Initial candidate declares for Osage Nation principal chief

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Pawhuska attorney Geoffrey M. StandingBear has announced he will seek election to the office of principal chief of the Osage Nation in the tribe’s 2014 general elections.

StandingBear, who currently is an Osage Nation congressman, served as assistant principal chief of the Osages from 1990 to 1994.

As a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, StandingBear gained area recognition for his expertise in Indian law. He maintains law offices in Pawhuska and Bartlesville. In declaring his candidacy, StandingBear said he is ready to “shift my concentration to full-time service to the Osage people.”

“The last four years in the Osage Congress…have been instructive and shown how we must build a consensus for decision-making to be successful,” StandingBear said.

The candidate talked about his qualifications and some ideas he has for the tribe’s future.

“Today, thanks to revenue from our casinos and tax commission, we are able to fund higher education scholarships, health card benefits and many other programs,” said StandingBear. “After serving as legal adviser for dozens of Indian tribes, I understand how programs are supposed to function as efficient and ethical projects for the benefit of their service population.

“As a headright shareholder for nearly 40 years, I maintain my strong interest in Osage mineral production and keeping the federal trust relationship with the federal government,” he continued. “As former general counsel for the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association and attorney for Indian gaming enterprises, I thoroughly understand Indian gaming. I know the advantages provided from education and hard work.”

StandingBear is married to Julie (Brave) StandingBear, who also is an Osage headright shareholder. They have four children and 10 grandchildren. The StandingBears live on her great-grandfather’s original Osage allotment near Pawhuska.

For nearly four decades, StandingBear has been a member of the Pawhuska In-Lon-Schka Committee which oversees the Osage ceremonial dances.

StandingBear is the first person to declare as a candidate for principal chief.

Osage Nation general elections are scheduled in June 2014. The ballot will include votes for Principal Chief, Assistant Principal Chief and six seats on the 12-member Osage Congress.

Current Osage Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle, who was elected in 2010, has not formally announced his intentions about running for another term. However, the John D. Red Eagle page on the Facebook website recently began listing him as “Former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation.”

According to the Osage Constitution, the “supreme executive power” of the Osage Nation is vested in the Principal Chief — whose Osage title is “Ki-he-kah.”

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