The Osage Tribal Museum added to its rich history this past weekend with a two-day event-filled fete. The celebration began Friday with a symposium at the historic Constantine Theatre that traced the Osage’s ancestral paths, from the Ohio River Valley into the Cahokia Mounds and Missouri rock art.
The Bigheart Reception paid tribute to the countless volunteers who were instrumental in last year’s debut of Wahzhazhe, the original Osage ballet that depicted the tribe’s history through music and dance. Following the reception, guests were entertained with a one-hour screening of the ballet at the Constantine.
In spite of Mother Nature’s uncooperative weather, downtown Pawhuska enjoyed a reenactment of the Tribal Museum’s 1938 grand-opening parade. American Legion Post 198 Color Guard led the procession, followed by the reigning Osage Nation Princess Jo Williams, assorted floats, a vintage truck, and a buffalo-draped horse pulling a historic travois. Sedan, Kansas, High School marching band joined in the celebration. The grand finale was a bag player followed by an elegant white horse-drawn buggy. Inside was a beautiful Osage bride in full wedding regalia, including her handsome white military-officer inspired coat.
Not to let the weather dampen the spirit of the celebration, the picnic moved from the Museum Campus to the Osage Cultural Center. A traditional Osage lunch box was served which featured a hard-boiled egg, apple, banana and some type of soft jerky made from pork or beef, sort of like BBQ without the sauce. Several food vendors provided authentic meat pies and soups. Other vendors added an air of festivity to the event with an array of hand-crafted items which included assorted painting, art, jewelry, beaver pelts, hand-beaded moccasins, ribbon work and more.
Guests came from all over the United States, such as head dancer Emil Her Many who hailed from Washington, DC. Originally from South Dakota, Her Many Horses is a Lakota Sioux, a northern tribe whose dance clothes feature a feather bustle.