Standing Bear uses Kaiser email to spread word of grant

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear used his address at the opening of a 24-day session of the Osage Nation Congress last week to share an email from wealthy Tulsa businessman George Kaiser regarding a $2.1 million federal grant.

Standing Bear said that in the email, Kaiser expressed his pleased reaction to news that the U.S. Economic Development Administration would be granting $2.1 million in support of the Osage Nation’s drone port project in north Tulsa.

“We think this is a great opportunity for the Osage Nation and for all of northeastern Oklahoma,” Standing Bear quoted from Kaiser’s email.

The chief additionally quoted Kaiser as recalling that when his organization engaged consultants to help identify the most significant industries of the future for Oklahoma economic development and for quality jobs, “your facility helped lead us to drone development and testing as one of the five areas to focus upon.”

“We are pleased to be involved with you and with Oklahoma State University in helping to make this effort a success,” Standing Bear quoted from Kaiser’s email.

Noting that his correspondent is chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma and a successful businessman, Standing Bear commented that Kaiser “knows, obviously, a good thing when he sees it.”

Standing Bear told members of the Osage Nation Congress that Congresswoman Pam Shaw had filed a bill requesting $400,000 in support of improvements to the Skyway North Hangar.

“Although not technically a match requirement, it does show Osage Nation commitment, which will support our relationship with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Tulsa business community,” Standing Bear said.

The Osage principal chief also focused during his remarks on the desire of Osage people for a financial institution of their own.

 “A consistent priority I heard from Osages in Oklahoma, Kansas, California, Texas and other locations during the development of the strategic plan update is the need for a financial institution that invests in the Osage people and in Osage-majority-owned businesses,” Standing Bear said.

Standing Bear said that Speaker Angela Pratt had filed legislation to provide for the creation of a Community Development Financial Institution. He said that Osage Nation strategic planning and self-governance staff members had been working on the project with him. Several staff members have been receiving training from nationally recognized experts, he said.

Standing Bear said the Osage Nation had studied financial institutions of the Chickasaw Nation and other tribes, and had decided the best model for them was the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corp.

“We are working with the federal government and experienced people so we may also extend consumer loans to the Osage people wherever they live and work,” Standing Bear said.