Osage Sovereignty Celebration focuses on elders, youth

Geneva HorseChief-HamiltonON Communications
Osage Sovereignty Celebration focuses on elders, youth

On March 13, the Chief and Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn had lunch with elders at the Osage Nation Title VI senior center in Pawhuska.

Standing Bear and Red Corn both addressed the crowd and urged all of them to tell the new administration what they need. Red Corn shared his private cell number during his talk and said all he wanted was to hear directly from them and that he will make time to talk.

“It’s no secret,” said Standing Bear, “compared to the types of services other tribes provide for their elders, we are doing almost nothing.” He vowed to spend more money to provide for the Nation’s elders and to advocate for their needs.”

There is only one Title VI senior center on the Osage Nation Reservation and Standing Bear said he would like to see at least two more built starting in Hominy in the next five years. The current Title VI delivers meals Monday through Friday to Osage and non-Osage Native American senior citizens living in the Nation’s service area.

Standing Bear concluded his talk by saying, “Do not hesitate to tell [Standing Bear and Red Corn] if there’s a better way. We’ve been listening to you our entire lives. There’s no reason for us to stop listening to you now.”

Youth and Sovereignty

On Thursday, March 12, Standing Bear, other elected officials and Executive Advisor, Debra Atterberry, visited the Nation’s daycares and Head Starts to spend time reading to Osage youth.

In unison, tiny voices, almost singing, recited back numbers in Osage language to Atterberry who is also a former public school teacher.

One child who picked up on Atterberry’s comfort level and ease with the class asked, “are you a teacher?”

She politely replied, “Well, I used to be a teacher.”

Atterberry, also a former Osage language instructor, said she is confident that investing in Osage language immersion for Osage youth is needed and something that is possible very soon. “I believe we have the resources and the teachers, now, to start doing immersion at least an hour a day, as a starting point. And it is so needed, the kids love using [Osage] language.”

Children from the Hominy Head Start listened to stories read to them by Osage Congress Speaker Maria Whitehorn and Standing Bear. In between reading Silly Sally and Brown Bear Brown Bear, the Chief and Whitehorn talked with the kids about traditional Osage dance clothes.