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Osage History


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.

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Osage Nation Foundation
2020 Annual Report
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Osage Nation Foundation
COVID 19 Relief Efforts

On Friday, April 10, the Board of Trustees of the Osage Nation Foundation met in a special meeting to approve a donation of $2,000 to the Osage community volunteer group, Covid 19 Response, in support of their goal to help Osage elders and familes in need as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. 

The Foundation will consider financial support from similar organizations directly impacting and supporting Osages, regardless of their physical locations.

To request financial assistance for COVID 19 relief efforts impacting Osages, please complete and return this Request Form to the Osage Nation Foundation.

Two Major Private Donations
Support Osage Foundation

The Osage Nation Foundation has received two substantial private cash donations in support of the organization’s mission and 2020 strategic plan.

“The board and staff of the Osage Foundation have made it a priority to raise funds from private and institutional sources to support our aggressive strategic plan,” said ONF chairman Monte Boulanger. “We have received very generous support from the Osage Nation over the past several years and a top priority is to supplement that support with additional fundraising from other sources. These two incredibly generous private donations are a significant step in the right direction in executing that plan.”

A donation of $50,000 to the Osage Nation Foundation was received the last week of 2019 by Barbara Wyckoff of Silver Spring, MD to serve as seed money for fundraising for the expansion of the Osage Tribal Museum.

“These funds originated from the sale of the Lloyd/Wyckoff land located on the reservation,” Ms. Wyckoff said. “My mother, Lydia Wyckoff, was very supportive of the tribe and we all realize that the ranch was always Osage land. Recognizing this, I am making this gift of $50,000. After consultation with my daughter (Amina) and the Assistant Principal Chief of the Osage Nation, we have determined that the best use of these funds are to leverage them in support of additional fundraising efforts to support the construction of the Osage Nation Museum expansion.”

“I want to thank the Wyckoff family on behalf of the Osage Nation for this thoughtful and timely gift to support our Osage Museum expansion,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear “I have appointed a team to work on the logistics of this complex museum expansion project which consists of my Chief of Staff Jason Zaun, Osage Museum Director Marla Redcorn-Miller, and the past Osage Museum Director Kathryn Redcorn. Osage Nation Assistant Chief Red Corn and I will continue to be responsible for the project overall, with the needed support of our Osage Congress.”

The second donation came from Osage Foundation Board member Nancy Pillsbury Shirley and the Ed & H Pillsbury Foundation in support of the 2020 exhibition of Voices from the Drum, scheduled to open at the Osage Museum in May of 2020. The $25,000 donation will partially fund the construction of the exhibit inside the museum. This is in addition to $15,000 already donated to the Foundation by Nancy and her foundation in support of the Voices From the Drum premier event held earlier this year in Pawhuska.

“My affiliation with the Osage Foundation is one of the most important things in my life,” Nancy said in announcing the donation at the Osage Foundation Board meeting in November. “I am very pleased to be able to support my adopted Osage Nation through the Osage Foundation. The work we are doing to support Osage artists and various other projects is important work and I couldn’t think of a better way to show my appreciation to the people of the Osage Nation than to play a small role in financially supporting these efforts.”

The Osage Nation Foundation Board of Directors and staff will be working with the staff of the Osage Museum as well as the offices of the Principal Chief and Assistant Chief, along with the Osage Congress, to leverage these donations for the greater good of the Museum and the Osage people.

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


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.