William Samuel Fletcher says donations are in honor of seven recently deceased Osages

Geneva HorseChief-HamiltonOsage Nation Communications
William Samuel Fletcher says donations are in honor of seven recently deceased Osages

William Samuel Fletcher is hard to miss. He is a slender Osage man standing more than six feet and six inches, always courteous and always pleasantly conversational with a regal laugh that is recognizable in any crowd. Fletcher visited the Osage Nation Office of the Chiefs on Wednesday to deliver seven separate checks in honor of seven different recently deceased Osages from his community.

He said the donations are intended to acknowledge the tragedy of the deaths happening so close together and also to pay respect to their memories and provide comfort to the families who are in mourning. The money, $150 for each person recognized, will go to the Osage Foundation for the purpose of supporting Osage culture and language projects.

“I’m here to give a donation in memory of the Osages who passed away in the last few months because it was the most deaths I have witnessed in my lifetime among my Osage people,” he said.

The donations were made in memory of Lenora Matin Fields, Irene Hamilton Lazelle, James Maker, Bruce Maker, Jake Waller, Howard West, and Gunther Dailey,

all from the Hominy District.

Fletcher is also from the Hominy District, one of three traditional communities of the Osage Nation. He is a

respected Osage elder who has a long history of standing up for his people’s rights and carrying on the traditions of providing support to other Osage families in times of need.

“On behalf of the Osage Nation we appreciate your kind gesture and your example to all,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear to Fletcher. Standing Bear arranged a

formal gathering to receive Fletcher and express his gratitude for the thoughtful gesture.

Also in attendance to receive Fletcher were Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn and Osage Nation Congress members RJ Walker and Otto Hamilton.

“I would just like to thank Mr. Fletcher for his generosity and thoughtfulness for moments in time like this,” said Walker.

“He is the epitome of what an elder is supposed to do by keeping the people in mind and showing his respect for the families involved, so I would like to thank him for keeping those traditional ties going,” said Hamilton.

“Mr. Fletcher is always exhibiting an unselfish nature and we are the beneficiaries of this,” said Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn.

Fletcher is a descendent of Chief Black Dog; he is the lead plaintiff in the Fletcher v. United States case, and a long-time proponent of Osage sovereignty and the protection of Osage headrights. Last year, he was invited to speak on the topic of sovereignty at the 2015 Osage Nation Sovereignty Celebration Dance.

“I think flowers are beautiful, but once the services are over they’re gone forever and I believe [this donation] perpetuates the memory of those people …and they were all very good people,” said Fletcher about the donations.