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Osage Nation Princess recognized by Stillwater Public Schools

Lulu Goodfox has had an exciting year. Jetting from coast to coast for the premieres of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to the openings of two new Osage Casinos and a new Wahzhazhe Health Center

The Board of Education for Stillwater Public Schools recognized Osage Nation Princes Lulu Goodfox at their board meeting on Nov. 14.

Lulu, Osage/Pawnee, is a sophomore at Stillwater High School and is from the Grayhorse district of the Osage people. She is involved with both her Osage and Pawnee cultures.

Indian Education Coordinator for the school district, Rusty Atkins, introduced Goodfox and recognized her accomplishments throughout the year.

“It’s my privilege to support and acknowledge a young lady in our school system,” Atkins said. “She’s been a part of the family for a long time, and current Osage Princess. It’s a huge honor to have her here.”

Stillwater Public Schools Indian Education Coordinator Rusty Atkins, Osage Nation Princess Lulu Goodfox and SPS Superintendent Uwe Gordon on Nov. 14, 2023, at a school board meeting. Courtesy Photo/Kalei Goodfox

A respected position within the tribe, the Osage Nation has had a princess since 1941. Goodfox was chosen for the role in April, making her the tribe’s 63rd Osage Nation Princess.

“To be chosen princess is a special thing,” Atkins said. “It’s not just something that you fill out a form, and then all of a sudden you put it in and they vote on you. It’s a little more in depth.”

Many things factor into the process of choosing an Osage Princess, including culture, school and community involvement. This is because the princess is a representative of the tribe, and it is an honor to hold the position.

“In our Native culture, our ancestors and our elders in our tribe pay attention to what’s going on when the kids are born,” Atkins said. “The way they’re raised, the way they handle themselves in public, the way they handle themselves in the cultural activities. This is the example that they’re looking at.”

Atkins said that Goodfox and her family had to put in hard work behind the scenes, which included school and cultural involvement.

“She does all of it. She has good grades. She participates in school, she participates with her tribes, both of them. She is an ambassador for not only our Native people, but also for Stillwater Public Schools.”

In recognition of her achievements in the Native American community, Atkins presented her with a shawl. Lulu then introduced herself in the Osage language and addressed the board, thanking the administration, staff and school board for her recognition.

“This past couple of months have been super hectic and surreal for me as I have gotten to attend the New York and L.A. premieres of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’” Goodfox said. “I’m so grateful for how understanding and supportive the high school administration has been about my current role as ambassador of the Osage Nation. As I travel and attend different events, I represent Stillwater and Stillwater Public Schools.”

Osage Nation Princess Lulu Goodfox with “Killers of the Flower Moon” director Martin Scorsese on the red carpet of the LA premiere on Oct. 16, 2023. ECHO REED/Osage News

Goodfox thanked her Native American teachers who served important roles in her life and guided her along the way.

“I want to thank and also recognize the Native teachers who hold a special place in my heart from my time at Skyline, with Ms. Wilson as my very first teacher in Pre-K, to now, Coach A at the high school,” she said. “Lastly, I want to thank the Indian Education program and Coach A for everything it provides for Native students.”

Chalene Toehay-Tartsah is the Osage Nation Princess Director and comes from a family of Osage Princess directors. She is a former princess herself and held the title from 1995-1996. She uses her own experience from when she was princess and looks at many qualities within Osage girls before deciding which one will hold the position.

“I look for a young girl who knows her culture,” Toehay-Tartsah said. “Who is very active within the tribe, good grades. Somebody who is outgoing and not afraid to speak to the people. I also look at their families and where they come from. I look for someone who is respectful, and someone who knows their language and definitely loves their people.”

When Toehay-Tartsah is looking at candidates for princess, she factors in those qualities, and Goodfox met all the requirements. An Osage Princess being chosen is not just an honor for the princess herself, but it is an honor for the whole family.

“The families get really excited,” she said. “I’ve had families get really emotional and express to me that no one in their family has ever been the princess before. I think just to see a family’s reaction is really important to me.”

Toehey-Tartsah used to work as a photographer for the Osage News and has witnessed the kind of person Lulu is at cultural events in the past.

“You can see Lulu helping her mother,” she said. “That was one of the qualities that I liked about her. She looked like she was very helpful, and she enjoyed helping during our Inlonska dances, and she is such a sweet girl.”

Osage Princesses stand alongside tribal leaders at different events such as ribbon cutting ceremonies and cultural events. With the recent release of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” she believes that this year has been very important for Goodfox and her tenure.

“Lulu is doing an outstanding job as this year’s ambassador,” Toehay-Tartsah said. “I expressed myself to Lulu one time and said, ‘What a wonderful time to be Osage Princess.’ She’s had so many exciting things happen this year and I’m so happy that she’s been able to have a wonderful experience.”

Author

  • Collyn Combs

    Collyn Combs is a multimedia journalism student at Oklahoma State University. She is a member of the Osage Nation, and her family is from the Grayhorse district. Combs is from Ponca City, Okla., and attended school in Bartlesville, Okla., where she graduated in 2017. She served on the newspaper staff at Bartlesville High School from 2016-2017. She attended Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa after graduation and wrote for The Maverick newspaper from 2017-2020, and served as editor from 2018-2019. She currently lives in Stillwater, Okla., and is involved with O’Colly TV as the weather reporter, OSU Native American Student Association and is secretary for the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority.

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Collyn Combs
Collyn Combshttps://osagenews.org
Collyn Combs is a multimedia journalism student at Oklahoma State University. She is a member of the Osage Nation, and her family is from the Grayhorse district. Combs is from Ponca City, Okla., and attended school in Bartlesville, Okla., where she graduated in 2017. She served on the newspaper staff at Bartlesville High School from 2016-2017. She attended Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa after graduation and wrote for The Maverick newspaper from 2017-2020, and served as editor from 2018-2019. She currently lives in Stillwater, Okla., and is involved with O’Colly TV as the weather reporter, OSU Native American Student Association and is secretary for the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority.
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