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ON reviews possible facilities project

Robert Smith

The Pawhuska City Council last week met briefly to officially acknowledge that it viewed as restricted trust land a nine-acre parcel owned by the Osage Nation. The city held a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, July 1, just for the purpose of receiving sufficient information to decide whether to provide the requested statement.

The council voted 4-0 to express the view that the parcel is trust land. City Attorney John Heskett and Osage Nation Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn offered explanatory remarks to the councilors prior to the vote regarding the nine-acre parcel, and about a building project that the Osage Nation has been considering.

Heskett said the parcel of land, located in the vicinity of Bird Creek and an abandoned railroad bed, came into the possession of the Osage Nation in 1972, by virtue of a civil lawsuit. Heskett said the councilors were being asked to take the position that the city of Pawhuska viewed the land as being in restricted status.

Red Corn told councilors that the Osage Nation has been considering the expenditure of funds available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, on a building project that would result in a residential treatment facility and a transitional residential facility being contructed on the property. Red Corn said persons living in the transitional living facility would be able to walk from the new facility to jobs in Pawhuska.

Red Corn also said the nine-acre parcel is suited to the potential construction because utility connections would be available. He indicated that the Osage Nation was still in the process of deciding whether to move forward with the project. The ON was conducting an internal review process, he said. The facilities would come under the jurisdiction of the tribal health authority, he said.