Key BIA personnel retained by Osage Nation equals consistency and experience for current Osage landowners and Osage land lessees
By Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, ON Communications
PAWHUSKA, Okla. (December 13, 2016) –On Thursday, December 1, the Osage Nation under the Osage Nation Self- Governance program, assumed the Real Estate Services and Natural Resources programs and the related federal funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Osage Agency. The purpose of the Self-Governance program is to allow Native Sovereign Nations to take over federal functions and funding and provide the flexibility to build and develop programs to fit the needs of the Nation rather than continue with a one size fits all federal model.
The Nation will now provide real estate and natural resource services for restricted Osage landowners and lessees under a new Department, Osage Nation Real Estate Services. The program also oversees Osage Nation trust lands and the Fee-to-Trust applications. A letter of notification will be in the mail before the end of the year to all restricted landowners and lessees to inform them of the transition and contact information.
Knowledgeable and experienced former BIA personnel have been employed by the Osage Nation to assist with a smooth federal to tribal transition. Melissa Currey, a former Osage Agency BIA Superintendent, and Leslie Holloway, long-time BIA Program Analyst, are two familiar faces that will be leading the latest self-governance endeavor by the Osage Nation. Katie Yates, former Assistant to Assistant Chief Raymond RedCorn, now the Real Estate Specialist, is another new staff addition.
“Ms. Holloway has 28 years of experience working in Individual Indian Monies, Real Estate Services, Probate, and Executive Direction,” said Currey, Osage Nation Real Estate Services Director. “The BIA still retains the federal trust responsibilities under the Self-Governance program and has final approval authority on all real estate transactions.
The important message to Osage landowners and lessees, everything will be managed under the same regulations, according to Holloway. “The Nation will continue to service the same landowners and lessees. The new department will strive to provide improved services and to create a more efficient service to all.”
Osage Nation Office of Self-Governance Director Candy Thomas said, “The assumption of real estate and natural resources functions is historic for the Osage Nation and a move in the right direction with the right people. We are fortunate to have two valuable former BIA employees with years of experience in real estate services, Melissa Currey and Leslie Holloway. It is our goal to grow and improve the programs and be responsive to all the concerns and transactions for our restricted landowners.”
For more information: Osage Nation Realty Services, P.O. Box 57, Pawhuska, Okla. (918) 287-5257