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Waterbird Gallery moving to Fairfax in October

Longtime Waterbird Gallery owner, Danette Daniels, hopes the buzz from “Killers of the Flower Moon” will help the struggling economy of Fairfax

For eight years, the Waterbird Gallery has been one of the go-to spots in Pawhuska to score Osage and other Native American fine art, jewelry, clothing, blankets, books and other treasures.

But the tenancy of the shop owned by Danette Daniels on Sixth Street is coming to an end: Daniels, a mainstay of the Pawhuska retail scene for more than a decade, is moving the Waterbird to the old First National Bank Building in Fairfax, a magnificent building she owns a large piece of, and which she has spent 14 months renovating.

Danette Daniels purchased part of the bank building in Fairfax in 2020 and spent 14 months renovating it. It has new wiring, plumbing and HVAC systems, along with kitchens and modern restrooms. LOUISE RED CORN/Osage News

Daniels has long planned on using the space, where some of the upcoming “Killers of the Flower Moon” film was shot, for the Fairfax Osage Reservation Museum chronicling local Osage history, plus a café, and an event center – and recently decided to add the shop into the mix, too.

Eventually, she intends to open up the upstairs of the building to visitors, as well: Above the 3,500 square feet she has on the ground floor are the offices of Drs. J.G. and D.A. Shoen, the local medics from Reign of Terror whose dark ethics are featured in the movie by Martin Scorsese that is set to hit the big screen in October.

Many of the movie props and signage remain in the building: An old commercial icebox, the Fairfax Post Office and other signs, the enormous bank vault, and much more, including a plaster mannequin head that Robert De Niro accidentally knocked over and broke during filming.

Signage from Killers of the Flower Moon filming remains: The Drs. Shoen were portrayed as villains in the movie. LOUISE RED CORN/Osage News

The Waterbird opened in 2014, but Daniels had her hand in a similar shop called The Cedar Chest that was located on Kihekah. Both stores predated the success of The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, which launched in the fall of 2016.

That clearly changed Pawhuska, which had already made some steps toward shedding its seedy side thanks to early investors like Daniels.

“There’s more tourism in town of course with Ree Drummond’s empire,” Daniels said. “We get some of that foot traffic.

“Then with the filming of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ we had a lot of people come in for that. And we’re the only store with signed copies of Killers of the Flower Moon.”

That said, Daniels is from Fairfax, where she lives with her father, Tommy Daniels, 90, whom she says is the last living Grayhorse fullblood “without French.”

The town has struggled economically over the years, clawing to hold on to its grocery store and foster new businesses. Osages have been a key part of that battle for prosperity: The Osage Nation itself owned the grocery at one point, and Osages Kay Bills and Joe Conner – who died Sept. 12 – have led separate missions to boost business and preserve the Tall Chief Theater.

Daniels recalled that when she was growing up, Fairfax was a thriving town with several groceries, restaurants, a car dealership and even a jewelry store.

“There was a lot going on,” she said. “It was very vibrant. Now … it’s not so vibrant. We’re lucky to still have the hospital, a new pharmacy, Brandy’s, the Red Devil. But there’s not a lot going on but people will come to Fairfax after seeing the movie.

“The Osage Nation bought a block south of Brandy’s and has the train station prop from the movie, and that’s possibly going to be a visitor’s center.”

Daniels is aiming to have the Waterbird moved and reopened on Oct. 21, the day after “Killers of the Flower Moon” is released in theaters worldwide. And like many in Fairfax, she hopes the movie helps Fairfax become prosperous again.

“I really want to help with the revitalization of Fairfax,” she said. “I was born there.

“Not a lot of people believe in Fairfax, but I do. “And I hope others can.”

Danette Daniels at the Waterbird Gallery in Pawhuska, which is moving to Fairfax in October. LOUISE RED CORN/Osage News

Author

  • Louise Red Corn

    Title: Reporter

    Email: louise.redcorn@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Twitter: @louiseredcorn

    Languages: English, Italian, rusty but revivable Russian

    Louise Red Corn has been a news reporter for 34 years and a photographer for even longer. She grew up in Northern California, the youngest child of two lawyers, her father a Pearl Harbor survivor who later became a state judge and her mother a San Francisco native who taught law at the University of California at Davis.

    After graduating from the U.C. Berkley with a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures with no small amount of coursework in Microbiology, she moved to Rome, Italy, where she worked as a photographer and wordsmith for the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, specializing in the French-speaking countries of Africa.

    When the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl parked over Rome in 1986, she escaped to New York City to work for the international editions of Time Magazine. She left Time for Knight-Ridder newspapers in Biloxi, Miss., Detroit and Lexington, Ky., During nearly 20 years with Knight-Ridder, she was a stringer (freelancer) for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Parade Magazine.

    In 2004, she married Raymond Red Corn and moved to Oklahoma, where she worked for the Tulsa World before she bought the weekly newspaper in Barnsdall and turned a tired newspaper into the award-winning Bigheart Times, which she sold in 2018. She hired on at the Osage News in early 2022.

    Throughout her career she has won dozens of state, national and international journalism awards.

    Red Corn is comfortable reporting on nearly any topic, the more complex the better, but her first love is covering courts and legal issues. Her proudest accomplishment was helping to exonerate a Tennessee man facing the death penalty after he was wrongfully charged with capital murder in Kentucky, a state he had never visited.

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Louise Red Corn
Louise Red Cornhttps://osagenews.org

Title: Reporter

Email: louise.redcorn@osagenation-nsn.gov

Twitter: @louiseredcorn

Languages: English, Italian, rusty but revivable Russian

Louise Red Corn has been a news reporter for 34 years and a photographer for even longer. She grew up in Northern California, the youngest child of two lawyers, her father a Pearl Harbor survivor who later became a state judge and her mother a San Francisco native who taught law at the University of California at Davis.

After graduating from the U.C. Berkley with a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures with no small amount of coursework in Microbiology, she moved to Rome, Italy, where she worked as a photographer and wordsmith for the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, specializing in the French-speaking countries of Africa.

When the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl parked over Rome in 1986, she escaped to New York City to work for the international editions of Time Magazine. She left Time for Knight-Ridder newspapers in Biloxi, Miss., Detroit and Lexington, Ky., During nearly 20 years with Knight-Ridder, she was a stringer (freelancer) for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Parade Magazine.

In 2004, she married Raymond Red Corn and moved to Oklahoma, where she worked for the Tulsa World before she bought the weekly newspaper in Barnsdall and turned a tired newspaper into the award-winning Bigheart Times, which she sold in 2018. She hired on at the Osage News in early 2022.

Throughout her career she has won dozens of state, national and international journalism awards.

Red Corn is comfortable reporting on nearly any topic, the more complex the better, but her first love is covering courts and legal issues. Her proudest accomplishment was helping to exonerate a Tennessee man facing the death penalty after he was wrongfully charged with capital murder in Kentucky, a state he had never visited.

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