New era in tribal politics?


With installation of newly-elected Osage Nation leaders slated for next week, many tribal members will be looking forward to the dawn of a new era in tribal politics.

The eight-member Osage Minerals Council is to be inaugurated on Tuesday, July 1. Following a 10 a.m. mass at Pawhuska’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, swearing-in ceremonies will be held around 11 a.m. in the OMC Chambers on Grandview Avenue.

Inauguration ceremonies for new Osage Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear — as well as Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn, six members of the Osage Nation Congress and two re-elected tribal judges — will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 2, in the Elm Room of the Osage Casino at Ponca City.

Standing Bear, an attorney who spent the past four years as an Osage Nation Congressman, had previously served as Osage Assistant Chief from 1990-94. In the tribe’s June 2 general election, Standing Bear garnered 1,615 votes to win by a 963-vote margin over his opponent, Margo Gray.

Assistant Principal Chief Red Corn is the former Speaker of the Osage tribal Congress. He received 1,209 votes in the June election and defeated runner-up Amanda Proctor, who got 958 votes.

Another principal chief candidate and three hopefuls for assistant chief were eliminated in March during the tribe’s first ever primary election, which was held only for the two executive positions.

The last-elected Principal Chief Red Eagle had filed for re-election but was made ineligible when he was removed from office in January of this year.

After being elected Assistant Chief in 2010, Scott BigHorse was named Osage Principal Chief on Jan. 21 following the vote to remove Red Eagle. BigHorse, a former Oklahoma state legislator, did not file as a candidate for the latest elections.

As members of the last Osage Nation Congress, Standing Bear and Red Corn were involved in the proceedings that resulted in Red Eagle’s removal following a trial on multiple charges of official malfeasance and arrogation of power.

Standing Bear is a great-grandson of Fred Lookout, the much revered tribal leader who served as Osage chief for more than 30 years until his death in 1949.

Due to be inaugurated into Osage Nation Congress are incumbents Alice Buffalohead and William “Kugee” Supernaw, and four new members of the delegation — Otto Hamilton, James Norris, Angela Pratt and Ron Shaw. There were 15 unsuccessful candidates in the legislative race, including incumbents Daniel Boone and John Free.

In separate voting held June 2, head rights-owning Osages elected members of the eight-person Osage Minerals Council.

The top vote recipients from a total field of 17 OMC candidates included three incumbents — Andrew Yates, Cynthia Boone and Galen Crum — who will be joined on the council by Talee Redcorn, Joseph “Blackbird” Cheshewalla, Kathryn Red Corn, Everett M. Waller and Stephanie Erwin. Unsuccessful bids for re-election to the council were made by Curtis Bear, Melvin Core and Myron Red Eagle.

Formerly called the Osage Tribal Council, the minerals council is comprised of royalty-interest holders who are elected to manage the tribe’s minerals estate.

According to a report filed Friday in the Osage News, recently re-elected Osage Minerals Councilwoman Cynthia Boone has hired an attorney to represent her against alleged “harassment” by fellow council members.

The independent, tribe-owned newspaper, reported that a resolution was passed by the OMC that calls for Boone to be banned from OMC offices “except when absolutely necessary to attend duly called Council and Committee meetings and collecting official communications from Council mailbox; and that she cease all direct contact with office staff, instead directing all legitimate requests through the Council Chairman and or office manager.”

Boone was the lone female serving on the last minerals council and is the only OMC member to be elected for three consecutive terms.