Petitions challenge Osage membership

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Dozens of Osages have recently received notification that their tribal memberships are being officially challenged by the Osage Nation.

Approximately 60 notices sent recently from the Osage Nation Attorney General’s Office threaten the recipients with removal from the Osage Nation’s membership roll.

Legislation was passed late last year which re-established Osage Congressional authority over the membership roll.

The new law sets up the process for removing an individual from the membership roll with removal powers given to the Osage Nation Trial Court and the investigative responsibilities assigned to the AG’s office.

Approximately 27 notices were mailed to individuals in February and another 35 notices went out in March, officials said.

The notices inform the individual that the AG’s office will file the removal action in the ON Trial Court “no sooner than 30 days after receipt of the notice.” Individuals will the have the right to a hearing “for a final determination of your membership status.” The hearing is to be conducted within 90 days of their receipt of the “Petition to Remove Membership Status.”

Individuals are also given the opportunity to voluntarily relinquish their Osage Nation membership. If an individual voluntarily relinquishes his/her membership, the AG’s office will not set a hearing “and will consider the matter closed.”

Tribal benefits of the individual are to be suspended during the investigation.