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Osage Nation rolls out ‘Wahzhazhe Always’ campaign for Osages near and far

The overall goal of the campaign is to inspire, encourage and connect the 24,000-plus tribal members and beyond

In celebration of culture and sovereignty, the Osage Nation is launching its “Wahzhazhe Always” campaign to represent “eternal connection and vitality” of all Osages whether they live near or away from the reservation.

Wahzhazhe Always is a “visual platform, branding campaign and overall statement for members near and far to reconnect and celebrate an enduring legacy,” according to a Wahzhazhe Communications news release. “The launch coincides with the Nation’s Sovereignty Day observance on March 10, 2023, with the release of a narrative video highlighting services and programs at the Osage Nation.”

On March 11, the Nation is hosting its Sovereignty Day Celebration Dance at the Osage County Fairgrounds. 2023 marks the 17th anniversary of the Nation’s reformed government and its constitution. The Nation has celebrated Sovereignty Day each March to commemorate the government and Constitution approved by voters in 2006.

The campaign is also intended to “unite and bring together and uplift Osages, that’s the No. 1 goal,” said Abigail Mashunkashey, Wahzhazhe Communications Director. “With the audience being Osages, (it’s) really focused on Wahzhazhe and what that means to everybody and how, no matter where you are, whether you’re here in Pawhuska or you’re in California, Texas or Colorado, wherever you are and whatever community you’re in, you have values because you are Wahzhazhe that make your communities better.”

The campaign narrative states, “We are Wahzhazhe. Still here. Still moving forward. A Nation to be proud of” and is accompanied by a Striking the Earth symbol proposed by tribal officials who worked on the campaign project. “The Striking the Earth symbol is a historic symbol representing the uniting of the Sky and Earth, used to represent and celebrate the Wahzhazhe people’s endurance and will to survive. It serves as a reminder that our ways and values continue to guide us. We are Wahzhazhe Always,” according to the campaign.

As part of the campaign rollout, Mashunkashey said the Nation will showcase a nearly four-minute online video which can be accessed on the Nation’s social media platforms, and viewed on the Nation’s website and the culture-focused website

“As the Nation has thrived and grown a successful economy with a preserved culture and uplifting services and programs, recurring themes provided by tribal members revolved around then, now, forevermore, leading to various campaign messages of Always Proud, Always Providing and Always Enduring. The overall goal of the campaign is to inspire, encourage and connect the 24,000-plus tribal members and beyond,” the news release stated.

In a statement, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said: “Wahzhazhe people have unique ways and talents to not only build a more beautiful Nation, but ultimately we also support surrounding communities and the state economy at-large. I am proud to be Wahzhazhe. We live our culture.”

Mashunkashey said the Nation will use two highway billboards near Ponca City and Skiatook to advertise the Wahzhazhe Always campaign starting in April.

Business entities registered with the ON Tax Commission will receive window decals for their storefronts that promote the campaign, as well as noting the business is Osage-owned, Mashunkashey said.

In addition, the campaign also includes distributing Wahzhazhe Always yard signs for Osage households. Mashunkashey said yard signs will be passed out to the first 150 Osages (one per household) at the Sovereignty Day Celebration Dance. While on social media, Osages are encouraged to use the hashtag #WahzhazheAlways when celebrating being Wahzhazhe today and everyday, the campaign stated.

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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