Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center Director Van Bighorse had a dream of creating an Osage genealogical library that would be accessible to all. His dream began eight years ago when Osage Nation Administrative Assistant Cherokee Cheshewalla began assembling Annette Gore’s genealogy records along with other Osage History.
In January, Bighorse recruited Librarian Kathleen Auschwitz who has a Masters in Library and Information Science from Emporia State University.
“I applaud Ms. Cheshewalla for all her hard work,” said Auschwitz. “She laid the foundation for the genealogy library while performing her other duties.”
Auschwits said when she first arrived, the staff categorized the library into different subjects for easier browsing and locations.
“Over time, we added additional books to the collection, digitized copies of the Pawhuska Journal Capital newspapers, and Fold3 which is a sister site to Ancestry.com,” said Auschwitz. “We are in the process of cataloging our collection under the Library of Congress Classification System so that we are on the same system with most universities. Our objective is to be a research library.”
The Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center named the library in honor of library founder Annette Moncravie Gore. In addition to the collections previously noted, the library holds assorted oral history records, photographs, Carlisle Indian School records, copies of the Osage Murders FBI files, and copies of books by the late Osage historian Louis Burns.
By September, the library was expanded to include a children’s section.
“We were able to obtain a small grant for the shelving and some books. We also obtained free books about Native Americans from Talking Leaves,” explained Auschwitz. “Our genealogy research library is a work in progress and still growing. Since we concentrate primarily on Native American history, we have received requests from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and California tracing their Osage ancestry.”
The Annette Gore Library is located at the Wah-Zha-Zhe Cultural Center, 1449 W. Main in Pawhuska. The Library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 918-287-5580.