A photographic exhibit of the original 2,229 Osage allottees has found a new home in Pawhuska Indian Village.
The 2229 Exhibit officially opened Thursday at Wakon Iron Community Center. A corn soup and fry bread dinner was held as part of the event.
Descendants of the original allottees — who also are the rightful shareholders in the Osage Mineral Estate — were invited to bring additional photos which could be used to complete exhibit. Scanning services were made available for that purpose.
“This was the most appropriate site to house the collection, which continues to be a work in progress,” said Kathryn Red Corn, who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to its new home.
Red Corn was director of the Osage Nation Museum when the 2229 Exhibit was conceived. She now serves as one of the nine elected members of the Osage Minerals Council — the tribal council which is historically entrusted with protecting the interests of Osage shareholders.
“This exhibit concerns the resolution of a dispute over land ownership for the Osage tribe — who once lived in Missouri, but were moved to Kansas, and then to a reservation in Oklahoma,” according to a description attached to the 2229 project when it was exhibited at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art in 2014. “The federal government allotted, or assigned private ownership of what had been tribally owned reservation land to individual Osage tribe members. This was the result of the Osage Allotment Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1906.
“More than 1,300 photographs are showcased in this exhibition featuring the original allottees of the Osage Tribe,” the description continued. “Individuals, families and friends are presented as a proud nation of individuals and families steeped in tradition, noble and united.”
The exhibit features photos of Osage allottees who were registered between Jan. 1, 1906, and June 30, 1907. This core group of individuals constituted the original tribal rolls. All Osage Nation members registered since must be a lineal descendant of at least one of the original allottee.
Looking through the old photographs, Red Corn asked a visitor: “Do you know these people?”
“I knew some of them,” the woman answers. “I never knew my grandparents but they’re in here.”
Red Corn said the photographs help bridge the gap from a buffalo hunting past to an oil boom future.
When ownership rights to land of the former Osage Indian Reservation were allotted in 1906, tribal leaders successfully forged an agreement whereby all mineral rights in what is now Osage County were retained, in common, by members of the Osage Tribe. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for administering the development of oil and gas resources in Osage County for the benefit of Osage Tribe.
“The 2229 Exhibit shows the tribal members who played big parts in our Osage history,” Red Corn said.