American Indian Style Show – Part I

By Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

Princess dress worn for tribal princess competitions. Margaret Bird is behind the model narrating the style show.

“There’s no museum in the world that has all the Indian clothes. I have 50. The collection is stored in Tulsa and is insured,” said Osage elder Margaret Bird as she prepared her models for a style show at the Community Center in Pawhuska for 20 Tulsa tourists.

“I’ve been working on these since I was a fifth-grader. … I used to dance. I always hung around the elderly people and they would tell me the real deal. … You don’t just do things about traditions without asking.”

As an adult Bird went to the elders of each tribe and asked for detailed information about their regalia and for permission to reconstruct and show them.
“I’ve had only one tribe that said I couldn’t show their clothes. They made me a dress, but I don’t ever show it.

At this style show 13 models wore tribal regalia as Bird narrated and answered questions.

Several male and female models wore Osage regalia and one wore a traditional Osage wedding coat. Additional details will be in next week’s column.

After the style show, the models were transported to Indian Camp for an Osage lunch of fry bread, corn soup, chicken and noodles.

In an interview at Wakon Iron, the community center building in Pawhuska Indian Camp, Bird said, “I really want to stress that I don’t think people should get things out of a book. They should ask permission.

Bird’s accuracy has given her credibility with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

“The Smithsonian came to Caney, Kan., at my home and come to me to make Delaware clothes and they have them there [at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution].”

Although she is not Delaware because of her expertise, Bird was asked by the Delaware Tribe, also called Lenape, living in Canada to teach them how to construct their regalia.

There are three groups of Delaware, Bird said, concentrated in Anadarko, Bartlesville and Canada, Bird said.

“They’d been dressing like other tribes from up there, and they were Lenape. But, they didn’t know how to dress. So, they commissioned me to go up there to show them how to do the men’s clothes and the women’s clothes,” Bird said.
“I drove up there with my sewing machine and my ribbons and I taught them. … That whole gymnasium was full of Indians — men and women. Well, they all wanted to learn to sew their Indian clothes. We showed them a film of the Delaware down here. Then we got our materials. … We worked two to three weeks every evening. … People brought their sewing machines. We stayed on a bed and breakfast on the res. We taught them everything they needed to know.”

A year later the Delaware Chief invited her to attend their dances in Canada.
“I was amazed at that powwow. All those people had their Native clothes on. I was just shocked. I cried. In two years they wanted it so bad and I asked ‘how many years have you been dressing like these other tribes,’ and they said, ‘we didn’t know.’”

“I had a good mentor, Nora Thompson Dean. Her Indian name was Touching Leaf,” Bird said.

Upon retirement “I’d like to get someone younger to hand this off to,” she said.
To learn more about having a style show hosted by Margaret Bird, contact Danette Daniels, owner of The Water Bird Gallery in Pawhuska at 918-287-9129.

Part II and III of the style show will follow on Sundays Jan. 13 and 20.

Eva Glass

By: Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

The late Eva Payne Glass, wife of oil business magnate Julian Wood Glass, was an art aficionado with a gift of hospitality who lived in Nowata. She was a founding member of the Tulsa Opera.

Also, a founding member of the Tulsa Ballet, Eva Payne Glass paid to bring the “Nutcracker Ballet” to the Nowata Public School to be performed by the Tulsa Ballet at Christmas, said Nowata Historical Society President Carroll Craun.

Glass enjoyed sharing the arts with her neighbors and so she brought the Tulsa Philharmonic to her outdoor backyard balcony to play on a number of occasions, Craun said. She was a founding member of the Tulsa Philharmonic as well.

“She loved Halloween. She’d sit at the front door on what they called her throne and she’d invite the children in and give them large-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars,” said Craun.

As an extrovert, Glass loved people and young people.

“She would make egg or chicken salad sandwiches for the kids who visited and sit with them on the patio,” Craun said.

Glass was also a co-founder of a Nowata chapter of an international women’s service organization, General Federation of Women’s Clubs known as GFWC La-kee-kon. La-kee-kon means “good reading” in the Cherokee language, said Craun, who is the group’s most recent past president.

Glass stood a diminutive four feet six inches tall. Eight of her formal dresses and coats are on display for the Christmas Open House, which continues today from 1-4 p.m. weather permitting, Craun said.

Known as the longest continuous GFW member at the time, Glass became a GFWC Ameritus member for Oklahoma in 1957 and was given the title the “Jewel of Oklahoma,” a title rarely conferred, Craun explained.

As a young woman Glass was married and living in Hope, Ark., when her husband, whose last name was Payne, was taken ill and died from the flu. Glass was then pregnant with her daughter.

While her daughter was yet an infant, Nowata resident Roberta Campbell invited her for a visit. Campbell, who later co-founded GFWC La-kee-kon with Glass, introduced her to her future husband, Julian Wood Glass.

The couple married on Dec. 21, 1904 and went on to have one son, named Julian. After their son Julian was raised, the Glass Mansion was built and the couple took up residence there.

Unfortunately, her husband, J. Wood Glass, died of a massive heart attack in 1952 long before Eva Glass, who lived until 1983, and who died just two weeks shy of her 102nd birthday, Craun said.

Glass enjoyed piano music and hired a local high school student to play for her every afternoon for an hour and a half while she took her nap.

Terry Jordan, a high school student who also did yard work for her, played piano for her for a three to four years time span during the 1970s. When he played, Jordan was instructed to enter through the French doors near the piano so that he would not track mud over the carpet, said Evelyn Jordan, Terry Jordan’s mother.

Terry Jordan recalled that the performer Beverly Sills was invited to have lunch with Glass a year in advance so that the dining room could be repainted in Sills’ favorite color — red.

Glass’s favorite color was pink — of any shade, Craun said.

“Her house is baby’s breath pink because of this. A lot of rooms in the house have a pink tone to them. The kitchen has furniture in a shade of pink. Her bedroom is pink and so is the wallpaper,” she said.

Another quirk of Glass’s was that she did not believe in televisions because she thought they taught bad manners. She did not allow them in the house, and there has never been one in the house, Craun said.

She did allow her nurse to have a TV in the garage apartment as long as Glass could not hear it.

Glass was a good cook. Although for special occasions she had someone come in to prepare food.

“I have some of her handwritten recipes,” Craun said. “We’re thinking about doing a cookbook. A lot of her recipes are older style — beef tongue, egg salad.”

For the holidays Eva Glass and her son, Julian, would sometimes travel to the Glen Burnie Home, an ancestral home of the Glass family in Winchester, Va.
The Glen Burnie home, built by Robert Wood Glass starting in 1794, on property originally surveyed by James Wood Glass in 1735, was renovated by Eva Glass’s son, Julian Glass, and his best friend, R. Lee Taylor.

Craun described Taylor as “an exquisite miniaturist from Winchester, Va., who made sequined Christmas tree ornaments for Glass” on display from time to time at the Glass Mansion.

After the death of Julian Wood Glass Jr. in 1992, and as a condition of his will, the house and gardens were opened to the public on a seasonal basis in 1997. They are now an important part of a year-round regional history museum complex known as the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

No doubt Glass would be glad to learn that her tradition of hospitality and appreciation for the arts are being continued at Glen Burnie, which will hold a holiday tea and watercolor exhibit on Tuesday. This year’s holiday tea at Glen Burnie in Winchester, Va., took place on Dec. 11, featuring blended teas, chicken cashew in phyllo cups, tea sandwiches, cookies and brownies.

After the conclusion of the Christmas Open House, the Glass Mansion will be closed except for pre-arranged tours. To schedule a tour or to rent the mansion for a special event, call the Nowata Historical Society Museum at 918-273-1191.

Childhood Memories

By Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
One evening when I was in Tulsa with my friends Mark and Linda Simms, they took me to Coney Island — a family-owned restaurant established in 1926. They said the restaurant had special significance for Mark Simms. We agreed that one day he would tell me the story, and I would write about it. On Oct. 19, I arranged to meet him to hear about the important part the Coney Island Restaurant and its staff had played in his childhood.

“It started when mom took me to the Coney Island, and we stopped there and we ate. There was a long line, and we had to wait. … I used to watch people come in … they had kind of school-like benches.”

These were simpler times, when children were free to explore. As a child, Simms, remembering the location of the Coney Island he had visited with his mom, decided to venture there one his own one day.

“I was real young and I’d ride the bus downtown. When I got downtown, I’d walk to Coney Island,” Simms said. “I must have been in grade school. I don’t remember the exact age. Anyway, I knew all the bus routes around Tulsa, and I knew how to transfer. All the bus drivers knew me. It was real easy to get down there and get home because I knew the bus routes.

“Well, one day I ran out of money and I didn’t have enough money to buy lunch. So, I asked the owner, ‘could I work to get me a coney,’ and he looked at me and he said, ‘yeah, you can.’ He said, ‘if you’ll sweep the floors, mop, clean the desk and clean the bathroom, I’ll give you free chips, pop and a coney — as much as you want.’ At that time, that was a big deal for me.

“Anyway, this went on for a while. … and I got real familiar with him and his workers. If he was off, they would still give [lunch] to me.

“It got toward fall. I swept, mopped, and I went to get my coney and I couldn’t swallow. … So, I started crying. The owner came out and said, ‘what’s wrong, and he looked at me and felt my neck and said, ‘I think you have the mumps.’
“So, he called my mom, and they rushed me to Hillcrest. Of course, I did have the mumps, but I was still crying because I’d worked and didn’t get my coney,” he said with a laugh.

“The owner kept saying, don’t worry about it, you can still come over and get your coney. But that didn’t soothe me. I was still cryin’ cause I couldn’t eat my coney,” Simms said laughing.

“Time went by and I came in several times, and he served me a coney without working. Finally, I got to where I could work again and continue my coneys.
“I never did know his name … I just called him the Greek. He had those real thick eye glasses. He didn’t remember my name either. He’d say, ‘was the little Indian boy through yet?’ I knew him as the Greek, and he knew me as the little Indian boy. At that time we didn’t know each other’s name.

His daughter, Georgia Tsilekas, confirmed in a phone interview that her father who founded Coney Island, had worn thick eye glasses and his name was Christ Economou.

“Finally, we moved away from Suburban Acres,” Simms said.

He grew up and didn’t have much time to think of Tulsa and the Coney Island. He attended college, served in the Army and started a business in Bartlesville.
Years later on a day trip to Tulsa, Simms and his wife passed by the restaurant. It was open and so they went in.

“Everything was pretty much the same. I was going through the line, and there was a real pretty Greek girl. I told her the story and she said, ‘I’m the granddaughter.’ … While I was talking to her, her mother walked up and said, ‘I’m the daughter.’ As I’m going through the line she said, ‘he doesn’t have to pay for it.’ So, she gave me a free pop, chips and coney. She said, ‘I was a little girl, but I remembered something like that.’

“Later it closed and they opened in another location. … They had the old pictures on the wall. I couldn’t remember their names, but I recognized them. Linda took a picture of me out front.

“We still go to the new loctation, but my fondest memories are from the original little location downtown. That was my first job,” Simms said.

The family still owns Coney Island at the northwest corner of Archer and Main in the Brady District of Tulsa, and they still have the same school-style seating.

“My dad bought them used in 1926. They were restaurant chairs from the east,” Tsilekas explained.

Economou originally had 26 restaurants. Once established, he would sell each of them to an immigrant and move to another town until he arrived in Tulsa and decided to put down roots, she said.

“He had stores from Pennsylvania to Nebraska to Dallas. His cousin said, ‘I’ve heard Tulsa is a nice town. As soon as he got off the train and looked around, he said, ‘that’s the place where I want to be.

“He went back to Greece in 1929 and married my mom and brought her back,” Tsilekas said.

The Economous had three children — Georgia Tsilekas, Pope Kingsley, who owns the Coney Islander in Owasso, and James Economou, who owns the Coney Island in the Brady District — managed by his daughter-in-law, Vicki Economou.

Tales, trails & trials of pioneer women

By Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Mary Alice Sigmon, first vice president of the Oklahoma Questers organization, spoke at the Nowata County Historical Society Museum at 4 p.m. on Oct. 4 about what pioneer women went through as they made their way across the United States to put down roots in areas previously known only to indigenous tribes and a few early settlers.

Sigmon, who has been a Quester for over 40 years, decided to research pioneer women, and the result is the presentation she shared with the audience Thursday at the museum.

“I’ve always felt that there were pioneer women in my past that I’d like to know more about,” Sigmon said.

The Pioneer Woman bronze statue in Ponca City depicts the grit and determination of women of 150 years ago, she said.

“They did not have so many of the conveniences that we take for granted nowadays. … I actually researched diaries of pioneer women. … They actually had a little bit of time in the wagon, if they got everyone to bed, that they could write in their diaries. So, there are volumes of diaries of these women that traveled from the east out west,” she said. “I’m going to give you some excerpts from their diaries and talk a little bit about the era … mainly from the 1840s through the 1870s. By the 1870s the railroad had come through the west through across the plains and there were settlements. It was more civilized, organized. There were churches. There were schools. But, before that time, their school, their church, their everything was in that wagon. She started with a diary excerpt by Tabitha Brown, circa 1954.

“Through all my sufferings in crossing the plains, I have not once got relief by the shedding of tears nor thought we should not reach the settlement. The same faith and hope that I had ever in the blessings of kind providence strengthened in proportion to the trials I had to endure.”

People made the decision to move west with the promise of free land.
“In many cases they didn’t have much, but they sold their farms and their belongings to have enough money to make this trip,” Sigmon said.

As people traveled, they took different trails from various loctions. One starting point for the immigrant travel was Independence, Mo., a major hub for wagons, Sigmon said.

A lot of wagons were manufactured in the Kansas City area and a lot of the travel started from there, she said. St. Joseph and Independence, Missouri, were what Sigmon called “jumping-off points.”

People traveled on the Mormon, Nebraska, Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails, “just to name a few,” she said.

“They would branch off from these major trails that went through Nebraska. Almost all the trails had to go through Nebraska except for the Santa Fe Trail. The northern trails led west of the Mississippi across Iowa and Missouri through the vast plains of Nebraska and Wyoming to the lands of Utah, Oregon and California. …” Sigmon said.

Along the way they drove oxen. They didn’t get to ride often because the children were in the back.

“Oxen were used in the 1840s and 50s mainly. They were strong. They could eat almost anything. They would endure because this was a hard trail for animals and people,” she said.

The Louisiana Purchase brokered by Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States.

“Before that time anything west of the Rockies was just open territories. It added 13 states. It cost $15 million to purchase in 1803. That comparable amount would be $1.2 trillion based on the price of land and acreage that we have nowadays,” she said. “It started with fur traders going in the 1820s and 30s to explore. … Lewis and Clark explored and made it to Willemette Valley, which is outside of Portland. …

“They headed for Oregon, Utah, Colorado and California for adventure, a new life and land,” she said. “The women who walked with them left behind their ancestral homes, brought their children, their basics and their most beloved possessions into a wagon that was 10 feet by four feet.”

The basics included — a cast iron frying pan with three legs on the bottom, called a spider, a spinning wheel to make clothing, iron and tin pots, a coffee pot, candles for lighting, butter churn, a kerosene lamp (toward the 1870s), hog scraper candle sticks, which had a base that doubled as a tool to scrape hog hide, cast iron bean pots with handle, crockery, a kettle, quilts and coverlets.

Sigmon showed a container used to make butter on the trail. The jostling of the wagon for four to five hours would separate the cream from the milk and make butter.

They couldn’t put many heavy items into the wagon because they were too heavy.
They would put dishes into corn meal to cushion it.
It was kind of a basic existence, going about 20 miles per day for four to six months, Sigmon said.

On the trail, people would cook brown beans with slab bacon overnight and have beans for breakfast around 4-5 a.m. They would also make johnny cakes from corn meal in their frying pans. At noon after traveling four to five hours they would stop for a lunch of leftovers. At that time they would rest, feed and water the oxen.

“The food they brought would be 200 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of salt, 20 pounds of sugar and molasses, dried yeast, 150 pounds of cured bacon. … If they had chickens, sometimes eggs might be packed in corn meal. They had dried fruit and 10 to 20 pounds of coffee, which masked the bitter taste of the alkaline taste of water along the way,” Sigmon said.

The cost of this would be $500 to $1,000 — $15,000 or $30,000 today, she said. The family depended on hunting and trading with others, including Indian tribes, for fresh meat. Women also picked berries along the way to supplement the food they had brought in the wagon.

“Fuel for cooking was scarce, so they used buffalo chips or meadow muffins,” Sigmon said.

Aprons kept the few clothes they owned cleaner and bonnets shaded their faces from the sun.

There are seven Questers Chapters in Oklahoma. Each chapter takes on a restorations or repair project.

“Even if you think you’re too busy, we want you. Busy people get stuff done. If you love to learn about new things and preserve the old things, then this is just the perfect place for you to be,” said Questers State President Lynda Constantine.

There are two groups in Bartlesville one that is accepting new members. To learn more about joining an existing group or forming a new one, which only requires eight members, email Mary Alice Sigmon email at or call her at 918-519-8340.

December is a great time to visit regional historic homes

By: Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

December is a wonderful time to see area historic homes, and we have three impressive ones having special open houses and tour times for the Christmas season.

The Frank Phillips Home at 1107 Cherokee Ave. in Bartlesville will offer special evening tours of the home at the reduced admission rate of $5 on Dec. 11 and 13 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“There are seven decorated trees in the house — living room, library, sun room, Frank’s bedroom, the girls’ room and the two guest bedrooms,” said Rhonda Starr, a staff docent.

“We have some of their ornaments, but they’re not on the trees because they’re too fragile.

“In the dining room Jane Phillips’ original centerpiece will be on the table. It’s a sleigh with reindeer and Santa and packages and ribbons that go to the place settings. At the end of the meal guests could pull the ribbon and open a package,” she explained.

Another special event hosted by Frank and Jane Phillips was a Christmas party for the community held at the Community Center, Starr said.

“At the end of the party Jane would give the children a bag with fruit and nuts and Frank would give them a silver dollar,” she said.

“On the third floor we have a play size log home and stable with animals that belonged to the girls,” Starr added. For information call 918 336-2491.

The Drummond Home at 305 N. Price Ave. in Hominy will hold its annual Scottish Christmas Open House from 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 8 with live music by guitarist Jim Garling and violinist Susanne Woolley, the great granddaughter of Fred Drummond and granddaughter of Gentner Drummond.

Santa Claus will be present to greet the children and hear their wish lists.
Diane Fallis of Bartlesville will be there to tell stories and tours will be offered.

Authentic Scottish shortbread, cookies and punch will be served.

For the open house two special photos of Fred and Addie Drummond will be on display in the parlor, said Drummond Home Manager Beverly Whitcomb. In the photos Addie is about 20 and Fred, who was six years older, was about 26, Whitcomb said.
Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62+), children under six are admitted free. Veterans and active duty military are admitted free with an I.D. Children 6-17 are admitted for $4. There is a special rate for families of up to six, $18. Call 918-885-2374 for more information.

The Glass Mansion at 324 W. Delaware in Nowata is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and from 1 – 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The home is decorated for Christmas with Hallmark Keepsake ornaments donated from the extensive collection of the late Jan Edwards. There are seven trees, said Carroll Craun president of the Nowata County Historical Society. The living room tree has ornaments from the Maxine cartoon collection. Matriarch Eva Glass’s bedroom tree has ornaments of homes. The tree in daughter Earnest Frances’s room has a movie theme. The foyer and upstairs hallway trees feature miniature ornaments.

“We have a little holiday shop in the sun room with Christmas wreaths, table centerpieces, handwork, baked goods and gift items by historical society members,” Craun said.

The Glass Mansion does not have regular hours of operation, so this is a special opportunity to see this stately, well-appointed home.
Cookies and cider will be served in the dining room. Call 918-273-1191 for information.

Drummond Home holds Style Show

By Roseanne McKee

Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

HOMINY — Martha Ray is a woman with a passion to preserve and share a window into the fashion past.

Ray, who is retired from the Oklahoma Historical Society, brought a group of volunteers from Pawnee who modeled clothing from the American Civil War era through the 1950s at the Drummond Home’s style show fundraiser Saturday, held at the Osage Interlocal Co-op.

Ray shared a story about Britain’s legendary Queen Victoria.

“In the 1840s and 50s it was not typical to wear drawers. … At a fox hunt Queen Victoria stood on a rail to get a better view, and one of her friends fell over the fence and her hoop skirt went up. She had on plaid flannel drawers and everyone saw them. People thought, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. From that point on, it was the norm to wear drawers.

“In the 1850s a lady would have had eight layers on,” she said. “There was a chemise, or a slip that fell to below the knee, then a corset measuring eighteen inches with a four-inch gap in the back, so the actual waist size would have been about 22 inches. Then there was an under petticoat; there were eight to ten layers before the hoop ever went on — a hoop, and two layers over the hoop. Sitting on a horse hair sofa — that hurts — so the layers helped.”

Although the actual dress would not have been washed much, the many layers of undergarments were washed after each use.

“In the Civil War period, there was hem tape sewn around the bottom of dresses which would be replaced if it got dirty,” Ray explained.

“A typical woman in the 1880s had four outfits — three she wore every day and one for formal occasions — church, parties, to marry and to be buried,” she said.

“In the U.S. practicality dictated fashion, but we had everything available in Paris. It just took six months to arrive,” Ray said. “Seamstresses were worth their weight in gold because they made the dresses without patterns for any size lady.”
Dress lengths and styles varied widely throughout the years highlighted in the style show. There was pigeon breast fashion in the 1910s, flapper dresses in the 1920s, ballgowns, bustles, hoop skirts, A-line designs, sequins, beads, gloves, hats with seasonal embellishments, picture hats that framed the face, the walking suit, dresses with trains that had skirt lifters built into them and split skirts worn with riding habit accessories, to name a few.

In the 1880s girls were sent away to finishing school and wore shorter skirts. When they wore dresses to the ankle, that signaled to society that they were of marriageable age, Ray said.

Ray provided a window into the Victorian era’s polite society by sharing about the custom of visiting neighbors each week.

“Everybody had a day they received visitors,” she said, and each household had a designated day and window of time to receive visitors. Others took note of that time and did not receive visitors at that time — “usually 2-4 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. only one day per week.

“Even if you were middle class, you’d have a butler that day to receive guests. He’d bring calling cards on a tray from those who wished to visit and ask if you wanted to receive them, ” Ray explained.
If the lady of the house agreed to receive the guest, they would stay for only a short time — about 15 minutes. It would have been considered rude to stay longer.

“Then the next week, you’d return the visit. It was rude not to do so,” she said.

The dress style dictated glove length, Ray said. Short sleeves were worn with longer gloves and short gloves were paired with long sleeves.

The dresses Ray presented were meticulously reproduced.

“When we do a reproduction dress, we try to find fabric that’s as close to the original as possible. For reenactments, we find fabrics of the same fabric content,” Ray said. “If it is a style show, fabric is more about the appearance of the original matching. We try to use glass beads rather than plastic.”

Speaking of one garden dress in the show Ray said, “we’ve reproduced it down to the number of buttons.”

With each outfit, the models carried a handbag, which was called a reticule. Inside would have been three important items — a hanky, powder and smelling salts,” Ray said.

“People had a problem with bathing, so if people around her smelled bad, she would smell the salts to revive her,” Ray said. While deodorant was readily available over the counter starting in the 1930s, it didn’t become popular until later, she said.

“You can tell if a reenactment event is authentic by the way they smell,” Ray said.

The style show guest tables had a fairy theme.

“Fairies were quite popular in the Victorian era and in literature,” Martha Ray, who narrated the style show, said.

The style show concluded with door prizes and refreshments.

To learn about upcoming events at the Drummond Home, visit their Facebook page, Frederick Drummond Home of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The next event will be their annual Scottish Christmas Open House, Saturday Dec. 8 from 1-4 p.m., with live music, storytelling, homemade Scottish shortbread, cookies and punch at the Drummond Home at 305 N. Price Ave. in Hominy, Okla. Call for information at 918-885-2374.

Veterans Memorial dedicated on Osage Nation Campus


By Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, ON Communications

Pawhuska, Okla., Osage Nation Reservation (Friday, November 9, 2018) – The first-ever memorial recognizing Osage US military veterans and pre-military scouts is scheduled for a public dedication on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. The momentous dedication will take place on the lawn by the Osage Nation Museum in Pawhuska at 873 Grandview Avenue. The memorial features a twenty-foot eagle feather and a place for recognition of each branch of the military with the name of those Osages who served in those branches.

Recognizing Osage Veterans
“This memorial, like all other memorials is a bridge to the past for the people in the present to have some understanding of the great cost of war,” said Franklin McKinley (Osage), a veteran and the chair of the Osage Veterans Memorial Commission (OVM) in a speech to the Osage Nation Congress. “Loss is just not on the battlefield alone, but back at home as well. Memorials are a compassionate way of respectfully reminding all of the sacrifices that are made by our veterans.”

“This memorial is bringing back the native tradition of honoring our warriors. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice, and this memorial will celebrate the lives of women and men that believed in something greater than themselves,” said Maria DeRoin, the Communications Consultant for the Osage Veterans Memorial Commission (OVM). She has been working with the OVM, architects, construction companies, and Osage Nation Tribal Development to finalize the details of the memorial long-awaited completion.

DeRoin (Osage citizen) is a twenty-year US Navy veteran. In early December 2017, she was contracted by the Osage Nation to spearhead the completion of the memorial project to meet the target date of Veterans Day 2018. Initial legislation for the concept began in 2011 when legislation was passed to fund the “Osage War Memorial” sponsored by, then Osage Congressman, Principal Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. The memorial fund and title of the monument were changed to “Osage Veterans Memorial” by legislation introduced by Congresswoman Angela Pratt in 2017 to include all Osage veterans, like herself, whether they are combat veterans or not. Both Standing Bear and Pratt remained actively involved in the planning stages of the memorial’s construction with the OVM.

The Osage Veterans Memorial
“This structure is a perfect circle that is 66-feet across and extends four-feet below the surface. In the center of the memorial is a water feature on the north side and there is seating on the south side. Pavers cover the walking surface in and around the centerpiece structure that leads to three large beautiful gazebos,” said Talee RedCorn (Osage) who is a veteran and the project lead for the construction of the memorial.

The highlight feature is a uniquely crafted twenty-foot eagle feather situated upright like the eagle feathers worn by Osage men under the Ilonshka Dance Arbor, or ceremonial Osage dances. Mary Frances West Williams, the president of the Hominy War Mothers Chapter and president of the Oklahoma War Mothers Association, requested the memorial have water features. She felt water was calming and that Osage warriors coming home could find a tranquil and peaceful place to reflect on their experiences. The designer, Wallace Engineering, included a granite waterfall structure and a waterfall as the centerpiece holding the eagle feather. Five granite plinths suround the large eagle feather and each granite plinth is decorated with a Department of Defense Seal (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) and has the names of Osage veterans inscribed on the granite face.

“So many military veterans (Osage and non-Osage) have worked on the memorial. Each have expressed a sense of pride since all veterans agree they are a unique brother- and sisterhood,” said RedCorn about the number of veterans involved in the completion of the Osage Veterans Memorial.

“I would like to thank the Chief and Congresswomen Pratt for sponsoring the OVM bills, Tribal Development, the Roads Dept., Builders unlimited, Inc., Pryse Monument, Wallace Engineering, and R+K Studio,” said DeRoin.

Osage Veterans Memorial Commission
The Osage Veterans Memorial Commission, formally the War Memorial Commission, was established by the Osage Nation Congress in 2011. The purpose of the Commission is to follow the Osage Nation tradition of honoring Osage veterans…[and] to provide a physical reminder for present and future generations of the contributions and sacrifices of Osage veterans and their families.”