Benefit hand game will provide support for current and new Osage Princess

Geneva HorseChief-HamiltonOsage Nation Communications
Benefit hand game will provide support for current and new Osage Princess

The Osage Princess Sorority has been going strong for almost fifteen years and their secret is sisterhood and communication. This Sunday, at Wakon Iron Hall in Pawhuska, the sorority is hosting an Osage style hand game to raise funds for the current Osage princess and a future Osage princess.

“What I admire about (the sorority) is how all these former princesses keep up with their meetings, they have a Facebook page where they are always communicating and talking about things they are doing, what needs to be done, they have potlucks together, and they really make it comfortable and inviting for me as a new princess,” said current Osage Princess Katelynn Pipestem, 18, Skiatook High School. “If I ever need anything, I can talk to them.”

The sorority started in 2000 as a nod to a few tribal princess sororities that have been around for a while. “Other tribe’s had formed princess sororities and a few of us [past princesses] wanted to do the same for our own past tribal princesses and provide something helpful to new princesses, and to reconnect and do something good,” said Tracy Moore, former Osage Princess and sorority member. Moore has also served as the president of the sorority and was integral to its development.

Both Pipestem and Moore are continuing a legacy of involvement with the Osage princess process. Pipestem’s grandmother, Rose Pipestem was the first Osage Tribal Director for the American Indian Exposition in Anadarko, Okla. She was also the director who chaperoned and assisted Moore’s mother, Thomasine Green-Moore, 1949 to 1950 Osage Princess, and the very first Osage Princess to represent the Nation at the Expo.

Proceeds from previous fundraisers have helped the sorority to provide reimbursements to the family of the current Osage Princess including a reception at the Expo and gift bags for other tribal princesses. Osage princess duties include attending the Expo as a representative of the Osage Nation, hosting a reception, and attending as many other dances and events as possible.

“We also host a dance in addition to the hand game to raise funds and we are currently in the process of planning our annual dance,” said Moore, and all are welcome to attend the dance in the spring.

Hand Game Time

“It’s just a fun way for Osages to do be a part of a cultural activity, listen to old stories, and have a lot of fun at the same time,” said Asa Cunningham, past princess and current member of the sorority.

Cunningham’s family has been helping organize Osage hand games for generations. The tradition was passed down to her from her Aunt, Marion Cass, but started with Cunningham’s grandmother, Lillian Cunningham.

“[Family hand games] started at my grandma’s house, she started to put those on to keep us involved and she started the Halloween and New Year’s Eve Hand Games, to also have something fun do instead of doing something you’re not supposed to,” said Cunningham.

For the beginner, Cunningham said, “it’s basically like ‘button, button, where’s the button, and then we have a drum, guessers, scorekeepers…all of it played to the beat of the drum,” and teams are broken down to East and West sides of the arena.

The hand game starts at 1:30 pm, Wakon Iron Hall, Pawhuska, Okla. 181 Wakon Iron Blvd. It is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. A meal will be served after the hand game. There will be round dance, raffles, and games during breaks.

For more information about the event call Asa Cunningham at 918/691-2245, or Chalene Toehay, at 918/637-1624.