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Osage History

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The Osage Nation Foundation, working in conjunction with the Jesuit Archives, has completed the preservation and digitization of the historic Osage Mission Collection from the Jesuit archives in St. Louis.

“What had been a hidden treasure is now a wonderful glimpse into the history of the Osage,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

The Foundation’s five-member board consists of Alex Tallchief Skibine (chair), Monte Boulanger (secretary/treasurer), Julie O’Keefe, Nancy Pillsbury Shirley and Chad Renfro.

The Foundation board agreed to have the papers preserved at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. Once treated and preserved, the documents will be digitized by the Jesuit Archives staff. The digital work product will then be provided to the Osage Nation, The entire process took approximately seven months to complete.

The Osage Nation Museum, as part of the preservation agreement, will host the physical archives at the museum as a loaned exhibit. A date has yet to be determined.

“Opportunities to preserve documents like these are rare,” said Foundation Executive Director Bill Webb in the release. “The board was immediately interested in the project.”

In 2016, Chief Standing Bear and his advisor John Williams visited the archives and noticed it was deteriorating. They found the records in old cardboard boxes which included papers and ledgers. They contained an Osage translation of the Holy Bible as it was spoken in the 1840s and 1850s, dictionaries, grammar books, a letter from Pah-Ne-No-Pah-She to the Pope, a creation story, a story preparing for a big buffalo hunt, and other rare documents.

Osage Mission Collection

According to the Jesuit Archives website, the Jesuit mission to the Osage Nation, located in what is now St. Paul, Kans., was established in 1847 on the right bank of Flat Rock Creek. The Jesuit priests established a Catholic church and a school among the Osage there. The collection contains correspondence, operational records, writings, publications, photographs, and memorabilia related to the history of the Jesuit mission.

The bulk of the collection is from the period of 1845-1898 but also includes information from the period of 1832-1997. There are three record cartons and one oversized box. The Jesuits of the Missouri Province created the collection and the language in the material is English, Osage and Latin. The collection is open for research.

For more information, visit: http://jesuitarchives.org/collections/missouri-province-archive/osage-mission-collection/

Osage Gift Store

Our 2019 Christmas Ornament is now available for pre-order.
Ornaments will ship first week in December
ORDER NOW


Our final run of the
Children of the Middle Waters
Pendleton Blanket
is available

ORDER NOW

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Our Newest Limited Edition Pendleton Blanket
Children of the Middle Waters

The Children of the Middle Waters blanket is a limited edition 68” X 76” 100% unnapped wool trade blanket manufactured by Pendleton Blankets and designed specifically for Osage Foundation by Chad Renfro and Addie Roanhorse. Children of the Middle Waters represents working together. It represents the colors of Earth (reds) and Sky (blues). These colors are woven into the graphic representations of the patterns of Osage Finger Weaving and Ribbon Work, the small white diamondsrepresenting the Moon (Mother). In the dark blue lines running like a river ofwisdom through the MIDDLE of these colors and cultural designs is the Osage Orthography or Language in the color gold to represent the Sun (Father). These words or phases are meant to inspire and remind us of what is important. They include Children of the Middle Waters, Do Your Best, Living The Life God Gave Us, Getting Along with One Another (Harmony), Everything Runs Smoothly and last but not least Give Thanks or Thank You.

The blanket can be ordered online or purchased at the Osage Welcome Center in Pawhuska while supplies last.

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View our 2019 Annual Report


Voices From the Drum Exhibit Completes Successful Run at University of Denver

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Osage artists Rock Pipestem, Yatika Fields, and Addie Roanhorse were guests of the 2019 Indigenous Film Festival at the University of Denver in an opening reception for the Voices from the Drum exhibit.

The Osage Nation Foundation's Voices from the Drum project was featured in a limited exhibition at the Indigenous Film & Arts Festival, an annual event presented by the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management in Denver, Colorado. The Festival, now in its 16th year, presents film and art by and about indigenous peoples from around the world. The theme for this year’s Festival was “More Than a Single Story.” The festival dates were October 10-14, 2019 at the university of Denver and the Voices From the Drum exhibit was a highlight of the conference. 

The limited exhibit featured 11 of the 19 drums and Osage artists Rock Pipestem, Addie Roanhorse, and Yatika Fields were guests of the festival and featured guests at an opening reception.

Voices From The Drum; An Osage Collection, is a creative project produced and funded by the Foundation. The drums, handcrafted by Rock Pipestem, were provided to each Osage artist selected to participate and the creation of each artist’s design is documented in a 15-minute video that includes the finished pieces and the inspiration of some of the artists involved, as well the history of the drum in Osage culture and history. The finished drums and the video have been incorporated into a permanent and travelling exhibit produced by the Osage Nation Foundation. The exhibit opens at the Osage Museum in June of 2020.