Inauguration ceremonies were held last week for the new Principal Chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear and other winning candidates from the tribe’s June general elections.
“It seems appropriate that this ceremony comes as we are just finishing a month of celebrating with our (I’n-lon-schka) dances,” Standing Bear said in his July 2 inaugural address.
The new principal chief said the tribal government should administer to the needs of the Osages “as directed by our people.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole from Oklahoma’s 4th District was the keynote speaker for the ceremonies, which were held at the Osage Casino in Ponca City. Cole, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is one of two Native American members of Congress.
Also taking their oaths of office Wednesday were new Osage Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn, six members of the Osage Nation Congress and two tribal judges — Meredith Drent and Marvin Stepson.
ON Supreme Court Chief Justice Drent swore in the executive leaders as well as six recently-elected members of the Osage Nation Congress — incumbents Alice Buffalohead and William “Kugee” Supernaw and new members Otto Hamilton, James Norris, Angela Pratt and Dr. Ron Shaw.
Later in the day, the Osage Congress opened a special session in its chambers at Pawhuska to elect officers and announce committee assignments. Maria Whitehorn was chosen to serve as speaker of the tribal Congress.
One day earlier, on Tuesday, July 1, eight newly-elected members were sworn in as the Osage Minerals Council. Those ceremonies took place in the OMC chambers inside the Pawhuska building shared by the Minerals Council and the Osage Congress.
Formerly called the Osage Tribal Council, the minerals council is responsible for the tribe’s vast minerals estate — which is estimated to be worth $4 billion. Members of the OMC are elected to four-year terms, just like members of the tribal Congress.
The new Osage Minerals Council will include Cynthia Boone (who is serving her third consecutive term), Joseph Cheshewalla, Galen Crum (in his second straight term), Stephanie Erwin, Kathryn Red Corn (a former member from the first OMC), Talee Redcorn (also a member of the first minerals council), Everett Waller (a former Osage Tribal Councilman) and Andrew Yates (who begins a second consecutive term).
Meetings of the Osage Minerals Council are scheduled for the third Wednesdays and Fridays of each month.