Four persons, including the incumbent, declared as candidates for Osage Nation Principal Chief and five other Osages will seek to be the next Assistant Principal Chief, officials said last week at the close of an extended filing period for the upcoming tribal elections.
Current Osage Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle filed for re-election despite a looming trial to remove him from office — which got underway Monday. A first-term incumbent, Red Eagle was elected to the tribe’s top executive position in a 2010 runoff, will face challenges from Geoffrey Standing Bear, Margo Gray and Tom Boone.
Standing Bear is a Pawhuska/Bartlesville attorney who currently serves as an Osage congressman. Gray, a Tulsa business executive, has been active in Native American organizations at the state as well as the national levels. Boone is a member of the Pawhuska Board of Education and has been the school board’s clerk for the past three years.
After the Osage Nation Election Board office closed because of inclement weather early last week, a late rush of candidates created a five-person race for assistant principal chief. Raymond Red Corn, the current speaker of the ON Congress, declared for the position on the first day of filing, Dec. 16, and remained the lone candidate when the period was due to have ended last Monday.
Filing was extended through Wednesday, when four more assistant chief candidates came forward. Others in the race are Jimmy "Osage" Dailey, Amanda Proctor, Terry Mason Moore and Randolph Crawford. The current assistant principal chief of the Osages, former state representative Scott Big Horse, did not re-file for tribal office.
Principal chief candidate Standing Bear recently asked Osage Nation officials for guidance regarding his involvement in the removal proceedings against Red Eagle. In a letter sent recent — to removal trial Judge Jeanine Logan, Osage Election Board Chairman Walter Hopper and Shannon Edwards, the chairwoman of the ON Congress’s Rules and Ethics Committee — Standing Bear expressed some concerns about possible conflicts between his candidacy and the upcoming removal proceedings.
When the trial started Monday, Standing Bear remained among the 12-person congressional delegation which will sit in judgment on the removal question. A gag order was put in place by Logan prior to the trial that precluded any discussion of the case by members of the Osage executive or legislative branches or their staffs.
The 2014 Osage Nation voting for the two executive positions will involve the tribe’s first-ever primary election on March 10. The two top vote-recipients in the executive-race primaries advance to the ON general election, which is to be held June 2. Six seats on the Osage Congress are to be included in the general election and filing for those is scheduled in March.
A debate involving the Osage chief and assistant chief candidates will be held Feb. 1 at the Hominy Co-op Building. Sponsored by the Osage News, an independent tribal newspaper, the debate will be hosted by The League of Women Voters of Tulsa. Members of the tribe may submit questions for the debate to firstname.lastname@example.org.