The Osage Nation Foundation has announced it is funding the preservation and digitization of the historic Osage Mission Collection from the Jesuit archives in St. Louis. In January, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear asked the Fifth Osage Nation Congress for $90,000 for the project. The Congress said no.
On May 3, the Executive Branch released information that the Nation and the Foundation would be working together on the project. According to the release, the Foundation is funding the project with $84,000.
“What had been a hidden treasure is now a wonderful glimpse into the history of the Osage,” said Standing Bear in the prepared release. “Once preservation is complete, we will be able to share these letters, stories, and prayers with present and future generations to come.”
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, according to the release. The entire process will take approximately six to nine 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.”
Last year, 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/
The Osage Nation Foundation is seeking Osage artists interested in using a traditional hand-made buffalo hide drum as a canvas to demonstrate what the drum means to Osage culture.
Voices From The Drum; An Osage Collection, is a 2018 creative project produced and funded by the Foundation. The drums, handcrafted by Rock Pipestem, will be provided to each Osage artist selected to participate and the creation of each artist’s design will be documented by a video that will include the finished pieces, the background of each artist involved and the inspiration of their design, as well the history of the drum in Osage culture and history. The finished drums and the video would then be incorporated into a permanent and travelling exhibit produced by the Osage Nation Foundation.
“The members of our Board of Trustees of the Foundation feel this project is important because it allows for the documentation of the role of the drum in Osage culture while presenting an opportunity to support and promote Osage artists,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Osage Nation Foundation. “This fits nicely into the objectives of the organization, specifically preserving and promoting the culture of the Osage Nation while promoting and supporting the Arts within the Nation.”
A maximum of 15 artists will be chosen to participate, based on submission of expression of interest by the individual artist. The expression of interest document should include: Name, address, email and telephone number of the artist; artist Bio and qualifications (150 words or less); artist connection to the Osage Nation; artist conceptual design idea summary (150 words or less); and a commitment to meeting the deadlines prescribed for
the project. This information should be submitted no later than February 15, 2018 and send to: Bill Webb, Osage Nation Foundation, PO Box 92777, Southlake, TX 76092 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Osage artists selected to participate will be compensated up to $1500 for their work. The final product will be due by no later than November 1, 2018. The finished pieces and the documentary video are scheduled to be released at a December 2018 premier. All materials will then be made available for exhibition.
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