This week’s column is the final in a series about Addie Roanhorse who spoke at ArtNight in January at the Bartlesville Art Association’s design center. This week’s column focuses on Roanhorse’s work at the Osage Nation.


“I’m an Osage artist,” Roanhorse said. “I work for the Osage Nation. I’m a graphic designer and the photographer. Recently, I’ve been asked to be the acting director of our museum, which is a whole new venture. … The Osage Museum is the oldest tribal museum in the United States,” Roanhorse said.


“This is my last week there so I’m real happy to go back to my old office. I got to take down an exhibit, I got to curate an exhibit. … I kind of grew up in museums and in the art world. My mother, she was an artist. So it felt comfortable, but still I was still feeling like MacGyver on a daily. …,” she said.


At the museum, which is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, there is currently an exhibit (through June) from the Smithsonian about the Native Americans who have served in the military.


Roanhorse described some of her Osage Nation graphic design projects.


For the Osage Attorney General’s logo she incorporated the scales of justice into the Osage orthography.


For the Oil and Gas Summit she included Osage ribbonwork.


“I get access to moments that most people don’t get to see. When the ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ production company came they were cedaring off everybody,” she said of a photo taken at a moment when Chief Standing Bear was being cedared off.


Another photo she had taken was of an eldest son, phonetically “ee-low-mpa” in the Osage language, going to the arbor to dance for the first time at In Lon Shka — dances that are spiritual in nature held every June in the three Osage villages — Pawhuska, Hominy and Grayhorse (near Fairfax).


“He had a little skip in his walk, and he was proud,” Roanhorse said of the boy in the photo.


One day she accompanied the Wildland Fire Department as they fought spring wildfires in the Osage.


She described riding along in a fire truck — somewhere between Hominy and Skiatook in Osage County.


“There were fires all around, and it was quite the scene. It was exciting. This was kind of the aftermath,” she said showing a photo. Fire Chief Ross Walker is shown in the photo, and through the smoke-filled landscape an oil rig is visible.


Finally, she showed a photo from behind of Chief Standing Bear with his grandson talking to him about getting ready to enter the arbor and be roached, a ceremony in which an eagle feather is placed on the headdress. His uncle Joe Don Brave’s hands are shown assisting with the placement of the headdress. Brave is also an accomplished artist.


Another photo she showed was of the first time they brought in the bison on Bluestem Ranch, which is owned by the Osage Nation, and prayed over them, she said.


“The sun was setting, and the natural light worked with it.”


“This was at our dance as well. This is one of our elders about to lead all the men into the arbor into our dances — every June.”


Another photo was of the drum being brought to the arbor.


“Each district had their own drum and so it’s very poignant moment to see all the men coming with the drum.”


On behalf of the Osage Foundation, an Osage nonprofit which provides scholarships, Roanhorse and Chad Renfro created a design for a Pendleton blanket — “to give back to our community,” Roanhorse said. “We sold out in two months.”


For the blanket, Roanhorse and Renfro took prayers and placed the Osage orthography so that the letters could be read vertically. “So you can read the [words on the] blanket while you’re dancing,” she said.