Chief signs negotiated membership bill
PAWHUSKA — Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed an Osage membership bill today he described as a compromise between the Chief’s Office and Osage Congress.
“Today, I am signing this membership bill that was presented to me by the Osage Congress. It is a compromise between views of the Congress and the Executive. The Congress removed certain provisions which I had problems with and in exchange I agreed to some of the provisions in their version of the law, although I believe those provisions will make the removal process too slow and cumbersome. As I said, it is a compromise”, said Standing Bear.
“There are quite a few people we know for a fact that are not legitimately descended from the 1906 roll. Some of those people have received thousands of dollars in educational scholarships for Osages, Osage preference for employment, and health benefits,” said Standing Bear about the many benefits which were given to the people in question.
Membership Director, Sarah Oberly, said this has been a difficult process. “Ethically, I could not look the other way,” said Oberly about her due diligence to follow through with information she had received about individuals who were possibly not Osage but somehow enrolled as members of the Osage Nation.
Osage Congresswoman Shannon Edwards responded to the investigations and actions to remove persons the Membership Office determined were fraudulently enrolled by filing legislation to possibly place the Membership Office under the full authority of Congress and to prevent all enrolled persons now on the roll from being removed by the Osage Membership Office.