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Osage News 2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

January 2015

Chief Standing Bear signs lease for Fairfax grocery store: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the lease on Dec. 23. It’s been two years since the Palace Grocery Store closed its doors and two years of back and forth debate occurred between Fairfax community members and Osage officials on a solution to the community’s “food desert”.

Jones named Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney: Osage Nation Attorney General Jeff Jones is named one of the two Oklahoma tribal attorneys sworn to prosecute crimes occurring in Indian Country in federal court. On Dec. 10, Jones and Cherokee Nation Deputy Attorney General Sarah Hill took oaths to serve as Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Northern District of Oklahoma based in Tulsa.

Osage leader Mark Freeman Jr. laid to rest: Mark Freeman Jr. grew up in the age of change and prosperity and in turn brought change and prosperity to himself and to the Osage people. Heralded as one of the Osage Nation’s leaders who helped forge a new form of government in 2006, he was laid to rest Jan. 7 at the Pawhuska City Cemetery.

Byron Bighorse hired as Osage Casinos CEO: Byron Bighorse is formally hired as CEO of the Osage Casinos seven-casino gaming enterprise. In a Dec. 30 statement, the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board announced Bighorse’s hiring.

Chief Standing Bear calls for Congressional special session starting Jan. 14: The Fourth Osage Nation Congress will convene for its sixth special session starting Jan. 14 in the Congressional Chambers in Pawhuska. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear issued an executive proclamation for the special session for the Congress to consider action on several items, including the annual plan of operations for the Nation’s gaming enterprise.

Nation creating process to determine heirship for Cobell settlements: There are still Osages who haven’t received their Cobell settlements due to heirship queries and the Nation is working on a process to get those funds distributed. The Cobell settlement distributor, Garden City Group, is not accepting Osage Revocable Trust documents as proof of heirship to a deceased class member, for either the Historical Accounting or the Trust Administration Classes. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear issues executive order for the heirship process.

Former Pawhuska Five-Man Board members appealing cases to ON Supreme Court: The four defendants in the trial court cases involving mission Pawhuska Indian Village money want the Osage Nation Supreme Court to hear their cases. On Nov. 14, attorneys for Theodore “Ted” Brunt, Kenneth “K.C.” Bills, Joe Don Mashunkashey and Frank Redcorn filed notices of intent to appeal with the ON Judicial Branch.

Refurbished computers bring Christmas cheer to the Osage: The Osage Nation Police Department has participated in the North Pole Project for the past three years. The project distributes refurbished computer to families in need during the Christmas 2014 season.

February 2015

Nation to receive $7.4 million in Cobell Land Buy-Back program: The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations has come to the Osage and the federal government is proposing $7.4 million to buy back fractionated land interest from individual tribal members. According to Bruce Cass, tribal development and land acquisition director, who is working with Osage attorney Terry Mason Moore on the project, said there is roughly 64,000 acres with 680-690 individual landowners the nations will be contacting about the program.

Nation signs unprecedented deal with energy giant TransCanada: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear asked for energy giant TransCanada to recognize the Osage Nation’s ancestral territories in an unprecedented deal, and the company accepted. “It says they will recognize certain parts of the United States as our territory and will notify us if they ever decide to come through it,” he said.

Basketball is mainstay in soldier’s life before and after war: Chris Turley has lived a full life in just 26 years. Wounded in Afghanistan from shrapnel, to making a full recovery after doctors said he wouldn’t, becoming a father to twin girls – he now adds college student and college basketball player to his titles. He now plays as a forward for the Haskell Indian Nations University basketball team in Lawrence, Kans.

Grocer says Fairfax Venture Food store to open in March: Progress continues on improving the vacant grocery store building in Fairfax, set to open in mid-March. The new name: Fairfax Venture Foods. ALLS Grocery Inc. signed a lease with the Osage Nation, who owns the Main Street building, in December and efforts to refurbish the building are expected to continue into March, according to ALLS owner Lane Moore.

Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear meets with President Obama: The most impressive thing Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear witnessed during his meeting with President Barack Obama was not the man himself, but the work and staff organization it took to be the president of the United States. Standing Bear was invited to meet with Obama, along with Obama, along with 10 other tribal leaders at the White House on Dec. 2, a day before the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference on Dec. 3.

Oral arguments scheduled Feb. 26 in former ON child support worker case: The case of the former Osage Nation employee accused of breaking the Nation’s open records and child support enforcement laws has a Feb. 26 date scheduled in ON Trial Court. Oral arguments that day will focus on a motion to dismiss the case filed against Elizabeth Kathleen Sherwood, who is asking the court to throw out the case and filed the Dec. 30 motion as a practicing attorney representing herself.

Justice Department audit says Nation owes more than half a million: The Justice Department’s Inspector General released an audit on the Nation’s use of three grants from the Office on Violence Against Women in January. “We found that Osage did not comply with essential award conditions in the areas of internal controls, grant expenditures, including salaries and fringe benefits, grant reporting, property management, and special conditions,” according to the audit, which covered years 2007-2012.

Jurisdiction challenged in Pawhuska village five-man board case: Two defendants in the tribal court cases involving missing Pawhuska Indian Village money are asking the Osage Nation Supreme Court to reverse a Trial Court judge’s decision to not dismiss the cases. On Nov. 25 and Dec. 4, attorneys for former Pawhuska village five-man board members Frank Redcorn and Theodore “Ted” Brunt” filed identical petitions with the Osage high court challenging the legality of the Nation’s laws and jurisdiction over the village.

Former ON Counseling director charged with sexual battery: Louis Gray, a former case manager for the Nation’s Counseling Center, was charged with felonious sexual battery Dec. 30 for an alleged incident occurring in Ponca City with a 22-year-old woman in his care. Gray no longer works for the nation and a state court trial is scheduled for 2016.

March 2015

Osage –owned law firm hired to continue Osage LLC investigation: An investigation into the past business activities of the Osage limited Liability Company is continuing with a Tulsa area law firm now examining business transaction conducted under prior LLC leadership, which resulted in millions of dollars in losses. Shield Law Group, PLC, headed by Osage attorney Amanda Proctor, is now investigating those past transactions, according to a Feb. 26 statement released by Proctor.

Nation subleased Wah-Sha-She Park, considers Walnut Creek: A group of local volunteers will be managing the Wah-Sha-She State Park for the Nation this summer as soon as a sublease is approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. After the Nation deemed the park too expensive, it cost $150,000 a year to run, and prepared to shit it down a group of volunteers approached the Nation with ideas to save it.

Chief James Bigheart statue to be placed on new campus: Osage artist and former Osage Congressman John Free had a vision of what the new Osage campus might look like and he hoped it would be a place that showcased Osage artwork-he just didn’t know it would be his own. Longtime owner of the successful sculpting studio, The Bronze Horse, Free was approached several years ago by Chief James Bigheart’s great-granddaughters about a statue of the renowned chief.

Pawhuska arbor to be completed in May: Construction on the new Pawhuska Indian Village dance arbor brought nostalgic feelings and memories among Osages who witnessed the first concrete foundation pour during a small Feb. 12 gathering next to the building site. The concrete pour is one of the first major steps toward building the new arbor on the same site where the former one stood since the 1960s.

Osage officials attend NCAI session lunch with Sen. John McCain: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Congressional Speaker Maria Whitehorn and ON Chief of Staff Jason Zaun attended the 2015 Executive Council Winter Session of the National Congress of American Indians Feb. 23-26 in Washington, D.C. Tribal representative from across the country, 566 of them, attended the conference.

Osage Casinos to pay rent for central offices in Tulsa: With the Standing Bear administration looking in the operations of the Osage Nation, it was discovered the tenants of the Tulsa Airpark have not been paying rent of the past six-years. The 100 –acre Tulsa Airpark, which is located on West 36th Street, eight minutes from downtown Tulsa, currently houses the central services offices for the seven Osage Casinos operations.

Questionable headright payments still an issue: Questions still remain on who cashes Osage headright checks being paid to defunct entities or P.O. boxes. Charles Pratt, one of the remaining plaintiffs in the Fletcher v. United States case, wants Osages to know that their headright income is being depleted because the U.S. government won’t account for all Osage headright shares or their owners.

April 2015


Chief Standing Bear appoints Holli Wells to replace Jeff Jones as AG: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said the current threats to the Osage Minerals Estate and the nation’s water rights by the sate of Oklahoma led to his decision not to reappoint Jeff Jones as the Nation’s Attorney General. Instead he has appointed environmental lawyer and former State Judge Holli Wells as Jones’ replacement.

Osage Nation contracts with Scholarship America for scholarship services: The Osage Nation will no longer administer its own scholarship. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said as long as he is chief the Osage Nation Higher Education Scholarship will be contracted out to a third party.

Interior Board of Appeals rules the Osage Minerals Estate is under Osage Nation: The highest Administrative Court within the U.S. Department of Interior, the Interior Board of Appeals, has ruled the Osage Minerals Estate and the Osage Minerals Council are under the Osage Nation and its Constitution. “This Decision is the final word for the United States Department of the interior and is now subject to federal court review should the Appellant’s pursue an appeal,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

Nation working to compact Indian health services: The Osage nation is working to compact the Indian Health Services and change them to fit the community’s needs. A public meeting as heald at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center on March 13 to obtain community input on what changes they would like to see.

ON Congressional Hun-Kah Session underway: As of April 2, the Osage Nation Congressional office reported approximately 30 legislative bills are filed for the Legislative Branch’s consideration during the 2015 Hun-Kah Session. Congressional Speaker Maria Whitehorn said 23 bills were filed by March 30 when she delivered her legislative message to the Congress on the session’s opening day, noting the number would increase.

ON officials discuss goals and focuses of Hun-Kah Session: Member of the Fourth Osage Nation Congress will consider several legislative matters brought for consideration during the 24 day Hun-Kah Session in April.  The Hun-Kah Session started on March 30 with opening addresses from Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and Congressional Speaker Maria Whitehorn on behalf of the respective offices.

May 2015


Osage youth win big at Oklahoma Native Youth Language Fair: Students and their families woke up extra early on April 6 and 7 to make the yearly trip to compete in the 13th annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman on April 2. Held every year at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma, students demonstrate their indigenous language skills in several categories throughout the two-day competition.

Osage Congress to consider legislation to allow same–sex marriage: Osage Nation Congresswoman Shannon Edwards filed legislation on April 17 that will amend the Nation’s current statute on marriage, changing the language that specifies marriage is between a man and a woman. “I believe marriage is a moral commitment which is unrelated to whether one gets a companion pass on an airplane, a tax break, or can inherit from a long time partner without a monetary penalty,” Edwards said.

Harold Bigheart Smalley American Legion Post 198 had Osage beginnings: Harold Bigheart Smalley was the first U.S. sailor killed in the Battle of Java Sea, 1944, on Midway Island in WWII. He grew up in California but his people were Osages from Barnsdall, Okla.

On Congress unanimously confirms Holli Wells as next Attorney General: Holli Wells is the Osage Nation’s second Attorney General after receiving a unanimous confirmation vote from the Fourth Osage Nation Congress. After no Congressional discussion on the AG appointment by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, the Congress voted to confirm Wells on April 9.

Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center begins work on Endangered Song Project: Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center director Vann Bighorse, Sherman Bold Warrior and Osage language instructor Cameron Pratt are on a mission: to save the meaning and history of Osage individual songs.

Standing Bear plans to ‘change the game’ for oil production in Osage County: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear took an Osage delegation to the Southern Ute Tribe and the Jicarilla Apache Nation to study how they developed their oil fields and mineral estates. “Over 20 years ago they [Southern Ute] stared in a leadership role and put the Bureau of Indian Affairs in a support role.

On Congress passes five-year banishment bill targeting convicted drug dealers: Dangerous drug dealers convicted in the Osage Nation tribal court system are now subject to mandatory minimum of five-year banishment from the Nation’s jurisdiction. The Fourth ON Congress passed a bill (ONCA 15-31 sponsored by Congressman RJ Walker) on April 20 with a 7-4 vote putting the five to 10-year banishment penalty into Osage law targeting those who are convicted of selling, manufacturing or distrusting dangerous drugs including methamphetamine on the Nation’s properties including the three villages, the government campus in Pawhuska and the seven Osage Casinos.

Chief Standing Bear vetoes two Congressional bills: Two bills passed by the Fourth Osage Nation Congress will not become law after Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear vetoed both bills during the 2015 Congressional Hun-Kah Session. As of April 29, Standing Bear vetoed a bill calling for the Nation’s health benefit plan fund to be funded with $1.5 million from the Nation’s permanent fund and an act amending the Nation’s gaming law “to prohibit certain elected officials from being excluded from executive session.”

June 2015

Standing Bear administration plans to develop oil and gas: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is moving the Osage Nation forward to develop oil and gas on the Osage Minerals Estate. Following a recent trip to the successful Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Ignacio, Colo., he is asking the Osage Nation Energy Sources, LLC, to implement the Southern Ute model of business.

Osage Nation files suit against former Osage LLC management and consultants: The Osage Nation is suing the former management of the Osage LLC, two consultants and the heads of former companies in Osage County District Court. The lawsuit details an alleged fraudulent investment deal that cost the Nation more than $1 million.

Osage Minerals Councilmen speak on new oil and gas regs: The final rules for oil and gas drilling were published in the Federal Register on May 11 and many fear the worst. Osage Minerals councilmen Galen Crum and Andrew Yates, who sat on the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee in 2013, said staying the status quo was not an option. 

Osage Nation to begin outreach for Land-Buy Back program: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed initial agreement to begin outreach for the Land Buy-Back Program in the Osage Nation. Outreach efforts will begin in late June and early July. “The offers won’t go out till August, so we’ll have two months of outreach,” Standing Bear said.

ON Congress sets FY 2016 projected revenue mark at $43.7 million: With priorities focusing on health benefit and higher education scholarship programs and services available to all Osages, officials from the Osage Nation executive and legislative branches will be tasked with budgeting once again with a tight budge in September. The Fourth ON Congress set the 2016 fiscal year projected revenue amount at $43,775,000 during its spring Hun-Kah Session.

CASA program in need of more volunteers: The Court Appointed Special Advocates office for Pawnee and Osage counties, a group of volunteers dedicated to look after the welfare and well-being of Osage and Pawnee children stuck in the state and tribal court systems and foster systems, need more volunteers. Currently, Osage County only has five CASA volunteers and Pawnee County has 12.

After two major incidents, ONPD moving forward: The Osage Nation Police Departmen has been involved in two high-profile cases since February, one has been resolved and the other is still under investigation by the Tulsa County Attorney’s Office. “ONPD is going to continue conducting professional law enforcement series and continue moving forward in a positive direction and always be transparent to citizens of the community in the daily operations of the Osage Nation Police Department,” said ON Police Chief Nick Williams.

Osage youth crowned 2015-2016 Denver March Princess: Makayla Sage thought it was going to be just another Denver March Powwow with her family. But as one of the largest powwows in the world came to a close, they read the bio of the next Denver March princess and announced her name.

Bird Creek Farms provides community gardens and organic produce: Addie Roanhorse and her eight-year old daughter Anya are thrilled about their small plot of land they recently acquired at Bird Creek Farms. “It’s awesome, it’s exciting. I had thought about doing it [gardening] on my own but the land is already tilled.

July 2015

Gideon Goodeagle, Jr. is Hominy District’s new Drumkeeper: Twelve-year old Gideon Goodeagle, Jr. has been selected as the next Hominy Drumkeeper. Goodeagle, Jr. is a 7th grader from Hominy, Okla., and is the son of Gideon Goodeagle, Sr. and son of Debbie Murray. He and his family will be responsible for hosting the Hominy In-Lon-Schka and taking care of the district’s members, along with amnay more cultural responsibilities.

Hominy Roundhouse to be restored: Seeing the inside of the Hominy Roundhouse was a rare sight for Osages arriving for the Hominy In-Lon-Schka dances. The stating day of the Honiny dances, June 11, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and other Osage dignitaries and employees, were walking in and around the historic roundhouse, inspecting its condition. He then called Bruce Cass, director of the Tribal Development and Land Acquisition, declared it an emergency and plans started on making plans for renovation work.

Berbon K. Hamilton, the new Pawhuska District Drumkeeper: Berbon K. Hamilton, has been selected as the next Pawhuska Drumkeeper. Hamilton, 16, is a Junior at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation.

Skiatook Catholic Church incorporates Osage culture: As Father Ken Iheanacho said his homily for his Father’s Day mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Skiatook, he wore eye-catching new vestments and moved about very colorful altar cloths. “Some of you may have noticed our new altar cloths and my vestments,” he said. And with a smile he added, “They look pretty good.”

Chief Standing Bear forging ahead with Osage language immersion program: Fueled from a recent trip to the Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico and the Southern Ute of Colorado in May, principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is forging ahead with his language immersion program-whether the Nation’s employees are ready or not. His plans are to implement a program very similar to that of the Southern Ute and Cochiti who have immersion day cares and Montessori schools for their tribal members, ages birth to six.

August 2015

Osage Minerals Council lawsuit against DOI to be heard Aug. 10: A federal judge has scheduled the preliminary court case to consider a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the final oil and gas regulations that will change 25 CFR Part 226. They were scheduled to take effect July 10.

Osage Nation overhauling early learning academies to Educare standards: An associate degree or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is what will be required to teach at on of the Osage Nation’s Wah-Zha-Zhi Early Learning Academies –something that has never been required before. “Our goal is to have a certified early childhood teacher in every classroom-there will only be so many positions available for Child Development Associates (CDA), which will require the rest of the teachers who decide to stay with us to raise their level of qualifications,” said Debra Atterberry in an email.

Chief Standing Bear meets with the staffs of Sens. Lankford and Inhofe: Two Republican Oklahoma senators, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, sent a letter to the Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, asking her to find a solution to stop the new oil and gas regulations from taking effect in Osage County. The two-page letter, sent on July 9, said the Bureau of Indian Affairs has a fiduciary duty to ensure economic vitality for the Osage Minerals Estate.

Aunt and nephew win World Champion honors at Pinto World Horse Show: Faren Anderson and Kristofer Revard are World Champions. When showing and demonstrating the abilities and beauty of Pinto horses, there aren’t much better than Anderson and her 8-year-old nephew Kristofer. Anderson won two world championships, as well as, Amateur English Showmanship Solid Horse, Amateur Western Horsemanship Solid Horse and Reserve World Champion Amateur Western Pleasure Solid Horse. She also placed in the top five in four other event classes, Kristopher, who is going into the third grade, came home with Youth Walk/Trot Showmanship Solid Horse World Championship. He also came home with third place in Youth Walk/Trot Western Pleasure Solid horse.

Osage Nation compacting Pawhuska IHS facility, services and staff to be added: The Osage Nation has compacted with the Indian Health Service to take control of the Pawhuska clinic on Oct. 1. What Nation officials want Osage citizens to know, is that services are not going to be taken away.

Osage Minerals Council and Standing Bear administration at odds: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is slowly chipping away at the Osage Minerals resistance to Osage Nation law. “They’re an agency of the government, not a branch,” Standing Bear said. Over the years, the Minerals Council has been at odds with whether or not they are a part of the new Osage government ratified in 2006, or whether they are the Osage Tribal Council – which no longer exists. However, an ON Trial Court Associate Judge and the ON Attorney General have recently sided with Standing Bear. Soon, the question of what authority the minerals council has may go before the ON Supreme Court.

Congress approves $100,000 for Osage LLC litigation expenses: On July 16, the Congress voted unanimously to approve a $100,000 appropriation bill (ONCA 15-16 sponsored by Buffalohead) for litigation expenses to pursue court action against the former Osage Limited Liability Company management and business partners in wake of the investigation into those business activities that resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

Housing services spread to different offices within the Nation: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear’s housing reorganization is complete. The Housing Department, what many Osages are used to calling it, is no more.

Congress votes down minimum wage bill to include casino employees: The Fourth Osage Nation Congress voted down a bill seeking to raise the Osage Casino employee minimum wage to match the Nation’s current $11.50 minimum wage by next year. The bill (ONCA 15-55 sponsored by Congressman John Maker) failed with seven “no” votes and four “yes” votes during the July 16 meeting of the special session.

ON Congress passes FY2016 bills for health benefit, scholarships and burial assistance funds: On Day Two of the Seventh Special Session, the Fourth Osage Nation Congress passed four appropriation bills on July 14. Three of those passed bills are FY2016 appropriations to fund the Nation’s burial assistance fund at $450,000 (ONCA 15-56 sponsored by Congresswoman Angel Pratt); the health benefit fund at $6 million (ONCA 15-57 sponsored by Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead); and the higher education scholarship fund at $8 million (ONCA 15-58 sponsored by Congressman Archie Mason.)

Osages gather for Sunrise Morning Prayer at wind farm site: Osages gathered at sunrise on July 10 at the wind turbine site on Highway 18. Led by Fairfax resident Dr. Joe Conner, Osage officials and others gathered to pray.

September 2015

Osage Language Immersion School names first class of students: For the first time in the history of the Osage, a language immersion school is being implemented to save the Osage language from extinction. Parents of 19 lucky Osage children, ages 0-5, attended a meeting on Aug. 4 to hear the future of their children’s educations.

Nation receives $1.2 million grant to create WAHZHAZHE Eco Park: Thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Nation is moving forward with development of WAHZHAZHE Eco Park at Bird Creek Farms. The gran, which was for $1,250,000, was awarded to the Communities of Excellence for the development of WAHZHAZHI Eco Park – a second project designed for Bird Creek Farms.

Standing Bear on status of Mineral Estate: ‘Pandora’s box has been opened’: Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear met with the Third Osage Minerals Council in a Special Meeting Aug. 31 to discuss possible legislation being formed by Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford that could affect the Osage Minerals Estate.

Osage Casino officials announce preliminary plans for Tulsa casino and hotel: Osage Casino officials announced preliminary plans for a new Tulsa casino, which include a 132-room hotel and conference facility to go with a larger gaming venue for its north Tulsa property. The proposed larger gaming venue will be located next to the current casino along 36th Street North about 10 minutes north of the downtown area.

Federal judge grants injunction against final oil and gas mining regulations: Tulsa Federal District Judge Gregory Frizzell granted an injunction on the new rules that would change the regulations for oil and gas drilling in the Osage. Cheers and congratulatory yells followed Frizzell’s ruling as the nearly 200 attendees of the Aug. 10 hearing celebrated.

ON Election Board selects Texas company for election services, equipment: With four months to go before the 2016 election year starts, the Osage Nation Election Board selected a Texas-based election company to provide support and equipment for conducting the upcoming elections. At its Aug. 31 meeting, the Election Board voted unanimously to authorize Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre the authority to work on contracting the services for Austin-based Hart Intercivic.

Osage News advertising rules for the 2016 election season: Election season is upon the Osage Nation with six seats up for grabs on the Osage Nation Congress in 2016. Candidates wishing to advertise, it will be first come, first serve for the Osage News printing publication.

United States asks judge to halt construction of second wind farm: The United States is asking a federal judge to halt the construction of a second wind farm project called Mustang Run. If the judge denies the United States, 68 additional wind turbines are headed the Osage Reservation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathryn McClanahan filed for a Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Consideration in Northern Oklahoma District Court Aug. 14

WahZhaZhi Health Center to open Oct. 1: The Pawhuska IHS Clinic has a new name: WahZhaZhi Health Center. Osage officials and the Osage Nation Health Authority Board recently selected the name.

Osage Ballet to perform at World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia: The Osage Ballet has been invited to perform at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September and Pope Francis will be in attendance. The Ballet has been asked to perform the prayer scene from Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet at the Festival on Sept. 26 in Logan Square.

October 2015

WahZhaZhe Ballet performs at World Festival of Families: The energy was high, “WahZhazhe, an Osage Ballet” performers were nervous, Osage singers were clearing their throats, waiting to begin their performance. Masses of people from around the world waited in anticipation for his holiness Pope Francis to make his appearance in Logan Square. The ballet performance also took place that same night before thousands of people at the square.

Osage Nation buys First National Bank building in Pawhuska: A building that’s been synonymous with Osage history – of oilmen, guardians, attorneys, and unscrupulous practices – is now owned by the Osage Nation. The Nation purchased the First National Bank of Pawhuska for nearly $275,000, just under the appraised value.

ON Congress passes FY 2016 budgets day before fiscal year ended: As of Oct. 2, the Osage Nation Executive Branch continued to review the amended and Congressional – approved 2016 fiscal year budgets for the Nation’s government operations. On Sept. 29, the Fourth ON Congress passed those budgets into law with less than 48 hours before FY 2016 started.

DOJ awards Nation $877,882 for Domestic Violence program: The Osage Nation’s Domestic Violence program is getting an upgrade. The Department of Justice awarded the Nation’s DV program $877,882 on Sept. 16. The money will allow the Nation’s DV administrator, LaVina Clark, to hire more staff.

Congress recognizes Lookout for Osage language preservation efforts: The Fourth Osage Nation Congress passed a resolution commending ON Language Department Director Herman “Mogri” Lookout for his leadership and efforts in preserving the Osage language. On Sept. 21, the Congress unanimously passed resolution ONCR 15-24 acknowledging Lookout, who was present to receive his written citation from the Congress following the vote.

Construction underway on Fairfax child care and senior center: Construction work is underway on the Osage Nation’s dual – use child care and senior center facility on Fairfax’s west side. ON government officials, Osage citizens, Fairfax locals and building contractors attended on Sept. 9 groundbreaking ceremony at the facility’s location on south Eighth Street near the Catholic Church.

NCO meeting discuss adoption opportunities for Osages and culture workshops: Osage Nation Social Services officials are reaching out to constituents seeking more foster and adoption families for Osage children. At the Sept. 26 Northern California fall gathering, social service workers visited with West Coast Osage constituents and discussed their department’s services available, especially for those interested in being foster or adoptive parents.

November 2015


Osage Congressman inducted into French Brotherhood Oct. 17 – Osage Nation Congressman John Maker was inducted into the French Brotherhood of Muscat de Rivesaltes in Rivesaltes, France. In 1827, when six Osages traveled to France and were left stranded for more than two years, they made it to Montauban, France where a Bishop took them in and nursed them back to health. One of those Osages was Big Soldier and the story goes that Big Soldier loved the Muscat de Rivesaltes. Maker, who is a descendent of Big Soldier, said he was contacted in May about being inducted into the Brotherhood in honor of Big Soldier.

Osage Casinos allow paid maternity and paternity leave for employees – The Osage Casinos joined the ranks of those businesses and government employers who offer paid maternity and paternity leave for its employees. Casino management officials announced the human resources policy changes in October, which includes offering up to four weeks of paid maternity leave for expectant mothers and two weeks of paid paternity leave for fathers-to-be.

Committee to consider repatriation of Osage man buried in infamous Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians cemetery – In July, the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office learned that a 23-year-old Osage man named Hon-Sah-Sah-Kah is buried in the former asylum cemetery in Canton, S.D. The news was discussed with the ON Traditional Cultural Advisors Committee after the Nation learned of the grave and that the Yankton Sioux Tribe is applying for a grant to designate the cemetery as a historical site. The committee voted to support a project to repatriate Hon-Sah-Sah-Kah pending further information on the grant award status.

Osage strong: the courage of Lily Lookout – Nine-year-old Lily Lookout of Pawhuska is battling leukemia, but continues to attend school while receiving treatments for the cancer. Lookout’s family shares her story of resilience and Lookout receives well-wishes and financial support from the Osage and Pawhuska communities thanks to fundraisers that raised money to help her family with travel costs so Lookout can receive chemotherapy treatments in Tulsa.    

ON Congress to meet for eighth special session starting Nov. 3 – The Fourth Osage Nation Congress met for a November special session to consider budget amendment matters.

Pawhuska Indian Village voters elect three new Five-Man Board members – The Pawhuska Indian Village residents reelected Paula Stabler and Ryan RedCorn to serve on the village committee (Five-Man Board) and also elected Cherokee Cheshewalla, Marjorie Williams and Patrick Luey who are first-time board members.

ON Election Board approves contract with Hart Intercivic – The Osage Nation Election Board approved a contract with Austin, Texas-based Hart Intercivic to purchase voter equipment, software and other services for the forthcoming 2016 election year. The 2016 general election will be held in June with six seats on the ON Congress up for grabs.

Hominy Indian Village election scheduled Nov. 2-3 – For the first time, the Osage Nation Election Board conducted the election for the Hominy Indian Village Five-Man Board. The plans came in response to an executive order from Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear after the village went several years without an election for the board charged with maintaining the village property and grounds.

Federal judge to order accounting in Fletcher case – Federal Judge Gregory Frizzell is set to make a ruling in the Fletcher v. United States case, according to attorneys working on the case. The Fletcher case is a class-action lawsuit with more than 5,000 plaintiffs – all Osage shareholders – and asks whether the right payment was made to the right people.

Nation sets hopes on case in Oklahoma Supreme Court to oust wind farms – After a federal judge ruled on Sept. 30 that Osage Wind’s construction of 84 turbines in the Osage Minerals Estate did not need approval from the Osage Minerals Council, the Nation sets its hopes on an Oklahoma Supreme Court case. The Nation is challenging the Osage County Board of Commissioners legislative authority to adopt a zoning ordinance giving the Osage County Board of Adjustment the power to issue a conditional use permit in the ongoing fight against the proposed wind farm projects west of Pawhuska.

December 2015


Chief charges Fourth ON Congress with Constitution violations – Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear sues the Fourth Osage Nation Congress and alleges four Constitution violations were committed against the Executive Branch. Standing Bear is asking the ON Supreme Court for a declaratory judgment in his favor regarding the separation of powers allegations he raised as: the unconstitutional Congressional determination of individual salaries of Executive Branch employees; the unconstitutional Congressional determination of job descriptions for certain individual positions within the Human Resources department of the Executive Branch; the unconstitutional Congressional control over Enterprise Boards by combining requirements for annual plan content with a declaration that the annual plan is legally binding and cannot be amended without congressional approval; the unconstitutional Congressional imposition of requirements on Principal Chief appointees to the constitutionally authorized ON Gaming Enterprise Board. The Supreme Court had yet to rule on the case as of Dec. 31.

Hominy Indian Village votes in all-new board – For the first time in over six years, the Hominy Indian Village elected five new residents to serve on the Five-Man board. The election comes after Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear issued an executive order calling for the election, which is the first one since 2009. Now serving on the board is Reuben DeRoin (chairman), Jeff Wilcox (vice chairman), April Mitts (secretary/ treasurer), Larry Maker and William Shadlow.

Osage culture represented in Christmas tree exhibit in Oklahoma City – The Red Earth Art Center launched its inaugural TreeFest exhibit in December featuring five Christmas trees decorated by five individual Oklahoma tribal nations. The Osage Nation is among this year’s tribes participating along with the Citizen Band Potawatomi, Chickasaw Nation, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes and the Comanche Nation. A group of Osages created handmade ornaments that were featured on the tree that are miniature versions of objects seen at the In-Lon-Schka ceremonial dances including ribbonwork, scarf ties, waterboy buckets, cedar chests, fingerweaving and a man’s dance roach with feather as the tree top ornament.

Natl. NAGPRA Review Committee confirms Osages were part of Mound culture – The National NAGPRA Committee ruled unanimously the Osage people are culturally affiliated with the Late Woodland people in Missouri, Illinois and the Mississippian people, which ties the Osage people with the mound building culture. In November, the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office presented its case to the NAGPRA committee after questions arose about the tribal affiliation of human remains and funerary objects found in Clarksville Mo. According to ONHPO research, the geography of the Osage is derived from archeological data, oral tradition, historical and linguistic evidence which states the Osage, Omaha, Kaw, Ponca and Quapaw originated in the Ohio River valley and moved westward where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge at approximately A.D. 400 to A.D. 500. By the end of the Late Woodland period and during the Emergent Mississippian period, A.D. 900 to A.D. 1000, the ancestral Osage focused their settlements primarily in the Cahokia and modern St. Louis area before eventually moving west toward present-day Oklahoma.   

ON Congress to consider same-sex marriage bill during Hun-Kah Session – The Fourth Osage Nation Congress will consider the same-sex marriage bill during the upcoming 2016 Hun-Kah Session. The bill has been delayed since its first introduction in the 2015 Hun-Kah Session.

ON tribal court judge refuses to dismiss missing Pawhuska village money cases – Osage Nation Associate Trial Court Judge Lee Stout refuses to dismiss the missing Pawhuska village money cases against four former Five-Man board members. Attorneys for the men filed motions to dismiss the cases against their clients after the ON Supreme Court dismissed interlocutory appeals filed by defendants Frank Redcorn and Theodore Brunt. Those two men, along with Kenneth “K.C.” Bills and Joe Don Mashunkashey face numerous charges of misusing public money after a 2012 ON Office of Fiscal Performance and Review audit reported $806,000 in village revenue is unaccounted for.

Nation hoping to provide high-speed Internet to Osage County – The Osage Nation Utility Authority Board holds a November public meeting to discuss the feasibility study regarding the Nation providing high-speed Internet to the county. The study is underway after the ON Congress approved funding for the study earlier this year.

Intel Corporation reaching out to Indian Country with job opportunities – The Intel Corportation is investing $300 million to encourage more diversity within the technology industry and announced an outreach to Native American communities. For more information about job opportunities, visit

New Osage Nation campus buildings unveiled on Nov. 2 – Osage Nation officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the two new buildings built as part of the campus master plan. The buildings – referred to as the Law Building and Welcome Center – are located at 239 W. 12th Street and house several departments and programs.

American Legion Post 198 honors veterans at dance – The Harold Bigheart Smalley American Legion Post 198 held its annual Veterans Day dance at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, which featured several individual songs in honor of Osage military veterans who served in the military from World War I to those serving in recent wartimes. Also at the dance, Kennedy A. Davis was crowned the 2015-2017 Post 198 Princess.







Osage News

Original Publish Date: 2016-01-04 00:00:00


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As an independent news organization, we strive to report news and information with fairness and balance. While being the official news organization of the Osage Nation, we base our news judgements on our loyalties to our readers and Osage citizens, and we are not directly beholden to the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branches of the Osage Nation.

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