Osage Nation sets date for Hominy ribbon cutting

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Just in time for traditional dances in June this year, Osage Nation Tribal Development announced a ribbon-cutting for the new Hominy Indian Village Dance Arbor and Community Building at noon Tuesday.

The Nation broke ground for the updated and larger community buildings in July 2017. The Osage Nation Congress appropriated more than $4 million in 2016 to rebuild the traditional-use facilities.

“They always say just take care of this dance and that’s what we’re doing, the future of our dances depends on this,” said Silas Satepauhoodle (Osage, Kiowa), TD Field Superintendent, who is also a member of the Hominy Ilonshka Dance Committee.

“(Tribal Development) is emphasizing the dance first and that’s why we focused on (the arbor) and then we looked at the community building and what needs to happen there for our dinners and meetings,” Satepauhoodle said. “When we went around and gathered opinions and views about whether or not we should do this our biggest concern was always, will this work for our kids, because this is for them and their children.”

The new sites are a combination of components that have always worked for the Hominy community, mixed with solutions to longtime problems.

“We are putting pavers down and under the pavers it’s designed to drain water and all the drainage goes off-site so there isn’t going to be anymore standing water,” Satepauhoodle said. “It’s a feature that hasn’t been done at a lot of traditional dance grounds but it’s been such a problem that we said let’s do it. That’s one of the problem-solving things we took on right away.”

The new dance arbor has a 60-percent increase in capacity from the previous dance arbor and is 29,903 square feet. The architects and engineers for the arbor and the new building are Blue River Architects, Wallace Engineering and MPW Engineering, LLC. Two visitor arbors for the Pawhuska Ilonshka Dance Committee and the Grayhorse Ilonshka Dance committee were increased in size by more than a third of their previous size. And, there is designated parking where there hasn’t been any before to accommodate more cars.

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The community building

The entire site was raised by one foot and all the water coming through the building is filtered. There is now a public entrance to the restrooms on the east side with double doors. This is a huge improvement from the outdoor cinder block restroom before. The new bathrooms also feature showers and are air-conditioned.

The building is 3,600 square feet larger than the previous Community Building, almost a 65-percent increase in space. The Hominy Committee cooks met with TD and designers and engineers during the design and building process.

With these last improvements and two previous community improvements including a chapel, the entire village can now provide better accommodations for traditional functions throughout the year. Last year, Osage Nation had a ribbon-cutting for the first Hominy Indian Village building improvement. The last traditional Osage roundhouse was rebuilt to as close as possible to its original construction specifications. Its only major difference is the added underground anchor system to support the foundation and help prevent or limit earthquake damage. All the new structures also feature the same anchoring system.