Four incumbents are among 21 Osage tribal members who declared as candidates during a filing period that ended last week for Osage Nation Congress.
Six seats on the 12-member ON Congress will be filled this year in the tribe’s June 2 general election, which is also to feature voting for Osage Nation Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief. Four-year terms will be awarded to the six Congressional hopefuls receiving the most votes, as well as to the winning candidates for Chief and Assistant Chief.
Two-person races are set for the tribal executive positions. Margo Gray and Geoffrey Standing Bear will be seeking election as the new Principal Chief of the Osages, while Amanda Proctor and Raymond Red Corn are to appear on the ballot for Assistant Principal Chief.
One additional candidate for Principal Chief and three Assistant Chief prospects were eliminated March 7 in the first-ever Osage Nation primary election.
The ON Congressional candidates declared during a 12-day filing period that lasted from March 14-31. Incumbents attempting to retain seats on the tribal legislature are Alice Buffalohead, Daniel Boone, John Free and William "Kugee" Supernaw.
Other candidates for Osage Congress include Ron Shaw, Otto Hamilton, Michael Kidder, Tony Whitehorn, Clair Wood, Doug Cowan, Homer Troy Big Eagle and Angela Marie Pratt. Also filing in the race for Congress were James Norris, Beverly Brownfield, Teresa Bates Rutherford, W. Jacque Jones, Justin Mays, John Starr Bighorse, Richard Luttrell, Joe Conner and Cecelia Tallchief.
Osage Nation General Election Debates are scheduled Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Pawhuska’s Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, 1449 W. Main. The League of Women Voters of Tulsa will host the debates, which are being sponsored by the independent tribal newspaper, the Osage News. Both debates are expected to be broadcast live via radio.
A separate election also will be held June 2 in which headrights’-holding Osages are to select members for the Osage Minerals Council. The eight-person Council is entrusted with managing the tribe’s communally-owned minerals estate, which consists of oil, gas, coal and/or other minerals within the Osage County boundaries of the former Osage Reservation.
In order to qualify to run for the OMC, candidates are required to submit petitions signed by at least 25 mineral royalty-interest owners. Filing of Osage Minerals Council candidates started March 19 and concluded Monday.
Seventeen candidates qualified for the Minerals Council race. Those who filed included six incumbents: Andrew Yates, Melvin Core, Myron Red Eagle, Galen Crum, Cynthia Boone and Curtis Bear. Other OMC candidates were Ray McClain, William St. John, Kathryn Red Corn, Joseph "Blackbird" Cheshewalla, Cheryl Potts, Linda Heskett, Stephanie Erwin, Robert E. "R.E." Yarbrough, Talee Redcorn, Kenny Bighorse and Everett M. Waller.
Four years ago, the Osage general elections drew 20 candidates for Congress, plus five for ON Principal Chief and six for Assistant Chief. There were 24 Osage Minerals Council candidates in 2010.