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The first Osage census in the works for 2023

The Osage Nation Membership Department has begun working on the initiative, and according to the law, the Nation will conduct a census every five years

For the 2023 fiscal year, the Osage Nation Membership Department will start working on the first census of the Osage people to collect demographical information.

During the Tzi Sho Session, Membership Department Director Lauren Malone told the Congressional Membership Committee that her office’s goals include conducting the census in accordance with bill ONCA 22-30 (sponsored by now-Congressional Speaker Alice Goodfox) which passed in April during the 2022 Hun-Kah Session calling for the census to be conducted every five years.

As the Congressional committees considered FY 2023 budgets, Malone said her department budget slightly increased to cover anticipated census costs including printing, mailing and advertising.

At the time of the bill’s vote, Goodfox said she sponsored the bill creating the census so the Nation has better information on its enrolled members and such information can be used to assess and develop future legislation for services. According to the bill, the Nation shall conduct a census every five years through the Executive Branch, which includes the Membership Department operations.

ONCA 22-30 provides a list of questions that will be asked on the census including: number of people in the household; number of Osages in the household; age of each person in the household; education level of each adult; employment status of each adult; net income, own or rent current residence; military or veteran status of each adult; whether any person receives disability benefits from the state or federal government; if you are within 5-10 years of retirement status, do you foresee needing assistance; do you have private health insurance, utilize Indian Health Service or both; and number of people in the residence who suffer with a chronic illness.

Malone said some additional questions will be asked in the census survey as well and she’s reviewing similar census work done by other tribes to help with the Osage census rollout.

“We’ll do it mainly electronically, but we’ll send actual mailouts to our elders, there’s going to be an incentive, a drawing for people who turn the census in and things like that,” Malone told the committee on Sept. 8. A start date for the census launch was not specified, but Malone said work continues on the project, including setting up a task force and software systems.

For more information or inquiries on the ON Membership Department, visit:


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Benny Polacca
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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