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Bond between tribe, French city to be memorialized

In the 18th century, France controlled a vast area in American territory where the Osage lived. It appeared the Osage had a curiosity about the group that was in their area. That area is now known as Missouri and at that time was known as home to the Osage.

Twelve Osage embarked on a trip that took them to Europe. The adventurers were reduced to six when they arrived in Le Havre, France on July 27, 1827. They created quite a sensation upon their arrival, and there are many paintings that document this historic visit.

They were abandoned by their host in Le Havre and, sometime later, they found their way to Montauban, France, where they met Bishop Dubourg. Through the kindness of the bishop and citizens in the community they were able to return to their homeland. The Osage people never forgot the kindness of Bishop Dubourg and the people of Montauban. Today, Osage people make their way to Montauban to visit the place where their ancestors made a way for them decades ago, and that kindness is still extended to the Osage when they visit this southern French city.

In 1991, a group from Montauban formed an organization and named it Oklahoma Occitania II (OK-OC) to honor the historic trip that took the Osage from their homeland to France. Jean-Claude Droulihet was the organizer and developer of this ongoing organization.

The Osage Tribal Museum will host a delegation from the OK-OC at the museum on Wednesday, July 24. Among those in attendance will be Mr. Droulihet and his wife Monique. Along with the Droulihets will be Gerald Massip, who is the current president of OK-OC, and his wife Eve Massip. Other visitors will be Marie-Claude Strigler and her husband Edgard Strigler from Paris. The Striglers have visited the museum in years past. Madeleine Lieutard and Ginette Borrel from Toulouse, and the former mayor of Montauban, Rolard Garriaues, will also accompany the group.

A monument to honor the 185-year relationship of the Osage people with the people of Montauban was ti be unveiled at the Osage Tribal Museum at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The program is open to the public. A Montauban Exhibit is currently on display at the museum.

For additional information call the Osage Tribal Museum, 918-287-5441.

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