Osage Nation approves walkout aid

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Osage Nation legislators Monday approved $60,000 of funding for a plan to provide meals and other services to Osage students displaced from their normal school routines by the ongoing teacher walkout.

Osage Nation staff will be standing by at the local Osage Nation WIC office in Pawhuska, Fairfax, Hominy, and Skiatook, accepting applications for Osage students in need of this plan, the Nation said Tuesday.

Osage officials spent several weeks organizing a response to the teacher walk-out in Osage County, and developed a comprehensive plan to support Osage families and more than 300 Osage children in the public school systems of Osage County, the Nation said.

The support plan addresses needs for children in pre-k through 12th grade. Based upon the Osage Education Department’s logistics and feedback from a community-driven survey, the Osage Nation plan is intended to provide services to students affected by the walkout.

Facilities are being designated, meals are being planned, employees are volunteering, and the Osage Nation Education Department and Language Department are designing a rotation of activities and educational services for participants.

Osage Nation employees have strengthened communication with public school districts, attended board of education meetings, and monitored social media as administration and teachers across Osage County prepared for their protest against state educational funding decisions.

The Osage Nation said it hopes to turn what could be perceived as a problem into an opportunity.

“Positivity, community-service, and teamwork are traditional ways of the Osage people,” the Osage Nation said.”While teachers work out their differences with the state, Osage Nation plans to hone in on math, reading, anti-bullying, history, wildlife, culture, language, health, and nutrition. Not only will parents be able to continue normal work duties, Osage students will be supported, educated, and promoted through self-identity.”

The Director of Emergency Management, Bobby Tallchief, is taking the lead on the project.

Although the mission statement is to “reduce the effects of man-made and natural disasters through planning, preparation, mitigation, and response to these emergency events”, Tallchief stands by to manage the departments and employees as Osage Nation conducts the first indigenous response to education in many years.