

The law amendments come as the Veterans Memorial Commission moves forward with further plans and designing to develop the memorial. As part of that process, the Commission will be reviewing and considering contracts related to hiring professionals to work on the memorial.

Osage law lists duties and responsibilities of the memorial commission including the hire of a director for the memorial, establishing policies for governance of the memorial, developing an annual budget for the memorial’s operations and to review and approve all construction contracts and approve all expenses on construction contracts in accordance with the Nation’s bidding process law. 


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2017-07-06 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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