Former Principal Chief Jim Gray, White Hair Memorial Director Tara Damron and Osage Nation Congressman John Maker join the Osage News on its first video podcast “This Osage Life.”
In the first episode, Gray, Damron and Maker discuss the first three episodes of the Bloomberg investigative podcast “In Trust” by Rachel Adams-Heard and Allison Hererra. In Trust is a deep dive into the financial records and land records of Osages who lived during the Reign of Terror. In unprecedented reporting, Adams-Heard uncovers the store records from The Hominy Trading Post and reveals how Osages were being robbed hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Drummond brothers.
Adams-Heard spent two years tracking down where Osage land and wealth ended up and the results are shocking.
James Roan Gray is the former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation. He was the youngest Chief in the history of the Osage Nation. During his term, Chief Gray, led the Osage Nation through a comprehensive restoration of Osage sovereignty, the right to determine their own citizens and form their own government. This led to the enrollment of thousands of Osages who had been left off the rolls for nearly 100 years and a referendum vote that adopted a constitutional form of government for the first time in generations. This effort gave all Osages over the age of 18 the right to vote in tribal elections.
In the past few years, Jim Gray has passionately served as a Communications consultant for the Native American Agriculture Fund and has held pivotal roles as the Executive Director at Pawnee Nation and as the Chief of Staff (Tribal Administrator) for the Sac and Fox Nation.
On a personal level, Chief Gray is married to Libbi Chissoe Gray (Osage) and is the father of four children, Henry, Naomi, James, and Annette (Nettie) Gray and the stepfather to Mary, Sarah, and Oli Ramirez. He is culturally versed in his Osage Traditions and has been dancing in his tribe’s ceremonial dances since he was six years old.
Tara Damron is an Osage tribal citizen from the Grayhorse District. She grew up in Fairfax, Okla., and attended Woodland public schools. She received her undergrad bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked for the Oklahoma Historical Society for 19 years in various capacities including the state museum and the research and archives division. She is the Director of the White Hair Memorial Osage Resource Learning Center.
John F. Maker was born in Tulsa, Okla., and raised in Hominy, Okla., and currently resides in Hominy. He attended public school in Hominy and graduated from Hominy High School. He was a very talented athlete and played on the high school football team as a Hominy “Buck.” After graduation John went to Haskell Jr. College, now Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kans., where he played on the football team as one of the “Fighting Indians.” He also attended Oklahoma State University and is currently attending Bacone/Pawnee College. He has an Associate’s Degree in American Indian Studies and a Master of Science from Kansas State University.
John is ¾ Osage and comes from a very traditional Osage family. He is a member of the Native American Church and is on the Hominy/Zon Zo Li District Committee of the Inlonshka. John is very knowledgeable in all aspects of Osage culture and tradition. John’s parents are the late Lloyd G. Maker and the late Virginia Harding Maker. His paternal grandparents were Full Blood Osages and original allottees, they are Ross Maker Allottee #816 and Emma Marie Hoover Maker Allottee #471, maternal grandparents were Marguerite Penn Harding and Arlan R. Harding. Paternal great-grandparents were Full Blood Osage Allottees #809 Tah Hah Gah Heh and #810 Wah Hu Sah E. And his maternal great-grandparents were Full Blood Osage Allottees #452 Charles Me She Tsa He and #453 Wah Ko Sah Moie.
John is a veteran of the United States Army. He received his Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He was selected to attend the U.S. Army Instructor School, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class. John was a member of the Instructor Cadre at Ft. Benning for two years and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal as a top instructor. He was transferred to Garlstadt, West Germany, where he served a two-year overseas duty. He was awarded the Army Overseas Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, the Army Achievement Medal and the Expert Infantry Badge.
Before being elected to the 3rd Osage Congress in 2012, John was an employee of the Osage Nation Language Program. He taught Osage language classes to children, adults, elders and also in the Pawhuska High School. And while currently serving on the Osage Congress, he is very active in Cultural events and is still involved in Osage language events.
To watch the first episode of “This Osage Life,” visit the Osage News YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyT4Hnld0eY