Chief Standing Bear declares April sexual assault awareness month for Osage Nation

A. M. JeffersonOsage Nation Photojournalist
Chief Standing Bear declares April sexual assault awareness month for Osage Nation

Osage Nation, Pawhuska, Okla. (April 13, 2015)—The evening was cool, but pleasant. The Osage Nation Counseling Center (ONCC) held a candlelight vigil at the gazebo on Lynn Avenue in Pawhuska, last Thursday. However it was too breezy to light candles. The purpose though was not lost on the night’s program. Awareness as well as respect was given to the victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Guest speaker Dawn Stover, the director of Native Alliance Against Violence (NAAV) stated that every month should be an awareness month, but April is chosen to bring an emphasis upon the destruction this crime brings to individuals and their families. Yet despite the statistics which are alarming especially for American Indians, such as, more Native women will be assaulted than any other race, wonderful things are happening in Indian Country. And it is these types of events where awareness, which basically means an understanding, educates people.

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear told how in his early law career, he saw the effects of this violence not just on individuals, but carrying on from one generation to the next. He stressed that there must be a relentless opposition to sexual violence. He also commended administrators and law enforcement among the Osage Nation who take a stand against this offense.

Chief Standing Bear declared and signed a proclamation making April Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the Osage Nation. Standing Bear stated he was honored to sign the words written by those who are fighting this aggression.

ONCC recognized Investigator Mike Anderson with the Osage Nation Police Department (ONPD) for his selfless dedication to helping victims. The ONPD stated that Anderson “has traveled to numerous areas of the state and several out-of-state to take witness statements, follow-up on leads, and is known for working a case even though it may be his scheduled day off.” Modestly, Investigator Anderson said as he accepted the award, “Thank you. I’m honored.”

Singers Bruce Cass and Jasper Clark with the Nation began and concluded the night’s proceedings with music. It was soft and soothing, yet held a strong message. Clark explained the Memorial Song that began things told that the Healer is coming. The Healer is Wah-Kon-Dah; God in Osage. The evening’s final song was a Prayer Song and told that He is here for a purpose; again referencing Wah-Kon-Dah.

The messages from the songs alone are encouraging. Hope can be found in those words: The Healer is coming and He is here for a purpose.

For more information contact the ONCC at www.osagenation-nsn.gov or NAAV at www.oklahomanaav.org.