Joe Proffit, natural resources specialist, points to an area once settled by ancestral Osage people.
Courtesy Osage Nation
Joe Proffit, natural resources specialist, points to an area once settled by ancestral Osage people.

Culture, Enterprise and Reconnecting With Ancestral Lands

Osage Nation

PAWHUSKA, Okla. —The Osage Nation has made two visits to Missouri in the last few weeks to begin a process of reconnecting with ancestral lands and economic development opportunities. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear travelled to Cuba, a small city in Missouri, in late October. He provided support for efforts to raise funds for the largest monument ever to be constructed honoring Osage people and visited with economic development specialists from the area. Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn visited Ft. Leonard Wood U.S. Army Base on Nov. 13, he spoke at an event recognizing Native American Heritage Month followed by an exclusive tour of ancestral sites protected by the base’s Cultural Resources Management Program.

Cuba, the city in Missouri with a love for Osage people

Osage Nation Executive Advisor Johnny Williams travelled to Cuba along with Chief Standing Bear and Van Bighorse, WahZhaZhi Cultural Center Director, Dr. Andrea Hunter, Historical Preservation Director, and Drew Pierce, Osage Supreme Court. It was a three day trip and the Executive delegation travelled to the small city. Williams spoke at length about the hospitality and welcoming efforts they were treated to.

“They were so excited about Osages coming back to the area,” Williams said. Several residents who they were introduced to excitedly showed off arrowheads and shards of pottery, remnants of Osage ancestors who once occupied the area.

The Chief and staff were treated to a social hour to meet with the elected officials from Missouri and discuss economic development benefits for the Osage Nation in the area.

Johnny Williams dances at the Post Legion 198 Veterans Day Dance. (Courtesy Osage Nation)

Ft. Leonard Wood U.S. Army Base, caves and other archeological sites

Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn spoke on Nov. 13 to a crowd of U.S. Army soldiers at the Ft. Leonard Wood Army Base. The event, “National American Indian Heritage Month Celebration,” sponsored by the U.S. Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Ft. Leonard Wood. Red Corn was among the honored speakers. He talked about Osage history in the area and about the traditions of Osage people, even today, that honor and revere veterans and soldiers.

Following the event, the Assistant Chief received a tour of Miller's Cave on the Ft. Leonard Wood U.S. Army base.

Osage ancestors, who at one time were an ancient group who later separated and became Ponca, Omaha, Kaw, and Quapaw nations, once occupied this cave and the area below. Several artifacts have been discovered in the cave and its branches of smaller caves and crawl spaces.

The Office of the Chiefs has scheduled more dates to visit with economic development specialists and will continue to learn more about Osage ancestral lands and share these experiences with the Osage people.

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