The Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center recently received a $19,706 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado. This award will support the efforts of the WCC’s Cultural Trunk Collection Project.


“I am very excited that we received the funding from First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), Native Youth and Culture Fund for the Cultural Trunk Collection. There were 130 applicants and only 21 were selected. The trunk collection gives us (WCC staff) the opportunity to take culturally relevant items to the youth of Osage Nation,” said Jessilyn “Addie” Hudgins, WCC director.


The funding will be used to complete the Osage Nation’s current collection of eight completed trunks by purchasing items for two more trunks for a total of 10. The two new trunks will be dedicated to tangible cultural items for a wedding trunk and an Osage art trunk. Each trunk is used to create traditional Osage scenarios to support education efforts for Osage language and culture. The intention of the project is to reinforce cultural preservation and knowledge for Osage children and encourage cultural awareness and understanding of Osage culture and language by non-Osages.


“Culture trunks develop an elevated and memorable understanding, it reinforces and develops content knowledge and creates an avenue for Osage language dialogue between two or more people about something meaningful, tangible and applicable to the Osage way of life. This integrated approach allows the learner to better retain what is being taught,” said Deb Atterberry, Osage Nation strategic planning and self governance analyst. Atterberry is a former educator and was hands-on with efforts to find and select appropriate “quality” cultural items to fill each trunk.


View the WCC Cultural Trunk


Collection


The eight completed trunks are now on display at the WCC in Pawhuska at 220 W. Main St., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The seven trunks include: a men’s traditional clothing trunk, a women’s traditional clothing trunk, a boy’s traditional clothing trunk, a girl’s traditional clothing trunk, a cradleboard (traditional item used for infant care) trunk, a game trunk, a drum trunk, and a cook’s trunk.


“Each trunk has the potential to make a lasting impact in the life of an Osage child, one moment of cultural realization could be all they need to create a lifelong desire to help in the preservation of the Osage culture,” said Hudgins about the precious items carefully collected for each culture trunk.


— Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, Osage Nation Communications