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Constituting an Osage Nation

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021912/00001

Material Information

Title: Constituting an Osage Nation Histories, Citizenships, and Sovereignties
Physical Description: 1 online resource (236 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: american, citizenship, government, indians, osage, reform, sovereignty
Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Anthropology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This dissertation examines the mapping of Osage nation building within the context of their 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. It is driven by three primary concerns: first, to study how the colonial situation created certain limitations on and possibilities for Osage citizenship and governmental formation; second, to follow the ways in which desires surrounding Osage identity and governance were created and changed through the reform process; and third, to record how the writers of the 2006 Osage Constitution navigated the conflicts arising from these histories and desires in order to create the new governing structure. My analysis integrates colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories about the reform process, biological 'facts,' emotions and personal experiences. By recognizing the dynamic tensions from these different sources, my research promotes a detailed picture of how understandings of past, present and future are currently being debated among the Osage. One of the primary goals of this dissertation is to explore how American Indian populations today are negotiating colonialism and how these lessons might help us understand politics more generally.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Schmidt, Peter R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021912:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021912/00001

Material Information

Title: Constituting an Osage Nation Histories, Citizenships, and Sovereignties
Physical Description: 1 online resource (236 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: american, citizenship, government, indians, osage, reform, sovereignty
Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Anthropology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This dissertation examines the mapping of Osage nation building within the context of their 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. It is driven by three primary concerns: first, to study how the colonial situation created certain limitations on and possibilities for Osage citizenship and governmental formation; second, to follow the ways in which desires surrounding Osage identity and governance were created and changed through the reform process; and third, to record how the writers of the 2006 Osage Constitution navigated the conflicts arising from these histories and desires in order to create the new governing structure. My analysis integrates colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories about the reform process, biological 'facts,' emotions and personal experiences. By recognizing the dynamic tensions from these different sources, my research promotes a detailed picture of how understandings of past, present and future are currently being debated among the Osage. One of the primary goals of this dissertation is to explore how American Indian populations today are negotiating colonialism and how these lessons might help us understand politics more generally.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Schmidt, Peter R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021912:00001


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CONSTITUTING AN OSAGE NATION:
HISTORIES, CITIZENSHIPS, AND SOVEREIGNTIES

















By

JEAN DENNISON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008






























2008 Jean Dennison

































To my father, who pointed the way.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

In writing this dissertation I incurred many debts, most especially to those Osage who have

allowed me to share their perspectives and histories. The early encouragement and patience of

the 31st Osage Tribal Council, Julia Lookout, Leonard Maker, Katherine Red Corn, the Osage

Government Reform Commission, Hepsi Barnett, and the Osage Language Department made

this research possible. The stories told and questions asked by the general Osage population

gave substance to this dissertation. To these people I will forever be in debt.

While at the University of Florida I was fortunate to find a group of professors and

graduate students who have nurtured my academic growth. Dr. Peter Schmidt continually

impressed me with his insights. His thoughtful reviews and questions kept me on track. Dr.

Marilyn Thomas-Houston's support during my 6 years at the University of Florida and her

unwavering confidence in my abilities kept me at the University. Through their excellent

seminars both Dr. Brenda Chalfin and Dr. Stacey Langwick provided me with the central

theories that inform this dissertation. Without their guidance I would have been at a great

disadvantage.

My fellow graduate students provided the other central components of my graduate

education. The critical perspectives provided by Rob Freeman, Roberto Barrios, Lauren

Fordyce, Jai Hale Gallardo and Scott Catey cannot be overstated. Scott spent many hours

reading and commenting on my early chapters. His continued insistence led me to return

repeatedly to the archival documents that play a crucial role in the stories I tell below. Because

of our parallel paths through the research and writing stages of our dissertations Lauren provided

the most important part of any graduate education: emotional and moral support.

My graduate studies and dissertation writing were supported by University of Florida

fellowships. I received major grants from the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren to









conduct my research in Oklahoma during the Osage Tribe's 2004-2006 government reform

process. I offer thanks to the funding sources and to the people that helped make these great

opportunities available. I would also like to thank my husband, parents, and grandmother, who

all provided additional financial support throughout the graduate process.

This dissertation, in addition to being born out of a supportive community, good

supervision, and funding, developed out of ongoing conversations among current scholars in the

fields of Anthropology and American Indian Studies. From these discussions I am most

indebted to Audra Simpson whose research, writing, and comments on my dissertation were my

biggest inspiration. My conversations with and readings of Circe Sturm, Pauline Strong, Valerie

Lambert, Kimberly TallBear, Lee Baker, Michael Asch, and Brian Noble provided additional

resources for thinking through this material.

This dissertation benefited greatly from the editors who generously lent their time. Special

thanks to Traci Yoder for her keen eye and quick turn around time, my mother Sally Dennison

whose patience with my writing has helped me to succeed in academia, and finally, my husband

Michael Ritter, who in addition to his constant patience and support during the research and

writing stages of this project, spent six straight days helping me to tear apart and put the first full

draft of my dissertation back together. Additionally, several Osage also thoughtfully reviewed

the dissertation. In directing me to essential readings, as well as critiquing its weak points,

Veronica Pipestem greatly assisted me with the final version. Priscilla Iba's review of Chapter 6

flagged several of my errors as well as challenged me to further articulate both the successes and

challenges of the reform process.

Lastly I would like to acknowledge the limits of this dissertation. While I strove to capture

the complexities involved in the current Osage political situation, it must be recognized that









words can only convey slices of experience. In addition to being limited by the inexperience of

my youth, it is simply not possible to write about, much less understand all of the vastly different

and changing ideas surrounding Osage histories, citizenships and sovereignties. My hope then is

that this dissertation is understood as a beginning.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

ABSTRAC T .......................................................................... 9

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ................. ........... .............................. 10

Approach to Research ............... .............................. ................ ......... 12
Positioning M yself. .................. ........................................ ... .. .. .. ............ 12
M oving from Reflexivity to Diffraction...................................... ........................ 20
T im eline...................................................... 23
Evidence Collected ......................................................... ........ ............... 24
Approach to W writing ............... ................. ............ ........................... 25
M incing W words ..................................................... .... ................... 25
Anthropology and the North American Indian..................................... ............... 26
Political A anthropology .......................................... ... .... ........ ......... 34
Science Studies ....................................... ........................... ........ 37
H stories, Citizenships and Sovereignties ............................................ ............... 40

2 MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRY: NEGOTIATING COLONIAL LIMITATIONS..........44

Separation of C culture and the State ............................................................. .....................45
M moving to a N ew C country ....................................................................... .........................5 1
Trade Relations and Land Acquisition................................ ......................... ........ 54
A M ore "W orkable" Government ............................................................................59
Leaving the O ld W ays B behind ............................................... ............................. 62
C colonial R ew workings of C hange............................................................................. ............64
T he B attle A against A llotm ent............................................................... .....................65
Incorporation and Termination...................... ...... .............................. 69
E efforts T ow ard R reform ......................................................................... ....................73
L eave It A lone ........................................................................................................75
Debating the role of the Osage M ineral Estate.................................................................... 81
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................8...................7..........

3 THE FUNDAMENTAL POWERS OF BLOOD .......................................................90

BIA, CDIB, OTC, OGRC and Who Gets to Vote.................. ... ............... 91
The D dangerous Pow er of B lood ..................................... ............. ............ .........................97
H istoricizing R ace ............................ ....... .. .. .. ........ .. ............97
R acializing Indians through Science ................... ......................... ............... .... 99
Mixing Blood in 19th Century American Literature and Science...............................102
B lood and P policy ........................................................................ 105
Colonial Impacts .............. ...... .. ........... ....... .... ........... ........... 114









C o n clu sio n .......................................1...................1.........9

4 M EM O R Y IN TH E B L O O D ....................................................................... ................... 120

A d o p tio n ................... ...................1...................2.........1
R ew working B lood .............................................. ................ ................... .. ...... 127
T selling O sag e H history .............. ....... .. .. .... ........................................ .............. 12 7
100 Years of Federal Control Over Osage Citizenship...............................................131
V vehicle of C connection ........................................................................ ..................... 135
C onstitutionalizing B lood ............................................ ....................................... 143
C o n c lu sio n ....................... ................... ..............................................................14 5

5 THE LIFE OF OSAGE SOVEREIGNTY....................................... ......................... 148

Histories of Sovereignty ........... .................................. .. .. ........ .. ............... 149
Situating O sage Sovereignty..................................................................... ............... 151
Layered Sovereignties .................................. .. .......... .. ........... .158
T tobacco C om acting ........... ................................................................. ....... .. .... .. 162
D elineating Sovereignty From W ithin.....................................................................166
2006 Osage Constitution and the Community Backlash......................... ............169
C o n c lu sio n ................... ......................................................... ................ 1 7 5

6 OBSTACLES TO COMMUNITY BASED REFORM ............................. ................ 177

Constitutional Convention vs. Reform Commission...........................................................178
Community M meetings ........................................ .. ........... ........ ..... 185
N on-Shareholders ..................................... ..... .......... .............. .. 190
Lack of Ownership ..................................... ... .. .... ........ ........ .... 193
Writing As a Group .................................. .. ... ..... .................. 197
C o m m u n ic atio n ............................................................................................................... 2 0 0
R u m o rs ................... ...................2...................0.........2
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................2...................1.........1

7 C O N C L U S IO N ............................................................................................................... 2 14

APPENDIX

A VOTE NO FOR A BETTER FUTURE ................................. ............................221

B D EA R O SA GE PEOPLE ...............................................................222

LIST OF REFERENCES ................ ....................................226

BIO GR A PH ICA L SK ETCH ...............................................................236







8









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

CONSTITUTING AN OSAGE NATION:
HISTORIES, CITIZENSHIPS, AND SOVEREIGNTIES

By

Jean Dennison

May 2008

Chair: Peter Schmidt
Major: Anthropology

This dissertation examines the mapping of Osage nation building within the context of

their 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. It is driven by three primary

concerns: first, to study how the colonial situation created certain limitations on and possibilities

for Osage citizenship and governmental formation; second, to follow the ways in which desires

surrounding Osage identity and governance were created and changed through the reform

process; and third, to record how the writers of the 2006 Osage Constitution navigated the

conflicts arising from these histories and desires in order to create the new governing structure.

My analysis integrates colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories

about the reform process, biological "facts,"" emotions and personal experiences. By

recognizing the dynamic tensions from these different sources, my research promotes a detailed

picture of how understandings of past, present and future are currently being debated among the

Osage. One of the primary goals of this dissertation is to explore how American Indian

populations today are negotiating colonialism and how these lessons might help us understand

politics more generally.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Diffraction patterns record the history of interaction, interference, reinforcement,
difference. Diffraction is about heterogeneous history, not about originals. Unlike
reflections, diffractions do not displace the same elsewhere... Rather, diffraction can be a
metaphor for another kind of critical consciousness...one committed to making a
difference and not repeating the Sacred Image of Same. [Haraway 1997]

As I was walking into the Osage Tribal Council office, I decided to drop by and visit Julia

Lookout. Julia had been my first contact within the Osage government when I began my

research almost a year before and had been extremely helpful and encouraging about my desire

to study the Osage's government reform process. When I asked her how things were going, she

responded with her usual "same ol' same ol,'" but she was visibly frustrated. Before coming to

work for Chief Jim Gray and the Osage Tribal Council (OTC), Julia had spent her career

working for Fortune 500 companies, helping to create better business environments. She had

frequently talked about her frustrations with the tribal council form of government and how its

structure made any sort of planning impossible. I could see that she was busy, so I started to

walk away, but she stopped me by saying, "And you wanted to be Indian."

This led to an awkward pause where I was not sure how to respond; was it that simple, had

I returned to do my research with my father's tribe in order to avoid becoming white in the world

of academia? Reading my thoughts she went on to say, "I always thought that I would grow up

to be a white girl, but look at me back here dealing with all this. Jean, look at you now. You just

could not stay away." She then told me she was impressed with how I had stuck through the

entire reform process, with all its drama. "I can hardly handle it most of the time," she said, "but

there is just so much work that needs to be done here" (Personal communication, April 19,

2006).









In the many conversations I had while doing my dissertation research on the 2004-2006

Osage reform process, it became clear that seemingly 'solid' categories, such as "white" or

"Indian," were continually in flux. To be white could mean having a certain biological make-up

or it could refer to a lack of Osage community connection. For many Osage, deciding where to

live and whether or not to work for the Osage Tribe was as much about identity as it was about

employment. Rebuilding the Osage Nation after a century of federal control was not only about

sovereignty and identity, but also about building a healthier community. Within the 2004-2006

reform process, it became impossible to explicate the internal and external debates about

identity, sovereignty, nation building, and tribally sponsored community programs. If the Osage

remained a tribe of around 4,000 people, whose elected leaders were primarily responsible for

increasing revenues of the mineral estate distributed in per capital payments to these select

people then the impact of the Osage tribe on the lives of Osage people was going to be held to

a minimum. If, on the other hand, the Osage were able to create a nation that represented the

16,000 people descendant from the 1906 roll, with a government focused on building a whole

host of programs including health care, language revitalization, education, and elder services,

then other notions about being part of an Osage community became possible.

In December 2004, the OTC sponsored federal legislation (HR 2912) that lifted 98 years of

direct colonial control, allowing the Osage people to once again determine their own citizenship

and form of government. The federal government was no longer going to hold the Osage people

under a resolution style government with its 4,000 shareholders, but what would take its place?

As the appointed members of the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) solicited

opinions about the future of Osage citizenship and governmental structure, I was able to gather

various ideas about what it meant to rebuild an indigenous nation in the early part of the 21st









century. This dissertation will explore these ideas in order to understand the ways in which

histories, emotions, and experiences were hardened into the constitution adopted by the Osage

people on March 3' 2006. Moreover, this dissertation will make sense of the motivations that

led the Osage people to reconfigure the "Osage Tribe of Oklahoma" into the "Osage Nation,"

and the implications this has for the Osage people and the colonial relationship more generally.

Approach to Research

Positioning Myself

Late one night in March 2004, I received a call from my father. He told me that up on "the

hill" (the area in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where the OTC chambers and other offices of the Osage

Tribe are located), there had been a lot of discussion about reforming tribal membership. I

laughed and told him that people had been talking about reforming membership my whole life

and most of his. He replied that this was different, and that the OTC had introduced a bill in the

US Congress to finally settle the membership problem and Congressional field hearings had just

been held in Tulsa. At these hearings, various people had argued that the Osage needed, like all

other tribes in the continental United States, to be able to determine their own citizenship and

form of government. It now looked like the U.S. House would soon pass the bill and send it on

to the Senate.

My father, always scheming for ways to bring me back to Oklahoma, made a convincing

enough case that night on the phone to get me back home for the summer. I had just finished my

Masters at the University of Florida (UF) and was eager to start my dissertation research. I

talked with the OTC and received their approval to do research, began doing interviews with the

key players in the reform, and facilitated a youth video workshop where three Osage girls made a

video about what it meant to them to be Indian today entitled How, We Are Present. For the

2004-2005 school year, I returned to UF, where I finished my coursework, wrote grants, and









took my qualifying exams. I was able to return briefly to Oklahoma in February 2005 to join in

the celebration of Osage Sovereignty Day. During the celebration, I worked with the Osage

Tribal Museum in order to record interviews of various Osage and what they wanted from the

reform process. In May 2005, I was finally done with all my obligations in Florida and was able

to return to Oklahoma full-time for my dissertation research.

When I attended my first Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) business

meeting, I became concerned that the reform process might not be successful. There were

thirteen months remaining before the next OTC elections were scheduled, and this suddenly

seemed like an extremely short timeframe in which to write a constitution. It took the OGRC

many months to begin working as a cohesive group or even toward a common goal. When I

attended my first meeting in early May 2005, they had been together a little over two months but

were still negotiating their relationships. They had also just recently acquired staff members and

an office, so the process was just beginning in earnest. The conversations during my first

meeting jumped from topic to topic with little coherence. When I introduced myself and the

dissertation project I was hoping to do on the reform process, they seemed accepting, yet

hesitant. They were still unsure of how the reform process should proceed and thus having

another witness with a video camera (there was already one provided by the tribal museum)

likely only added to their sense of being overwhelmed.

During this early period, I frequently had extra time between Tribal Council and

Government Reform meetings. Occasionally, I would stop by and see an elder who worked for

the tribe. Even upon first meeting me, she was very talkative, always telling intricately woven

stories that frequently incorporated Indian politics, recent television programming, and Osage

genealogies. About a politician from another tribe she said, "He is an apple Indian, red on the









outside, but white within," meaning that while he looked Indian, his practices resembled a white

man. She then asked me if I was a "Dennison Osage." When I answered yes and told her who

my grandfather was, she said that she had known him. She said that her grandfather had also

married a white woman, but that even before that it was unlikely that her family had been full-

blood Osage. "There were almost no Osage full-blood families after the French. My grandfather

had sandy brown hair like yours, but he could speak Osage. People would come from all around

to speak Osage with both my grandfather and my father, but I never learned much."

This focus on the multiple strands of behavior, physical traits, and language/cultural

proficiently continued to frequent many discussions during the reform process. My own heritage

was occasionally brought up. Many people placed far more emphasis on my connections to the

tribe through my father and grandfather than my seemingly disconnected phenotype of fair skin

or lighter brown hair and eyes, at least in my presence. Since my grandfather had been an

"original allottee," meaning he had been listed on the 1906 Osage allotment roll, and had lived

his entire life on the Osage reservation, most Osage saw me as an Osage, even though I could not

under the old federally imposed structure participate in tribal politics. My father, who had

inherited his father's share in the Osage mineral estate, was an official member of the Osage

tribe, having the right to vote and run for office. Under this existing system, it was not until his

death would I inherit his share in the mineral estate and be able to vote in tribal elections.

As the reform continued, the commissioners and many of the other Osage involved in the

reform accepted me (and my video camera) as part of the process. Because I attended OTC and

other meetings as well as talked to many different Osage, I frequently could offer helpful

information about what was going on around the reservation. It was also clear that as an Osage I

hoped for the success of the reform process, so that I might be able to participate in tribal politics









while my father was still living. This inside connection frequently gave me access to discussions

I would likely not have had otherwise, at least not as quickly. Most likely this connection also

kept some people from confronting me about doing my research. As one younger Osage told me

during an OTC meeting, "You're Osage, you have the right to write about this process however

you want." Of course, there were others who were concerned about how I was going to be using

the information I collected, particularly during the meetings I recorded of the Osage

Shareholders Association (OSA). Prior to each of the five meetings I recorded of the OSA, I

would ask those in charge of the meeting whether or not it was okay if I recorded the meeting. I

was repeatedly told that it was an open meeting and that it was often recorded for various

reasons. During the first four meetings, nobody voiced any concern, so I continued to record the

meetings. Many people in attendance knew about my research and told me that they were glad

to have their opinions recorded.

By February 2006, the OSA, for reasons that will be discussed throughout this dissertation,

was taking a strong stance against the proposed Osage Constitution. On February 26, 2006,

various participants in the Shareholders association began to fear that their stance against the

constitution was going to be used against them or their children who were employed by the

Osage Nation. One woman had recently been fired from one of the tribally owned casinos and

some of the shareholders were afraid this was because she had attended a recorded meeting about

problems with the Osage's gaming institutions held by the OSA. When I asked the woman

herself, she told me that she thought she had lost her job because she was not willing to fall in

line with the person who was running the casino (Personal Communication: February 26, 2006).









Because of the controversy, I suggested that the chair of the meeting open the issue of my

filming for discussion among those in attendance. Because I was not recording the discussion,

the following account was derived from my notes:

Participant 1: This is a closed association who pays dues and thus the information here is
not open to the public.

P2: I might agree with you during our normal business, but what we are discussing today
is public and I want a record of it. I want the council and the commission to see it.

P3: I agree that this is a private club, we have to pay $25 a year to be a part of it. Further,
people will not feel free to talk if the camera is on.

P4: I would like to suggest a compromise. I think that she should record the four major
presentations we have and then she can turn the camera off allowing people to have their
discussion.

P5: There could be people who are singled out for their opinions. There have already been
some repercussions of all the video that is being done.

P6: I want the council and the commission to hear what I have to say, but there are others
who might not feel comfortable.

Jean Dennison: That is why I asked when I came in today if anybody had a problem with
my recording. Let me back up a minute and tell you all why I am here. For those of you
who don't know me, I am currently doing my dissertation research on the Osage
governmental reform process. This organization [OSA] is a very important part of that
process, so several months back I came to one of your meetings. At that time Billy Sam
was chairing the meeting and I asked him if anybody would have a problem with my
recording. He said that it was an open meeting and that anything said there could be
shared. I understand that he might have misunderstood that and I sure don't want to get
people into trouble or make anyone uncomfortable, so I am glad this is being put to a vote.

P7: Another option rather than being recorded could be having everyone who wants to
share something write it down on one of these index cards.

P4: I make the motion that we allow her to film the first four recordings with the
understanding that it is only for our use and for her own use and it shall not be shared with
any third party.

Jean: I could make sure that any use of this material did not include anyone's names and
that the actual footage would not be shown.

P5: I second that motion.









P8: But now there are two concurrent motions on the floor. We need to vote on the first
motion, which was just whether or not we wanted recordings at these meetings.

P5: That was not the last motion; the last motion was just whether or not we wanted to
open up the issue for discussion.

P9: All those in favor of P4's suggestion that she be allowed to film the first four speakers
and that the footage be for us and her to use, but that it should not be disclosed to any third
party please raise your hand... All those opposed.

There were no votes opposed to this motion, so I recorded the four presentations and then turned

off my camera. This was the only encounter I had during the reform process about my

recordings, likely because all of the other recordings were either voluntary (i.e. during a formal

interview) or were during public meetings. People who spoke during public meetings knew they

were going on record (not only my record, but also records being made by the OTC, the Osage

Tribal Museum, and/or the OGRC).

Another example of the sort of hesitation I occasionally encountered during my fieldwork

occurred while I was attending an OTC meeting. During the meeting, I sat next to a woman with

whom I had not yet had any interactions. She asked me about some of the video footage I had

recorded of the Osage Sovereignty Day celebration and then discussed how much last minute

work she had to do on their sons' outfits for the yearly June dances. "Were you at the dances last

year?' she inquired, and I responded that I had been. She then asked where I lived and I told her

that I was staying with my parents in Skiatook, a town about 45 minutes outside of Pawhuska

(the capital of the Osage Nation), which straddles the Osage reservation and Tulsa County.

Starting to show some frustration, she said, "To me you have an accent, an eastern accent." I was

a little taken aback by this, but responded that I had gone to college in Ohio and married an

Ohioian. To this she expressed satisfaction; she had succeeded in placing my foreignness in an

understandable sphere. "It is an Ohio accent," she said with authority. By continuing to study









me, she had eventually found a characteristic that marked me as partially outside the spectrum of

the community (Personal Communication June 1, 2005).

The need to place a researcher, or anyone, within the spectrum of belonging is a

fundamental part of constructing any community. During my research I was frequently situated

as both part of and outside these boundaries, even within the same conversation. The more I

explored these positioning, both my own and that of others, the more it became clear that few

people were able to maintain a position of being completely "of the Osage community" at all

times and within all spaces. During these frequent clashes over knowledge and boundary

mapping, it was the very definition of the community that was at stake. Because the Osage, like

all communities, is not only always in flux, but also defined differently from different subject

positions, these discussions about who was entitled to claim belonging, and how much, were

central to very establishment of a community. This dissertation is fundamentally an effort to

explore these negotiations throughout the period of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process.

Whereas within the reservation categories such as "being Indian" or "being white" were

generally acknowledged as fluid and consisting of a range of factors such as physical traits,

biological relation, cultural involvement, language proficiency, and even one's accent, outside

the reservation these categories were far more fixed. While at school in Florida, I had occasional

encounters with other graduate students who seemed perplexed with how to position me. While

I "looked white," I had a connection to the Osage community. A few people even questioned me

outright about the sincerity of this connection and insinuated that its primary function was to

give me better access to scholarships and grants. One of these encounters took place during my

office hours after I had returned to Florida to complete my dissertation. In a conversation with

two fellow graduate students, I mentioned that my father was actually registered by the federal









government as "incompetent," meaning that the federal government managed any trust lands or

funds he possessed. One of the students, whom I had only had occasional contact with, looked at

me and said, "I did not know you were Native American. Is your father a full-blood?" I

responded no, and explained that the Osage did not configure membership strictly along the lines

of blood quantum, but by descent. The conversation then continued:

Grad student 1: So, did you father grow up in the area?

Jean: Yeah, and they live in the area now.

GS2: Do they live in tipi's?

All: Laugh.

GS2: Sorry, when I lived in Canada my friend who was an anthropologist took me to stay
in a tipi.

Jean: Was the tipi where they lived or was this something they set up for visitors?

GS2: I guess it could have been just where we stayed. I think it was part of some festival.
I am not sure where the people stayed.

GS1: So that makes sense. I knew you did your research there [with the Osage], but that
would make sense with the funding. They would be like, of course. Now, where are my
Yoruba roots?

Conversations of this kind, while not frequent during my graduate education, did occur on

occasion. Another graduate student asking me about my background said, "but you don't dress

like an Indian." Valerie Lambert (2007) has also written about the different perceptions of the

categories of white and Indian on and off the reservation (see also: Sturm 2002, Garroutte 2003).

According to Lambert, "The larger, non-Indian society treats the categories of white (or black)

and Choctaw as mutually exclusive. In general, Choctaws do not" (2007: 200). Because I did

not fit certain notions from popular film or elsewhere about what it was that constituted an

Indian, including certain dress, skin color, or even living in a tipi, some people outside the

reservation have a hard time accepting the authenticity of Osage connection. As this dissertation









will explore, such inquiries have long histories as well as important ramifications for the Osage

reform process. In these ways, I was deeply implicated in all aspects of the 2004-2006 Osage

reform process, but particularly with one of its central questions: Who is it that constitutes an

Osage?

Moving from Reflexivity to Diffraction

The reflections just shared have become quite common within cultural anthropology and

certainly have a place in terms of understanding how the process of knowledge production takes

place. There is no doubt that my preexisting connection to the Osage tribe helped to frame the

sorts of questions I asked as well as the sorts of answers I found satisfying. I do not begin my

dissertation with these stories, however, to reveal any bias that underlies this dissertation. To do

so would reinforce the idea that my "marked" experience is somehow less accurate than a more

"neutral" perspective.

The ideal witness has traditionally been constructed within western scientific discourses as

objective, neutral, and thus invisible. In order to really see how things are, one is supposed to

ignore personal opinions and just translate reality "as it is." However, as Donna Haraway (1997)

writes, this space of objectivity is located in a deeply western, heterosexual, white, male

perspective. Citing the Protestant English scientist Robert Boyle as one of the central models

and forerunners of the paradigm of objectivity, Haraway argues, "Enhancing their agency

through their masculine virtue exercised in carefully regulated 'public' spaces, modest men were

to be self-invisible, transparent, so that their reports would not be polluted by the body... This is a

crucial epistemological move in the grounding of several centuries of race, sex, and class

discourse as objective scientific reports" (1997: 32). Boyle, whose laboratory experiments

involved "gentlemen" witnesses, helped to establish the criteria around which one could remain

unmarked and thus objective.









Those who do not fit the image of this "modest gentlemen" must frequently struggle to

prove that their own point of view does not pollute neutral scientific observation. Rather than

having the authority to witness, these marked individuals are understood as inherently subjective.

"Colored, sexed, and laboring persons still have to do a lot of work to become similarly

transparent to count as objective, modest witnesses to the world rather than to their 'bias' or

'special interest'" (Haraway 1997: 32). In this way, the special interests of the white, protestant,

heterosexual gentlemen were rendered as neutral, just as all other positions came to be marked.

Embedded in the facts produced in these scientifically objective spaces are the perspectives of a

very small minority of the population. In leaving such positions as unmarked, science has

frequently reinforced the observations from certain positions as more real.

Reflexivity is often touted as the solution to this problem of self-invisibility. However, as

Haraway goes on to point out, this "relentless insistence on reflexivity... [is] not able to get

beyond self-vision as the cure for self-invisibility. The disease and the cure seem to be

practically the same thing, if what you are after is another kind of world and worldliness" (1997:

33-34). Reflexivity often assumes that under the bias lies an inherent truth, which must simply

be unearthed, thus hiding the multitude ways in which realities in the making consist of

negotiated experiences. Rather than challenging the existing status quo, reflexivity works to

reinforce it. Even as it refocuses the discussion on the "self" and the "subjective" rather than the

"other" and the "objective," it still maintains these binaries. Reflexivity has become a way of

purging oneself of all the markers of subjectivity, rather than a way of understanding who it is

that is able to claim objectivity and why.









As an alternative to reflexivity, Haraway presents diffraction. While her concept of

diffraction is not completely developed, Haraway describes it most fully in reference to a

painting by Lynn Randolph.

Diffraction patterns record the history of interaction, interference, reinforcement,
difference. Diffraction is about heterogeneous history, not about originals. Unlike
reflections, diffractions do not displace the same elsewhere... Rather, diffraction can be a
metaphor for another kind of critical consciousness...one committed to making a
difference and not repeating the Sacred Image of Same. [1997: 273]

In this dissertation, I will use diffraction, rather than objectivity or reflexivity as my central

metaphor. Instead of trying to discover what it is that constitutes "Osageness," or to reflect the

idea of "Osageness" through my own experience, this dissertation looks at a broad range of

evidence including colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories about

the reform process, biological 'facts,' emotions and personal experiences in order to map out

Osage nation building within the context of the 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform

process. Rather than attempt to create a single lived reality surrounding the Osage, I follow the

diverse ways in which various Osage incorporate differing ideas into their own notions of self

and nation, creating multiple lived realities. These diffraction patterns complicate simple ideas

of "Indian," "Osage," or "colonized," focusing instead on the ways in which these categories are

continually being negotiated. By moving the focus of anthropological writing away from a

taxonomic approach, diffraction works to explicate rather than to generalize.

In a similar vein, Valerie Lambert (2007) writes that anthropologists should center their

research and writing around key events. Using the writing of Sally Falk Moore, she calls for the

study of "events that provide evidence of 'the ongoing dismantling of structures or attempts to

create new ones,' that reveal 'ongoing contests and conflict and competitions,' or that expose the

'complex mix of order, anti-order and non-order' that characterize ethnographic realities" (11).

The 2004-2006 Osage reform process was just such an event. By focusing on what is being









negotiated, rather than making generalizations about what "is," the Osage reform process allows

for a study of the Osage that avoids creating a homogenized and timeless picture. I work to

understand the continuous production and negotiation of these categories. In doing so, my goal

is to open up possibilities for an Osage future, rather than to foreclose a future by defining the

Osage as encapsulated in a static past.

Timeline

In an interview I conducted with Osage Chief Jim Gray shortly after the passage of HR

2912 (a US law recognizing the Osage' inherent right to determine their own membership and

form of government), he explained how this law developed. During the 2002 OTC election,

several of the candidates, including Gray, ran on a platform of changing the requirements for

membership in the Osage Nation. When those running on this membership platform were

elected for the next four-year term, the new tribal council felt it had a mandate to reform

membership. They held community meetings and ultimately lobbied Congress for a bill that

would not only allow for membership reform, but also reforms in the structure of government

(Personal communication, December 29, 2004).

In February 2005, the OTC created the ten-member reform commission and set them the

task of determining what changes the Osage people wanted for membership and government

structure. Leonard Maker, the Head of Planning for the Osage Tribe, had spent the previous year

developing a reform plan, which was to be implemented once the bill was passed. According to

the Comprehensive Plan created by Maker and established as an ordinance by the OTC, the

OGRC were responsible for: holding a series of community meetings; creating a webpage;

circulating mailings in order to obtain citizen involvement; creating a questionnaire representing

the information gathered from the public; and, then drafting a constitution that represented the

majority opinions as expressed in the questionnaire. While the reform commission completed all









of these assignments, they also added a referendum1 election in November 2005 because they

did not feel they had enough information from the questionnaire to draft a constitution. The final

vote of the Constitution was held in March 2006, and elections to the new government were held

in June.

Evidence Collected

From May 2005 until August 2006, I attended and video-recorded the weekly OGRC

meetings as well as the bi-weekly OTC meetings. During this time, I also recorded 71 interviews

with various people of Osage descent, including members of the OTC and OGRC, about what

they wanted from the reform process as well as how they thought about the process.

Additionally, the OGRC held 42 community meetings at various places on the reservation, in

nearby cities, and in Texas and California, where Osage gave their opinions about what kind of

government the Nation should have, how citizenship ought to be determined, and the problems

they had with the reform process. I attended and recorded 34 of those meetings as well as talked

informally with people about the reform process. I also attended and recorded five of the

monthly meetings held by the Osage Shareholders Association, where many of the complaints

associated with the reform process were articulated. Even when recording these meetings and

interviews, I took extensive notes so that I might better understand the context in which these

conversations were taking place.

The Internet also provided a central tool for following the reform process. On a weekly

basis, I read and recorded the extensive information posted online through the Osage


1 While the election was called a referendum, its purpose was to allow people to agree or disagree with a series of
options. The issues ranged from membership qualifications to the structure of the government. All of the options
were supported by over 78 percent of the voters. Four of the questions presented two options, all of which had clear
victories except question 8, which was slit 48.4percent to 51.6 percent. This was the only question that was not
directly incorporated from the referendum vote into the final constitution. See appendix-c for a breakdown of the
referendum vote.









Government Reform website, the Osage Shareholder website, and several other sites that had

space devoted to the Osage reform process. I have continued to monitor these online forums for

discussions on the reform process, which is still actively being debated over a year later. In

order to provide a background to the reform process, I also completed extensive archival

research at the White Hair Memorial Research Center and Tulsa University. I spent additional

time in Oklahoma working with the Osage Language Department, the Osage Education

Department, and the Osage Tribal Museum. These spaces provided an important backdrop to the

reform process and offered alternative perspectives concerning the reform.

Approach to Writing

Mincing Words

Within the literature on American Indian communities, anthropological or other, there has

been a long-standing debate about terminology. The term "Native American" arose as a reaction

to the term Indian, which was seen as a colonial word beginning with Columbus' supposed

confusion about landing in India. When at all possible, it is certainly best to use tribally specific

terms such as Osage or Choctaw, but sometimes it is important to refer to larger trends affecting

indigenous people throughout America. I have chosen to use the word Indian, primarily because

it was the word most commonly used within the Osage community. I will also use the word

indigenous, which is beginning to grow in popularity. Similarly, I occasionally use the

designation tribe, although the Osage refer to themselves more and more as the Osage Nation,

because the word tribe is still in common usage. The term "tribal nation" helps to clarify when I

am talking about American Indian nations, rather than nations more generally.

Tense is another common problem with which writers of anthropology frequently have to

deal. Anthropologists have been strongly critiqued for their use of the "ethnographic present,"

the use of the present tense to create synchronic times divorced from change. Present tense has









the ability to freeze cultures within a static time, ignoring changes that are constantly occurring.

For this reason, most of this dissertation is written in past tense. The use of past tense is also

problematic because American Indians have far too frequently been vanished to the past. My

best solution to these problems has been to reference the specific period I am talking about,

namely the 2004-2006 reform process. I will also occasionally switch into present tense in order

to make the point that these are issues that are still important to Osage people today and will

likely remain so into the future.

Because I was using a video camera throughout my research, most of the quotes within this

dissertation are directly from transcriptions made of meetings or interviews. Only occasionally

when I was not recording were the quotes taken from my notes. All quotes from interviews,

meetings, and personal conversations have a date, and the community meetings are also

referenced as to their location. When I am referencing a conversation that either happened

informally or during a formal interview, I refer to it as a personal communication. Even though

most people I interviewed did not request anonymity, I have only used the names of the major,

public governmental figures to avoid any negative consequences that could result from being

quoted.

Anthropology and the North American Indian

The earliest tendencies within anthropology were to collect, purify, and classify. Growing

out of the field of ethnology, with its clear connections to social Darwinism, anthropology's

origins are rooted in the classification of the human races (Baker 1998). Located within driving

distance from American universities and museums, North-American Indian populations were

seen as a central link in understanding the evolution of humans from a state of primitive savagery

to modern civilization. Lewis Henry Morgan's interest in Native American social organization

and ideas of progress inspired the discipline of anthropology. In his book Ancient Society,









Morgan argues that each culture represents a different stage of evolution and can be placed on a

progressive evolutionary scale. For Morgan, every group goes through these various levels of

development, each with its own distinctive mode of subsistence, in order to reach civilization.

As he writes, "with the production of inventions and discoveries, and with the growth of

institutions, the human mind necessarily grew and expanded; and we are led to recognize a

gradual enlargement of the brain itself' (1877: 37). While such an approach clearly challenged

assumptions about the fixed nature of race, it used research with American Indians to prove their

inferiority.

In describing early ethnographers, Leah Dilworth (1996) argues that salvage anthropology

grew out of desire not to save American Indian cultures from extinction, but to promote it.

These ethnographers believed anthropology was a science that could be an agent of social
reform; by observing civilization at earlier stages of its evolution they could understand the
nature of progress and use this knowledge to further the nation's progress. They also felt
their studies would provide answers to the "Indian problem," which after the Civil War,
seemed soluble by either "civilization or extermination" (24)

Dilworth goes on to say that Morgan's ideas of cultural evolution "dovetailed nicely with notions

of assimilation; it made the process of civilization seem inevitable and natural" (27). Through

their research, these early ethnographers argued that American Indians were capable of being

civilized, which was then used as a justification for allotment and other devastating federal

programs. Anthropologists went about proving their hierarchies through the collection of

thousands of pounds of American Indian material culture and thousands of pages of kinship

charts, grammatical structures, and taxonomic descriptions of ceremonies. The goal was to

create a record of these practices before they were gone, because even though the culture was

assumed to be inferior, its study was seen as central to understanding modem civilization.

One consequence of this search for material to be categorized as authentically primitive

was that early anthropologists frequently missed the political realities that were being negotiated









at the time of their research. In describing the work done among the Hopi in the late 19th

century, Dilworth (1996) argues that even though complex debates about allotment that were

taking place they were generally absent from early anthropological accounts. "Even though

ethnographers were working at Hopi amidst these political and social conflicts, this information

was, for the most part, absent from Fewkes's and other ethnographic accounts... These scientists

were interested in the essential Hopi... they were interested in formulating theories about

humanity as a whole" (29-30). Instead of focusing on lived experience, these early

anthropologists were interested in snippets of culture that could be collected and then displayed

(through books or exhibits) as part of their argument for the existence of a hierarchical schema.

An early example of how collection and classification was put to use is the World's

Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. Following the lead of a series of expositions

starting in 1851, the Columbian Exposition set out to show the "natural conditions" of all the

people inhabiting America before Columbus arrived, and to promote the spread of humanity and

civilization across the continent (Hinsley 1991: 347). The goal of the organizers, including

anthropologists, was to "establish a baseline against which to measure civilized progress"

(Hinsley 1991: 350). For Marilyn Ivy (1995), 'being modern' often requires this "emergence of

'tradition," because "progressive history" has to be measured against some sort of background

(5). Further, the 'modern' concept of the nation-state also requires such a baseline. As Benedict

Anderson writes in Imagined Communities (1983), "If nation-states are widely conceded to be

'new' and 'historical,' the nations to which they give political expression always loom out of the

immemorial past" (11-12). In the case of the Columbian Exposition, the United States was a

young country and thus needed to connect itself with an immemorial past, something the

historically located 'native' was made to provide.









The organizers of the Columbian Exposition, however, did not stop with the creation of

this pristine native. They also turned this 'native' into an object for 'modern' consumption. In

setting up the exposition, for example, it became crucial to demarcate the visitor from the

performer with a physical boundary, because it was felt that "where the gaze can be returned,

specular commerce becomes uneasy" (Hinsley 1991: 358). For Hinsley, this detachment was

further strengthened by the payment of an admission fee. "The process of commodification,"

Hinsley argues, "rested on the premise that at the bottom everything is for sale and everyone has

a price-that the world, no matter how bizarre, is reducible to cash terms" (1991: 362). By

creating the 'natives' as static in time and making them into a commodity, the organizers of the

fair established objectification as a potent way of dealing with other cultures.

This objectification was extremely potent in shaping not only the imaginations of the

American people, but also the policies of the federal government toward American Indian

populations (not to mention the parallel processes occurring with African Americans and other

"non-whites"). In talking about the three "founding fathers" of American anthropology,

including Daniel Brinton (1837-1899), John Wesley Powell (1834-1902), and Frederic Ward

Putnam (1839-1915), Lee Baker (1998) argues, "Each of these men articulated an evolutionary

paradigm imbued with ideas of progress and racial inferiority. In turn, politicians and others

within specific institutions used these or similar ideas to justify the oppression of people of

color" (52-53). For American Indians, this era of the founding of anthropology was closely

linked to the federal government's policies of allotment, termination, and assimilation (forced

education, the criminalization of religious and cultural practices, and the onslaught of

missionaries within their territories). For the Osage, this period involved the loss of over a

hundred million acres of land, the destruction of two governing systems, and a complete change









in lifestyle with the imposition of allotment. There is no doubt that early anthropologists played

an importa nt role in the colonial oppression of American Indian peoples, both by ignoring

oppressive policies in their writings as well as by offering justification for federal policies

through their salvage techniques and evolutionary classification systems.

In the early twentieth century, as anthropologists began to take a more critical stance

toward cultural evolution and the hierarchies of early anthropology, they tended to embrace

cultural relativism. Thomas Biolsi (1997) describes Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Edward

Sapir's version of relativism as "'intergrationist' relativism." "In this view, a culture is an

integrated, coherent whole, which is greater than the various shreds and patches that make up its

parts. Furthermore, the world is filled with an array of distinct cultures, with discrete

boundaries, not unlike species" (Biolsi 1997:136). While this approach allowed anthropologists

to move away from racial hierarchies, it was still dependent on the problematic approach of

classification. If there were boundaries around a culture, then there were also points at which

cultures ceased to be coherent and thus became inauthentic. In discussing the work of

anthropologist Haviland Mekeel (1902-1947) among the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge

reservation, Biolsi argues that just such a problem developed: "The cultural relativist apparatus

generated a severe classificatory problem for Mekeel in which most Oglala people and most of

what they thought and did in the real world of the reservation could not appear authentically

Indian" (136). Instead of trying to understand the complex realities that were being negotiated

within the colonial situation, Mekeel and other anthropologists attempted to purify and

categorize. By searching for the least polluted group (i.e. the group that had had the least contact

with white people or culture), these anthropologists not only reinforced very particular images of









what it was that constituted an Indian, but also worked with government agencies to force these

ideas back onto Indian populations, through citizenship criteria and/or governmental structure.

Mekeel, for example, was hired by the Applied Anthropology Unit of the Office of Indian

Affairs (OIA) in 1935 to help draft tribal constitutions for the Pine Ridge and Rosebud

reservations under the provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act. As Biolsi explains, "Mekeel

and the superintendent insisted that the tiyospaye was the only appropriate form of political

organization for the Lakota, and that other units of organization-those being demanded by

many Lakotas, for instance represented inappropriate forms resulting from the effects of

reservation life and the breakdown of aboriginal organization (1997: 149). Ignoring not only the

requests of the indigenous populations, but also important preexisting arrangements within the

Treaty of 1868, these constitutions gave substantive shape to anthropological desires to purify

the people they encountered into their models of the primitive past. As Biolsi notes, "Thus did a

powerful anthropological vision of the primitive help construct, not just an idea about the Lakota,

but one of the very real, very material, colonial structures through which the Lakota would be

allowed to be Lakota in twentieth-century American their official tribal government."

Ultimately, these desires by early anthropologists to collect, purify, and to classify have had real

and devastating impacts on American Indian populations.

Reacting to these unsatisfying encounters with anthropologists, American Indian

communities began closing their doors. In 1970 Vine Deloria, Jr wrote:

Behind each policy and program with which Indians are plagued, if traced completely back
to its origin, stands the anthropologist. The fundamental thesis of the anthropologist is that
people are then considered objects for experimentation, for manipulation, and for eventual
extinction... Not even Indians can relate themselves to this type of creature who, to the
anthropologists, is the "real" Indian. Indian people begin to feel that they are merely
shadows of a mythical super-Indian. [81-82]









Within this passage, Deloria brings up three central issues with the role anthropologists have too

often played in the lives of American Indian people. The anthropologist's research not only

objectifies the Indian, but is also responsible for programs that have aided the federal

government in their colonial project to control, transform and eventually annihilate Indian

populations. Additionally, anthropologists have used their tools of collection, purification, and

generalization to create a "mythical super-Indian," which not only does not exist, but also makes

many Indian people feel inauthentic.

In the last thirty years, anthropologists have increasingly responded to these critiques,

moving away from the insistence on purification and categorization toward understanding the

complex dynamics at work within current Indian communities. Instead of trying to purify the

people and situations in which they come into contact, recent anthropologists have attempted to

understand issues that are important to Indian populations. Thomas Biolsi and Larry

Zimmerman's 1997 edited volume Indians and Anthropologists: Vine Deloria Jr., and the

Critique ofAnthropology investigated various anthropologists' response to Deloria's critiques.

In their introduction, Biolsi and Zimmerman argue, "What will ultimately be required for us

[Indians and Anthropologists] to get along is not new theories, paradigms, discourses, or texts

(no matter how critical they might be), nor new sensitivities and ethical stances on the part of

anthropologists (no matter how progressive they might be), but a change in the social relations of

scholarly production within the academy" (17). By this, Biolsi and Zimmerman mean that

research should stop reflecting the agendas of the establishment (whether that be the federal

government, academia, or the colonial project more generally) and to start building collaborative

relationships with indigenous communities that engage the issues these communities find of

central importance today.









As Biolsi and Zimmerman point out, this is not a simple project. In addition to a shift in

focus, a significant change would also require a modification of institutional protocol: "To

change the content of what anthropologists do, we will have to develop new criteria of promotion

and tenure, for example, in which outreach and service to American Indian constituencies count

as much, if not more than, traditional scholarship" (1997:17). Another component Biolsi and

Zimmerman cite as central to moving away from the colonial relationship between American

Indians and anthropologists is the structural change in the relationship that keeps American

Indians outside of academia. In the ten years since this publication, this structural relationship

has slowly begun to change. More and more North American Indians are entering academia,

gaining training in anthropology, and writing on issues of central importance to their own

communities. Audra Simpson and Valerie Lambert are two central examples.

Simpson works with the Kahnawake Mohawk focusing on narratives of self, home, and

nation. She writes, "The culture and issues of native peoples can best be examined in terms of

the lived experience of nationhood. In order to appreciate that experience, one must take account

of the shared set of meanings that are negotiated through narrations--through the voices and

structural conditions that constitute selfhood" (2000: 126). Rather than attempting to categorize

Kahnawake practices into bite size chunks or purify Kahnawake culture down to some

fundamental essence, Simpson focuses on a plurality of experiences and narrations. She

analyzes the "utterances, conversations and discourses that work in concert to shape the

collective fate of the community and enable forms of recognition and membership i/ i/hi/ the

polity of Kahnawake" (2003: 11). Instead of ignoring the ways in which settler state politics are

at work within the lives of Kahnawake people, Simpson understands these colonial politics as a

crucial, although hardly all determining, aspect of her research. Rather than seeing Kahnawake









identity as something that simply is, Simpson works to understand the various local and colonial

factors involved in these negotiated processes of internal and external recognition.

In a similar vein, Lambert focuses on the "ways by which living Choctaws are exercising

Choctaw tribal sovereignty" (2007: 15). In order to do this she looks at how tribal history, local

political movements, economic development, election politics, race, identity, and relationships

with the state of Oklahoma and the federal government are all interwoven within the daily

practice of Choctaw sovereignty. Like Simpson, she refuses to freeze Choctaw identity or

nationhood as something static, but instead understands them as "sufficiently flexible and

polysemous that they can be selected, assembled, and deployed in different ways and with

different meanings at different points in time... [They] are not fixed, but are best understood as

claims that are negotiated and renegotiated, institutionalized and reinstitutionalized, over time"

(2007: 10). By shifting the focus from purified culture to contested politics, both Lambert and

Simpson avoid many of the shortcomings found within earlier anthropological studies of the

American Indian. Instead of ignoring the issues of central importance to indigenous people

today, both Lambert and Simpson meet these issues head on. These two authors thus provide a

central orientation for my treatment of the Osage.

Political Anthropology

Because of these early approaches, anthropologists and political scientists have been slow

to recognize American Indian populations as having sophisticated political structures, much less

the status of nations (Mair 1977). Reacting to these histories, Simpson (2000) makes the

argument that, "much like the nationhood of western states (which we will take to be the analytic

norm and proceed to problematise), the nationhood of indigenous peoples is made from the bare

parts of consciousness and history. However, unlike the nationhood of western states, the

nationhood of indigenous peoples has been bifurcated and disassembled with global processes of









colonization" (116). Simpson, unlike earlier political anthropologists engaging indigenous

populations, sees the nation not as a category that groups either do or do not fit within, but

instead recognizes the importance of the discourses active within the communities themselves.

Various people across the world now refer to themselves as nations, even when they exist within

larger nation-state systems such as the United States and Canada. Denying that these groups fit

some category of the nation-state does not help us understand this phenomenon better. Instead,

Simpson outlines a productive approach to the nation, arguing that it is "a collectively self-

conscious, deliberate and politically expedient formulation and a lived phenomenon" (2000:

118).

Within the field of political anthropology, there has been a recent move toward

understanding governmental formations less in terms of defining political institutions, creating

concrete categories, or labeling regime shifts. Political anthropologists are moving away from

defining the boundaries around terms such at the nation and instead focusing on the "local

meanings, circulating discourses, multiple contestations, and changing forms of power" (Palay

2002: 469). In this way, Julia Paley (2002), Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer (1985), and

William Roseberry (1994) have called for a political anthropology that sees governments as

enacting a form of power that is "not a shared ideology but a common material and meaningful

framework for living through, talking about and acting upon social orders characterized by

domination" (Roseberry 1994: 361). Rather than seeing the nation as a particular set of political

practices, this approach focuses on the processes at work within governing institutions. I build

upon this approach to political processes by examining the Osage constitutional reform as a

moment in which local debates about power are negotiated through particular limiting









discourses, including U.S. governmental policies, differing local understandings, and conflicting

ideas about history, biology, and relation.

Duncan Ivison, Paul Patton and Will Sanders (2000) explicitly explore the relationship

between political theory and the rights of indigenous people. Rather than creating a static

definition of sovereignty involving its connection to the nation-state system, these authors

attempt to understand how the concept of sovereignty is being mobilized within indigenous

communities, a subject I explore at length when asking how the Osage envision sovereignty.

Ultimately, these authors argue for "a more context-sensitive and multilayered approach to

questions of justice, identity, democracy and sovereignty. The result would be a political theory

open to new modes of cultural and political belonging" (21). Rather than making assumptions

about colonial politics or what has been "forced" on indigenous populations, this perspective

provides another alternative: focusing on political belonging in the making. By looking in depth

at government building among the Osage, it is possible to understand the complexities involved

in questions of politics and justice in Native North American today.

Lambert (2007) also provides an important approach to political anthropology among

indigenous groups. Arguing against the work of political theorist Ernest Gellner, Lambert

discusses how nation-building projects are not necessarily homogenizing. She recognizes that

for the Choctaw there were some limited homogenizing effects, but there is also a process of

pluralization at work: "While exploring ethnographically a set of key principles of informal

Choctaw political organization, I identify and describe the production of difference that emerged

during and through the tribal electoral process" (Lambert 2007: 13). Specifically, she looks at

how the election created three dividing lines among the Choctaw, including employment by the

tribe, residence within the reservation territory, and a blood quantum. Similarly, I explore the









limitations within Gellner's traditional thesis of homogenization, arguing that the Osage Nation-

building process maintained and strengthened older divisions among the Osage, including the

shareholder/non-shareholder and blood based divisions as well as worked to create new divides

between those supporting and not supporting the 2006 constitution.

Science Studies

The third body of literature I draw from is science studies. While only a small part of my

dissertation includes the study of science, these approaches underpin my entire research project.

Scholars such as Joseph Dumit (1997), Sarah Franklin (1997), Donna Haraway (1997), and

Bruno Latour (2000) have resisted the notion of the "ideal witness," constructed within western

scientific discourse as objective, neutral, and thus invisible. Instead of trying to discover an

ultimate "Truth," these authors create new ethnographies that use variously situated perspectives

in order to expose the boundaries that get made around nature, culture, objects, subjects, and

science. These authors work against the traditional approach of discovering what "is" and

instead attempt to trace out the ways in which realities take shape.

Franklin (1997), for example, uses this approach to understand the desires surrounding in-

vitro fertilization (IVF) in England. Franklin uses variously situated perspectives such as

historical accounts of conception, interviews with women from Britain during the Thatcher

period, debates in the British Parliament, and popular media representations to show how hopes

for a naturalized family become intertwined with conceptions of scientific progress, Darwinian

understandings of nature, consumerist technology, and patriotic perceptions of citizenship. Like

most of the theorists within science studies, she is careful not to write off these technologies as

either all good or all bad, but presents these discourses as heavily embedded within a complex

network of desires. By looking at the various discourses in which these discourses are put to

work, Franklin is better able to understand how "realities in the making" are taking shape around









IVF. Similarly, I combine personal discussions, message board postings, newspaper articles,

Osage legislation, community meetings, formal interviews, court rulings, Oklahoma regulations,

origin stories, competing histories, biological 'facts,' and participant observations during the

writing of the 2006 Osage constitution in order to understand the interlinking process

surrounding indigenous nation-building in the 21st century.

Joseph Dumit's approach to science studies has also greatly shaped both the kinds of

questions my research asked and how I present my written representation of nation-building

among the Osage. In particular, I have been influenced by his understanding of "objective self-

fashioning," the process whereby "we take facts about ourselves-about our bodies, minds,

capacities, traits, states, limitations, propensities, etc.-that we have read, heard, or otherwise

encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives" (1997: 89). This understanding of

identity allows me to witness the ways in which the facts surrounding sovereignty and biology

"never travel alone," but are laden with stories, experiences, authorities, and definitions of

human nature. Throughout, I build on Dumit's ideas about self-fashioning to better understand

the ways in which various Osage made sense of self and nation during the 2004-2006 Osage

reform process.

Bruno Latour also contributes significantly to the field of science studies and my approach

to anthropology. In one publication, he writes about how it became possible for Ramses II to be

diagnosed with tuberculosis three thousand years after his death, when the disease was only

discovered as existing in the 19th century. Latour (2000) writes, "Koch bacillus can be extended

into the past to be sure...but this cannot be done at no cost. To allow for such an extension,

some work has to be done, especially some laboratory work. The mummy has to be brought into

contact with a hospital, examined by white-coat specialists under floodlights, the lungs X-rayed,









bones sterilized with cobalt 60, and so on" (249). What Latour points out as interesting about the

diagnosis of the Ramses II's body is not so much that it is a rewriting of history to match present

scientific understandings, but that there is a host of apparatuses and concepts that must be

utilized in order for this to happen. In other words, the 'facts' of tuberculosis can't exist without

these technologies, and these technologies cannot travel back in time. "For technology," Latour

points out, "objects never escape the conditions of their production" (2000: 250).

This approach allows me to better investigate the biological elements of Osage citizenship.

Rather than seeing blood as simply a bodily substance, I view it as an institution. As Latour goes

on to say, "When a phenomenon 'definitely' exists this does not mean that it exists forever, or

independently of all practice and discipline, but that it has been entrenched in a costly and

massive institution that has to be monitored and protected with great care" (255 emphasis

added). These institutions are anything but static, for there are many forces that must constantly

work to maintain them as realities.

This study, then, is about the mapping of various institutions including: colonialism, Euro-

American blood, Osage blood, sovereignty, and community based reform. I investigate each of

these institutions by looking at the various ways in which they were talked about, the various

objects, subjects, and histories that were brought into these debates, and how they manifested

within the 2006 Osage Constitution. Within each chapter, I inquire into one of these institutions,

examining the forces that go into its maintenance, those that are trying rework it or completely

tear it apart, and perhaps most importantly, how these institutions were being circulated during

the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Like Haraway's diffraction, science studies provides an

approach to American Indian studies that does not take categories for granted, but instead

follows the ways in which they are created and negotiated.









Histories, Citizenships and Sovereignties

In order to examine nation-building among the Osage, I investigate the debates about

history, citizenship, and sovereignty that surrounded the 2004-2006 Osage reform process.

Central to this story are the obstacles that colonialism imposes as well as the difficulties faced

within community-based reform efforts. Chapter Two focuses on how the Osage have

negotiated their colonial relationship with the United States government and examines how

various Osage have dealt with the colonial process. While some people have become afraid of

change because of its connection to the federal government's policy of termination, others have

continued to embrace earlier ideas of "moving to a new country." For these latter Osage, even

drastic change is seen as something inherently part of what it means to be Osage, rather than

something that destroys Osage identity. In looking at these debates about change, this chapter

focuses on the colonial histories that are told about the Osage, how these histories were discussed

during the reform process, and ultimately how these histories are negotiated in order to fashion

particular Osage identities. It becomes clear that various histories were mobilized throughout the

reform process in order to argue for very specific ideas of what the future of the Osage nation

should entail.

Chapter Three lays the foundation for my discussion of Osage citizenship and blood-based

ideas about belonging. In addition to focusing on many of the central debates about citizenship

during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, this chapter also takes an in-depth look into the

histories surrounding blood within Euro-American understandings of race and biology. Through

the circulation of racial notions in science, literature, and federal policy, some Osage have

internalized race-based classification systems, even as they turned these systems on their head.

Rather than devaluing Osage blood, these colonial understandings of race are used by some

Osage as a way of asserting their own authority to claim Osage identity and others' lack of









authority. Within these assertions about the importance of blood is certainly an element of

colonial-based fear. Without these racial markings, some Osage fear that the federal government

will cease to recognize them as Indians. This chapter speaks to the power of colonial discourses

as well as the Osage power to rework these discourses, empowering themselves and their own

ideas about what constitutes an Osage.

The discussions I present in Chapter Four further complicate the more over-determined

elements of Euro-American notions of blood. Rather than merely inverting the racial hierarchy,

many Osage completely reworked blood as a means to create a connection among the Osage,

rather than as a means to exclude. By investigating the specific histories surrounding Osage

adoption and Osage understandings of blood, this chapter explores the racial undertones within

discussions of blood. Rather than defining citizenship by residence within a defined territory,

Osage blood-based understandings of connection allow for a more inclusive approach to

determine belonging. Ultimately, the very act of having to create such strict ideas of what it is

that constitutes a citizen illustrates the power of the current world system, with its insistence on

strictly defined nations and populations.

Within Chapter Five I will provide insight into the larger context in which the Osage

reform process took place. Debates about sovereignty were central to the reform process along

with other negotiations taking place about how the government and the citizenship criteria would

be structured, and they will continue to be a central aspect of Osage nation-building. I

investigate both the concept of sovereignty itself, some aspects of its history, and how the Osage

were using it during the first part of the 2lst century. Rather than the exclusive or even supreme

authority to control everything within a territory, Osage and other American Indians are now

fighting for what can better be understood as layered sovereignties. While some people might









find the term layered authority to be more appropriate, in this chapter I illustrate the historical

reasons the term sovereignty has become so important. I then examine negotiations between the

Osage Nation and the State of Oklahoma, in which this sovereignty was being determined. The

debates about tobacco compacting with the State of Oklahoma provide an important illustration

of the processual nature of American Indian sovereignty today. I conclude with an investigation

into how the 2006 Osage Constitution addresses issues of sovereignty and some of the immediate

backlashes from non-Osage to these claims to authority within the Osage reservation after the

passage of the Constitution. These investigations reveal that Osage claims to sovereignty are no

different from any other claim to sovereignty across the globe. Sovereignty is always a

negotiated process.

Chapter Six addresses the problems that developed during the Osage community-led

government reform process. In addition to talking about the structure of the 2004-2006 Osage

reform process and the major complaints voiced about the process, the largest challenge to

community-based reform is that it is inherently political. Those who had the most to gain,

including myself, supported the process, while those who had the most to lose, primarily

members of the Osage Shareholders Association, tried hard to stop the process. While there

were other forces at work, it is clear that many of those who do not support the current

administration also do not support the 2006 Constitution. It is also evident that no reform

process is ever complete, that these matters will continue to be negotiated among the Osage.

This dissertation is ultimately about a particular moment in the colonial relationship

between the Osage and the U.S. government. After a hundred years, the Osage have once again

asserted, and had acknowledged, their right to determine their own citizenship and form of

government. In order to understand the various forces at work within this moment, I have









outlined a range of histories. These histories include stories of Osage governmental

organization, colonial relations, federal policies, blood, adoption, citizenship, sovereignty,

reform, and, perhaps most tenaciously, negotiation. I have also paid particular attention to the

ways in which various Osage were talking about the reform, what it meant to them, and what

they envisioned for the future of the Osage Nation. Central to my story are the uneven ways in

which the Osage people have interacted with the colonial process. Some Osage feared this

change, worrying that it was just the latest attempt to destroy the mineral estate, which they

viewed as the fundamental core of the Osage. Others were hesitant, worrying that a hundred

years of colonial control had rendered the Osage no longer fully capable of self-management.

Still other Osage saw this moment as one of the great "moves to a new country," signally that

change for the better was on its way.

Through this study I offer anthropology, political science, and American Indian studies

several lessons. Perhaps most importantly, this study acknowledges the uneven nature of the

colonial relationship as well as the lack of uniformity within American Indian populations.

Rather than viewing either the colonial process or the Osage themselves as fixed objects of

study, I have built on recent work within science studies to better understand the complex ways

in which circulating knowledge works to reinforce and break apart various power structures. I

have studied the ways in which different people talk about Osage history, citizenship,

sovereignty, and governmental reform in order to better understand the many forces at work

within this particular colonial moment. Rather than viewing anthropology's goal as the

collection of facts about the way things are, I see anthropology as providing key insight into how

things are negotiated. My approach refuses to freeze the Osage, or the colonial relationship, as

something static and thus works to open up possibilities for an Osage future.









CHAPTER 2
MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRY: NEGOTIATING COLONIAL LIMITATIONS

In fact only a few basic stories are told, over and over, about Native Americans and other
"tribal" peoples. These societies are always either dying or surviving, assimilating or
resisting... Their history was a series of cultural and political transactions, not all-or-
nothing conversions or resistances. [Clifford 1988]

In the United States, the colonial process has primarily involved a series of attempts by the

United States government to absorb indigenous populations under its supreme authority. In

telling various Osage stories of colonialism, however, it becomes apparent that this was and

continues to be a negotiated process. By investigating the limitations colonialism imposes on the

Osage, as well as the possibilities it enables, it is easy to see how this process is far from

uniform, but instead contains many creative maneuverings. Of central importance to this story is

the way in which the Osage's older governing practices were rendered unfamiliar to the Osage

population through the imposition of a tribal council structure of government. However, this is

not a story about "the colonized," but rather the continuing, complex and uneven negotiations

that have taken place between various Osage and the United States government.

One of the most telling results of the colonial process can be seen within the decision to

include almost no Osage cultural practices, either current or historical, into the 2006 Osage

constitution. For many Osage, keeping this culture separate from the governing institution is a

way of keeping it safe from the influence of politics. Furthermore, because the Osage have been

under a foreign governing institution for over 100 years, it no longer made sense to connect

Osage cultural practices and governance. Another central aspect of the continuing colonial

process is the way in which the Osage Mineral Estate has come to be seen by some as a sacred

institution, whose quarterly payment checks and administration were at times given more

thought than the structure of the Osage government itself. Finally, while some Osage embrace

change as a central element of Osage identity, others have come to fear change, because of its









connections to the federal government threats of ending Osage recognition. Only after outlining

Osage history is it possible to understand how these various responses created very specific

arguments about the shape of the Osage governing institutions during the 2004-2006 Osage

reform process.

Separation of Culture and the State

The Osage people, calling themselves Ni-U-Ko'n-Ska, or Children of the Middle Waters,

had various smaller and larger levels at which governance took place. Using the extensive

writings of Francis La Flesche, a member of the Omaha tribe who did research on the Osage

around the turn of the 20th century, Garrick A. Bailey (1995) pieced together a picture of Osage

cosmology and tribal organization. Although the Osage first encountered Europeans in 1541,

Bailey argues that it was not until the mid 19th century that their social and religious structure

was changed radically by the colonial process. Thus, in the early 20th century when La Flesche

interviewed Osage, he was able to talk to many people who had reached adulthood under the

system that had been in place immediately prior to full colonialization.

Bailey argues that early in Osage history a group of tribal advisors, referred to here and

elsewhere as "the Little Old Men," gathered together to observe and reason out the structure of

the cosmos. When they felt secure in their observations, they organized the various Osage

people into a model of the cosmos with twenty-four u-dse-the/fireplaces, or clans, representing

the spectrum of life symbols, which included animals, plants, celestial bodies and other

occurrences such as storms and thunder. Each of these clans was divided into smaller bands as

well as grouped together into two groups, the Earth people (Hun-kah) and the Sky people (Tzi-

zho). "Collectively all twenty-four clans, through their life symbols, symbolically represented the

cosmos in all its diversity" (Bailey 1995: 40).









During the 2004-2006 Osage government reform process, this Osage history, as outlined in

Bailey's book and also told in oral histories, occasionally surfaced as a possible model for what

the Osage Nation could become. A bill reaffirming the "inherent sovereign rights of the Osage

Tribe to determine its own membership and form of government" (Public Law 108-431) passed

both federal houses and was signed into law in December of 2004. This left the Osage Tribal

Council, as the acting government of the Osage Nation, with the job of creating a process for

reform1. Because they were already occupied with the general operations of the tribe (signing

mineral leases, overseeing several multi-million dollar casinos, and running health, housing,

language and education programs), they decided to create the Osage Government Reform

Commission (OGRC) to oversee the reform process. The OTC appointed ten people as

commissioners, all of whom ended up being headright holders, with the goal to "provide a means

through which the Osage People will establish a government that reflects the will of the Osage

People" (Osage Government Reform Project Comprehensive Plan February 21: 2005: 8).

Early in the reform process, the OGRC gathered at Tulsa University for a training session

on Indian governance and law, sponsored by the TU Indian Law program. During the training,

one of the TU lawyers asked,

How important are the clans, the Great people and Little people? How important are these
things to your new government? Should a traditional chief be brought back? We get
taught to think in terms of three branches (what the rules are, if they are followed, and who
mediates the situation when they are not). Maybe this history is useful, maybe it is not.
How much of this are you going to carry into the future? Different tribes are doing
different things. How much tradition of the Osage must be taken into the future for the
betterment of the Osage Nation? [TU Training May 19t, 2005]

Addressing these questions, one of the Osage reform commissioners went to the blackboard at

the front of the room, saying that she had studied the traditional government through the writings


1 The OTC could have easily ignored the Public Law, especially since implementing reform meant they would be
putting themselves out of business as the primary Osage government.









of Bailey as well as through members of her own family for 25 years. She drew two half circles

on the board with the sky people on top and the earth people on bottom. She explained that they

each had their own high chief and lesser chiefs. She continued by saying that part of the

governance structure involved a large gathering in the Fall. "So they gather; they begin to fast

and pray. And they come out of this lodge here [pointing to the blackboard] and they begin to

dance on this side like this [Sky]; and on this side [Earth] they dance like this. They meet in the

middle. They do that for four days from sun up to sun down. They never sing the same song

twice. They've got four days of memorized songs and each clan would have their own" (TU

Training May 19th, 2005).

The commissioner went on to explain that it was only possible for this event to take place

if all the clans were there and they each sang their own songs, which only they knew. If there

was any disharmony in the tribe, they had to work it out beforehand. She concluded by saying,

You had to forgive and have restitution all the time. This translates to me into two houses,
government houses. It would bring in custom and tradition if we had a new government
that had both the sky and the earth people involved and in the villages. That was the band
people. So we know enough of our traditional customs to know how maybe to put this
together. I don't know that anybody would want it like that or not, but each one could
have representatives from these two sides. [TU Training: May 19t, 2005]

By the end of the process, however, it was clear that few other people had concrete ideas as to

how an Osage governing document could incorporate these ancient practices or particular Osage

customs. Furthermore, many people argued against the inclusion of any Osage cultural practices

because they felt that they needed to remain separate from the government.

About six months into the reform process, a questionnaire was circulated to all Osage who

had current contact information listed with the Tribe. Over thirteen hundred Osage returned the

questionnaire with approximately 500 suggestions to the question of how Osage culture could be

incorporated into the new governing document. Some of the questionnaire responses rejected the









idea that the governing document should include culture at all. One person wrote, "It shouldn't.

Osage culture should be maintained and transferred by the people themselves. If you need a

governing document to tell you how to be Osage, you've waited too late to take care of your

culture." Another person responded, "Osage culture has done well without being incorporated

into a governing document. Keep it separated, independent." These and other vocal Osage

argued adamantly that the new Osage governing document should be completely separate from

tribal culture, and particularly separate from older tribal practices such as the clan system. The

other questionnaire responses focused mostly on how the new government structure needed to

ensure that language and cultural practices were "preserved" and "supported," by the new

government, but few responses suggested any sort of inclusion of these practices within the

constitution.

The one exception to this was an Elders Council. The 1994 Osage Constitution2 had

included a council of elders, which was to "serve in an advisory capacity to the Osage National

Council on matters pertaining to cultural, historical, and traditional activities of the Osage

people" (Constitution of the Osage Nation 1994: 12). This Elders Council had been partially

modeled after the "Little Old Men" discussed in oral traditions. This council of elders was

referred to eight times within the questionnaire and about the same number of times during

community meetings. However, even within these calls there was frequently still a desire to

keep the government and culture separate. As the only person who expanded on their ideas

about an Elders Council wrote on their questionnaire, "The government should not have anything

to do with the preservation of the culture. It should be preserved by a council of elders, who


2 From 1994 until 1997 the Osage operated a Constitution created from the court case Fletcher v. United States,
where Judge James O. Ellison mandated a constitutional referendum process. The Tenth Circuit United States Court
of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, overturned this constitution arguing that Ellison's mandate had violated the
sovereign immunity of the Osage Tribal Council.









direct the government on cultural issues. Anyone on the culture commission would not serve in

government."

Outside the questionnaire, many Osage expressed similar concerns regarding the

incorporation of older Osage practices into the new governing system. Central to these concerns

was the desire to keep politics outside cultural events such as naming ceremonies and the yearly

dances, which had their own means for determining authority. Many of the elders3 I talked with

or heard speak during the 2004-2006 reform process wanted to make sure the new government

was not able to meddle in cultural affairs. Several tribal elders argued adamantly against

including anything from the old ways with statements such as, "If you don't know what you are

doing, you could do a great deal of damage. We have an order to everything we do" (Personal

Communication: February 07, 2006).

During the writing retreat in early January 2006, the Osage government reform

commission, its staff, Osage lawyers, and a couple of Osage elders met to turn the year of

community feedback into a constitution. One of the primary issues early on was the way in

which cultural aspects, including an Elders Council, should or should not be included in the

constitution. In the constitutional draft assembled by Hepsi Barnet, the OGRC Coordinator, a

similar Council of Elders was outlined as existed in the 1994 Constitution. In response, one of

the elders told a couple of stories. The first story discussed how when his father had been on the

Tribal Council in the 1950's he had gone to one of the districts to try to help with some problems

that had developed. "Dad went down there and said, is there any way the council can help you?

And he was immediately told, in Osage, to get his rear back to the hill and stay there. We'll take

care of this, they said" (Writing Retreat January 07, 2006). The second point he addressed was

3 Elder here refers not just to age, but those who were leaders in various cultural affairs, i.e. Headman or Whipman
of the I'n Lon Schka Dances.









how, for many traditionalists, it was the cultural aspects that enabled an Osage government and

thus the culture needed to be recognized as above the constitution. "What gives us sovereignty is

our language, our dances, our names, our ways, our customs, our dress, our land, jurisdiction;

that's our sovereignty. Because of that we can create a constitution" (Writing Retreat January 07,

2006). In this way, he argued that the culture needed to be protected from politics. He referred

to the government and the culture as oil and water, and thus in need of constant separation.

Agreeing with him, one of the Osage lawyers said that his father had taught him very

similar things. He went on to suggest that it would be a major problem if the headmen from the

yearly dances wanted to use the Elders Council to become part of the government. "Then you

have an added incentive for that position, people trying to get into that position to get into

government" (Writing Retreat January 07, 2006). Instead the Osage lawyer suggested, "What if

we just said in Section 1 that the government has a duty to promote language and culture... that's

something the government does better than interfering with traditional structures in place"

(Writing Retreat January 07, 2006).

Following these arguments, Article XVI of the 2006 Osage Constitution reads, "The Osage

People have the inherent right to preserve and foster their historic linguistic and cultural

lifeways. The Osage Nation shall protect and promote the language, culture, and traditional

ways of the Osage people" (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 17). Additionally, the Constitution

says, "The first regular congressional session of each year shall be titled the Hun-kah Session

and the second regular congressional session of the year shall be titled the Tzi-zho Session. This

schedule shall be in honor of the ancient moiety division of Earth and Sky and serves to remind

all Osage of the responsibility to bring balance and harmony to the nation" (Osage Nation

Constitution 2006: 5). In 2006, the Osage voters passed a constitution that "honored" these









ancient moiety divisions and worked to "protect and promote the language, culture, and

traditional ways," but did not directly incorporate any of these historical or cultural aspects into

their new governing structure.

In writing about constitutional reform among Indian tribes, the Harvard Project on

American Indian Economic Development argues that having a cultural match is one of three

most critical factors in having an economically successful government. They define cultural

match as "a fit between those governing institutions and indigenous political culture-in short,

the institutions had to match indigenous ideas about how authority should be organized and

exercised; otherwise, it would lack legitimacy with the people being governed and would lose

their trust and allegiance" (Cornell et. all 2004: 7). While this and other aspects of the Harvard

Project were frequently cited during the reform process, including in the May 2005 issue of the

Osage News, this theory did not quite make sense for the Osage, whose primary desire was to

keep cultural practices separate from the governing structure.

One of the reasons given for this separation was a fear that the government would interfere

with the cultural systems in place, which already had well-established means of determining

authority. Another fear was that close association between the two would bring people into the

cultural practices with the wrong reasons. However, to really understand this disconnection

between Osage cultural practices and governance it is central to turn back to Osage history and

the means by which the United States government succeeded in breaking apart older Osage

governing structures from their inlayed cultural practices.

Moving to a New Country

In his seminal book on Osage history, John Joseph Mathews (1961) describes the origin of

the Osage people. He explains that "the newly-arrived-upon-earth children of the sky,

represented by the Wah-Sha-She, the Water People, the sub-Hunkah, the Land People, and the









grand division the Tzi-Sho, the Sky People, came upon the Isolated Earth People, the indigenous

ones" (1961: 53). These four groups decided to come together and form a tribal unit and "were

anxious to lead the Isolated Earth People away from the earth-ugliness of their village, saying

that they were thus taking them to a 'new country'" (1961: 53). As Mathews continues, this was

only the first of many moves to "a new country." "The Little Old Men spoke of these moves as

one might speak of changing camping places, and each organizational step was a step away from

the old, just as they walked away from the disorder of the old campsites..." (Mathews 1961: 53).

As others have noted (Burns 2004, Warrior 2005), these moves were more than geographical

changes in location, but also included changes in governing style, community structure, and

spiritual practices.

Contrary to popular notions that being American Indian means remaining unchanged since

time immemorial, many Osage have pulled on this idea of "moving to a new country" to

describe periods of change. In this way, many Osage make sense of even drastic change as

something inherently part of what it means to be Osage, rather than something that destroys

Osage identity. In talking about the success of the Osage's first written constitution, for

example, Warrior (2005) states, "I would like to suggest, though, that a major part of the answer

lies not with the cultural practices the Osage were learning from outside their culture, but with

the continuation of traditions they had developed over the course of centuries. In adopting their

constitution, in other words, they were "moving to a new country" (74).

The central goal of this chapter is to provide a rendering of Osage history that does not

insist that the Osage Nation exist unchanged. Instead, I will show how the Osage have creatively

maneuvered within the colonial process, avoiding the federal government's efforts to swallow

them completely within the U.S. governing structure. Simultaneously, my story accounts for the









unethical process by which the United States government attempted to subsume the Osage and

the consequences of colonialism on the Osage people. By showing the forces the Osage have

been up against, this is a story of endurance. By affirming the Osage right to be, these stories,

given authority throughout the 2004-2006 Osage reform processes, are ultimately more about an

Osage future than about an Osage past.

In order to understand the process whereby the Osage people were separated from these

older Osage practices, I will next turn to various accounts of how the colonial process unfolded.

In telling this particular story, it becomes evident that the embrace of change through the

continued use of the metaphor of "moving to a new country" is central to understanding the

complexities of the Osage colonial situation. Rather than building an identity on the idea of

maintaining a certain way of life, many Osage have built an identity on their willingness to

embrace change.

Indigenous people are defined by colonizing forces, such as the U.S. federal government,

as those who can prove an unbroken link with the past traditions and cultures of a geographic

area. James Clifford (1988) documents the powerful consequences of such tactics in the Mashpee

Wampanoag 1976 court case, in which the tribe was denied federal recognition because "to

recreate a culture that had been lost was, by definition of the court, inauthentic" (1988: 341).

Importantly, this link to past ways of life is also exactly what the colonial process has been trying

to sever. As Clifford goes on to say,

The Mashpee were trapped by the stories that could be told about them... In fact only a few
basic stories are told, over and over, about Native Americans and other "tribal" peoples.
These societies are always either dying or surviving, assimilating or resisting... Their
history was a series of cultural and political transactions, not all-or-nothing conversions or
resistances. [1988: 342]

In this chapter, my focus is not on conversion or resistance. Instead, I tell a story of uneven, but

continual negotiations between the Osage and various colonizing forces.









Trade Relations and Land Acquisition

The Osage first encountered Europeans, specifically the French, in 1673. According to

historian Willard Rollings (2004), it only took twenty years of contact to fully equip the Osage

with horses and guns, allowing them to control westward trade on the prairie-plains of Arkansas,

Missouri, Kansas, and parts of Oklahoma: "Living along the Arkansas, Missouri, Osage, and

Red Rivers allowed the Osage to severely obstruct French trade into the West and to seriously

limit their western rivals' access to guns and ammunition necessary to counter Osage raids"

(Rollings 2004: 25). By the late 18th century, the Osage not only controlled the trade between

the French and the Western tribes, but also among the different European frontiers (Rollings

2004).

Terry P. Wilson (1985) outlines a very similar story of early contact, adding that it was

their interactions with the French that caused the Osage to greatly escalate their raiding of nearby

tribes. Similar to the story told by Rollings, Wilson continues,

Taking full advantage of their strategic position on the Missouri River, the Osage extracted
from the French, and later the Spanish, anxious expressions of goodwill in the form of gifts
and diplomatic favors. At the same time, they terrorized other tribes with the aid of French
weapons and horses. So frequent became these incursions against neighboring tribes and
depredations on French and Spanish traders and trappers that the Spanish governor in New
Orleans accepted the recommendation of Auguste Chouteau, a French trader, that a fort be
built near the Osage to bring them under control. [1985: 2-3]

According to Wilson, this trading post completed in 1795 did little to stop Osage raiding, but did

succeed in providing the French with enough control over Osage leaders to convince almost half

the Osage to resettle near the Arkansas river, allowing for the easier exchange of trade goods.

Wilson suggests that this split likely "marked the beginning of the end of traditional life for the

Osage" because the tribe was no longer consolidated enough to protect their domain (1985: 5).

In 1803, the American government "purchased" this area from the French as part of the

Louisiana Purchase, and the Osage's trade advantages, and thus authority in the area, was









heavily threatened, particularly with the removal of other Indian groups into Osage territory. As

President Jefferson expanded on Washington's Indian assimilation plans, the first step was to

remove the eastern tribes to west of the Mississippi river, the area controlled by the Osage. As

Rollings describes, "The Osage were the first western tribe sent to Washington by Lewis and

Clark because they occupied and controlled that region just across the Mississippi between the

Missouri and the Red Rivers that was to be the new homeland for those eastern tribes" (2004:

36). After his first meeting with the Osage delegation, Jefferson wrote a letter to the Secretary of

the Navy, Robert Smith.

The Osage arrived day before yesterday; had their first audience yesterday, I will have
another today. They are the finest men we have ever seen. They have not yet learnt the
use of spirituous liquor. We shall endeavor to impress them strongly not only with our
justice and liberality, but with our power and therefore shall send them on to see our
populous cities, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The truth is they are the
great nation South of the Missouri, their possession extending from thence to the Red river,
as the Sioux are great North of that river. With these two nations we must stand well,
because in their quarter we are miserably weak. [Jefferson 1804: Jackson 1978: 200]

From this letter, it is clear that in 1804 the scales of power had yet to tip in the favor of the

new nation of the United States. From Jefferson's speech to the Osage delegation a couple of

days later, it is possible to understand some of the strategies he would use to change the power

dynamic with the Osage: "Our dwellings indeed are very far apart; but not too far to carry

commerce & useful intercourse. You have furs and peltries which we want, and we have clothes

and other useful things which you want...We propose, my children, immediately to establish an

Agent to reside with you, who will speak to you our words, and convey yours to us" (Jefferson

1804: Jackson 1978: 201). The two central aspects of this relationship, as Jefferson outlines

them here, are trade and the establishing of an agent. While the effects of the agents and their

growing authority were still years in the making, the effects of trade with the United States were

realized much sooner.









Jefferson's plan for this area was to increase the numbers of trading posts and to provide

unlimited credit, encouraging Indians to create large debts, which could later be used to acquire

Indian land4. According to Rollings, these efforts only strengthened the Osage, giving them

more trade to control. In 1808, therefore, the territorial governor Meriwether Lewis banned on

all trade with the Osage and ordered the tribe to move to a site on the Missouri river. At this new

site, threatened with war and an end to all trade, two of the three Osage bands were forced to

sign a peace treaty where they ceded fifty thousand square miles of land in exchange for a new

trading post and an annuity of $1,200. By 1814, the United States government was able to

control all trade with the Osage, making the Osage extremely vulnerable to the wishes of the

American government (Rollings 2004).

Control of trade and greater access to guns and horses allowed the American government

to gain the upper hand in negotiations with the Osage in a very short period. According to Burns

(2004), from 1808 until 1839 there were seven treaties under which the Osage lost control over

10,151,718,000 acres. He writes, "These cessions were more than mere yielding of territory.

Along with the cessions went the sacred animals and the responsibility for protecting the land.

Thus each cession weakened the Osage spirit and limited their food base. Dispirited and

undernourished, the Osage were increasingly vulnerable to assaults on their lands and culture"

(2004: 166).

Unlike many indigenous populations, who were moved far from their homes, the Osage

were able to remain within their territorial base, even as this base continued to drastically shrink


4 As he wrote to William Henry Harrison in 1803, "

To promote this disposition to exchange land, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which
we have to spare and they want, we shall push out trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential
individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the
individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. [1950: 370]









in size. U.S. payments for Osage lands were shockingly low, for example, one-sixth of a cent

per acre in 1808. In 1818. a tract of land in Oklahoma and Arkansas was purchased from the

Osage for $4,000 and immediately sold to the Cherokee for $2,000,000 (Bums 2004). About

this process as a whole Bums writes, "With few exceptions, Indian land titles were usually

obtained by chicanery of all kinds, coercion, flattery, bribery, false claims, and seldom by

outright conquest. Many justifications were offered for seizing Indian lands, but the fact remains

that Indian lands were taken without any real right and with compensations that were insulting in

their insignificance" (2004: 166). The Osage, however, rarely accepted these treaties without

resistance. As Rollings writes, "When forced to give up something, they agreed reluctantly and

often immediately repudiated or ignored any concessions, as witnessed by their refusal to

consolidate all three bands in the north or to vacate any lands ceded in the 1808, 1818, 1825, and

1839 treaties" (2004: 39). In losing control over trade in their area, the Osage lost the authority

that would have enabled them to deny American desires for land.

On the American side, acquisition of land was typically justified in terms of meeting the

needs of the growing American population. The United States government initiated the treaty

making-process in the 1860s because whites had moved onto the Osage reserve. Superintendent

Elijah Sells, who negotiated the 1865 treaty, illustrates some of the issues at work during this

period:

The Osage reservation is within the geographical limits of the State of Kansas, and white
settlements are crowding down upon Indian lands and in many instances within the Indian
reservation. The imminent danger of conflict between the whites and the Indians as well as
the demands for these lands for white settlement by the authorities of and settlers in Kansas
furnishes satisfactory reasons why the Indian title to these lands should be extinguished at
an early date. [1865: 6]

The U.S. government persuaded the Osage to cede 871,791.11 acres of land in Kansas.

However, unbeknownst to most Osage, $776,931.58 of the sale profits went into a "Civilization









fund." As the treaty reads, "the remaining proceeds of sales shall be placed in the Treasury of

the United States to the credit of the 'Civilization fund' to be used under the direction of the

Secretary of the Interior for the education and civilization of Indian tribes residing within the

limits of the United States" (Kappler 1972: 878). In this way, the Osage were forced to

contribute over three-quarters of a million dollars to the building of colonial schools across

America, including Carlisle Indian School and Haskell Institute.

According to David Parsons (1940), the use of their funds for such projects was the final

straw for many Osage, who by 1869 were no longer willing to enter into the treaty-making

process. Concerning a speech made in 1869 by Chief Joseph Paw-ne-no-pahshe, Parsons writes,

He said he was opposed to selling more land and stated that their listening to the advice of
the Great Father had already cost the Osage a great deal of country and had brought on the
deplorable condition in which they found themselves...He reminded the commissioners
that instead of protecting the Osage as provided by treaty, they had told them that they
would be unprotected; and that instead of removing the intruders they had come for more
land. [1940: 32]

The Osage, however, were not the only ones who had grown dissatisfied with the treaty-making

process. On March 3, 1871, the Congress passed an Indian Appropriation Bill that stated,

"Provided, That here-after no Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall

be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United

States may contract by treaty" (16 Stat. L. 465). This brief period of Osage history was certainly

the most destructive period of the colonial process to date. In addition to loosing billions of

acres of land and funding projects whose sole intent was to destroy native culture, the treaty

period also worked to deteriorate the governing structure of the Osage people.

Even at the beginning of the treaty process it was clear that the current form of

government was not suitable for negotiating with the United States. Since each of the treaties

was signed by only a small fraction of the Osage leadership, but had full ramifications on all









Osage, many people became disgruntled. Furthermore, the loss of land and the dispersal of the

annuity checks led to drastic changes in daily routines, rendering older forms of governing

incommensurate with current lifestyles. Finally, in negotiating the colonial situation some Osage

certainly the internalized ideas of civilization currently in circulation, giving older practices an

air of 'savagery.' With all of these factors working in unison, it was clear that by the late 19th

century older practices no longer made sense.

A More "Workable" Government

In a last attempt to escape America's continued territorial expansion, the Osage were

persuaded to sell their lands in Kansas and buy back a small tract of their Oklahoma lands in

what was by then known as Indian Territory. Instead of allowing the promised period of

isolation, the federal government immediately began a whole new series of invasive tactics, this

time focused on dismantling the Osage governing structure. According to Bums, the older

Osage government was still intact in 1870, at the signing of the Osage Removal Act. The Osage

had refused to meet at the Removal Council until all Osage leaders had finished the Spring Hunt,

which ended in Oklahoma rather than on the old Kansas lands.

This battle to maintain control over their own affairs was also evidenced, according to

Burns, in the questions the Osage prepared for their Superintendent Enoch Hoag upon their first

meeting in Oklahoma. In addition to inquiring about who controlled the funds promised to them

by the American government, the leaders wanted to know, "Would the Osage be permitted to

have their own regulations in their new home" (Burns 2004: 319). The answers to these

questions were, according to Burns, importantly connected. By not giving the Osage control

over their own funds, the federal government was able to gain an upper hand in Osage affairs

(Burns 2004).









For Deloria and Lytle (1983), a central aspect of the colonial process was the destruction of

many of the tribal governments. Frustrated by the slow and deliberative process by which most

tribal organizations made decisions, the federal government began creating more "workable"

councils, which could quickly make decisions and support federal mandates. As Deloria and

Lytle describe, "The Indian agent would gather together the most influential leaders of the bands

or communities living on the reservation and ask them to form an ongoing council to assist him

in whatever functions he felt could be delegated to them (1983: 93). By creating small tribal

councils, the BIA not only tried to take control of the decision-making processes across Indian

country, but they often succeeded in destroying the ways of life that surrounded older governing

structures. In 1877, the BIA's Osage agent described his creation of the first Osage council

structure:

The Osage in many respects differ from other Indians of the Indian Territory. They are
more jealous of each other, and of those who care for them. Each chief seems jealous lest
some other chief should outrank him, and hence the difficulty of governing the tribe
through the chiefs, and in some instances the chief fails to control his own immediate band.
Another year's experience proves the wisdom of the course adopted on taking charge of
the agency, in the selection of an executive committee, consisting of governor, chief
councilor, and business committee of five, making seven persons selected from among the
leading men of all the different factions. These seven men, regardless of character, are
recognized as the representative men of the tribe, and through them its business with the
agent and government is transacted. [Annual Report: 92]

This long excerpt from the BIA is revealing on multiple levels. The jealousies and control issues

described within the report were the inevitable result of the colonial process. In addition to being

transferred to smaller and smaller land bases and seeing the extinction of the buffalo and other

resources, the Osage people had to deal with their entire government structure being ignored by

the BIA agent, who appointed his own leaders within the Osage people. By completely

disregarding the entire Osage structure of governance, the Osage agent delivered a powerful

blow to the Osage peoples' autonomy.









The Osage did not passively accept this reconfiguration, but in 1881 passed a Constitution

that once again allowed them to govern themselves. According to Wilson (1985), this effort to

reestablish self governance was directly motivated by the success of an Osage delegation that

traveled to Washington D.C., going over their BIA agent's head, where they negotiated for treaty

annuities to be paid mostly in cash. By taking over the BIA's mechanism for control, the annuity

payments, the Osage delegation also reasserted their ability to speak for themselves rather than

through an agent of the federal government. This Constitution was copied directly, almost word-

for-word, from the 1839 Cherokee Constitution, with its three-part government, democratic

elections, and control over its own boundaries. The Osage thus adopted a governing structure

that was fundamentally recognizable to the U.S. federal government in hopes of being left alone

to manage their own affairs.

As I mentioned above, for Robert Warrior (2005), the 1881 Osage Constitution was a

classic example of the Osage practice of "moving to a new country." Following the practice of

accepting radical change as part of maintaining national identity, the Osage set out to regain their

autonomy. About the 1881 Constitution, Warrior writes,

But this was more than mere mimicry and the framers of the Osage Constitution took it as
seriously as the leaders of the United States had in adopting theirs. As had happened all
those centuries ago when the people from the stars invited the Isolated Earth People to turn
away from the chaos and violence, the embattled Little Ones looked deep into themselves
and declared ithwin\e,/' to be a people...the 1881 constitution sets out the parameters of a
self-determined, self-imagined, autonomous Osage Nation. They undid the lie that Indian
people were not capable of living out the challenges of modernity. [2005: 74-75 emphases
added]

From Warrior's reading of this history, it is possible to better understand the uneven nature of the

colonial process. While some people simply read the 1881 Osage Constitution as mimicking the

colonial government, many Osage have argued that it was an attempt to subvert the colonial

process through a subversion of America's tools of democracy and nation building. Importantly,









this Osage willingness to change was predicated on the insistence of maintaining themselves as a

distinct people. For Warrior, the writing of the 1881 Constitution shows how change was

accepted as a necessary part of survival rather than a threat to some sort of fundamental Osage

identity linked to immemorial past. In describing the 1881 constitutional government, Agent

Miles wrote, "The Osage regard themselves as a nation with a big 'N,'... This government is a

very real thing to the Osage" (Annual Report 1894, 241).

Leaving the Old Ways Behind

In observing the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, it became clear to me that this belief in

leaving the old ways was still a part of some Osage worldviews. Over and over again, people

argued that older practices no longer made sense within the colonial context and could not be

practiced in fragments. Additionally, there was a very strong sense among some Osage that

these older cultural practices, which formed the basis of governance prior to the colonial period,

should not be included because they no longer had meaning to the majority of the Osage people.

One elder who had studied Osage history extensively explained to me that these old ways were

heavily integrated with a religion that was no longer practiced and required elements that were

now illegal under federal law, such as the occasional murder of non-Osage. "We have had to

change with the flow of time and the old people knew that. They insisted that we not try to bring

these things we could not understand forward" (Personal Communication May 24, 2005).

Another elder expressed to me his concern about the use of older Osage words and ideas within

the new governing document. "These words are not understood anymore. These are ideas that

were supposed to be left behind" (Personal Communication: January 01, 2006).

Because of the long colonial history that separated the majority of Osage from these

practices, it did not make sense to imagine this structure as a possibility for the future. This was

stated most clearly during an OGRC business meeting after an Osage attending the meeting had









expressed concern that the Osage Constitution had been patterned after the colonizer rather than

their own heritage. In response to this, one of the reform commissioners said:

I think we all honor and reflect our heritage from before we were moved from Missouri
and Kansas...But what we discovered in our process, which has been about 11 months
talking to Osage people everywhere, is that the majority of Osage we talked to can't
understand how those structures worked. Fortunately or unfortunately, they can
understand the federal government system. So when we've asked this question in surveys,
"would you like a three-part government or would you like something else," an
overwhelming majority said they'd like a three-part government; it's one they're familiar
with. [OGRC business meeting February 06, 2006]

Within the reform process, many Osage embraced the idea of "moving to a new country"

as part of their imaginings as to what the future of Osage government should look like. This

concept was also evident in the more general conversations about culture that took place during

my dissertation research. At an Osage Tribal Council meeting in August 2005, it was brought to

the council's attention that an Osage war bundle had been found for sale on Ebay. The Osage

employee in charge of repatriation had immediately contacted the Native American Graves

Protection and Repatriation department as well as the FBI, who had gained possession of the

bundle and wanted to know what should be done next. Gilcrease museum had offered to keep it.

One of the people on the council suggested that since there had been a ceremony 100 years ago

to put the bundles away (i.e. bury them), perhaps there should be some sort of ceremony to

welcome the bundle back. Another person on the council, however, protested immediately. He

said, "I want to go on the record at this point that we should not have any new ceremonies. We

just need to put that stuff away. We don't know anything about it" (OTC Committee Meeting,

August 22, 2005). The rest of the council agreed to have the bundle buried immediately.

These sorts of interactions occurred frequently during the reform process when older

cultural practices were brought up. A central aspect of these ideas of "moving to a new country"

was not only that these things could not be understood anymore and thus needed to be put away,









but also that cultural practices had to change in order to continue having meaning to peoples'

lives today. As one Osage elder explained to me, people often over interpret the meaning of

cultural aspects of the yearly In-Lon-Schka dances. She gave the example of a visitor who had

asked her the purpose of the fans. Her response was, "Have you noticed it is a hundred degrees

out here?" The elder said that she thought most things were done because that is what made

sense at the time, not because it had some deep spiritual meaning. Or perhaps the deep spiritual

meaning could not be separated from the fact of its functionality. She then told a story of her

cousin who had always cut turkeys in half before cooking them, until one day she found out from

her grandmother that the only reason this had been done for generations was because they had

not had a pan big enough for the full turkey. This led us into a conversation about older Osage

practices and how those things had to be left behind. "The main problem are the people that sit

on their high horse telling other people they are doing things wrong, when they really could not

know any better...We can't go back, those things are gone, we have to go forward" (Personal

Communication, August 22, 2005).

Colonial Reworkings of Change

Not all members of colonized populations react in the same manner. While much of the

effort behind the writing of the 2006 Osage Constitution can be seen as an attempt to embrace

change and make the most of the colonial situation, there was also a small, but vocal minority of

Osage who greatly feared any sort of change. A central part of the continued colonial situation

for these Osage was an association between change and the termination of the Osage Nation. To

understand these fears and where they came from it is again important to look at Osage history,

particularly the period surrounding the allotment of the Osage reservation.









The Battle Against Allotment

No matter how real the government was to the Osage, in 1900 the BIA once again created

a Tribal Council government, with their own appointed officials. The BIA agent justified this

move by arguing that: "The principal causes were... (1) Acrimonious disputes between the two

factions over election; (2) entire absence of harmony between the Osage tribal offices and the

Indian agent in administration of tribal affairs; (3) the selection of ignorant men as officeholders;

and (4) the profligate use of moneys received from permit taxes" (Annual Report 1900: 173-

174). However, as several Osage historians have argued (Burns 2004, Warrior 2005, Wilson

1985), the creation of the new Tribal Council had much more to do with the desire to allot the

reservation than it did with any problems that had developed within this new government. As

Burns writes,

If we were to apply the same criteria to recent administration of the United States
government, it too would be abolished...When one considers that the Osage did not spend
their future generations into a vast debt, one has a right to question the suspension of their
government... It was known that the National Council was opposed to allotment.
Allotment was a necessity from the Euro-American viewpoint, especially with the
possibility of statehood in the near future. [Burns 2004: 393-394]

For these historians, it was allotment rather than Osage governing problems that led to the

dismantling of the 1881 Osage Nation.

The federal policy of allotment officially began in 1887 with the Dawes General Allotment

Act that called for widespread surveying of native tribal lands and peoples. Once the surveys

had been completed, these lands were parceled out, usually in 160-acre tracks, to individual

Indians. The remaining lands were then opened up for white settlement. As M. Annette James

describes, "between 1887 and 1934, the aggregate Indian land base within the United States was

'legally' reduced from about 138 million acres to about 48 million" (1992 117). Another primary

motivating force was the potential for relief from the obligations promised in the treaties with









North American Indian nations. If Indians were made into American citizens, then the treaty

promises of continued payments would no longer have to be honored.

This large-scale policy of allotment was seen at the time by both the federal government

and an array of humanitarian organizations, including the Indian Rights Association, Indian

Protection Committee, and the Friends of the Indians, as a solution to the problems of the Indian.

Since colonial contact, Indian resources such as the buffalo and other game had been depleted,

leading to wide-scale hunger and drastic changes in lifestyle. Allotment, it was argued, would

create American citizens by allowing each Indian to become a "civilized" contributor to

American society. Euro-Americans saw the breakup of tribal lands as allowing Indians to move

beyond the problems supposedly created by tribal structure and adopt "civilization."

Because the Osage had purchased their lands, they were not subject to the Dawes

Allotment Act that forced this breakup of tribal lands. Wilson writes at length about the federal

government's campaign to allot the Osage reservation. In 1888, when the United States

government decided to turn "Indian Territory" into "Oklahoma Territory," three Osage

representatives from the national government traveled to Washington, arguing shrewdly that

such a creation would ultimately lead to the loss of Osage lands. In Washington they argued,

"We shall have no friends around us and no hope for the future, and no motive to cultivate the

ground that must soon pass into the hands of strangers" (quoted in Wilson 1985: 37). The U.S.

government continued its push for allotment, arguing that Oklahoma needed to become a state

and thus all reservations had to be allotted.

In 1893, the Osage National Council appointed a committee to deal with this pressure to

allot. This committee traveled to Washington D.C. in 1894 to voice Osage perspectives about

the allotment process. The Osage expressed two primary concerns with allotment, that the past









treaty obligations be honored and that the roll be examined for fraudulent entries, since the

decision to allot would depend on a vote of enrolled adult males (Wilson 1985). In response,

Secretary of the Interior Hoke Smith argued that these were minor problems and that he wanted

to know what their issues were with the concept of allotment in general:

Bigheart replied for the delegation, citing the disastrous effects on other tribes of
application of the Dawes Act. He also noted examples of white men who, despite having
been reared in a tradition of economic endeavor, had been financially ruined trying to farm
small parcels of land in Oklahoma Territory and nearby states. Exasperated by Bigheart's
adroit arguments, Smith abruptly terminated the exchange with a warning:, "You had
better think seriously about the advisability of... [taking] lands individually, now when
[you] can do so on very liberal terms...the time is coming when [you] will have to. [quoted
in Wilson 1985: 39]

Later the same year, a federal Commission came to the reservation to continue their arguments

for allotment. According to Wilson (1985), in January of 1895 a representative from the Osage

government by the name of Strike Ax argued:

When our chiefs sold reservations in the states, the government would say you are all
hemmed in by whites and your Great Father does not want you to be bothered, just come
down to the red man's country where you will never be disturbed. The government
promised me when we came here that we would be the fartherst [sic] west and..at the
fartherest edge of Indian country and it was impossible to be bothered and now you seem
to think we are in bad shape with the whites. As you say, we have more whites than
Indians, but where shall we go? [40]

To which a member of the federal Commission replied: "On your farm." (Wilson 1985: 40).

These excerpts illustrate the insistence with which the federal government imposed not only

allotment, but also the certain assumptions about civilization. In saying that the farm was the

only place left for the Osage, the federal government was attempting to transform the Indian

body into a "civilized" American citizen. The Osage National Council was not swayed by these

arguments for "civilization" and continued to rebuff all of the federal government's lobbying

(Wilson 1985).









In 1898, the federal government, tired of dealing with the Osage National Council, once

again created a tribal council structure for the Osage and populated it with allotment-friendly

Osage. As Wilson writes, "Hitchcock's decision to abrogate the Osage national government

came at the direct request of the commissioner of Indian Affairs, William A. Jones. A firm

advocate of speedy allotment for all reservations, Jones believed that tribal government

'perpetuated barbarism and retarded civilization"' (1985: 42). It was still another six years

before the federal government was able to sway the Osage population in favor of allotment, but

in the meantime they had intentionally destroyed another Osage governing structure, the 1881

Constitution.

Central to Wilson's story of allotment is the federal government's desire to reassert control

over the Osage population. Through their insistence on allotment, the U.S. government was

attempting to do away with Indian governance altogether, thus rendering themselves the only

sovereign authority within the United States. The Osage National Council, attuned to this

reconfiguring, fought allotment not only for its insistence on individual land ownership, but

because it would once again mean the loss of Osage autonomy. It was this story of wrongful,

and even illegal, destruction of the Osage National Council that continued to circulate during the

100 years of federal control of Osage governance. These grievances eventually led various

Osage to turn to federal court5 and ultimately the United States Congress in order to reinstate the

Osage's right to determine their own government.






5 The two central Osage lawsuits dealing with Osage governmental reorganization were Logan v. Andrus (640 F.2d.
269 10' Cir. 1981) and Fletcher v. United States (90 C.248e Northern District Court of Oklahoma). The ultimate
decision of both courts was that while the 1881 Constitution had been illegally abolished the Osage Tribal Council
was the federally recognized government of the Osage people.









Incorporation and Termination

The battle for allotment ended with its favorable vote by the Osage population and the

passage of the 1906 Act on June 28th (34 Stat. 539). This act allotted the 1,470,057-acre Osage

reservation and dispersed $9,000,000 from the Osage BIA account among 2,230 people listed on

the BIA's Osage roll. Importantly, the Osage fought for and were able to preserve the

cohesiveness of their reservation by maintaining collective ownership over the mineral reserves

under this area. The BIA set up an elected tribal government whose only job was to administer

this mineral estate. This government was only intended to last for twenty-five years, at which

time the BIA assumed that the Osage people would be able to manage their affairs individually,

eliminating any need for a tribal government.

Under this new system, tribal membership was based on a commercial model of headright

shares. Rather than allowing the Osage people to act as a nation, as they had in 1881, the

headright system attempted to render the Osage people nothing more than shareholders in a

minerals corporation. This meant that only those Osage listed on the 1906 roll could vote or run

for office in tribal elections. Osage born after the July 1, 1907 cutoff date could not participate

in tribal politics unless they inherited a share in the mineral estate from someone listed on the

roll. Furthermore, in the mid-twentieth century, the weight of the vote became dependent on the

percentage of the headright.

This headright system of membership often created two different classes of people within a

single Osage family. One common example of this occurred when older siblings were original

allottees, meaning they were listed on the 1906 roll, but their younger siblings were born after

the cutoff date. All those listed on the roll, no matter what their age, were given four-160 acre

parcels of land within the Osage reservation, 1/2229th share of all monies produced from the

mineral estate, and a vote in tribal elections. Any Osage born after the 1907 cutoff date received









no benefits and had no voice in the tribal elections. It was only upon the death of a person

holding a share in the mineral estate that these disenfranchised people could gain access to the

land, money and the ability to vote. Often when a parent would die, they would leave equal parts

of their mineral share to each of their children. If there were two children, they would each get

1/4458th of a share in the mineral estate and half a vote in tribal elections.

Additionally, a quarter of the headrights left tribal member-control in the 20-year period

when the mineral estate headrights were considered like any other property, which could be

willed or sold to anyone or any organization. Many churches, lawyers and even famous actors

ended up with shares in the mineral estate. This did not give the new owners a vote in tribal

elections, but it did keep some Osage descendants from voting. Because the headright system

was linked to quarterly financial payouts from the sale of oil on the reservation, all attempts to

open up membership were challenged as merely attempts to redistribute this money. By the

twenty-first century, this form of government had left nearly 16,000 of the approximately 20,000

people with Osage ancestry without voting rights, alienating them from tribal politics.

Furthermore, the mineral estate was originally set to expire in 1931, with the mineral rights

transferring to the property owners. According to Burns, by the 1920s much of Osage land had

passed to whites, particularly local bank owners and legal guardians. These individuals banded

together in 1920 and fought against the extension of the Osage Mineral Trust, in hopes that they

could gain access to these lucrative mineral rights. At this moment, the Osage people were

drastically close to being swallowed up by the general American governance system. To fight

this the Osage Tribal Council drafted a resolution that stated:

...WHEREAS, said banks have large deposits of Osage Tribal funds and said guardians
are receiving great benefits from handling the estates of members of the tribe, and in
opposing the extension of the mineral period, are working to the detriment of the Osage
Tribe of Indians and to the detriment of their wards, respectively... THEREFORE, be it









Resolved by the Osage Tribal Council... That the Council hereby requests the Honorable
Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to withdraw from any
bank, whose officers or directors use any influence to prevent the granting of an extension
of the mineral period, all funds of the Osage Tribe deposited therein, and that they use their
influence and efforts to cause to be removed any guardian of the estate of an Osage Indian
who is using his influence to prevent the granting of the extension of the mineral period.
[quoted in Burns 2002: 426-427]

Rather than sending this resolution directly to the federal government, it was first circulated to

eighty-four guardians and seven banks, all of whom immediately withdrew their opposition to

the extension. This, however, was not the end of the opposition to the extension of the Osage

mineral estate. Not surprisingly, the Oklahoma Congressional members refused to support the

extension bill unless the Osage agreed to a 5 percent Gross Production Tax on all minerals

extracted. In this way, the state was able to gain access to tribal resources, something usually

prevented by the federal government. The Osage Tribal Council, not having any other option,

agreed to the tax6 (Burns 2002).

The Osage Tribal Council was able to extend the mineral estate until 1958 and then to

1983. It was not until 1978 that the Osage were able to convince the government to change

wording about the duration of the mineral estate from "until otherwise provided by Act of

Congress" to "in perpetuity" (92 Stat. 1660). However, as Burns (2002) argues, what the

Congress was extending into perpetuity here was the mineral estate, not this particular system of

Osage governance. In the same 1978 law it was stated, "The tribal government so constituted

shall continue in force and effect until January 1, 1984, and thereafter until otherwise provided

by Act of Congress."


6 This Gross Production tax remained a very large issue during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, particularly
because a certain percentage of the monies were supposed to go to education and roads in Osage county (also known
as the Osage reservation). The State of Oklahoma continues to refuse to account for these monies, and, other than a
few bonus checks to local schools, it is still unclear where this money has gone. Much like the monies of the
Civilization fund, tax funds earmarked for the Osage no doubt went to many things the Osage neither had control
over nor supported.









In addition to this battle to maintain the mineral estate, the Osage also had to fight against

the 1950s federal policy of termination. In 1953, the Osage, along with several other tribes,

faced termination through House Concurrent Resolution 108. While the federal government had

long been trying to "get out of the Indian business," this period of termination was its most

straightforward and 'successful' attempt. Because of Osage wealth, they were seen as no longer

needing the support of the federal government and thus eligible for termination. The Osage,

understanding the importance of federal recognition, sent representatives to Washington to use

Osage wealth to negotiate a continuing relationship. During the hearings on July 22, 1953,

Osage Tribal Councilman George V. Labadie made the following argument:

MR. HARRISON: You are willing to pay every bit of the expenses?

MR. LABADIE: Yes, sir.

MR. HARRISON: That will include not only the $40,000, which is the difference
between the $300,000 cost of operation and the $260,000 you pay, but also the cost of
administration by the Department of the Interior.

MR. LABADIE: Correct and the area directors.

MR. HARRISON: I understand then you will take immediate steps to work out with the
Department of the Interior representatives the plans to take care of the payment on a fair
and equitable basis?

MR. LABADIE: Certainly.

MR. HARRISON: I might say I can find no fault with an agreement of that kind nor can I
find any fault with the continuation of the trust provided you are willing to pay for the
additional cost. I might just say frankly that I feel that a tribe that is as wealthy as your
tribe is and people as competent as you are, making the record that you and other people
have in business, certainly should not expect the federal government to continue payment
of all the extra costs. If the continuation of [the] trust is going to be beneficial to you, then
you should be willing to pay for it.

MR. LABADIE: That is correct. And we will do that. [quoted in Burns 2002: 428-429]

This exchange illustrates that by 1953 the federal government had long forgotten all the promises

it had made to the Osage in exchange for their land. Once again, the Osage had no choice but to









accept the terms the federal government was willing to offer. Because of Osage oil money the

Osage continued to be recognized as a federal tribe. Since the passage of this bill in 1953, the

Osage are the only tribe paying for the costs of running their own BIA agency (Burns 2002).

Because the oil under the Osage reservation will eventually run out, many people have feared the

eventual termination of the Osage tribe. However, recent investment in gaming has once again

altered the situation, allowing the Osage to create programs to serve their community and rebuild

the Osage Nation. While Osage governance and autonomy are based on principles far older than

economic development, it is through these means that the Osage and many other Tribal Nations

today are being revitalized.

Efforts Toward Reform

Even while fighting the federal government in order to maintain recognition, more and

more Osage were being alienated from the shareholder controlled government. In the 1950's and

1960's, a group of Osage got together to form the Osage Nation Organization (Oh No). The

central argument of the group was that the 1881 Osage Nation had been illegally terminated by

the BIA and was thus still an active government. In addition to wanting to return to this

governing structure, this group was motivated by a desire to move Osage citizenship away from

the headright system toward a 1/4th blood quantum requirement. Because of their insistence on a

blood quantum, and fears that their real intent was to do away with the headright system

altogether, which was still providing shareholders with a substantial check each quarter, the Oh

No's were never successful in their reform efforts. Rather than bringing an end to the Osage

Tribal Council (OTC), they ended up rallying many Osage behind this federally imposed system.

However, in 1978 this effort to delegitimize the OTC led to Logan v. Andrus (457 F. Supp.

1318), with mixed results. The trial judge held that the 1881 Constitution had been illegally

abolished saying, "The Secretary of the Interior was attempting to exercise legislative power









when he purportedly abolished the government of the Osage Nation in 1900, and thus such

action was beyond the scope of his authority and of no legal effect" (457 F. Supp. 1318, 1324).

However, the court decided that because the OTC had been in place for over seventy years, it

now had general legislative authority over the tribe. Thus, even though the BIA had illegally

abolished the Osage Nation, the OTC was now considered the only active government of the

Osage people. In the appeal, the legislative authority of the OTC was reaffirmed (640 F.2d 269

[1981]).

This issue was again brought up in 1990, when another group of Osage took the

preexisting Osage constitutional government to federal Court (Fletcher v. United States, 116

F.3d 1315). As Robert Warrior explains,

In a move that surprised many, in 1992 U.S. District Court Judge James O. Ellison reached
what can be seen legally as a decision in equity and mandated a process through which
citizen-members of the Osage Nation (most of whom were ineligible to vote under the
tribal council system) voted, over the course of two years, in a referendum process to
reinstate their National Council. [2005: 54]

This court-mandated process resulted in a new Constitutional government, which was seen as

being amended from the 1881 Osage Constitution. Because this outcome was a negotiation

between the BIA and the plaintiffs of the case, much of the new constitution was written without

the consent of the Osage population as a whole. A majority of Osage voters did approve the

final 1994 Constitution. In 1997, however, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge

Ellison's ruling on the basis that the OTC had sovereign immunity and could not have its general

powers stricken by the U.S. court system. In recognizing the OTC as the Osage government, this

ruling extinguished the 1994 Osage government and returned voting to only those holding a

share in the minerals estate (Warrior 2005).

By 2004, this imposed Tribal Council structure had done much damage to the Osage as a

nation. In addition to alienating thousands of Osage from tribal politics, this system had many









problems as a governing institution. Because all authority was concentrated in the tribal council,

there was no one to prevent misuse of authority, misappropriation of funds, or outright

corruption. Frequently, the Osage voters responded to these problems by electing new officials

every election, but the lack of continuity led to projects being funded for short periods and then

scrapped with each electoral change. Finally, because there was no official way of making law,

a resolution was often passed one week and overturned the next. These problems ultimately

scared away valuable people, resources, and funds from the reservation area.

Leave It Alone

Even with all its problems, the Tribal Council system still had authority among many

Osage people during the 2004-2006 government reform process. While there were certainly

plenty of shareholders in favor of changing the governing structure, there was a small group who

wanted to keep the system exactly like it was. As one tribal elder explained in a community

meeting, "Our generation back then, my grandfather's days, my father's days, they had a good

time back then because they worked under this council system. It was good for them. The next

generation, my generation, these young ones in here, their parents, your parents and my parents,

they were involved back then. They thought it was good the tribal council had sole authority"

(February 28, 2006). Central to these sorts of arguments was the feeling that this system had

been in place for a century and it had worked to keep the Osage people together. Furthermore,

because parents and grandparents were most frequently the ones to have a headright, it was

argued that this system allowed elders to make decisions based on their more mature

understanding of Osage politics and history. For other people the Tribal Council system had

developed authority simply because it had been in place for a hundred years.

During an Osage government reform business meeting in September of 2005, one of the

commissioners pointed out that the real cultural match for the government had a lot less to do









with cultural practices and a lot more to do with the Osage shareholder system, which had been

in place for the last hundred years. Perhaps more than any other comment received during the

reform process, the OGRC was told over and over again, "I don't care about what sort of

government you create, but don't touch the mineral estate." During a community meeting in

Greyhorse one man said, "You all need to stay out of the mineral estate... You all have your

other business to take care of. You have no business in there. The shareholders can decide; the

shareholders can appoint; let the shareholders figure it out" (January 12, 2006). Another

frequent comment focused on making sure the mineral estate was kept separated from the other

governing affairs, "Ok, so what is needed is a clear separation of the minerals operation and the

governing of the nation, as well as their various monies. They must be kept separate"

(Oklahoma City May 05, 2005).

In fact, the force of these concerns was strong enough to frequently derail entire meetings.

While the focus of the meeting might be on the problems of nepotism or the need for checks and

balances, the comments would often return to the mineral estate. The general consensus was that

current shareholders should continue to be the only ones receiving the proceeds from the mineral

estate, which was guaranteed by federal Law, or making any decisions related to the mineral

estate. From these discussions, it became clear that the structure of the new government was far

less important to many Osage than the protection of the mineral estate.

The central motivation for keeping things the same was fear. Because of movements such

as the Osage Nation Organization (Oh No), there was a strong connection created in the minds of

many Osage between reforming the government and redistributing the mineral shares. While the

Oh No's never argued for the redistribution of the mineral shares, they did attempt to get other

money owed to the tribe by the federal government distributed to descendants of the 1906 act









who were on record as having 1/4th and over Osage blood. Concerns that similar efforts were at

work within the 2004-2006 reform caused significant commotion throughout the reform process,

with the reform commission having to insist over and over again that the mineral estate shares

were protected from redistribution, taxing, and being used as collateral by the new government.

These fears greatly complicated the Osage reform process, because they created questions

about any sort of change. Articulations such as the following were frequent throughout the

reform process,

You're not going to change- you're not going to, like she said, 'your Mineral Estates are
protected.' It's ruled by a CFR Regulations in the Supreme Court so you can't set one, this
referendum thing here has no dealings with that. You can't say anything about that so I
want everyone to know that you can't change that part of it. Is it true that just what you are
here to do is to form a new government? [OGRC community Meeting, Pawhuska, April 4,
2005]

The code of federal regulations (CFR) mentioned above is a set of U.S. regulations that stipulate

how the Osage mineral estate was supposed to operate, including how many elected officials it

would have. These codes were originally written to support the 1906 Congressional Act, but

have been amended many times in the last hundred years. During the reform process these CFRs

were brought up repeatedly, usually ending conversations about alternative government

structures and refocusing the discussion around the laws already in place. The reform

commissioners themselves spent many hours mired in discussion about the CFRs and how they

could work around them if changing them was not an option.

Finally, the OGRC turned to the BIA for guidance as to how the federal government would

react to such a change. When the Osage Superintendent was approached about this subject, she

clarified that the federal government would change the CFRs to meet the new Osage governing

structure. While many people were relieved that they did truly have this sort of freedom, other

Osage, particularly members of the Osage Shareholder Association, continued to feel that it was









better just to leave the mineral estate alone. Many people equated change with a threat to the

Trust Relationship7. In a posting on the Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) Website in

October of 2006, one person explained that the anxieties surrounding the trust were not simply

monetary. He went on to say,

It's all about the legal concept of a trust and about keeping the Osage Trust intact, so that
the special relationship the 1906 act gives all the Osage people with the federal
government, will not be destroyed. A trust can be thought of as a box in which something
of value is kept safe for the owners. It is usually meant to keep the valuables safe not only
from outside forces, but also from unauthorized use from the owners. So there are special
rules as to its use and a trustee is placed in charge of both protecting the valuables and
regulating their use. As long as the box is kept intact and all the rules are followed the
trust itself can be thought of as being intact and unassailable... I want agreements made that
are consistent with the CFRs.

Central to this posting is a fear that if any rules associated with the mineral estate were changed

that the entire trust relationship would crumble. Because of the effort involved in extending the

mineral estate into perpetuity, there were good historical reasons to assume that the federal

government would use any excuse possible to finally succeed in subsuming the Osage

completely.

Throughout the reform process, these sorts of fears were articulated in many different

ways. At the beginning of an Osage government Reform meeting, the Osage public was given

the opportunity to express their concerns, and one shareholder said,

There are several Osage that think that there is a plot going on to try to get the minerals
from underneath the trust; that the [new Osage] government will actually end up with the
minerals and they'll no longer be ours; that they'll be turned over to somebody else
because it goes back to greed. When you look at this land all around us and think at one
time we owned every inch of this ground. And now we have hardly nothing. [September,
26, 2005]



There are many arguments about the origin and exact meaning of the trust relationship between the United States
government and Indian Tribes. Wilkins and Lomawaima (2001) summarize these debates and describe this trust as
"the notion of federal responsibility to protect or enhance tribal assets (including fiscal, natural, human, and cultural
resources) through policy decisions and management actions" (65).









Because of the long history of colonial encroachment, the Osage people certainly have good

reason to fear further losses. Over and over again, the federal government made promises and

then broke them, playing Osage factions against each other in an attempt to meet the Euro-

American desires for westward expansion leading to smaller and smaller reservations and

ultimately allotment. In particular, the more recent loss of reservation land to whites through

means such as failure to pay property taxes and outright fraud, is still very fresh in the minds of

many Osage. Unfortunately, as frequently occurs after prolonged colonialization, these fears are

not limited to the actions of the colonizer, but are turned inward, shedding doubt on all reform

efforts. These individuals continued to fight the government reform process and formed part of

the 33 percent minority that eventually voted against the 2006 Osage constitution.

This small group of shareholders saw such moves by the federal government to allow more

Osage self-determination as the government's latest attempt to get out of the Indian business. On

the Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) webpage, one member wrote a long posting entitled,

"White Hair Stills the Wind," which told a particular Osage history in order to support one way

in which the Osage future could be imagined. The posting tells a story about two of the Osage

Villages, the Grand Village and the Little Osage Village. The Little Osage had asked and

received permission to secede, but later, surrounded by enemies, asked the larger group if they

could return. The Little Osage ended up settling about 6 miles away. The posting continues that

in 1806, when US Army Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike visited the Osage, he could not

convince White Hair, the central leader of the Grand Village, to help him establish a route

through to the Colorado area, but the Little Osage decided to help. Because of his "reckless

temperament" Pike ended up abandoning all his men, who did not have enough food or









protection from the cold, and was eventually captured by the Spanish. The posting concludes by

saying,

In modern day Osage politics, there seems to be a willingness by the US government to
remove their responsibility to the Osage. Is this the same reckless temperament White Hair
saw in the folly of the Americans in 1806? Also are Shareholder Osage (also known as
"1906 Osage") equivalent to Grand Village Osage of 1806 when they demonstrate their
willingness to grant a group of Osage permission to pursue their own political endeavor? I
am sure that the temperament of the 1906 Osage will once more be demonstrated if the
efforts of the new government fall short of expectation. There seems to be a substantial
effort displayed by the new Osage government as they tend toward the betterment of our
Osage people. But cautious concern, as demonstrated by White Hair in 1806, to protect the
Osage Trust should be our greater calling as the electorate. Let's not forget that the 1906
Act was probably second only to the life ways and ancient rule of the Grand Village of the
Osage, on the Osage River in Missouri. [www.Osagehareholders.org 2006]

This posting equates the reckless temperament of Pike and the Little Osage to the new Osage

Nation. In this telling of Osage history, the Osage Mineral Estate becomes the protector of the

Osage people, as well as a form of government "second only to the life ways and ancient rule of

the Grand Village of the Osage." Using history in such a way enables this writer to question the

new Osage government while reasserting the importance of the Osage Mineral estate.

This posting also illustrates the power the 1906 Act continues to hold for some Osage

individuals. Furthermore, this story exemplifies that the source of this authority stems primarily

from a fear that the U.S. will no longer recognize its trust relationship with the Osage Nation,

thus bringing about the termination of the mineral estate and ultimately the Osage Nation as a

whole. Through the colonial process, self-determination itself has because a dangerous sign for

some Osage. These fears surrounding the mineral estate powerfully illustrate the ways in which

the colonial process has impacted the Osage people. Fears of termination of the trust relationship

were powerful enough to make the 2004-2006 reform process exceedingly complicated.

Through repeated threats of termination, the federal government has created a situation in which









many Osage are terrified of any change, even while acknowledging the insurmountable problems

with the Tribal Council structure.

Debating the role of the Osage Mineral Estate

From the very beginning of the reform process, it was clear that the hardest problem the

Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) had to solve was how to reform the

government while simultaneously leaving the mineral estate intact. In legislation created by the

Osage Tribal Council and passed by the United States Congress, it was stated,

Notwithstanding section 9 of the Act entitled, 'An Act For the division of lands and funds
of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma Territory, and for other purposes,' approved June 28,
1906 (34 Stat. 539), Congress hereby reaffirms the inherent sovereign right of the Osage
Tribe to determine its own form of government provided that the rights of any person to
Osage mineral estate shares are not diminished thereby." [Public Law 108-431: December
3, 2004]

Thus, the Osage people had the right to create any government they wanted, so long as this

government did not diminish the rights of any persons to their mineral estate shares. However,

legality was just the beginning of the issues associated with the Osage Mineral estate.

The OGRC learned very early in their first round of community meetings that most Osage

Shareholders were fine with allowing non-shareholders to becomes citizens, but they wanted to

be assured, over and over again, that these changes were not going to affect their mineral estate

shares. The rest of this chapter will explore the different views in circulation during the 2004-

2006 reform process about how the mineral estate should be handled in the making of a new

Osage government. Among the Osage people, there were multiple ideas about how the mineral

estate should be treated, including leaving everything alone, creating the mineral estate as one

house in a bicameral system, or making it part of the larger Osage Nation. In exploring the

debates surrounding each of these ideas, it is possible to understand both the problems









colonialism has created for the Osage people and the continued insistence that this colonial

situation not prevent the Osage from rebuilding themselves as a nation.

The primary problem with the "Leave it Alone" strategy is that most Osage agreed that

membership needed to be reformed. There was no way, however, to simply add new people into

the current Osage government without opening up the mineral estate decisions to non-

shareholders, because the current government was the sole decision-making body for the mineral

estate. It was thus reasoned that there had to be some way to create a new government while

preserving the mineral estate. One creative solution to these complexities was to create a

bicameral system of governance. While there were many versions of this suggested, the general

idea was that the Osage shareholders would elect one body and the general Osage population,

including the shareholders, would elect another. This was seen as not only uniting the tribe, but

also appeasing the shareholders who were afraid that the new government would in some way

harm the mineral estate. At one of the early community meetings a shareholder outlined this

view:

I don't particularly want to see a nation and a tribe. I want to see us all together. One way
to do that would be to have a bicameral form of government where you have a council that
is elected by the shareholders. It's going to happen no matter what because that's part of
the law. But also have a House that would be elected by all of the Osage ... I think if we
put it all together in one unit, one government, we could do something that would be
effective as far as all of us working together. [OGRC community meeting Skiatook: May
12, 2005]

As we saw earlier, one of the reform commissioners also desired a bicameral structure because it

would also create a link with earlier Osage governments. To address these ideas the Osage

Government Reform Commission created the following question as part of the November

referendum:

Option A. The newly reformed Osage government is reorganized under one governing
constitution of the Osage Nation with one governing body organized into a 3 branch
system that does not include the Osage Tribal Council as part of that system. The Osage









Tribal Council functions as an independent body with no governmental authority, yet
retaining all its present fundamental organization, authority and responsibilities over the
Osage mineral estate in accordance with the Osage Allotment Act of June 28, 1906. (sec.
9, 34 Stat. 539)

Or

Option B: The newly reformed Osage government is reorganized under one governing
constitution of the Osage nation with one governing body organized into a 3 branch system
that does include the Osage Tribal Council as part of that system. The Osage Tribal
Council is established as a second chamber of a bicameral, or two house system, within the
legislative branch of the newly reformed Osage government. Elected by Osage
shareholders, the Osage Tribal Council retains all its present fundamental organization,
authority and responsibilities over the Osage mineral estate in accordance with the Osage
Allotment Act of June 28, 1906 (sec.9, 34 stat 539). All legislative authority, other than
that specified to manage the mineral estate, is delegated to a house of representatives
elected at large by all adult members of the Osage Nation. A bright line must be drawn
between the two houses to clearly delineate duties and responsibilities.

When the Osage people answered this question, they were split almost exactly down the middle

with 51.6 percent of the voters voting for option A and 48.40 percent voting for option B. The

one thing that was certain from this result was that the Osage people were not united around a

bicameral system of governance.

Because "Option A." had officially won the referendum election, the Osage Tribal Council

could not be part of the 3-branch system in the form of one half of the legislature. However,

many people still feared a repeat of the two-government system created in 1994. The telling of

Osage histories once again played a major role in how the Osage future was imagined. In 1994,

a three-part government was created with a National Council, Executive, and Legislative

branches. Because this constitution was a court-mandated negotiation among the BIA, the Osage

Tribal Council, and the party suing the government for improper dissolution of the 1881

government, the Osage Tribal Council was left intact. The assumption was that the Tribal

Council would focus on the minerals and the new National Council would handle all other Osage

affairs.









Several problems quickly developed between these two organizations. First, the national

government had no way to pay for itself. Oil money was used to pay for the Tribal Council, but

could not be used for the national government and gaming was not yet a resource the Osage

Nation had developed. Another problem was that the buildings, equipment, and other

possessions had ambiguous ownership, with both sides claiming the title. Finally, it was argued

that the National Council was meddling in the Tribal Council affairs through the creation of

certain laws. In a Pawhuska community meeting during the 2004-2006 reform process these

issues were brought up and one Osage responded at length:

We've been dealing with this for years and years. Like Mr. Redeagle said, the 1906 [Act]
has been very good to us. But our people have always been moving forward and we always
change and change is needed. We have to make some changes because there are Osage that
are totally estranged from their own nation. At the same time, let's learn from our history.
People who don't know their history are bound to live the same things over and over again.
The main reason I came tonight is share a little bit of information with you; a little bit of
our history. I was on the tribal council with Mr. Redeagle in 1994 when we had a
constitution. I thought it was a good constitution. I thought it spelled things out. When
we started out we were happy, like a bunch of kids starting something new. The tribal
council was glad to shift all those responsibilities and duties over to the national council;
we took care of the minerals. During the time that the tribal council took care of the
minerals, for the first time in history, the Osage people pumped our own oil. No other
people in the world had this many resources and sat on it and did nothing but take royalty
income ...... But we've got to learn from mistakes. I am saying let's make sure the
Osage tribal council does not break any rules of the National government. Let's make sure
that the rules are written in such a way that that doesn't become necessary, because this
was the downfall of our last government. [January 19, 2006]

This quote nicely summarizes many central issues of the 2004-2006 reform process. While

history is central for understanding future paths, change is still highlighted as the central way

forward for the Osage people. Furthermore, this quote illustrates from an inside perspective that

even if the Osage people had good intentions starting out with the 1994 government, it failed

because there was no agreed upon process for them to negotiate their relationship.

Others during the reform process insisted specifically on the need for one government.

During a Bartlesville community meeting another person said:









It's one government, the way I see it. The way that my father, I and Paula, and my family
here and friends, have been debating since last week on a daily basis. When the
constitution is set, it's done, and we have a president or chief, the mineral estate then
becomes a board... There's no longer a government because if you're not dealing with my
health care anymore, my education, my housing, of that which, it is a contradiction in
terms... The mineral estate now becomes a true economic developing board. [April 28,
2005]

In the end, the reform commission ended up writing a constitution that included something very

similar to this view, with the Minerals Council acting within the larger Osage Nation.

This decision to create one government still left the central problem of how the mineral

estate could be included in the government and subject to the laws of the nation, while at the

same time maintaining the greatest possible independence. The OGRC spent several weeks

meeting with their lawyers, holding a law symposium of Osage lawyers and meeting in a

weeklong writing retreat. After coming up with their best solution, the OGRC took their ideas

back to the people in a series of community meetings. One of the government reform

commissioners explained their findings at a Hominy community meeting:

It's well understood that the tribal council or mineral council would not have the same role
that they've always played. They will no longer be the governing body of the Osage
people. But it's our feeling and the feelings of the Osage people that we've visited with
that they certainly want that council to exist and they want them to handle strictly the
mineral shares for the shareholders. The problem remains, how do we keep a govemment-
to-government relationship existing? We don't want to go back to two governments and
we will not. We'll have one governing body and then the mineral council will be a
separate part, still elected by the shareholders... The way we feel it will be tied to the
government is that a clause could be written in there that within five days of a lease, the
chief would have a right to decline it if it violates Osage law set by the constitution. He
can't decline just because he doesn't like it. But if it violates Osage law he can then
decline it. That is the tie that brings it into the new government to keep its sovereign
immunity powers under the government. Without it we were afraid, and we've had
attorneys advise us, that the Bureau of Indian Affairs could say we're no longer going to
deal with this because that's not the governing body any more. And it would put us in a
quandary of who does have a say. And we think the Osage people feel that the
shareholders want that mineral council to oversee and to control the oil portion, but not
anything to do with day-to-day government. [January 16, 2006]









In 2006, this approach to incorporating the Osage minerals council into a new government was

accepted by a 2/3rd majority of the Osage voters. Article XV, section 4 of the 2006 Osage

Constitution created a minerals management agency entitled the Osage Minerals Council. This

agency was, as the constitution reads, "established for the sole purpose of continuing its previous

duties to administer and develop the Osage Mineral Estate in accordance with the Osage

Allotment Act of June 28, 1906, as amended, with no legislative authority for the Osage Nation

government." To assure that the Osage Minerals Council did not violate Osage law, the same

section of 2006 Constitution includes this stipulation:

Mineral leases approved and executed by the Council shall be deemed approved by the
Osage Nation unless, within five (5) working days, written objection is received from the
Office of the Principal Chief that the executed lease or other development activity violates
Osage law or regulation. Any dispute that arises through this process may be heard before
the Supreme Court of the Osage Nation Judiciary.

What was particularly important about this move was that those shareholders voting for the new

system, including the acting members of the Osage Tribal Council, voted for a system in which

they were going to lose their monopoly over general Osage governance. When asked about this

loss of power, one person with multiple headrights responded, "That is power I should never

have had to begin with" (personal communication, September 12, 2005).

The passage of the 2006 constitution was only the beginning of the debates about the new

role of the Osage mineral estate. Many people continued to express fears that this new system

gave the Chief too much authority over the mineral estate, especially since the Chief did not have

to be a shareholder. Some even went as far as to threaten lawsuits because they felt the minerals

council had not been properly protected. They argued that the mineral estate had in fact been

diminished by its new place within the larger Osage Nation, particularly since they no longer had

a chief or vice chief and were left with just the 8 council members. As one tribal elder put it









early on in the reform process, there was always the possibility that the future of the Osage

Nation would be decided by a lawsuit.

If they decide to allow all Osage into the system, then the headright holders have a right to
sue because the council has not protected the headrights by bringing in all these voters. If
they create a two part system, with one group over the mineral estate, then the other group
will sue because they are not having full say in their government. Either way they should
just do it and get the lawsuit out of the way, because it will decide what kind of
government we are going to have. [Personal Communication August 26, 2005]

These debates surrounding the Osage mineral estate illustrate, perhaps more than anything else,

the complex set of issues the colonial situation has created for the Osage people.

Conclusion

In this chapter, I have combined various histories of the Osage people in order to tell my

own story of the colonial process. The Osage benefited from their central location and were able

to gain power during the early colonial period by establishing extensive trade relations. When

the United States government monopolized trade in the area, this Osage position was greatly

weakened. Through control of trade, greater access to guns and horses, and outright deception,

the United States government was able to negotiate a series of vast land acquisitions. Control

over land, and the annuity payments promised for the land, enabled the federal government to

take control of Osage governance and to ultimately persuade the Osage to accept allotment.

In 1906, when the Osage Tribal Council was set up, the federal government thought that it

was creating an end to the "Indian problem." In 25 years it imagined that the Osage people

would be incorporated into American culture and would no longer need to have a governing

body to manage Osage affairs. The Osage were able to fight off this series of threats through

various creative maneuverings, which, while drastically changing their governmental structure

and way of life, enabled them to maintain their position of difference in relation to the general









American population. Even while the Osage fought this incorporation through various

extensions of their trust relationship, more and more Osage fell outside their governing structure.

By the time the federal Congress was persuaded in 2004 to give the Osage the same rights

as other tribes, to determine their own membership and form of government, the U.S.

government had created a complex problem for the Osage in terms of how the system of

headright shares would be preserved while allowing for a government that met the current needs

of all Osage people. This impasse illustrates the continuing colonial impacts on the Osage

people today. Fear of change, in particular, threatened to stagnate all reform efforts, letting few

conversations stray far from the protection of the mineral estate. In making fear the central topic

of discussion, the colonial process has weighed heavily on the Osage people.

Another consequence of the colonization has been the complete disconnection between

older Osage governing practices and the 2006 constitution. The colonial government not only

illegalized central aspects of these earlier Osage ways of being, but also, over time, rendered

them unfamiliar. In creating a tribal council structure and only recognizing its authority, the

United States government succeeded in significantly altering Osage practices. Interestingly, the

disconnect created between Osage culture and political structures was still strong enough in 2006

to facilitate the general consensus that Osage cultural practices should remain completely

separate from Osage governance. In dictating the government structure of the Osage for 100

years, the United States government broke apart older linkages between religion, governance and

culture, so that by 2006 cultural practices were understood as something completely separate

from governance.

However, the Osage cannot be understood as passive victims of colonization. Over and

over again they have argued for their right to maintain as much of their autonomy as possible.









Using their history of embracing change, the Osage have not let themselves be dissolved as a

people, even if this meant drastically changing their own ways of living. Rather than defining

themselves simply in terms of a connection to a single past, many Osage have embraced change

as a means of ensuring their future. While some might read Osage history as a series of losses,

their continued perseverance in the face of great colonial opposition should instead be read as a

series of negotiations.

Over and over again, the Osage have asserted that they are not only a people, but also a

nation. To this end, the 2006 Osage preamble reads,

Having resolved to live in harmony, we now come together so that we may once more
unite as a nation and as a People... Acknowledging our ancient tribal order as the
foundation of our present government, first reformed in the 1881 Constitution of the Osage
Nation, we continue our legacy by again reorganizing our government... We, the Osage
People, based on centuries of being a People, now strengthen our government in order to
preserve and perpetuate a full and abundant Osage way of life that benefits all Osage,
living and yet unborn. [Osage Constitution: 1]

Rather than treating the past as some sort of static ideal to be returned to, this passage is creating

a connection with the past, predicated on Osage reorganization. It is this ability to change that

enables an Osage future. Furthermore, it is the Osage insistence on their own nationhood that

denies the federal government's efforts of total incorporation. As Article I states, "This tribe

shall hereafter be referred to as The Osage Nation, formerly known as the Osage Tribe of Indians

of Oklahoma" (Osage Constitution 2006:1). By once again rejecting the label of tribe, the Osage

people are utilizing the idea of nationhood to reassert their ability to control their own affairs. In

2006, they succeeded in reasserting themselves as a nation, even as the fear of change threatened

to stagnate or reverse this process.









CHAPTER 3
THE FUNDAMENTAL POWERS OF BLOOD

Objective self-fashioning is how we take facts about ourselves-about our bodies, minds,
capacities, traits, states, limitations, propensities, etc.-that we have read, heard, or
otherwise encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives. [Dumit 1997]

In March of 2006, the Osage voters approved a constitution stating, "all lineal descendants

of those Osage listed on the 1906 roll are eligible for membership in the Osage Nation" (Osage

Nation Constitution 2006). While this phrase appears simple, it is actually a complex

consolidation of a myriad of debates surrounding citizenship that have been going on for

centuries, particularly regarding the role Osage blood should play in determining who can be

considered an Osage citizen. The next two chapters will map the various institutions that have

surrounded Osage blood. As Bruno Latour (2000) writes, "When a phenomenon 'definitely'

exists this does not mean that it exists forever, or independently of all practice and discipline, but

that it has been entrenched in a costly and massive institution that has to be monitored and

protected with great care" (255).

Blood must be understood not simply as a physical substance, but also as an institution, or,

more accurately, multiple institutions, which are not uniform throughout time or space. In

human history, the significance of blood has changed many times. Even now, blood, as the

substance by which physical traits are passed from one generation to the next, no longer quite

makes sense. Genes have come to take blood's place as a marker of heredity, leaving blood as

mere metaphor, no longer assumed to contain the fundamental characteristics of an individual,

and therefore, no longer supported by current science. Scientists are now investing their time

and resources into tracing out connections between genetic codes and physical traits, leaving the

institution of blood to unravel from neglect. However, for many Osage as well as other

indigenous peoples, blood still has real power. In order to make sense of this power, the various









institutions of blood must be scrutinized. After outlining some of the debates about blood which

took place at the beginning of the 2004-2006 reform process, this chapter will trace out European

understandings of Indianness and how some of these concepts surfaced during the reform

process. The following chapter will illustrate, however, that the Osage did not simply accept this

European institution of blood, but created their own institution, negotiated out of their own

experiences.

BIA, CDIB, OTC, OGRC and Who Gets to Vote

During the summer of 2004, I returned home to Oklahoma in order to lay the foundation

for my dissertation research on the Osage government reform bill that was moving through the

US Congress. The second interview I conducted was with Leonard Maker, the head of planning

for the Osage Nation. Maker had been put in charge of creating a plan for the reform process

and had a large schematic drawn on a dry erase board in his office outlining the major events he

thought should take place, including: community meetings, training, and a referendum election.

During the interview, Maker explained that the first decision to make was who got to vote

on the future of the Osage nation. Giving a brief history of the tribe, he explained that in 1906,

when the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) finally persuaded the Osage population to allot their

reservation, the BIA created a roll that listed all the members of the tribe. From this roll, Maker

went on to say, there are around 20,000 lineal descendants, all of whom were eligible for Osage

Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) cards from the BIA. However, because of the

shareholder system created by the federal government in 1906, children born after July 1, 1907

were not eligible to vote in tribal politics or run for office. It was only when members on the

original roll died that Osage born after the cutoff date were able to inherit land, a share in the

mineral estate proceeds, and a vote in tribal politics. This was even further complicated by a

later decision to have tribal votes dependent on the percentage of headright held. When three









siblings would inherit equal shares of one parent's headright, for example, they were only given

a 1/3rd vote in tribal elections. By 2004, this system recognized only 4,000 people as eligible to

vote, with many having less than half a vote. These inequalities are what eventually led the

Osage Tribal Council (OTC) to press the federal Congress for a change in the law.

In discussing who he thought should be eligible to vote if the bill was passed, Maker

asked, "It is a chicken and egg question, who decides who the Osage are to participate?

Assuming that everybody, most of the 20,000 people that we say are of Osage descent, are of

Osage descent, then those are the people we want to be represented" (Personal Communication:

July 20, 2004). Maker went on to explain however, that central to the passage of Osage

allotment in 1906 was the stipulation that the Chief would have three months to file with the

Secretary of the Interior a list of names that were on the BIA roll by fraud or descended from

people put on the roll by fraud. The principal Chief created a list of 244 persons. The Secretary

of the Interior heard these cases, but in the end decided not to remove any names from the list

based on what he saw as insufficient evidence. (Personal Communication, July 20, 2004; Annual

Report 1907: 116).

Maker went on to explain that some Osage did not want the 1906 roll to be the basis for

membership because of these fraudulent enrollees. It was argued that because these people did

not have Osage blood, they should not be granted a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card, and

ultimately should not be eligible to vote in Osage elections. Maker explained,

I just learned over the last several years we had a person working at the agency here who
was able to look at the roll and at the documentation that was available to show that there
are a number of people on the Osage roll from 1906 who were not of Osage blood. This
person refused to issue CDIB cards to these people because, simply, they were not of
Osage blood. She could not ethically or legally, in her opinion, sign off on a document
that said they were of Osage blood because from her analysis from what the actual record
showed, they were clearly not of Osage blood. [Personal Communication: July 20, 2004]









This question of who should be eligible to participate was thus not easily answered. On one

hand, there was a 100-year precedent of the 2,229 headrights that had by now been unevenly

split among 4,000 people controlling Osage elections. However, this was the system the OTC

was trying to fix with their U.S. Congressional bill. On the other hand, there were around 20,000

people who were lineal descendants of the 1906 roll, but this roll now contained hundreds of

descendants perceived as fraudulent. Finally, this issue of fraud was caught up in debates about

blood and biological conceptions of being Osage. Some of the people listed on the 1906 roll had

been adopted into the tribe and were accepted at the time even though they had no Osage blood.

Adoption was practiced by the Osage before the arrival of the Europeans and was seen by some

to be more culturally appropriate than blood-based forms of membership.

The bill reaffirming the "inherent sovereign rights of the Osage Tribe to determine its own

membership and form of government" (Public Law 108-431) passed both federal houses and was

signed into law in December of 2004. Choosing to act immediately on this law, the Osage Tribal

Council (OTC) put Maker's reform plan into motion. In February of 2005, the OTC appointed

ten people as commissioners with their mission being to "provide a means through which the

Osage People will establish a government that reflects the will of the Osage People" (Osage

Government Reform Project Comprehensive Plan, February 21, 2005: 8). Maker's original plan

called for half the commissioners to be headright holders and half non-headright holders, but

various Osage Tribal Councilmen argued that they wanted to instead focus on getting the best

people for the job (OTC Committee Meeting, February 7, 2005). When all the reform

commissioners ended up being headright holders it seemed more likely that the motivation for

changing the comprehensive plan was a fear that non-shareholders (those who had not yet, or

never would, inherit a headright) might create a government that was somehow harmful to the









mineral estate. This move, however, caused many people to question the process of the reform

from the very beginning, saying the reform commission did not accurately represent the Osage

population1.

The plan handed to this new commission (officially titled the Osage Government Reform

Commission) by the OTC did not, however, clarify who was meant by "the Osage People," but

did stipulate that they needed to create a registration process for the proposed constitutional

referendum based on existing lists including, "the CDIB list, membership list, newsletter list,

other lists" as well as certify this list for the referendum" (Osage Government Reform Project

Comprehensive Plan, February 21: 2005: 8). For Maker and some members of the OTC, this

process included at least the option of having the voting list go through a period in which

descendants from these members who had been listed as fraudulent were subject to challenge

(Personal Communication: July 20, 2004).

In May of 2005, I returned to Oklahoma to complete my dissertation research. The reform

process had officially started in February with the appointment of the OGRC, but by May the

OGRC was just setting up its office and beginning its first round of community meetings. In

addition to the OGRC business and community meetings, I began attending the weekly OTC

meetings. At 9 a.m. on July 1,st I arrived for an OTC meeting and was immediately asked to

leave the chambers, along with all other non-elected officials, because the CDIB department2 had

asked for an executive session. Later, from various sources, I pieced together that this meeting


1 This and other problems with the reform will be discussed at length in chapter six.
2 In order to take more control of the process by which the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awarded Osage
Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) cards, the 31st Osage Tribal Council (2'" i-2'" 1 4) contracted with the BIA,
and created the CDIB department within the Osage Tribe. This department was intended to help Osage fill out the
necessary paperwork, but ultimately it was still the BIA who determined the criteria for the card and signed off all
cards issued. According to the BIA, to receive a CDIB card you had to prove descent from someone listed on the
BIA's 1906-allotment roll. This card enabled you to receive certain federal benefits including health care at Indian
clinics and various Native American scholarships.









was called because the BIA was no longer signing CDIB cards of those descendants who did not

have Osage blood. This was particularly significant since federal government had never

admitted that there were people on the 1906 roll who were fraudulent, even when Osage leaders

had taken such arguments to a hearing in front of the Secretary of the Interior in the early 20th

century. The OTC was thus left with a dilemma of whether or not to act on this opportunity to

show that the BIA's roll had been wrong all these years. If so, the federal government could

probably be held negligible in court for massive losses of land and mineral estate proceeds that

went to "non-Osage."

Several weeks later, after holding long meetings with the OGRC about the list of "non-

blooded" and "fraudulent" Osage, the OTC realized through conversations with the Osage BIA

Superintendent that this was not a change in BIA policy. It turned out that an Osage woman in

the tribal CDIB department had started placing the word "adopted" on all CDIB card

applications when she had evidence claiming the ancestor did not have Osage blood, either

because they had been adopted into the tribe or because they had been placed on the roll

fraudulently. When the BIA Superintendent of the Osage Tribe received these CDIB

applications, she had been refusing to sign them because of the word "adopted," not realizing

these people were lineal descendants of those listed on the 1906 roll. The timing of this

maneuver by the tribal CDIB department, however, caused months of consternation not only for

the OTC but also for the OGRC, who were trying to figure out what voting requirements would

be used for the November referendum election. This one issue, in fact, caused the commission to

go in circles for months trying to figure out how they might best handle the voting requirements.

On August 18, 2005, another business meeting turned into a discussion about the supposed

fraudulent names:









Commissioner 1: What are we going to do about these two hundred names?

C2: It is not our job to do anything about it.

Maker: You need to include a process for people who want to dispute certain names on
the 1906 roll. One way to do this would be to post the list in various places and give
people a certain amount of time to come up with evidence against certain names.

C3: That list of the fraudulent names is totally arbitrary; it is not based on any real proof.

Maker: I have heard that there is enough evidence on file at the BIA to sufficiently
document that these people were not Osage. You all need to stop going in circles around
this issue and just take a vote. Then you must get started getting stuff done.

C3: What about putting it in the constitution that they need to be of Osage blood and
letting the new government, with its own court system, enforce the idea?

C2: What about adopted children of Osage? Our tribe used to adopt children, didn't they?

C4: You can be ethnically Osage, but that does not make you an Osage citizen. The two
need to be separated.

Maker: I used to think this issue of blood was dead, but it has been brought back. It is
going to take strength to fix, but we are talking about the identity of the Osage Nation.
This is the first time in 100 years that we can answer the questions of who is Osage.
Should we just stick our head back in the sand? [August 18, 2005]

Later in the meeting, it was decided that anyone with an Osage CDIB card from the BIA, which

was based solely on being a descendant from the BIA's 1906 allotment roll, would have a vote in

the November referendum election and thus a say in how citizenship ought to be determined. As

Chief Gray put it at the end of the meeting, "the best approach is to include everybody, cast the

widest net possible as to the direction of the tribe. You can't limit citizenship before you

determine citizenship" (Jim Gray, August 18 2005).

Within this discussion, it is possible to follow the ways in which this issue of blood caused

a great deal of anxiety during the reform process, ultimately consuming much of the reform

commission's time and energy. Central to this anxiety are a series of conflicting ideas about the

role blood should play in determining Osage citizenship. Fundamental to Maker's argument is

the idea that blood is one, if not the, central component in determining not only Osage









citizenship, but also the "identity of the Osage Nation." In this view, the roll is something that

Osage have been waiting a century to fix and are now finally being given the opportunity.

Maker was far from the only person during the reform process who felt this way. However,

there were also other views, such as the one put forth by C2, that blood should not be made the

central determining factor because of older Osage practices of adoption. A third view, put forth

by C4, also discredited a purely biological understanding of Osage citizenship, arguing

elsewhere that Osage citizenship was also about living in and contributing to the community at

large. This and the following chapter provide a background to each of these arguments, their

histories, and ultimately how they were written into the 2006 Osage constitution.

Pauline Turner Strong and Barrik Van Winkle (1996) call for research that explores blood

quantum3 as a "discourse of conquest with manifold and contradictory effects, but without

invalidating rights and resistances that have been couched in terms of that very discourse" (1996:

565). Blood was certainly a discourse of conquest for the Osage, as it was for other American

Indians. Over the years it has served, at least symbolically, as a dividing line reworking

perceptions of who counted as Osage. The rest of this chapter focuses on blood as a discourse of

conquest, while the following chapter will illustrate the more complicated understandings of

blood that surfaced during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process.

The Dangerous Power of Blood

Historicizing Race

While blood is certainly a biological substance, it must be made sense of through the

various institutions that surround it, including the Euro-American institution of race. Like all


3 Blood quantum is the percentage of blood one has based on inheriting half of one's blood from the father and half
from the mother. If a father was 1/4th Osage and the mother was none, the child would have an Osage blood
quantum of 1/8 If the Father was full-blood Osage and the mother was half-blood Osage, then the child would
have an Osage blood quantum of 3/4 .









aspects of science, constructions of race rely on biological, social, and philosophical ways of

knowing. Central to understanding the power of blood, then, is parsing out this institution of

race for its various components. As the following sections will explore, the Euro-American

institution of race relied on a vast assortment of objects and ideas including agriculture,

Christianity, the "savage," possession of property, colonization, the nation-state, the world map,

evolution, human skulls, lead shot, the clinic, the novel, and U.S. federal policies.

Audrey Smedley (1993) argues that English interactions with the Irish laid the groundwork

for race relations in the United States. After the invasion of Ireland, many of the English became

frustrated with what they saw as Ireland's total rejection of agriculture and blatant disrespect for

God, order, structure and control. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in particular, there

developed a "growing image of the Irish as something less than human, as a people whose

capacity for civilization was stunted" (Smedley 1993: 58). Such concepts of "savagery" became

central to the development of ideas surrounding race. In particular, the English placed high

value on the possession of property, linking it not just to what it meant to be civilized, but also,

through the Protestant Reformation, to what it meant to be favored by God. As a result, the Irish

rejection of private property was seen not only as a rejection of civilization, but also as evidence

of their inferiority in the eyes of God (Smedley 1993).

These growing feelings of superiority were deeply rooted in the process of colonization,

and the growth of the nation-state. The people Europeans encountered across the globe were

seen as "nomadic," "pagan," and orderlesss" in the eyes of European descendants. According to

Robert F. Berkhofer (1978), colonialism grew out of the new economic and political order of the

15th century: "The rising spirit of nationalism and the emergence of nation-states in that area

spurred exploration of the non-European world and divided the rest of the globe into national









spheres of colonization" (Berkhofer 1978: 4). As Europe began to map out the world around

them, the world took on a drastically new shape. As James Scott (1989) argues, maps, such as

those created during the colonial era, are never simply depictions of what exists, but are value-

laden objects that mold the world into a certain way of being. Not only was the world mapped

into spheres of control, but it was also engraved with concepts of civilization, marking off

Europe from the rest of the world.

Nationalism, the growing global market, and Christianity all worked together to shape the

concepts of difference that were the foundation of race. As Berkhofer argues in relation to

Spanish perceptions of the new world, "Indians might, therefore, have the wrong or no religion,

have misguided or no government.., but they always stood in Christian error and deficient in

civilization according to Spanish standards of measurement (Berkhofer 1978: 4). Steeped in this

concept of Christian civilization, the "native" cultures encountered were likened to children and

thought to be in need of modernizing. Working together, these ideas provided a central

foundation for the science of race through the creation of both "the primitive" and "the

civilized."

Racializing Indians through Science

Through colonialism, concepts of cultural hierarchies were already present in America.

However, it was evolution, stemming in part from the growing momentum of the Industrial

Revolution, which turned these grand myths into science. Darwinism, and particularly its

adaptation by Herbert Spencer into Cultural Darwinism, created the framework for much of this

evolutionary timeline. According to Spencer and his adherents, each society was to be viewed as

a solid entity whose progress could be measured by how well it is "ordered." This order

involved having a clear, codified and specific social organization. In this view, all societies are









seen to travel on the same path, however, some were seen as further developed than others

(Latham 2000).

Central to the idea of race was the concept of blood, which was seen as literally

transmitting racial qualities from one generation to the next. According to Melissa L. Meyer, the

etymological link between blood and lineage goes back at least 800 years. "By 1200, 'blood'

increasingly connotes lineage, descent, and ancestry in association with royal claims to property

and power and presages modem conceptions of 'race"' (1999: 235). Over time, race became

more interwoven into European understandings of blood and blood relations. By 1800, the ideas

surrounding blood relations were thus intricately interwoven with understandings of race, purity,

and superiority (Meyer 1999).

Uli Linke (1999) also traces out the connections between blood and race. Building on the

work of Michel Foucault, Linke argues that in early European history blood developed its

potency and power from its connection to the female menstrual cycle and ideas surrounding

reproduction. However, these ancient connections surrounding blood were reworked not only to

stand for ideas of descent, heredity and genealogy, but as a method of naturalizing the concept of

race. Central to this European idea of blood was the concept of the "natural" body. Blood, body

and race were solidified as biological realities, existing outside any sort of social or historical

understandings. "The material body was seized by a dissecting gaze that embraced not only the

entire organism, not only its surfaces, but also its recesses, orifices, and hidden

crevices... Assigned to the realms of nature and biology, the body was thus expelled from

history" (Linke 1999: 157). Discoveries within the laboratory came to be seen as having an

objective authority, independent of social understandings. Through such clinical observations,

race was given a biological reality.









One of the central contributors to these understandings of a racialized body was geologist

Samual G. Morton. Building on phrenological theories of his day, including those of the 18th

century German physiologist and physical anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenback,4

Morton began the collection and classification of human skulls in 1830. Morton argued that the

"interior of the cranium revealed brain size and that cranial capacity differed among the races" so

"brain size and intelligence were correlated" (Bieder 1986: 64). Later Morton (1839) argues that

this clear ranking of intelligence started with 'the Black' and moved up the scale from 'Indian,'

'Malay,' 'Mongolian' and at the pinnacle the 'Caucasian.'

Using his vast collection of Indian skulls, Morton went on to show that no drastic change

had occurred for centuries in either the shape or size of Indian crania. From this observation, he

argued that mental capacity was not determined by society, but was innately biological and

passed on from one generation to the next. As Robert E. Beider (1986) argues, "Morton shared

with other phrenologists the assumption that the Indians' rejection of civilization lay not in

willfulness but in their mental inability, given the size of their brains, to absorb civilization" (73).

By comparing the various weights of lead shot required to fill human skulls, Morton was able to

locate older concepts of civilization within the context of the body.

From 1200 to 1900, the human body was gradually racialized. From changes in economy,

religion, and world structure came understandings of modernity, which served to create

differently shaped bodies, including the civilized European body and the primitive indigenous

body. These bodies existed within the context of the growing field of biology as well as the

economic, religious and political trends of the day. Over time, blood came to be the central



4 Blumenbach used craniometrical research to divide the human species into five races, which included the
"Caucasian race" or "white race"; the "Mongolian" or "yellow race"; the "Malayan" or "brown race"; the "Negro,"
"Ethiopian," or "black race"; and the "American" or "red race."









symbol by which these biological, religious, economic, and political traits were passed from one

generation to the next. Because of the profound differences established between the primitive

and civilized body, blood mixing became a central quandary of early American colonialists and

ultimately the means by which complete colonization seemed possible.

Mixing Blood in 19th Century American Literature and Science

Such theories as Morton's on the impossibility of civilizing the Indian were highly

debated, particularly when they involved perceptions of "mixed-blood" Indians. Unlike African

blood, which had a "polluting" nature (Baker 1998), there was a great deal of debate about the

impact of Indian blood, particularly when mixed with Caucasian blood. Such fears and

confusion surrounding mixed-blood Indians is evident in the literature and science of the 19th

Century. In Oregon Trail (1849), Francis Parkman describes several half-breeds as, "a race of

rather extraordinary composition, being according to the common saying half Indian, half white

man, and half devil" (362). William Scheick (1979) talks about this and other fictional

characterizations of mixed-bloods as representative of the ambiguous relationship Americans had

with Indians and mixed-bloods in particular. Fiction of the time strove to glorify the noble

savage and at the same moment celebrate civilization's victory over savagery. According to

Scheik, this was most frequently accomplished by placing the Indian within the remote past.

However, the existence of mixed-bloods challenged such easy placements. "Whereas the full-

blood Indian could be restricted to America's prehistory or history, could be safely confined to

the past, the mixed-blood Indian belonged very much to the present and, quite possibly, to the

future of America" (Scheick 1979: 2). For American fiction writers of the 19th century, this

ambivalence played out in the question of whether or not mixed-bloods were an asset or a

hindrance to western expansion.









One example that Scheick uses to illustrate the attitudes toward half-bloods during this

period is Alexander Ross' The Fur Hunters of the Far West (1855):

Half-breeds, or as they are more generally styled, brules, from the particular colour of their
skin, being of a swarthy hue, as if sunburnt, as they grow up resemble, almost in every
aspect, the pure Indian. With the difference that they are more designing, more daring, and
more dissolute.... They are by far the fittest persons for the Indian countries, the best
calculated by nature for going among Indians.... They are vigorous, brave; and while they
possess the shrewdness and sagacity of the whites, they inherit the agility and expertness of
the savage. [quoted in Scheick 1979: 3]

In this example and pervasive throughout the literature of this time, half-bloods looked and

behaved like Indians, but they lacked the communal dedication of full-blooded Indians. This

"shrewdness" was also seen in ambiguous terms. When it was employed in favor of projects of

'civilization,' such as treaties or missionary work, it was glorified. However, when it was used

against trading companies or other Euro-American projects, it was seen as a fatal flaw (Brown

1985).

In a similar fashion, Robert E. Bieder (1980) surveyed philanthropic, political, and

scientific literature during the early 19th century for discussions of mixed-bloods. Bieder's

primary argument is that mixed-bloods were used as pawns in the debate about whether humans

were all one species monogenesiss) or multiple species (polygenesis). Taking race to its extreme,

Morton and other polygenists argued that human populations constituted separate species with

entirely different biological compositions. Because the leading definition of species included the

barren nature of any mixed offspring, polygenists had to make sense of the growing mixed-blood

population. J.C. Nott, a Southern physician writing in 1843, argued that, "while the progeny of

two species (i.e. hybrids) did not live as long as either parent and were more prone to disease,

they were also intermediate in intelligence between the two parent stocks" (Bieder 1980: 23).

Thus, while polygenists argued that the mixing of species violated the "will of God and the









natural structure of the species," they linked higher intelligence with even small quantities of

white blood.

Early monogenesists, meanwhile, used this argument about the effects of interbreeding on

intelligence to argue for interbreeding as part of the civilization effort. One such argument came

from Thomas Jefferson in an 1803 letter to Benjamin Hawkins about the Creek Indians:

In truth, the ultimate point of rest and happiness for them is to let our settlement and theirs
meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people. Incorporating themselves
with us as citizens of the United States, this is what the natural progress of things will of
course, bring on, and it will better to promote than retard it. [Jefferson quoted in Bergh
1907: 363]

Building on such ideas, New England Scientist Samuel Williams wrote in 1810 that it only took

three generations for the Indian to be bred out because of the Indian's cream-colored skin.

Likewise, traveler Timothy Flint reported on his experiences in the South that the general

consensus among white southerners in 1826 was that the only possible way to civilize the Indian

was through inter-breeding. Flint supported this position by arguing, "in effect, wherever there

are half-breeds, as they are called, there is generally a faction, a party; and this race finds it

convenient to espouse the interests of civilization and Christianity" (Flint quoted in Bieder 1980:

19). Here, even more than with the polygenists, there was a strong connection between white

blood, civilization, and Christianity.

Both the scientific and fictional literature of the 19th century struggled to make sense of the

impact of mixing Indian and white blood. Within these writings, blood became a powerful

signifier of various physical and mental states separating the civilized from the savage.

Furthermore, these discussions illustrate that while the exact nature of the mixed-blood Indian

was ambiguous, certain physical, mental, spiritual and economic deficiencies were seen as being

non-civilized and thus Indian. In exploring the middle ground between the Caucasian and the

Indian, 19th century writings in science and literature further solidified these categories and traits









as being passed through the blood. These ideas became foundational to federal policy,

eventually working their way into indigenous ways of understanding.

Blood and Policy

By the 19th century, conceptions of blood and race were already interwoven into U.S.

federal Indian policy. As part of several treaties, including the 1825 Osage treaty, mixed-bloods

were singled out and given property within the new reservation areas. The Chippewa treaty of

1826 stated that, "half- breeds5, scattered through this extensive country, should be stimulated to

exertion and improvement by the possession of permanent property and fixed residences"

(Kappler 1972: 268). Central to such practices was the idea that because of their white blood,

mixed-bloods were more capable of adapting to private property ownership. Conflating blood-

based understandings of race with the possession of property, 19th century treaties enforced a

very particular notion of what it meant to be civilized and thus what it meant to be Indian.

These connections between property, labor, and civilization go back at least as far as the

writing of John Locke. Locke was a 17th century English philosopher who is credited with

codifying the principles underlying modem governance, which greatly influenced documents

such as Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. In his Second Treatise of Government

Locke states that what separates the Indian from "those who are counted the civilized part of

mankind" is that the latter invested the land with labor, thus making it their property (2002: 14).

"He that, in obedience to this command of God, subdued, tilled, and sowed any part of it, thereby

annexed to it something that was his property, which another had no title to, nor could without

injury take from him" (Locke 2002: 15). In addition to providing justification for the colonial



5 The term "half-breed" originated in English common law and referred to two siblings who shared only one parent.
Within the colonial situation the term half-breed, like blood, began to take on racial connotations, referring to any
person of mixed racial descent (Meyer 1999).









takeover of Indian land, so that the land could be given "value" through labor,6 this logic also

formed the basis of the various "civilization" efforts imposed upon the American Indian. It was

believed that if Indians could be persuaded to invest labor into their own individual property,

they would join civilization and give up their communal title to the land.

In July of 1832, the federal Congress created the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian

Affairs, which was charged with directing and managing federal Indian policy. The first man to

hold this office was Elbert Herring. In the first Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian

Affairs, Herring argued that the only solution to the "Indian problem" was for Indians to

assimilate into white culture, particularly in regards to private ownership of property. This

assimilation was seen as necessary for the "preservation of peace and tranquility" in the United

States (Annual Report 1832: 163). In outlining his case for assimilation, Herring argued, "On

the whole, it may be a matter of serious doubt whether, even with the fostering care and assured

protection of the United States, the preservation and perpetuity of the Indian race are at all

attainable, under the form of government and rude civil regulations subsisting among them"

(Ibid). The Euro-American values of property ownership, order and peace were seen as directly

threatened not just by tribal structures and ways of life, but by the Indian race itself7.

Out of this and similar sentiments grew the U.S. federal government's policy of allotment.

Allotment, it was argued, would create American citizens by allowing each Indian to become a


6 Locke explains that "Nor is it so strange, as perhaps before consideration it may appear, that the property of labour
should be able to overbalance the community of land. For 'tis labour indeed that puts the difference of value on
everything..." (2005: 18).

7 Joel Pfister (21" 14 explores at length the process by which Euro-Americans attempted to "individually
incorporate" Indians into U.S. culture, particularly at the Carlisle Indian school. He argues that white reformers and
Indian educators frequently referred to their desire to "Americanize," "civilize," and "individualize" their students.
Pfister goes on to say, "Assimilationist reformers used the category of individuality to reencode relations of
dependence, such as routinized daily work, not just as desirable but as relations signifying independence" (I i 14 12).
In this way, Euro-Americans attempted to "Kill the Indian in him, and save the man," as the famous quote by the
director of Carlisle states in 1892 (Pfister 2004: 20).









civilized contributor to American society through investment in privately owned property,

ideally through farming. As Francis Paul Prucha (1984) states, "It was an article of faith with the

reformers that civilization was impossible without the incentive to work that only came from

individual ownership of a piece of property" (224). The division of tribal lands was also seen as

central to the break-up of tribal structures, which were blamed for retarding Indian peoples'

ability to adopt civilized lifestyles. M. Annette James (1992) argues that by taking control of

membership through the creation of rolls, the goal for allotment was not only to create a limited

group of people that could claim Indianness, but also to do away with, ultimately, the Indian

population all together. By insisting on the individual ownership of land, as well as the

destruction of tribal governments, the goal was to turn Indians into individualized American

citizens.

In 1884, the Commissioner of Indian affairs wrote about the problems of determining who

was Indian for the purposes of allotment. "I think it would be for the benefit of all to exclude

persons of less than one half Indian blood, and to retain all who are regularly adopted, if Indians,

and to add the children of such, but to discourage or prohibit any further adoptions by Indian

tribes, especially of whites" (Annual Report 1884: XXVII). Through his focus on Indian blood,

the Commissioner of Indian affairs wanted to limit the people who were able to claim Indian

ancestry, thus also limit the federal government's responsibility to its promises made in treaties.

While the rolls created for allotment did not mandate the exclusion of persons of lesser blood or

even those whom the tribe had adopted, it did create a new standard for determining

membership. In almost all cases, Indian nations have used the rolls created for the purposes of

allotment as a baseline for citizenship. Proving lineal descent from these rolls has become the

standard minimal requirement for tribal membership, with many more tribes requiring a minimal









blood quantum relation. In both types of cases, a blood relation to someone listed on the roll has

become the standard.

Shortly after the passage of the Dawes General Allotment Act in 1887, which authorized

the President of the United States to divide tribal lands for individual ownership, it became

apparent that allotment was not going to succeed in making each new Indian landowner a farmer,

as the humanitarians had hoped. Many Indians were unable to farm because of age or

involvement in school while others simply had no desire to farm. Furthermore, many Indians

were either selling their lands or having them taken away through fraud or inability to pay taxes.

In 1906, Congress passed the Burke Act, which postponed the point at which Indian individuals

would receive complete control over their lands until the end of the trust period. In his 1906

Annual Report, Commissioner Leupp explained his reasoning for the passage of this bill:

Like his white neighbor, the Indian is of more than one sort, ranging from good degrees of
intelligence, industry, and thrift to the depths of helplessness, ignorance, and vice.
Experience has proved that Indians of the former class do better when allowed to run their
own business than when the government tries to run it for them, but that citizenship and the
jurisdiction of the local courts are of no advantage to Indians of the latter class... Such
conditions made plain the need of some law which would enable the Indian Office to
manage the affairs of the helpless class with undisputed authority, but, on the other hand,
to remove from the roll of wards and dependants the large and increasing number of
Indians who no longer needed any supervision from a bureau in Washington. [Annual
Report 1906: 27-31]

Commissioner Leupp then discusses how the Burke law postpones the acquisition of citizenship

until the end of the process. However, as Leupp goes on to say, "to nullify the injustice which

such a general provision might inflict upon Indians capable of taking their place in the States as

citizens a very comprehensive proviso confers authority on the Secretary of the Interior to

terminate the trust period by issuing a patent in fee8 whenever he is satisfied of the competency9



8 A patent in fee means that the land was owned outright and no longer had any federally imposed restrictions on its
use or sale.









of an allottee to manage his own affairs" (1906: 31). Competency, as it became known, was tied

up with not only citizenship and land, but also the earlier concepts surrounding civilization

including Christianity, education and farming. The federal government decided to maintain

control over lands of those they viewed as still "too Indian" to manage their own affairs. While

the central goal was still the complete assimilation of the Indian population into the general

American citizenry, the immediate effect was to mark certain characteristics as competent and

others as incompetent or still Indian.

One of the most powerful illustrations of how blood, incompetence, Indianness, and

guardianship were being interwoven during this period is the circuit court decision in Mosier v.

United States (1912). The court held

The question, then, to be decided on this branch of the case is: Does the mere fact of
citizenship destroy the allegation of the indictment that Hezel Gray was on December 28,
1909, an Osage Indian under the charge of an Indian superintendent, and an Indian over
whom the government, through the Interior Department, exercised guardianship? There is
certainly nothing inconsistent in being an Indian and a citizen of the United States at the
same time. The word "Indian" describes a person ofIndian blood. The word citizen
describes a political status. If as a matter of law and fact the government is exercising
guardianship over an Indian who is also a citizen, it is not for the courts to say when the
guardianship shall cease. [emphasis added, 117 C. C. A. 162, 198 Fed. 54]

In this case, the Osage woman Hazel Gray was sold liquor, which the federal government

considered a crime because of her status as their ward. While Gray was a U.S. citizen, she was

more importantly "of Indian blood" and a thus viewed as incapable of consuming liquor in a

responsible manner. Of central importance here is the effort the federal government was

exerting in establishing their own definition of Indianness, not as a person politically affiliated

with a tribal nation, but as a member of a race incompetent to manage his or her own affairs.




9 Competency became the legal phrase meaning that the Indian had been deemed capable of handling their own
affairs and could thus be issued a patent in fee.









It was not long until blood too was written into the official criteria for establishing

competency. During that same year, the federal Congress also passed the Clapp Act (59 PL

154), which appropriated money for the allotment of the White Earth reservation and many other

reservations not yet allotted. Because the 1826 treaty with the Chippewa, mentioned above, had

encouraged the civilization of mixed-bloods through the individual control of land, the Clapp Act

made a unique stipulation for the White Earth reservation:

That all restrictions as to the sale, encumbrance, or taxation for allotments with the White
Earth reservation in the state of Minnesota, heretofore or hereafter held by adult mixed-
blood Indians, are hereby removed...and as to full-bloods said restrictions shall be
removed when the Secretary of the Interior is satisfied that said adult full-blood Indians are
competent to handle their own affairs ... [59 PL 154 1907: 1034]

However, nowhere did the Clapp Act describe who it was that qualified as a "mixed-blood" nor

was there a legal roll listing the blood status of the White Earth population (Hilger 1998). To

solve this dilemma, the BIA turned to physical anthropology. As David L. Beaulieu (1984)

discusses, from 1915-1916 two anthropologists were brought onto the White Earth reservation to

physically examine the Chippewa people. These scientists used methods such as anthropometric

measurements, hair and scalp samples, and the scratching of the skin in order to determine who

was full-blood, mixed-blood, and non-blood for the purposes of discrediting land allotment

claims and determining who was "competent" enough to sell their land and pay taxes (Beaulieu

1984).

In 1914, one of the scientists, Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, published a paper claiming that he could

scientifically distinguish between those of pure Indian and mixed-race descent by comparing

measurements with his analysis of skulls and other physical features of full-blooded Indians.

While neither of the anthropologists brought to the White Earth reservation had any substantial

experience with the Chippewa people, they claimed that by using the Pima, a tribe who had

reportedly killed all non-full-blood Pima children, they could apply these measurements to all









Native American people. One of the most popular measurements was the skin reaction test,

which Hrdlicka discussed at length in his 1916 article "Popular Picture of Indian Upset by

Investigation. Eagle Beak Nose Belongs Not to Redman but to Fiction":

An interesting test developed by the writer during the preliminary work and one which
proved of much diagnostic value, both as to blood status and as to the general health of the
person, consisted of drawing with some force the nail of the fore-finger over the chest,
along the middle and also a few inches to each side. This creates a reaction consisting of a
reddening, or hyperemia, along the lines drawn. In the full-bloods the reaction as a rule is
quite slight to moderate, and evanescent, or of only moderate duration; in mixed-bloods,
unless anemic, it is more intense as well as lasting. [quoted in Beaulieu 1984: 298]

Such tests were used in multiple court cases to determine not only an Indian's competence level,

but also their claim to land allotment1.

In 1916, the BIA sent field agents out to do in-depth field reports on various reservations.

Unlike other reports that focused on needs for education or tuberculosis treatments, the Osage

report focused on the need for a blood-based distinction in handling tribal affairs. Throughout

his report, Agent Vaux deals with the stark contrasts between the "full-bloods" and the "part-

bloods," in issues ranging from the boarding school, the value placed on money, and the part-

bloods' ability to conduct their own business affairs.

Broadly speaking, the full-bloods are uneducated in the ways of the white man as respects
their ability to conduct their business affairs. A very considerable number of them can not
speak English, and but a few can read and write in that language. They appear to be in
many respects very trustful of those in whom they have confidence, and in certain

10 One such case went all the way to the Supreme Court. In the 1914 case of United States v.
First National Bank (234 U.S. 245) the court rendered an opinion about the meaning of "mixed-
blood" in the Clapp act. In this case the government was arguing that "mixed-blood" meant more
than half white, while "full-blood" meant anyone having over half Indian blood. If this was the
case, then the three Indians, Bay-bah-mah-ge-wabe, O-bah-baum, and Equay-zaince, would not
have been eligible to declare themselves mixed-bloods and thus would not have lost their land in
mortgage to the bank. However, the court argued that the original legislation did not say half-
blood, but simply mixed-blood. "The conviction is very strong that if Congress intended to
remove restrictions only from those who had half white blood or more, it would have inserted in
the act words necessary to make that intention clear" (234 U.S. 245 1914: 261-262). Thus the
court upheld that mixed-blood followed the "one-drop rule" of racial purity, meaning no matter
how little white blood someone had they were still of "mixed-blood" status.









directions are easily led. Mixed-bloods, on the other hand, are in very great many
instances shrewd business men of ability, and as competent to conduct their affairs as other
residents of the United States. Yet under the allotment act of June 28, 1906, all are treated
exactly alike. [Annual Report 1917: 341]

In summing up his report, Agent Vaux recommends that "a distinction be made between the

incompetent full-bloods and the part bloods, and that the latter be given their full share of tribal

property and be allowed to do with it as they see fit, while greater effort be made fully to protect

the former" (Annual Report 1917: 350). The following year that is exactly what the BIA

commissioner did.

Because of the tedious and slow process of individually determining the competency of

each Indian, as well as the observations of extreme difference among groups such as the Osage,

Commissioner Sells reluctantly turned to blood as a more "efficient way" of assigning American

citizenship to competent Indians. As Sells writes,

While ethnologically a preponderance of white blood has not heretofore been a criterion of
competency, nor even now is it always a safe standard, it is almost an axiom that an Indian
who has a larger proportion of white blood than Indian partakes more of the characteristics
of the former than of the latter. In thought and action, so far as the business world is
concerned, he approximates more closely to the white blood ancestry. [Annual Report
1917: 3]

In 1917, Sells issued a statement of policy that gave patents in fee to all adult Indians under one-

half Indian blood, allowing them to sell all their land. Indians over half-blood could also be

declared competent "after careful investigation," but they were unable to sell their last 40 acres,

which was to be used as a homestead (Annual Report 1917: 4). Sells goes on to discuss the

importance of this policy,

This is a new and far-reaching declaration of policy. It means the dawn of a new era in
Indian administration. It means that the competent Indian will no longer be treated as half
ward and half citizen. It means reduced appropriations by the government and more self-
respect and independence for the Indian. It means the ultimate absorption of the Indian
race into the body politic of the Nation. It means, in short, the beginning of the end of the
Indian problem. [Annual Report 1917: 5]









While such "far-reaching" policy did not have the desired effect of ending the federal

government's responsibility to Indian people, it did further solidify blood as a central component

of what it means to be Indian. Building on long established ideas of paternalism, the federal

government instituted policy that officially conflated blood and competency (i.e being civilized).

The federal government assumed that those with half or more white blood were capable of being

white, i.e. valued their private property and understood the U.S. political and judicial systems.

During the 20th century, the federal Indian policy continued to include some blood

quantum requirements, as is illustrated in the federal Register,

While eligibility for benefits under some federal statutes is limited to tribal members with
a certain blood degree, and the right of non-tribal Indians to organize is limited to those
with 1/2 or more degree Indian blood, federal law imposes no general blood degree
requirement for tribal membership. Moreover, under the federal regulations for
determining eligibility as a tribe, a blood quantum requirement is not included in the
criteria. While blood degree may be some evidence of social and cultural cohesion and
maintenance of tribal relations, it is most definitely not conclusive as to the existence of
tribal relations. [1983: 78]

While Indian nations within the continental United States were all eventually recognized as

having the inherent right to determine their own membership, colonial ideas surrounding blood

and biological relation took hold not only in determining access to federal programs, but also in

structuring the ways in which Indian tribes understood themselves.

This conflation between blood and Indianess, through the institutions of race and

competency, continues to be extremely powerful among many Indian people. As I showed with

the discussions during the reform, many Osage felt that there needed to be some mechanism for

limiting membership because of the rights associated with tribal membership. However, the

need for Indian blood goes much deeper than a selfish desire to limit access to goods promised to

tribal members. While the fear of whites again stealing what belongs to Indian people is no

doubt very potent, conceptions of blood were far more complicated. Through the colonial









process, Euro-American ideas of blood relation were incorporated into many peoples'

understandings of what it meant to be Indian. Science, literature and policy all worked on Indian

people and their understandings, as the following section will illustrate.

Colonial Impacts

By analyzing the discussions that took place during the reform process, it is possible to see

some of the direct effects these policies had on Osage understandings of self. These comments

should not be read as simple statements of concrete fact, however, but rather as manifestations of

the fluid nature of identity. By focusing on how notions are always untidy and in flux, we as

anthropologists are able to move away from a reliance on essentialized understandings of culture

toward a way of understanding what Joseph Dumit (1997) calls "objective self fashioning."

Dumit defines this as the process by which, "we take facts about ourselves-about our bodies,

minds, capacities, traits, states, limitations, propensities, etc.-that we have read, heard, or

otherwise encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives" (89). This section will

focus on following the ways in which European understandings of blood were worked into some

Osage understandings of self.

Euro-American understandings of race and blood were perhaps most evident during the

2004-2006 Osage reform process in the discussions that tied certain physical characteristics to

Osage identity. Through informal discussions, it became clear that some Osage were reading

the Euro-American institution of blood directly onto the body. One example of this occurred in a

conversation I had during the November 19th referendum vote:

I am one of those people that is biased about blood quantum. When I see people that are
1/4th or 1/8th I do not see them as really Osage. I am 1/4th black, but I don't identify as
black. I am 1/4th white but I don't go around claiming that I am white. If we were a tribe
like the Omaha that did not have anything, then we would not have so many people
claiming Osage identity. I am prejudiced against people that do not look Indian and this is
only slightly lessened by getting to know them. [Personal communication, November 19,
2005]









In addition to skin color, dark straight hair and a myriad of other physical and personality traits

were attributed to being Osage. One of the largest compliments that could be given to an infant's

parents was that the child "showed Indian." Also, side comments were frequently made about a

person who supposedly dyed their hair or spent a lot of time in the sun, and thus was not really as

Indian as they appeared.

Circe Sturm (2002) talks about similar connections between blood, color, and race among

the Cherokee in her book Blood Politics. Throughout her work, Sturm shows us how ideas of

blood and physical traits are associated with being Cherokee, and also how these ideas are

connected with notions of authenticity and culture. Sturm argues that this sort of racial thinking

leads to the idea that "as the Cherokee Nation progressively 'whitens,' it runs the risk of losing

its distinct racial and cultural identity, the primordial substance of its national identity. In the

eyes of the general public, the Cherokee Nation would no longer be a 'real' Indian tribe" (2002:

100). This linkage between culture and race was also compelling to some Osage.

In a quote taken from a video made by three Osage youth during the summer of 2004, it is

possible to trace out the direct links being made between culture and blood.

Being Native, I think, is already in you when you are born. It is in your blood; it courses
through your veins. I have heard of stories of people that want to be native and they sign
up for these tribes. I guess you can register to be some type of Indian if they want to be? I
don't understand that because you can't just sign your name on a piece of paper to be
Indian, its not like that, you are born into it. It comes with a special reverence and
spirituality that is just innate. It's almost automatic. ["How, We Are Present," 2004]

In addition to reverence and spirituality, some Osage saw several other cultural characteristics as

being innately Indian. While I was talking with an Osage man he argued,

Indians just need to be treated differently. It did not matter where they grew up. I don't
care if they were raised in New York City; they still need to be shown how to do things
that a white child would just understand naturally. That is how the Indian is, all he likes is
to be accepted. The white man is about competition. The Indian mind works in a circle, not
in the linear fashion of the white man. [Personal communication, March 20, 2006]









These bio-cultural ideas were also connected with understandings of authenticity. The following

excerpt provides an example of the sorts of connections being made between blood, culture and

authenticity:

I do believe, though, that our chief should be at least a quarter Osage and more. This is
who represents our tribe. I know the Osage that are 1/32 and 1/64, and I'm not saying
they're not Osage. But they weren't raised around traditional Osage who knew our ways
and who lived in an Osage home. They don't understand this. I saw a picture of all the
tribal chiefs in Oklahoma and about 3 quarters of them all looked white. It just doesn't
seem right. [http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 17th
2005].

As evidenced by this example, the logic is that those people with lower blood quantum, or who

simply looked white, were not as Indian as those with a higher blood quantum. This connection

between blood, race, physical characteristics, tradition and spirituality, and mental abilities is

similar to earlier Euro-American understandings of blood and race. These excerpts illustrate that

for some Osage, blood was the substance by which not only Osage race was passed on, but also a

whole host of physical, mental, and cultural affinities.

After hundreds of years of being told that Indians' difference was located in the body,

many Osage made sense of this difference through the Euro-American institution of blood. Many

of these ideas were buttressed by the idea that if nothing was done about the blood quantum,

Osage would cease to exist as a tribe. As one tribal elder told me, "If the full-bloods just play it

by ear we are going to get bred out" (Personal communication March, 20th 2006). Perhaps the

best articulation of this idea can be seen in an interview I conducted during the Sovereignty Day

celebration:

I would want there to be a line and then it would make us as a people want to marry our
Osage people... I would want that, I would want them to live here and for them to be at
least 1/4th or 1/8th. Because I don't want to be known as the white Osage, blond hair blue
eyed. Compared with other tribes, our council looks white to me. Why do we recognize
them as a tribe, they all look white, they don't look Indian, they don't look Osage. They all
look white, so why are we as the United States of America recognizing these people when
they're not anything. [Personal communication, February 4th, 2005]









Here and elsewhere during the reform process, some Osage articulated that blood was the central

characteristic guaranteeing tribal status. Once Osage blood was understood as the fundamental

substance necessary to make someone Osage, survival of the blood became fundamentally linked

to the survival of the nation.

This fear of termination, however, also led many people to question the fundamental nature

of blood, by saying things like, "Blood is a BIA genocide policy" (Personal communication,

February 4, 2005). This opinion was further articulated at an OGRC community meeting held in

Pawhuska, Oklahoma:

To create a blood quantum is to set the date for when the tribe goes out of existence. Blood
quantum is a federal government method of defining Osage so that responsibility no longer
belongs to them past a certain point. So why do we want to mimic any destructive system
of membership that was created to destroy itself? The Bureau of Indian Affairs is in the
business of going out of business; we are in the business of ensuring the future. It is our
inherent right to determine our membership and our responsibility to ensure it lasts for as
long as an Osage draws a breath. [April 22, 2005]

The argument here, like the argument for a blood quantum above, is centered on the fear that the

Osage tribe will one day be told by the federal government that it no longer exists. Because

delegates from the Osage tribe made several trips to Washington D.C. to ensure the tribe's

federal recognition, this fear is not without legitimacy. The power of this idea was so potent that

it was used in both the arguments for and against a blood quantum.

For those emphasizing the fundamental power of blood, the continued existence of the

tribe depended on the continued existence of Osage blood. These people argued that if a blood

quantum was not instituted, people would continue to marry outside of the tribe, diluting the

blood even further. However, those arguing against a blood quantum pointed out that such a

reliance on a blood quantum was what was going to mark the end of the tribe. Unlike a lineal

descent approach, quantum creates a point at which the Osage tribe would cease to exist. The









fundamental argument here is whether blood, particularly high degrees of blood, was a necessary

part of what makes one Osage.

Another lasting legacy of the colonial process on determining Osage citizenship was

through the use of BIA created rolls. Many Osage rejected these rolls on the basis that they were

frequently inaccurate. During one of the early OGRC business meetings, Jerri Jean Branstetter,

one of the commissioners, told a funny story about her blood quantum. She said that when she

had gone to work for the BIA she had been listed as a full-blood. However, she explained that

she had annoyed some of the people in the office and so they went in and whited-out her blood

quantum and put her down as half-blood. When she inquired about the change, they explained

that her grandfather's estate was currently being probated and so her father's Osage identity was

being investigated. When she pressed the issue again several months later they agreed that her

father's Osage ancestry was no longer in question. They once again used white-out, this time

listing her as 119/128th because of one Frenchman they found in her genealogy several

generations back. None of her other sibling's quantums were ever changed.

Likewise, stories were told of Osage chiefs and councilmen who had convinced those

working at the BIA to raise their blood quantum as listed on the rolls. Many people thus saw

blood quantum as a political tool that some used to gain authority. For many people such stories

have discredited the authority of blood quantum record. In many cases people talked about how

blood quantum had been misrepresented at the time of allotment either because of cultural

understandings of what it meant to be a full-blood or for practical reasons of wanting to be able

to sell their allotment with BIA approval, which was not allowed for someone with more than 50

percent blood quantum.









Conclusion

Through these debates about the rolls, as well the desire to look Indian, and the fears of

termination, it is possible to see some of the direct impacts of the colonial period and its focus on

Indian blood. Importantly, the federal government never directly mandated a blood quantum for

the Osage. Instead, like many aspects of colonization, the Euro-American institution of blood

was effective because of the informal circulation of facts through science, literature, and indirect

policy. Within this chapter I have diffracted (Haraway 1997) these discourses surrounding the

Indian body through the arguments of various Osage during the 2004-2006 government reform

process. Through their statements about what they believe should constitute an Osage citizen it

is possible to see some of the ways in which these Euro-American discourses have been

incorporated into various Osage bodies.

By insisting on the logic of Indians as a race, rather than as a political group, and

periodically threatening termination, the federal government has ensured that few tribes will risk

a complete rejection of blood. Importantly, even when directly incorporated into their own

understandings, these racially based articulations of Osage identity were an inversion of Euro-

American hierarchies. Within these contexts, Osage blood has come to be highly valued, not

scorned or looked down upon. In the next chapter, I will turn to Osage histories of adoption and

blood to better understand how colonized people negotiate notions of self. Rather than

understanding colonial policies and logics as over-determining, the following chapter will

illustrate the complex maneuverings that often occur within the colonial context.









CHAPTER 4
MEMORY IN THE BLOOD

It is not only a matter of what history does to the body, but what subjects do with what
history has done to the body. [Feldman 1991]

When Europeans came to the American continent, they brought with them their

understandings of blood. Over time, Euro-American ideas about evolution, race, Christianity,

and savagery became embedded in the notion of blood, giving it symbolic and material potency.

As I will show within this chapter, however, most Osage did not simply accept these Euro-

American understandings of blood, but used their experiences to make sense of this substance

and its relational powers. By looking closely at formal and informal debates over citizenship

during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, as well as the histories surrounding these debates, I

will investigate how various Osage incorporated differing ideas about blood into their notions of

self. By 2006, the experiences surrounding Osage blood were entangled with and supported by

connections to the Osage clan system, adoption, class hierarchies, residence, culture, land,

headrights, and lineal descent.

Audra Simpson (2002) offers a useful framework for thinking through such material.

Building on the work of anthropologists Michael Jackson and Lila Abu-Lughod, Simpson

presents radical empiricism as an alternative to the pitfalls of both the objective and subjective

approaches to anthropology. Radical empiricism "attempts an understanding through listening,

observing, entering into a conversation with one another through an attempt at engaging what

was commonly misunderstood and misconstrued experience" (Simpson 2000: 125). Such an

approach allows for an investigation into the power-laden nature of knowledge without

discounting the multiple and changing ways in which people experience their world. In this

vein, this chapter will ask how various Osage people articulated their hopes and fears

surrounding Osage blood and how these various articulations were solidified into the citizenship









criteria in the Osage Nation's 2006 Constitution. This is not an attempt to create a unified or

coherent idea of Osage identity, but instead to show the multiple ways in which people

internalized, challenged, or modified biological conceptions of being Osage. As I follow the

experiences surrounding Osage blood and how they are incorporated into people's lives, it is

possible to gain insight into the complicated ways in which colonial notions are reworked. In

this case, Osage blood is most frequently understood as a basis for Osage relation, which at once

builds upon, but is also outside Euro-American understandings of belonging.

Adoption

In discussing anthropological findings of the day, Bronislaw Malinowski (1954) argues

that an origin myth "conveys, expresses and strengthens the fundamental fact of local unity and

of the kinship unity of the group of people descendant from a common ancestress ... the story of

origin literally contains the legal charter of the community" (116). For the Osage, a very

different sort of legal charter is at work than the ones Malinowski wrote about, with "people

descendant from a common ancestress." While there cannot be said to be a single Osage origin

story, John Joseph Mathews (1961) wrote down one story told frequently:

When the newly-arrived-upon-earth children of the sky, represented by the Wah-Sha-She,
the Water People, the sub-Hunkah, the Land People, and the grand division the Tzi-Sho,
the Sky People, came upon the Isolated Earth People, the indigenous ones, the four groups
formed a tribal unit, and were anxious to lead the Isolated Earth People away from the
earth-ugliness of their village, saying that they were thus taking them to a "new country."
[53]

In addition to citing the Osage concept of "moving to a new country" outlined in chapter two,

this origin story is important because it does not attempt to create a single lineage for the Osage

people, but talks instead about four separate groups being brought together. Significantly,

concepts of a unified biological descent are not present in this origin story, or within the tribal

organization that was later created. This Osage origin story does not privilege a single shared









body or a unifying substance, but instead a process of unification through a shared change in

lifestyle.

According to La Flesche (1939), an individual was Osage by virtue of membership in one

of the Osage fireplaces, which were inherited from the father. However, a central aspect of this

system was the ability to adopt. La Flesche documents various ceremonies, including a process

by which a dd-gthe (war captive) becomes a Sh6-ka (ceremonial messenger) and a member of

the tribe:

The dd-gthe becomes a member of the family of his captor and of his gens. He can marry
within the tribe, and because of his ceremonial office (trial Sh6-ka) he is respected and
honored and is always welcome at the 'table' of every family in the tribe. He is clothed as
well as fed by the families of the tribe and is regarded and spoken of as O-xta, one who is a
favored person. [La Flesche 1939: 83-84]

According to Louis Bums, an historian of Osage descent, the Sh6-ka were valued for their

impartiality in disputes. "Sh6 kas not only ran errands and carried messages, but they also

arranged marriages, mediated disputes, and acted as an impartial spokesman. Of course, for

these services the Sh6 ka was rewarded with gifts" (2004: 214). In talking about Osage land

policies, Burns argues that adoption was one of the primary ways for Osage to acquire land.

"Their practice was to adopt alien individuals and to either merge with whole groups or to force

them to move out of the desired area" (2004: 89). In his text on customs and myth, Bums talks

at length about the ceremony surrounding adoption and its symbolism of a "new birth." He

argues that adoption was extremely common, leading to rapid population growth during periods

of geographic expansion and warfare (1984). One recorded example of such a merge occurred

around 1812, when five lodges of Missouris, around 100 people, fled an ongoing war with the

Sac and Fox, and joined the Osage (McGee 1897). According to Willard H. Rollings (1992),

when outsiders were adopted they were placed into one of the twenty-four clans, which meant









that if they had children, their children would be considered members of the clan, and thus of the

tribe as a whole, in the same way as other Osage children.

While practices of Osage adoption were still active during the 2004-2006 reform process,

adopted individuals were no longer able to participate in general Osage politics. The above and

similar histories, repeated frequently during the reform process, led to many debates about how

the Osage Nation should determine citizenship. Drawing on this history, one community

member explained that he felt there should be some mechanism for adopting children not of

Osage blood:

I reminded people before that in times past, Osage on the battlefield didn't kill children;
they brought them home and adopted them. A lot of our Osage people are descendants of
those encounters. Some people recognize that. My parents always told me there were
people who were Osage that their ancestors were taken in a battle when they were children.
In my own mind I didn't have any conflict if that was the case... If you adopt a child, like
Korean or Vietnamese children, they become citizens of the United States by their
adoption and it doesn't matter where they are from. [Personal Communication: June, 27
2005]

Like many other Osage, this speaker used the histories told to him to make sense of the future of

the Osage Nation. In his case, Osage adoption had been something of the Osage past and thus

was seen as an important part of the Osage future.

A large part of the desires for Osage blood stemmed from a need to have some mechanism

for establishing boundaries around Osage citizenship. As one man said at a Bartlesville

community meeting on April 28, 2005, "When you use the words 'zero blood quantum,' that

means you just included everybody in the world as a tribal member." This need for exclusion,

however, is quite complicated. While some argued that tribes such as the Cherokee were so

successful because of their large numbers, others feared such an open policy of inclusion. As

part of their effort to collect as much information about government reform as possible, the

OGRC staff set up a webpage, which included a discussion forum with topics such as blood and









residency requirements. To a posting on how increased numbers of members would be better for

everybody in the tribe, one person responded, "Please define what an Osage is. Do you REALLY

want to sell out, make everyone a member, blacks, whites, Joe dokes down the road just to have

more numbers? To have a strong government = numbers, hmmmm? Or is that just to get more

money from the government, so that we appear to be this huge nation. I will have to think on that

one" (http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed August 3, 2005). This debate

then turned into a discussion about whether or not those with higher blood were the most

deserving of tribal and federal benefits.

There are some families that go around here and say that they know they are not Osage.
But they said they sure will use what we give them. I believe not all are like that, but I just
feel that when you have a tribe and membership that it should be by blood. Yes, they did
adopt a lot in the Osage Tribe. Ijust don't think that it is right that they get a vote or
anything when our own Osage children don't get much because the adopted ones and
people that were on by fraud get the same as an Osage by blood. I am not saying people
can't feel like they are Osage. It is different to feel than to actually be an Osage by blood.
I have several friends that are really not Osage, and I feel that they are taking away from
my children. [http://osagegovermentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 17,
2005]

While there is much at work in these expressions, the primary emphasis is that to be Osage is to

carry the biological (racial) fluid of Osage blood. By this reasoning, those that have been around

the Osage tribe may or may not be Osage, but they are certainly not as Osage as those with high

levels of Osage blood. One person who came from an adopted family wrote the following in

response:

Personally, I don't think it's not quite as easy as saying "Only the Real Osage" and not
anyone whose family were adopted in. Maybe the question should be adopted-in when and
why? Osage always adopted people when needed to "fill the ranks" essentially. If
someone was adopted in who was originally Potawatomi or Pawnee or any other tribe, but
their family has been part of the tribe since coming to Oklahoma, does that mean that
family isn't Osage? My family, the Labadies, has always grown up as "Osage" even
though Frank Labadie, my great-great grandfather was French and Indian but possibly not
Osage at all, but married to a Potawotami ... My great-grandfather got hauled off to
Carlisle, where he had English beat into him because he only spoke Osage, Potawotami,
and French when he went there. He and one of the Tinkers got hauled back every time









they ran away to go home to the Osage. One of my great-uncles argued the legal case
before the US Congress that kept the Osage from being terminated in the 50's ... It was
only as an adult I found out that we were "adoptees" too. Knowing that didn't change that
Wakonda is God, and my inlonpa tells me "I love you inthadsi" at night, or the way things
just make sense at the dances every summer. Do I have the answers about "who should be
Osage?" Nope. It's a complicated question when you get back to the period before oil and
land had provided the obvious incentive of greed to the question. Do I care about the
money involved? Not a hang. Am I a starry eyed new-age back to nature nut? Nope
again. I live in the real world where I enjoy my family and my truck, and work long hours
for another tribe taking care of the same kind of problems that beset our tribe. Real people
are who I enjoy, with our real history and traditions and relations and Inlonschka, not
candy-coated stories. How do I think it should be decided? I hope all the Osage who vote
on it will pray a lot on it. Then I'll live with the decision of the people, because it is my
tribe's decision, even if that means we get kicked off the rolls, although of course I hope
not. Inlonschka zhani. Hope that helps people see that there might more to "adoptees"
than looking for handouts. Gahgoonah. [http://osagegovemmentreform.invisionzone.com:
accessed November 16th 2005]

Central to this and other debates about the issue of adoption are two interrelated issues: blood

and financial gain. For certain Osage, both those adopted and those who cited the Osage practice

of adoption, the need for Osage blood did not quite make sense. For others, blood has become

the fundamental substance that defines Osage identity.

After the OGRC wrote the constitution, they completed another round of community

meetings where they discussed its contents. During these meetings, one of the main areas of

contention was the clause that read, "The Osage Nation Congress shall enact laws not

inconsistent with the constitution prescribing rules and regulations of governing membership,

including application and appeal procedures, loss of membership, and the adoption of members"

(Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2). At the meeting in Greyhorse, Oklahoma, several of the

community members wanted to know what was meant by the adoption of members.

Lawyer for the OGRC: What was intended by that provision is that the tribe has
historically had a practice of adoption. All tribal cultures have done some form of
adoption. And with that in mind I think that the intent was to leave it to the elected
officials to determine and establish what that is, when it's appropriate, when it's not
appropriate and what process would be used.









Audiencel: This is in direct violation of Article 6, Section 2, under membership. If you're
not a lineal descendant of the 1906 then you're not eligible. There's no provision to
adopting [sic] members.

Lawyer: That's why that's there is to leave the Congress to establish a means by which
there might be adoption. I'm not saying they're going to. I think it was in that vein of
understanding that the traditions of tribal cultures are to adopt certain people into their
body for whatever reason.

Al: Certainly I can understand ceremonially adopting. But for the purposes of
membership, I disagree with that.

A2: With regards to adoption, years ago they adopted some people in and then all of a
sudden they wanted all the rights of the Osage as far as sharing the mineral estate and all
these things. That's when the old council abolished that idea of any outsiders or anyone
that was not a descendant into the tribe. [February 21, 2006]

Here and in other community meetings, it was apparent that for some Osage, to be

"ceremonially" part of the tribe was one thing, but many people desired that there be a biological

connection in order to receive the full benefits of tribal resources. In these cases, the power of

blood was intricately connected with money, services, and/or control. It was felt that if there

were no biological limitations put on tribal membership, then the resources of the tribe would be

too divided and that "real Osage by blood" would not get as much because of all the non-blooded

individuals seeking assistance. Some felt that blood made sense because it linked current tribal

benefits with people who were descendants of those that suffered the most persecution for being

Osage.

Audra Simpson (2000) tells a series of stories about how blood and citizenship are

entangled within Kahnawake notions of belonging. These stories serve to illustrate the ways in

which blood, in fact fifty per cent or more Kahnawake blood, has become the primary means of

determining membership, but that its authority is not fixed. Like all aspects of lived experience,

the power of blood is constantly under negotiation. "These narratives" she concludes, "illustrate

that Mohawk nationhood is shaped through what people say to each other, by what they say









about each other they illustrate how 'place' in the world is staked out and guarded through the

defining moments of shared experience and the words that then give shape to this experience"

(Simpson 2000:135). Similarly, the discussions during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process

were an attempt to make sense of the various facts that would define Osage place, and, while not

all Osage agreed, these discussions were eventually solidified into the wording of the 2006

Osage Constitution.

Euro-American blood-based configurations, whether they take place within U.S. federal

policy, 19th Century American Literature, or scientific understandings of race, were no doubt

very powerful in shaping Osage understandings of self. However, as Allen Feldman (1991)

describes in his discussion of violence in Northern Ireland, "It is not only a matter of what

history does to the body but what subjects do with what history has done to the body" (177).

Therefore, while the previous chapter explored Euro-American understandings of blood, this

chapter will instead focus on how various Osage made sense of these configurations, reworking

meanings of blood so that it represented a system of relation rather than a system of exclusion.

Reworking Blood

Telling Osage History

Osage historians do not map any of the above ideas surrounding blood directly onto the

historical Osage body, but instead rework these ideas to fit their own experiences of being Osage

and how this changed through interactions with Europeans. All histories tell particular stories

about past events, privileging certain experiences and interpretations while ignoring others.

Thus, these Osage histories must be read as attempts at reworking the historical body of the

Osage, and the mixed-blood in particular. By looking at these histories, it is possible to gain

some insight into how Osage experiences of self changed through the colonial process,

particularly in the period leading up to the allotment of the Osage reservation.









Born in 1895, John Joseph Mathews was the first published historian of Osage descent. In

his last historical text, he wrote at length about the early interactions between Osage and

Europeans, who were referred to as I'n-Shta-Heh (Hairy Eyebrows) by the Osage, who had the

practice of shaving off all facial hair. According to Mathews, there was little change in Osage

lifestyle from the mid 17th century until the mid 19th century, except in the economic

organization of the tribe. Certain trade goods including beads, tattoo needles, blankets, and the

horse came to be highly valued. As Mathews explains, these trade goods were "new and

interesting, if not greatly superior to the needles and awls made of wing bones and leg-bone

splinters and quills. Nor was the trade blanket superior to the buffalo robe; as a matter of fact it

was inferior" but as he goes on to say, acquiring them took far less effort (1961: 304).

Mathews notes that at the beginning of the nineteenth century there developed a noticeable

change in appearance among the Osage. "There were young pale-faced people now whose trail

you would know from the many footprints, since toes on the left foot would not be pointed in the

absolute direction in which the walker was traveling" (1961: 307). Interestingly, his various

references are not only to skin color, which was so important to Europeans at the time, but also

to things such as changes in smell, body hair, and walking habits. Mathews also mentions that

white fathers continued to live with the Osage, adopting their habits and ways of life. Their

acceptance within the tribe relied primarily on whether or not they had taken the proper, tribally

sanctioned steps for marriage:

Some of them [European men] had lived with the Little Ones long enough to be honored
with the name "grandfather," which meant that they had earned that name by having been
formally married to their Osage wives by the tribal formula. Those who had taken widows
to the sumac bushes or to the buck brush and became fathers and eventually grandfathers
could never be honored by that name "grandfather" and would remain in the lower of the
two social classes. This taboo applied to both the Osage men and women as well as to the
white man. [1961: 308]









According to Mathews, interaction with Europeans led to the development of two social classes,

those that participated in tribal practices and those that did not. Those that did, even those not

born to Osage parents, were considered part of the tribe like all other members. Those that did

not were seen as being of a lesser social class. Since this marriage ceremony required official

naming and adoption into the tribe, it was the process of being placed within the clan structure

that was of central importance to establishing belonging and acceptance within the tribe. Even in

the face of such noticeable biological differences, it was this breach of clan protocol, not

biological difference itself, which was of central importance to the Osage people.

Those who did not participate in Osage customary practices, the lower social class as

Mathews referred to them, were more likely to be drawn to non-Osage partners, thus furthering

their isolation from tribal ways:

When the traders and officials and the explorers and the royal adventurers lured women to
their robes by presents, these women were chiefly widows whose chances of remarriage
were not too bright, or girls of the second class whose immediate ancestors had mated in
the sumac or the tall grasses under the Moon Woman, without benefits of formality. Those
girls couldn't lose what they didn't have, social standing, but they could gain a few
baubles... [1961: 308]

According to Mathews, it was this social class that was eventually formed into what is known as

the "Half-Breed band." In 1870, when the Osage were convinced to sell their Kansas reservation

and purchase land in Oklahoma, BIA Agent Gibson "unofficially added, for the convenience in

signing the bill, an apocryphal band, the mixed-bloods, but here he was still calling them the

'Half-breed Band'" (Mathews 1961: 694). Importantly, this "apocryphal band" of mixed-bloods

was socially ostracized not because they had white blood, but because they had chosen not to

follow tribal practices. In this particular historical moment, blood came to signify tribal

belonging, but not in the European sense of biological purity. Instead, blood signified the









complex way in which certain individuals fell outside the clan structure of tribal membership and

were left without a place in existing tribal politics and ways of life.

Throughout his book on Osage history, Burns also argues that blood was not the primary

boundary-making device for Osage citizenship, even when it was the term being used by various

Osage people. Residence and culture are highlighted, in contradistinction to blood, as the

traditional and thus authentic ways of determining Osage citizenship:

There were two groups of Osage-Euro-American mixed-bloods. One of these groups
tended to live apart from the traditional Osage. They were very much like any French in
habit and in their lifestyle. The other group tended to live with the full-bloods, and they
followed the traditional Osage lifestyle. All mixed-bloods of the latter group were counted
as full-bloods in population reports, and they were considered to be full-bloods by the true
full-bloods. [2004: 326-327]

Burns goes on to make a very similar argument to that of Mathews, which held that it was

adoption into the Osage structure, not blood, which was the primary means of determining who

was labeled a mixed-blood and thus not fully Osage. While these sorts of categories are no

doubt reductionistic in their simplicity, this history is interesting for the ways in which blood is

being reworked. While there were likely more than two simple groups, this idea of the "Half-

breed Band" has certainly taken on authority through time.

Within these histories, the "Half-breed Band" continued to grow in numbers and

eventually, because of their frequent ability to speak multiple languages and interact with both

whites and Osage, gained a great deal of political force among the Osage. These abilities led to

the creation of two political factions, the mixed-bloods and the full-bloods. According to several

Osage tribal historians, it was the issue of allotment that fully polarized these two factions, with

the mixed-blood faction favoring allotment, and the full-blood faction opposing it (Wilson 1985;

Burns 2004; Warrior 2005). As Dennis McAuliffe (1994) argues, in 1881 the Osage set up a

two-party democracy consisting of the mixed-bloods and the full-bloods. Rather than falling









along strictly biological lines, however, these parties represented the different factions among the

Osage tribe, the "Civilization Party" and the "Non-Progressives." McAuliffe describes these two

factions in the following way:

The Progressives favored allotment, for they had grown more American than Indian in
outlook and were attracted to allotment's promise of U.S. citizenship, private land
ownership, and recognition as being 'civilized.' But not all the mixed-bloods favored
allotment. The French Osage-descendants of the early traders who had married into and
moved in with the tribe-were as hard-core as the full-bloods in their opposition to
allotment or any change of the Indian way of life. [McAuliffe 1994: 226]

Once again, it is possible to see how the histories of self-identification at once complicate Euro-

American biological conceptions of Indian identity and reinforce certain connections among

blood, culture, and authentic Osageness. What we have within each of these histories is a

remapping of the European substance of blood. While European biological understandings were

caught up with notions of civilization, land ownership, and Christianity, the Osage reworked

these biological metaphors toward their own notions of belonging. Full-blooded Osage were

reworked not as lacking white blood or civilization, but as having a place within the tribal

structure, and as participants in tribal culture. While mixed-blood status was not strictly

dependent on biology, it was still being associated with non-Osageness and thus

Americanization. These experiences complicated Europeans' understandings of blood and, at the

same time, reinforced them.

100 Years of Federal Control Over Osage Citizenship

The battle against allotment ended with a favorable vote by the Osage population and the

passage of the 1906 Act on June 28th (34 Stat. 539). This act allotted the 1,470,057-acre Osage

reservation and dispersed $9,000,000 among 2,230 people listed on the BIA's Osage roll.

Instead of determining membership by blood or residence, the BIA used the commercial

corporation model of headright shares to determine who had a say in tribal politics and who









could run for office. Under this system, Osage born after July 1, 1907 could only participate in

the tribe if they inherited a share in the mineral estate. Furthermore, in the mid 20th century, the

weight of the individual's vote became dependent on the percentage of the headright he or she

held.

As the numbers of Osage descendants without voting rights within the tribe grew, more

people began challenging the 1906 Act's system of membership. In the 1960s, some of these

unalloted individuals formed a group known as the Osage Nation Organization (ONO) who

argued that the 1881 constitution had never been legally abolished and was thus still in effect. In

terms of membership, this meant that the Osage Nation could determine for itself who would be

voting members of the tribe. The goal of this movement was two-fold. First, the group wanted to

reestablish the Osage Nation through its 1881 constitutional government. Secondly, they wanted

to change membership from the imposed 1906 headright/royalty system to a citizenship of all

Osage descendants who held over 1/4th Osage blood, regardless of their status as headright

holders.

Given the destructive nature of the racial blood-quantum system, it is surprising that

Osage, or any other Indian people, would argue for this system as a way of determining

membership. However, as illustrated above, the process through which blood became a powerful

signifier for the Osage was far from straightforward. The terms half-breed and later mixed-blood

did not simply imply a person of mixed descent. Instead, the terms originally marked a lack of

participation in tribal marriage practices and thus signified a lower class status. With more

opportunities opening up for those people who could speak multiple languages or had practical

knowledge of Euro-American practices, these alienated mixed-blood Osage slowly started taking









over tribal politics, again changing the meanings associated with the terms mixed-blood and full-

blood.

These sorts of re-figurations are central to understanding the ONO movement and other

desires for a tribal blood quantum requirement. As the last section explored, high levels of

Indian blood continued to be associated with the preservation of tribal life-ways, which is logical

in that if both parents are Osage, then they are far more likely to raise their children in Osage

culture. Many perceived the blood quantum requirement as a way of encouraging people to

marry within the tribe, which was seen as the easiest way of maintaining a distinct Osage culture

throughout multiple generations. It was the ONO movement that brought these concerns to the

table.

In an interview I conducted with Charles H. Lohah, one of the leaders of the ONO

movement, he said that ONO stood for, "Oh NO, we're not going to put up with this anymore."

Lohah went on to discuss the movement: "It got pretty raw. There's a whole bunch of fraudulent

enrollees from 1906, so one time we were denounced by what we called the 'so-called tribal

council' as being a group of full-bloods and near-full-bloods. So we started blasting the tribal

council as no-bloods and near no-bloods" (Personal Communication March 11, 2006). As Lohah

explained, the ONO movement was further motivated by money owed to the tribe by the United

States federal government from when they were living in Missouri.

The Osage Tribal Council (OTC) wanted the money from these claims to be paid through

the headright system, which meant that all those born after June 1, 1907 would not receive a

share unless they had inherited it from a deceased relative. But, as Lohah argued, "Missouri was

long before headrights were ever dreamed of, and since there were so many fake enrollees, we

thought it ought to be distributed to Indians, especially those around here. So anyway, we fought









to keep it from being paid. Of course, that didn't make us a lot of friends" (Personal

Communication March 11, 2006). Because the ONOs not only wanted to expand membership to

those without a share in the mineral estate, but also wanted to instate a 1/4th blood quantum, they

were unable to gain widespread support for any of their proposals. Without support from the

majority of people of Osage descent, they were unable to lobby Congress for a change in the

membership requirements.

In 1978, this effort to delegitimize the OTC led to Logan v. Andrus, which ended up

reaffirming the legislative authority of the OTC. The court refused to consider the question of

membership because all of the plaintiff-appellants were shareholders and thus unable to make a

case for non-Shareholders (640 F.2d 269 [1981]). The issue of tribal membership was again

challenged in the 1990 case of Fletcher v. United States, as was discussed in Chapter 2. From

this lawsuit the court mandated a reform process, which resulted in a tribal membership based on

the descendants of the federal government's 1906 allotment roll. Because the final outcome was

a negotiation between the BIA and the plaintiffs of the case, the 1906 roll was chosen without the

consent of the Osage population as a whole, except as a final up or down vote of the entire

constitution. In 1997, however, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Ellison's

ruling on the basis that the OTC had sovereign immunity and could not have its general powers

stricken by the U.S. court system. This ruling ended three years of National Council governing

and reinstated the OTC as the general governing authority, with tribal membership limited to

only those who held a headright or portion of a headright (Warrior 2005).

Within these histories, it is possible to see that there have been many different institutions

that have attempted, with various degrees of success, to mold the body of the Osage. While

European Americans were trying to create civilized, Christian landowners, the Osage were using









clan adoptions and marriage ceremonies to bring European Americans into the body politic of

the tribe. Later, as the headright system took more and more authority, some Osage attempted to

upset this colonial system with blood-based understandings of the body. These blood-based

experiences did not simply turn the racial hierarchy on its head, but also built on earlier notions

associating clan membership and cultural preservation with full-blood status. By 2006,

residence, descent, cultural affiliation, and the shareholder system were each caught up in the

debates surrounding Osage blood.

Vehicle of Connection

One of the central goals of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process was to find a method of

creating a boundary around the Osage people, a task both mandated and complicated by the

colonial situation. In the period immediately before 1906, the Osage used a clan system to create

a boundary between themselves and other groups. On the surface, this system was created

through the biological relationship between a father and his children. However, a central aspect

of this system was the ability to adopt, bringing in those not biologically related. According to

Osage histories, however, neither this clan system nor the government structure of the Osage was

static. Like all aspects of Osage life, these cultural practices changed with the needs of the

people. In this way, Osage belonging was not bounded in any finite way through time, although

adherence to the current cultural practices was certainly central.

In 1881, when the Osage wrote their first constitution, they did not include any

qualifications for Osage citizenship. The 1881 Constitution does provide a small amount of

information about Osage citizenship. In article I, section 2, it states that:

Whenever any citizen shall remove with his effects out of the limits of this Nation, and
become a citizen of any other government, all his rights and privileges as a citizen of this
Nation shall cease; Provided, nevertheless, That the National Council shall have power to
re-admit by law to all the rights of citizenship any such persons who may at any time









desire to return to the Nation, on memorializing the Nation Council for such readmission.
[Constitution of the Osage Nation 1881: 1]

Such a statement shows that in 1881 Osage citizenship was seen as both exclusive and bounded

within the reservation territory. However, nowhere did this constitution bind Osage citizenship

in any specific way.

Through the creation of the 1906 roll, the federal government insisted on defining the

Osage as a bounded group of people. This list was so static that even children born days after the

cut-off date could not be added as Osage citizens. After 25 years it was assumed that all Osage

would be competent enough to manage their own affairs, ending the need for the Osage Tribe

altogether. Furthermore, in 1917 the federal government adopted blood as a way of determining

who was competent to manage their own affairs and was thus, in their minds, no longer Indian.

As Commissioner Sells writes in that year's Annual Report: "It is almost an axiom that an Indian

who has a larger proportion of white blood than Indian, partakes more of the characteristics of

the former than of the latter. In thought and action, so far as the business world is concerned, he

approximates more closely to the white blood ancestry" (Annual Report 1917: 3). Thus, in 1917,

Sells issued a policy that gave patents in fee to all adult Indians under one-half Indian blood,

which allowed them to sell all their land and become full U.S. citizens. Indians over half-blood

could also be declared competent "after careful investigation," but they were unable to sell their

last 40 acres, which was to be their homestead (Annual Report 1917: 4). This federal policy

officially instituted blood as a means of determining who was and was not considered Indian,

although in the end, it did not directly effect how Osage membership was determined.

While the Osage succeeded in extending their government beyond those first 25 years,

they were still tied to the boundary-making device of headright ownership. Only through

inheritance of a headright could anyone not on the 1906 roll become an Osage citizen, and even









then they had to be a biological descendant of someone listed on the roll. Through the

implementation of these rolls the federal government inserted blood relation as the central means

of establishing boundaries around Indian communities. Furthermore, through allotment of land

and ideas of competency they attempted to argue that being Indian was a racial rather than a

political identity. In 2004, when the Osage succeeded in gaining control over their membership,

they had little choice but to create some new, concrete boundary around citizenship. Almost 100

years after the creation of the rolls, blood had come to be seen by most Osage as the central tool

for determining Osage belonging.

During the 2004-2006 reform process, some Osage argued that creating a blood quantum

requirement would be a good way of establishing a solid barrier against those that were not

Osage, or "as Osage." Based on the colonial division of the Osage into the mixed-blood and the

full-blood parties discussed above, some people expressed a fear that mixed-blooded Osage

would again control the tribe. As one woman said, "They'll out-vote us. Those that have that

1/100th of blood quantum and really love their heritage, will out-vote us because there will just

be so many more of them" (May 9, 2005). For some Osage, a blood quantum did not so much

represent racial purity or financial gain, but was part of a longstanding political divide. This

divide, built out of cultural difference and solidified in the debate over allotment, was a strong

motivating force for some Osage during the 2004-2006 reform process. However, many people

also used Osage history to argue that being Osage was more than or different from having a

certain amount of Osage blood. As a local man told me during one of the interviews I conducted

during the Sovereignty Day celebration, "Everybody from the 1906 roll and their descendents in

my view should be part of this tribe. It is important to remember that Indian nationhood is not a

racial or ethnic matter, it is a political status. So blood quantum should be irrelevant" (Personal









communication, February 4th 2005). Here and elsewhere throughout the reform, Osage blood

was understood in a complex way. The people rejected a blood quantum, blood as a finite

substance, even as they embraced a descent system, blood as connector.

In addition to this articulation of the political nature of Osage citizenship, there were

several other dangers associated with racial or blood-based citizenship that were discussed

throughout the 2004-2006 reform process. Some people articulated this along cultural lines. As

a woman told me during the Sovereignty Day celebration, "To me blood has very little to do with

it...We have people that live away from here who are more Osage than some people that live

right here in the community, because those people are recognized as Osage, culturally" (Personal

communication, February 4th, 2005). This idea was further explained in another interview later

that day,

My idea of what's an Osage is somebody that goes to the church, helps out at the In-lon-
schka and wants to learn the language. And we've got a tribe of around 18-20,000 Osage,
and we don't have but 180 that want to learn the language. Then you look at all these
people that say they're Osage, but they never help out drum keepers, and then you never
see them in a church, you hardly ever see them at a hand-game, but yet they're wanting
blood quantum. If they want a blood quantum, they ought to practice what we do. But
instead just a few of us are trudging on trying to keep it going. To be an Osage, you have
to have 3 things. You have to have land base, then you have to have language, then you
also have to have culture (Personal communication, February 4, 2005).

These experiences of Osage identity built on earlier understandings of Osage belonging. If being

an Osage in the 19th century meant being part of a clan and being married in an Osage ceremony,

then, for some people, being Osage in the 21st century must also be defined along cultural lines.

Of the 1,650 people who voted on this question in the referendum election, only 236 (14.3

percent) were interested in having a minimum blood quantum. Instead, the majority of Osage

voting on the referendum supported the use of the 1906 Osage Allotment roll for the base

membership of the tribe. Part of the danger seen in the blood criterion, of course, came from the









fact that few people with a lower blood quantum would vote for kicking themselves off the tribal

roll. As one man explained to me during the Sovereignty Day celebration,

I am only 1/64th, but being Osage has been part of my personal identity all my life, ever
since I was old enough to describe it in words. Two years ago I entered the circle [at the
In-lon-ska dances]. I was named by Uncle Harry and I entered the circle. There has been
some discussion that membership might be limited to persons of a certain blood quantum,
that would, I can tell you, that would be devastating to me personally, to have somebody
tell me that I am no longer an Osage. I might be able to come back and dance as a guest if
I wanted to be invited. I had a heart attack last year and I was not able to be here, but I
plan on coming in June. I don't want any more bad news folks. I am an Osage, I have
always considered myself an Osage and I would like to be buried as a member of this tribe.
[Personal Communication: February 4, 2005]

Interestingly enough, although this man was arguing for Osage citizenship to be determined

through descendancy from the 1906 roll, his desire to be considered Osage was articulated

through a connection to Osage culture rather than any political or even descent based

understandings of being Osage.

These arguments against blood quantum, however, were rarely a total rejection of racial

understandings of Osage identity. In fact, some of these same people expressed a wish that they

did have a higher blood quantum. After a meeting a woman told me, "I wish I had been born

with a quarter or more blood, but I wasn't. This is not something I had any control over. This

does not make me any less Osage than other people. I should not be removed from the rolls for

this" (Personal Communication: March 26th, 2006). Further, some people embraced the idea of

blood without seeing it as a solid racial category. For many Osage, the idea of shared blood was

more a metaphor of connection than an exclusionary racial category. As one man put it on the

additional comments section of his OGRC questionnaire, "The most extraordinary thing about

my Osage blood is the knowledge that I am related to every other member of the tribe. To

exclude individuals because of their degree of blood is contrary to the idea of tribal membership

and a certain path to the ultimate disappearance of the Osage Nation."









Here and in other examples, the symbolic medium of blood was seen as uniting Osage

descendants rather than dividing them along racial lines. Pauline Turner Strong and Barrik Van

Winkle (1997) find similar reworkings of the concept of blood when analyzing various American

Indian fiction authors, including N. Scott Momaday's 'memory in the blood,' which has been

labeled as racist by some critics. "Momaday's 'memory in the blood' becomes a refiguring of

"Indian blood" that makes it a vehicle of connection and integration-literally, a remembering-

rather than one of calculation and differentiation" (562). Momaday articulates blood memory as

a comprehension of the connections between your family/Tribal Nation and yourself. For

Momaday this comprehension resides in the blood itself and is something that exits outside

Western ways of knowing.

This concept of blood memory was powerful enough to resonate directly with some Osage.

As Veronica Pipestem, a young Osage shareholder, explains,

Those of us who participate and strive to understand our traditional ceremonial ways of life
have felt this same feeling at times. This feeling of being surrounded, almost smothered,
by that which is right in front of us and inside of us but escapes articulation. This is the
essence of blood memory...Blood memory is elusive because it is so large and it is
manifest in so many different things and we are only able to catch tiny glimpses of it at any
given time because of its vastness... Blood memory is subversive because it claims a set of
stories and beliefs about the world as belonging to a particular group of people. It is,
essentially, claiming that something is an Indian "thing" and the reader, as an outsider,
wouldn't understand. It limits what is knowable about a particular group of people, like
the Kiowas, to Kiowas because they possess a particular type of blood memory that the
rest of us do not. [Unpublished paper, November 9, 2005]

Blood memory is thus knowledge of Indianness that cannot be quantified. As Chadwick Allen

(1999) argues, Momaday's "blood memory boldly converts the supposedly objective arithmetic

of measuring American Indian blood into an obviously subjective system of recognizing

narratives-memories-of Indian indigeneity" (111). Through the use of blood memory, blood

ceases to function as a taxonomic system of disappearance and instead represents the possibility

of connection.









This concept was also articulated in terms of the need for a connection to the Osage

community. One Osage girl explained her thoughts this way:

It is hard since Indians do get benefits from the government everyone might just be like,
well, I am Indian. But, I think it is just really your tribe. If your tribe accepts you as part
of the tribe, if you are in the community, if your family is Indian, then you're Indian. You
don't have to be a certain amount or you don't have to look a certain way...If you are in a
tribe, people really want you to be dark skinned and dark hair, because that is what people
know of a certain ethnicity. They want you to fit in a box. They are small-
minded...People think that your skin is who you are. Your genes are who you are, right?
If you have Indian genes in you, then you are Indian, but there are all these plastic
surgeries now. I mean, is Michael Jackson still a black man? It is a really interesting
question. Lets say somebody really liked Indians and there was a new procedure to make
you look just like an Indian. Does that make them Indian? I don't think so. No, it is deeper
than that for sure. (Personal communication, July 2004)

Or, as another man explained, simply "being Osage is more of a state of mind; it is being part of

a community" (Personal communication, February 4, 2005). Such articulations illustrate the

complicated ways in which Osage belonging was understood during the 2004-2006 reform

process. Very similar to the Osage histories told above, these people understood Osage identity

as being part of the Osage community.

However, this idea of community did not always fit conventional notions of a

geographically bounded space. Many people argued throughout the reform process that a person

should not have to live on the reservation in order to been seen as part of the Osage community.

This debate became particularly vocal around the issue of a residency requirement, districting,

and absentee ballots. One of the spaces where this argument played out was on the OGRC

online message board. In response to many of the arguments in favor of local control, one

person wrote:

How wrong this line of thinking is! Do not think that because those of us who do not live
in one of the districts do not see or feel the impact of the Tribal political system. Many of
us have family members or close friends in the districts. We know the impact on them
FROM them! Don't think because we are not THERE that we don't care. We are Osage
too. Don't think that we don't care about the survival of our people because we don't live
among them. For many of us, this was not a choice WE made. The choice was our parents'









or grandparents' and our roots took hold where we were. That is not a bad thing in and of
it's self. For some of us, ignorance of who we are is the problem. For the rest of us, trying
to find a way to be a part of the Nation when time and distance separates us is the problem.
In this age, the degree of technology available to us makes it easier to be there and be
active participants without having to be physically present to achieve the goal. I am
Osage. I am proud to be Osage. I do not live in one of the districts but my heart is there.
My family ties are there. My bloodline ties me ever and forever there. You cannot exclude
or ignore me because you don't see me. I am one of you. WE ALL are of one Nation. We
ALL have voices and concerns and we must ALL be heard. You do not belong to an
exclusive club. We are a race of people that will cease to exist if we exclude any one of us.
[http://osagegovemmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 12th 2005]

Here, as in many of the viewpoints expressed throughout the reform process, we see an

extremely complex set of assertions working together. What is being articulated here is a racial

experience of Osage identity, but not one based on the exclusionary criteria that are typically

associated with ideas of race. Instead, these sorts of racial experiences were based on

connections to a past that could not be broken by distance or marriage outside the Osage

community. This use of blood, as a metaphor of connection, a connection stronger than any

geographical or cultural ties, was ultimately what won out in the 2004-2006 Osage reform

process.

Shortly before the final vote on the 2006 Osage constitution, the Osage News, a

publication written and published by Chief Gray and his staff, printed a short advertisement

alerting people to the upcoming vote. Nicely summarizing many of the feelings about being

Osage it said, "Being a member of an American Indian Tribe is something special. It is

something you cannot buy, nor is it something you can trade for. You must be born with it"

(2006: 1). This concept of an inborn connection was ultimately articulated through lineal decent.

By creating a line of connection between those listed on the 1906 roll and current tribal

members, lineal decent also worked to connect a group of people separated by geography,

culture, and racialized characteristics.









Constitutionalizing Blood

With only a couple of weeks left before the absentee ballots of the draft constitution had to

be sent out for a final vote, the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) still had not

decided how to define Osage citizenship with the 2006 Constitution. The commission had

devoted a year to collecting information from the Osage population through various means,

including: hosting over 40 community meetings throughout the reservation, across Oklahoma

and with Osage in California and Texas; a phone survey; 2,000 questionnaire responses; and a

referendum vote. However, it was still not clear how citizenship ought to be determined. While

86 percent of the voters in the 2005 November referendum had said that they wanted the 1906

allotment roll set as the base roll, 80 percent selected: "Membership of people on the base roll to

be subject to challenge by the new government if it is proven that fraudulent measures were used

to establish membership into the tribe." Both of these referendum questions had arisen from

input the OGRC had received, including from several vocal people who argued that the 1906 roll

contained somewhere between 100-400 names of people who did not have Osage blood, but had

been put on the rolls because they had been adopted into the tribe or used fraudulent means, such

as bribery.

The commissioners had to find a way to deal with this disparity between the two

referendum question findings. After weeks of writing and rewriting the constitution, the

commissioners had the following debate about how they could at once establish a base roll and

also have the base roll be challengeable:

Commissioner 1: I want to talk about membership. I am hearing a lot of people saying
they are scared of the purging of the rolls and I am afraid that this will lead to a lot of "no"
votes on the constitution.

C2: My main concern is that we need to put a time limit on how long these disputes could
go on.









C3: We should not frame it from the standpoint of assuming that there are fraudulent
people, even though there are.

C4: The fraud question on the referendum would have been tossed out, had it come up in a
research design class. It was too leading.

C5: The 1906 roll includes the only Osage alive at that time. They might have been
considered fraudulent then, but they are members now. We should leave this up to the new
government.

C6: This version, which was created during the writing retreat, does not establish a base
roll, which is what leaves room for the new Congress to force people to prove they have
Osage blood.

Cl: We need to establish a base roll, then; it would stop a lot of misery.

C6: If we establish a base roll it will be very hard to challenge those on the roll who do not
have Osage blood.

C7: We can't right this wrong; too much time has passed.

Cl: My worry is that we will kill the constitution based on this one issue alone. [January
23, 2006]

The final constitution, ratified by Osage voters on March 11, 2006, solidified Osage citizenship

in a very particular way. Section 1 of the article on membership set the base membership roll as

"those persons whose names appear on the final roll of the Osage tribe of Indians pursuant to the

Act of June 28, 1906" (2006:2). Setting the base roll meant that even if it was proven that

someone on the base roll did not have Osage blood, his or her enrollment could not be

challenged. However, this does not mean that biological conceptions of being Osage were not

included within the membership criteria of the constitution.

Section 2 of the article on membership stated that the qualification for membership this

way: "all lineal descendants of those Osage listed on the 1906 roll are eligible for membership

in the Osage Nation." In effect, this clause reset the biological clock, giving all those on the roll

a unique connection that had to be passed down biologically in order for the family members to

maintain membership. This need for lineal descendancy from the 1906 roll defined Osage









citizenship as something uniquely biological, even if it did not trace this biology back to some

sort of original Osage blood. However, Section 4 of the article on membership gave the Osage

Nation Congress the ability to create laws regulating the adoption of members, which left the

door open for membership outside of lineal descent.

Conclusion

This and the previous chapter illustrate that being Osage did not mean any one thing to

everybody, but was a complex mix of emotions, historical facts, ideas about biological

substances, genealogical connections and lived experience. While all identities are composed of

varying sets of complex ideas, only occasionally is any identity subject to the open scrutiny

witnessed in the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Because of the unique intersections of this

particular colonial moment, the Osage reform process opened the category of "Osage" for public

debate. It was within this debate that certain articulations of colonial policies, local histories,

authorized and unauthorized stories, biological "facts," emotions and personal experiences were

hardened into the membership criteria included in the 2006 Osage Constitution.

Rather than seeing these stories as providing some ultimate truth about Osage identity,

they are intended to provide a series of situated perspectives from which to view some of the

ways blood was being incorporated into the experience of being Osage. Such an approach builds

upon scholars such as Joseph Dumit (1997), Sarah Franklin (1997), Donna Haraway (1997) and

Bruno Latour (1993), who have resisted the notion of the ideal "witness" constructed within

western scientific discourse as objective and neutral, and thus invisible. Instead of trying to

discover an ultimate "truth," these authors create new sorts of witnesses who are situated. They

use these situated perspectives to expose various boundaries around nature, culture, objects,

subjects, and science in order to open up a space from which to trace out realities-in-the-making,

experiences. By looking in depth at how various Osage talked about themselves and those









around them, my goal has been to shift the focus of analysis to a more nuanced understanding of

where their ideas about blood and belonging came from, how they were reworked in the Osage

context, and what sorts of impacts these ideas had on the 2006 Osage Constitution.

By looking at how blood was being talked about during the Osage reform process, it is

possible to understand the complex and varying ways in which colonial understandings of the

Indian body have been reworked and incorporated into some people's experience of self and

community. These understandings of blood are particularly important for Native nations today,

because blood has become one of the most common boundary-making devices for citizenship in

tribal Nations. It is the possession or lack of this substance that is currently being used to

establish belonging, and the rights, privileges and obligations that accompany belonging. These

discussions of blood help us understand how for some Osage, blood is configured as a

fundamental substance, without which the Osage will no longer exist. However, in the 2006

Constitution, blood is not configured as a finite substance, but as a connecting link for a group of

people spread out over the United States and even the globe.

Within this dissertation I am arguing that debates about Osage citizenship during the 2004-

2006 reform process were deeply intertwined with colonial understandings of the North

American Indian body. When Europeans colonized America, they brought their biological

understandings with them. These racial understandings of the Indian body were not, however,

directly accepted by the Osage, but were instead reworked to signify those who participated in

tribal practices. As the colonial process continued, these Euro-American ideas of the racialized

Indian body took on more force through the creation of limited resources, particularly during

allotment and the continued threat of termination. Over time, the racial idea of blood took on

metaphorical meaning, connecting Osage or separating them, depending on how it was used.









In 2006, when the voting Osage population agreed to a constitution that defined citizenship

through lineal descent, they joined a host of other indigenous groups whose membership was

defined not by territory, as in the case of most nations across the globe, but through a shared

biological substance. While such configurations are extremely powerful to many people for a

whole host of reasons, blood-based systems of citizenship cannot be separated from the

continued colonization of indigenous populations today. While colonialism can too easily be

seen as all determining, this chapter has shown the colonial situation is far more complex and

full of negotiation. The very act of having to create a bounded conception of citizenship

illustrates the power of the current world system. Defining the Osage as something other than a

citizen within a Nation has become virtually unthinkable. However, within these constraints the

Osage have found a creative solution, based on neither race nor land, but their own experience of

relation.









CHAPTER 5
THE LIFE OF OSAGE SOVEREIGNTY

If our struggle is anything, it is a struggle for sovereignty, and if sovereignty is anything, it
is a way of life...It is a decision-a decision we make in our minds, in our hearts, and in
our bodies-to be sovereign and to find out what that means in the process. [Warrior 1994]

In the literature on North American Indian nations, there exists a wide range of debates

regarding the term sovereignty. Many people ask how sovereign tribal nations can exist within

settler states. What does it mean to be sovereign? How can tribes assert more sovereignty? Is

sovereignty even the proper term in which to talk about the relationship between Indian nations

and the federal government? During the 2004-2006 reform process, the Osage people were

engaged in their own external and internal debates about sovereignty. The Osage-authored U.S.

Congressional bill that instigated the reform process, entitled "An Act: To reaffirm the inherent

sovereign rights of the Osage Nation to determine its membership and form of government"

(emphasis added, Public Law 108-431, 2004) is a perfect example of the complexities and

paradoxes associated with asserting sovereignty within a colonial context. While the previous

chapters have considered what was at stake in determining Osage membership and the form of

government, this chapter will investigate the concepts of sovereignty that surrounded the reform

process.

The meanings and practices of sovereignty are always under negotiation. Because

sovereignty is fundamentally tied with questions of power and authority, it is a central frame in

which to explore the current colonial situation among American Indians. This chapter will

discuss the period from 2004-2007, focusing on the speeches delivered by tribal officials, the

articles written in local newspapers, and the debates over the meaning of sovereignty among

various Osage. Looking at sovereignty in the context of Osage experience, it is clear that current

definitions of sovereignty as an all-encompassing domination over a territory are not sufficient to









understand what sovereignty means and how it is working within the lives of indigenous people

today. Within the colonial context of the United States the Osage are forced to operate within a

nation-state system, which does not have a clear place for them. Calls to sovereignty within this

context therefore work in particularly interesting and unexpected ways. In writing about

negotiating the nation-state system among the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Canada, Audra

Simpson states,

These are more than imposed structures of domination, or structural traces of colonialism
that Mohawks must somehow battle within, or articulate through whether that is
'creatively' (as in resisting, subverting or signifying) or passively (as in being assimilated).
These are 'homegrown' cultural expressions that engage with the state but are in no means
defined entirely by that state" [2003: 41].

She goes on to say, "...the people of Kahnawake do not resist, they are. And the way in which

they are can be at times vexing, demanding, resistant, acquiescent and in all ways complex"

(2003: 53). While the Osage are certainly located in the middle of a large colonial nation-state

structure, their experience is also too complicated to be summed up as either assimilation or

resistance. This chapter will explore these complexities and how they are articulated through

conceptions of sovereignty during and immediately following the 2004-2006 Osage reform

process.

Histories of Sovereignty

The most common origin story currently in circulation about sovereignty begins with the

16th century French jurist and political philosopher Jean Bodin. As Alexander Murphy (1996)

argues, "Concerned with promoting peace by validating the power of the French king against

rival claimants, Bodin championed the idea that a state's ruler had absolute authority within his

own realm, subject only to the divinely inspired laws of nature" (85). Central to this story of

sovereignty is the idea of an absolute authority within a territory. However Murphy's story

never strays far from its own Eurocentric origin. Murphy continues his story about sovereignty









by following it through its European trajectory, bringing in other populations only when they

encounter the European nation-state system.

Furthermore, many of the definitions of sovereignty insist on the importance of statehood.

For example, Hurst Hannum (1990) argues, "One principle upon which there seems to be

universal agreement is that sovereignty is an attribute of statehood, and that only states can be

sovereign" (15). The state too, we are told by Stuart Hall (1984) has a European origin. "Out of

clans and tribes of early Greek civilization emerged a surprisingly 'advanced' form of state -the

city-state orp,,li"' (2). After Greece came Rome, then France, Spain and England. Here and

elsewhere the state becomes fundamentally juxtaposed with clans or tribes. As Hall says, "Clans

and kinship groups in pre-history, semi-nomadic peoples today or even settled tribes with a very

simple form of social organization, have all constituted what we would now call society, without

possessing a state (emphasis added, Hall 1984: 1). While the goals of such stories are to

understand sovereignty and the state as historical constructs, rather than innate or natural

structures, such Eurocentric histories also work in powerful ways. These narratives of

sovereignty create a hierarchy between those with history and those without, between the simple

and the complex, and ultimately between the primitive and the modern.

In writing a history of "primitive governments," Lucy Mair (1977) argues that the primary

difference between these and "western nations" is their use of technology. "The development of

more complicated and efficient ways of doing things is a matter of discoveries and inventions

which simply cannot be credited to the superiority of certain total populations over others. But

the possession of a complex technology is what enables the state to control, and to a large extent

organize, the lives of populations of many millions" (emphasis added, 10). Even as Mair argues

against the assumed inferiority inherent in these models of governments, she reinforces non-









European governing structures as simple, inefficient and "rudimentary." As Mair rightly

illustrates, much of this political theory is derived more or less directly from early European

thought:

The seventeenth-century philosopher Hobbes contrasted the state of nature, in which every
man's hand was against his neighbor, with civil society, in which authority had been
surrendered to a sovereign ruler... This was a logical rather than a historical argument; it
followed from Hobbes' assumptions about human nature that if there were [sic] no
supreme authority there could only be a war of each against all. But he did refer to 'savage
people in many places of America' whose condition did support this. [1977: 11-12]

This focus on the difference between the "state of society" (Europeans) and the "state of nature"

(everyone else), while no longer so openly connected within the histories of sovereignty and the

state, is still an underlying current of much of this scholarship. By continually juxtaposing the

European sovereign state with the rest of the world's lack thereof, even the best intentioned

authors fall into the trap of defining Europe as authentically modern.

In his treatise on modernity, Bruno Latour (1993) discusses these very divisions. He

argues that modernity necessitates having a pre-modern to juxtapose against itself. Western

thought, Latour argues, does not "claim merely that they differ from others as the Sioux differ

from the Algonquians, or the Baoules from the Lapps, but that they differ radically, absolutely,

to the extent that Westerners can be lined up on one side and all the cultures on the other..,"

(emphasis added, 1993: 97). For Latour, a central aspect of this European thought is the

separation of nature and society into opposite poles, with Europe representing all that is society.

To understand how these sorts of divides unfold within discussion of Osage sovereignty, it is

now important to turn to the Osage history.

Situating Osage Sovereignty

According to Louis F. Burs (2005), at the time of European contact in 1673, the Osage

lived in permanent villages and controlled the territory in much of what is now Missouri,









Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. As Bums describes, "Osage land title was held by occupation,

conquest, and the ability to enforce one's own claim...Enforcement of Osage territorial claims

were violent, graphic and effective" (2005: 89). Gilbert C. Din and A. P. Nasatir (1983) describe

Osage governance during this and later periods through sources such as Washington Irvine, who

traveled through the West in the 1830s. Din and Nasatir write,

Osage society was complex and consisted of many subgroups. The Osage divided their
people into two halves or moieties, each of which was further divided into phratries, clans,
and sub-clans... The real governing body of the tribe was the council of elders, which in
mock humility the Osage called the Little Old Men. These men were the top social,
political, and religious leaders of the tribe. [12]

If sovereignty is defined as supreme legitimate authority within a territory (Philpott 1995), then

there can be little doubt that the Osage were a sovereign body at the time of contact. For many

Osage, sovereignty is seen as something existing outside of and prior to the formation of the

United States. The Declaration of Sovereignty and Independence by the Osage Nation, which

was signed by the Osage Tribal Council on February 4th 2005, states, "We declare further that

our inherent rights as a sovereign nation predate the [United States] Constitution." Frequently

various Osage would talk about their sovereign rights as existing even earlier. In an interview I

conducted during the Osage Sovereignty Day Celebration one woman told me, "I believe that we

Osage have been sovereigns over our dominion from our first forefathers. Our right we hold

from God and nobody has the right to take that away from us. And anybody that wants to argue

our sovereignty, I say, go to God" (Personal Communication: February 4, 2005). In Chief

Gray's speech given during the Osage Sovereignty Day celebration, he emphasized the

importance of sovereignty:

We gather today to celebrate an important time in Osage history and to consider what our
future will be. Over 100 years ago, a man named Wa-Ti-a-kah, my forefather was sent to
this land, and he said, "There is something in the land that will ensure that our children will
never starve." Many of us thought that to be oil.... Today, I know what he meant-the
sovereignty of the Osage Nation, and that is what will sustain us. Only recently, our









inherent sovereign rights that form the core of who we are as a nation, the rights to
determine our citizenship and form of government have been reaffirmed by Congress. We
celebrate that freedom that legislation gives us today... Exercising our tribal sovereignty in
the areas of self-governance will make us more accountable to our people and make us
more informed to make better decisions as a nation. That is why this moment must be
acknowledged. For after today the Osage themselves must move back and take their
sovereignty." (Gray 2005:1)

Within this speech it is clear that for Chief Gray asserting sovereignty means emphasizing that

the Osage have the right to determine their own affairs. For Gray and many other Osage,

sovereignty is thus about accountability, self-governance, and ultimately, about the process of

regaining control.

This sovereignty, however, is far from straightforward. Because the Osage exist within the

middle of the United States, which claims ultimate sovereignty over its entire territory, Osage

sovereignty must also be understood as a statement of dissonance. For the Osage to assert their

own pre-existing sovereignty is, at least in part, a challenge to the very coherence that is said to

constitute the United States. In order to better understand how the Osage were using the concept

of sovereignty, the rest of this chapter will map out its patterns of diffraction (Haraway 1997).

By looking at the colonial policies and their supporting arguments as well as the ways in which

various Osage talked about sovereignty during the 2004-2006 reform process it is possible to

map out what is really at stake within assertions of Osage sovereignty.

The disjuncture between U.S. and Osage claims to sovereignty is perhaps best illustrated

by the doctrine of discovery, which was one of the fundamental elements used to establish U.S.

sovereignty. According to Newcomb (1992) the doctrine of discovery originated from the Papal

Order of 1451. In this Order, the Pope declared war on all non-Christians and sanctioned their

conquest. "[I]n the bull [Papal Order] of 1452 Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to 'capture,

vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,' to 'put them into

perpetual slavery,' and 'to take all their possessions and property'" (Newcomb 1992: 18). Later,









Alexander VI issued a papal document, the Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, which gave Spain the

right to conquer the lands 'discovered' by Columbus and any future lands. Central to the

document was the assertion that all 'discovered' peoples would need to be "subjugated and

brought to the faith itself" leading to the promulgation of the "Christian Empire" (Newcomb

1992: 18). Thus began the doctrine of discovery. So long as other Christians did not already

inhabit the land, it was the European 'duty' to take it over and 'civilize' its inhabitants.

In Johnson v. Mcintosh (1823) a unanimous United States Supreme Court ruling cited this

doctrine of discovery as its central justification for extinguishing Native title to land.

[D]iscovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy... Although
we do not mean to engage in the defense of those principles which Europeans have applied
to Indian title, they may, we think, find some excuse, if not justification, in the character
and habits of the people whose rights have been wrested from them...the Tribes inhabiting
this country were fierce savages whose occupation was war, and whose subsistence was
drawn chiefly from the forest. To leave them in possession of their country, was to leave
the country a wilderness... [Johnson and Graham's Lease v. William McIntosh 21 U.S.
543, 5 L.Ed. 681]

Such generalizations about the "wild" and "savage" nature of the Indian populations inhabiting

America can be found throughout federal policy. In this case, as in many others, the Indians'

apparent lack of government structure is seen as ample excuse for European, and thus U.S.,

pilfering of Indian lands. Building on Hobbs, and other European philosophers, Euro-Americans

were able to ignore the existing political structures of native populations and claim the land and

all its inhabitants as wilderness.

The consequence of continuing to create the separation between these sovereign structures

derived from Europe and those existing in the rest of the world is that it becomes impossible to

sustain any argument for non-European sovereignty. Because the Osage tiered governance

structure does not come out of the European tradition of sovereign states, these historical

narratives of European sovereignty work to deny the possibility of preexisting Osage sovereign









authority. If Euro-Americans had to admit that the Osage were a settled group of people who

used agriculture and who had a highly sophisticated governing system, the U.S. government

would be left with little justification for their rendering of all Indians as "domestic dependents."

In the frequently cited case of the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), Chief Justice

Marshall rendered the majority opinion for the court, arguing that the Cherokee Nation was not a

foreign nation, but instead a "domestic dependent nation." He went on to support his ruling by

stating, "They occupy a territory to which we assert a title independent of their will...Meanwhile

they are in a state of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward of his

guardian" (30 U.S. 1). This rationale later led to the Court decision Lone Wolfv. Hitchcock

(1903), which declared that Congress has "plenary authority" over tribes, which includes the

ability to "abrogate the provisions of Indian treaty" (187 U.S. 553). From this conception of

plenary power came the current environment in which the U.S. Congress is seen as having the

right to create any sort of Indian policy it pleases, including termination, without input from the

people or nations being affected.

However, even within these early court cases, and certainly within the treaties that

preceded them, American Indian sovereignty could not be denied. Central to the act of creating a

treaty is the acknowledgment that both parties involved are sovereign. As Bums (2005) writes,

"One indisputable fact stands out in the relationship between the American Indians and the

nations of Western Civilization. The American Indians had owned, occupied, and exercised

sovereignty over land for at least ten thousand years before Columbus stood on American soil"

(147). In making treaties with Indian nations the European colonizers were acknowledging this

sovereignty.









Because of their geographical location and control over their territory, the Osage did not

enter into any treaties until 1808. Shortly after the United States purchased the Louisiana

Territory from France, a delegation of Osage were sent to Washington D.C. to meet with

President Jefferson and Secretary of War Henry Dearborn. At the meeting Dearborn promised,

among other things, "All lands belonging to you, lying within the territory of the United States,

shall be and remain the property of your nation, unless you shall voluntarily relinquish or dispose

of the same. And all persons citizens of the United States are hereby strictly forbidden to disturb

you or your nation in the quiet possession of said lands" (quoted in Wolferman 1997: 57).

While this promise, like many promises, was quickly ignored, it does illustrate that in the

beginning, the U.S. government recognized Osage sovereignty.

The seven treaties from 1808-1839 at once acknowledge and whittle away at Osage

sovereignty and land. It was within these treaties, as well as within BIA attempts to dismantle

the Osage governing structure, that sovereignty was being negotiated. While the federal

government attempted to erode Indian sovereignty through treaties, legislation, policy, and court

decisions, the Osage tried various tactics to maintain their control. When it became apparent that

neither the treaties nor the BIA agents were going to acknowledge Osage rights to self-

governance, the Osage went directly to Washington D.C. and even formed a governmental

structure more recognizable to the U.S. government1.

The U.S. Supreme Court members were not uniform in their opinions about the exact

nature of Indian nations' sovereignty. Following their 1831 ruling on "domestic dependents,"

the U.S. Supreme Court held a year later that the Cherokees were a nation existing outside the



1 In 1881, after successfully negotiating for their annuity payments to be paid directly in cash, the Osage
decided to form a democratically elected three-part government modeled directly from the Cherokee, who
had created the model based on the United State's governance structure.









jurisdiction of the State of Georgia. Chief Justice Marshall wrote, "The Indian nations had

always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original

natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil, from time immemorial" (Worcester v.

Georgia 31 U.S. [6Pet.] 515, at 559 [1832]). After the treaty-making period, however, the

federal government switched to a policy of assimilation and then termination. Hoping to do

away with the "Indian problem" by turning Indians into lower-class American citizens, the

federal government forced education, farming, private landownership, and Christianity on

indigenous peoples. When these efforts were not successful, the federal government decided that

the tribal organizations were keeping Indians from full assimilation, so at the end of the 19th

century they began terminating their relationship with these organizations altogether. The Osage

narrowly escaped termination by agreeing to pay their own BIA operation costs.

In the 1960s federal policy started moving away from termination toward self-

determination. The largest part of these changes was the Indian Self-Determination and

Education Assistance act of 1975 and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976. These

Congressional bills began the process whereby Indian nations could take over aspects of federal

programs, including delivering their own health services and organizing their own schools.

However, many Indian leaders were wary of the federal government, suspecting that it had

simply found a new name for termination. The bill was well short ofNixon's original plan for a

full Indian takeover of services and instead allowed the tribes to make "contracts" to control

various aspects of their programs. According to Prucha,

The twofold policy of the government was asserted in the preamble to the law: the United
States recognizes its obligation to respect 'the strong expression of the Indian people for
self-determination by assuring maximum Indian participation in the direction of
educational as well as other federal services to Indian communities so as to render such
services more responsive to the needs and desires of those communities'; and Congress
declared its commitment to 'the maintenance of the federal government's unique and









continuing relationship with and responsibility to the Indian people' through a self-
determination policy that would provide an orderly transition from federal domination to
effective Indian participation in planning and administering programs. [1984: 380]


Indian self-determination thus became something different from traditionally understood

sovereignty. Because of the promises made in previous treaties, few Indian tribes saw any

benefit in doing away with their relationship to the federal government. This, then, is the

complicated nature of Indian sovereignty today. Rather than the exclusive or even supreme

authority to control everything within a territory, Osage and other American Indians are now

fighting for what can better be understood as layered sovereignties.

Layered Sovereignties

In 2007, the State of Oklahoma observed its centennial and asked the Osage to join in the

celebration. In response, Chief Jim Gray issued a statement that spoke of the last hundred years

of statehood and the suffering experienced by the Osage people, including the erosion of their

language, culture, land and sovereignty. He concluded, however, by saying that,

We Osage are mindful that we share this great land with others and it always has been our
wish to live in harmony with our neighbors-both on the reservation and in the state. We
hope that the government-to-government relationship between the Osage Nation and the
State of Oklahoma will be mutually beneficial and will be based on mutual respect... The
Osage Nation is prepared to commemorate the last 100 years of history, but we look
forward to a bicentennial of Oklahoma's statehood that we can truly join in celebration of
progress for the Osage Nation, the State, and our mutual development" (Gray 2007: 18)

While the traditional definition of sovereignty does not include ideas of mutual respect, for

Osage leaders this is the foundation of their understanding of sovereignty today. Instead of

desires for exclusive jurisdiction within a territory, what is most frequently articulated is a

government-to-government relationship based on overlapping authorities. Many other authors

dealing with indigenous politics have talked about this layered characteristic as being a









fundamental aspect of tribal sovereignty (Biolsi 2005; Wilkins and Lomawaima 2001; Cattelino

2004; Lambert 2007). As Lambert explains,

[T]ribal sovereignty operates in a landscape populated by multiple, overlapping, and
competing sovereignties... When tribes, states, and the federal government spar over who
has control over certain resources, a process of moves and counter moves is set in motion.
For a good many conflicts in Indian country, these moves and countermoves cardinally
define tribal sovereignty as a process of negotiation. [2007: 211]

This emphasis on layered sovereignties is hardly unique to Indian tribes, but occurs throughout

the United States as well as internationally. In the United States, most land is subject to the laws

of the federal and state. When tribal lands are present this merely adds another level of

sovereignty onto the territory. In the case of the Osage, as well as many other tribes, the tribal

government was the first authority over the territory, with the federal, state, county and

municipal governments layered on top. Ideally, each co-exists simultaneously and exercises its

respective governmental powers independently, but in conversation with one another.

Central to the Osage Nation's call for layered sovereignties is the existence of the Osage

reservation. Unlike all other tribes in Oklahoma, the Osage still have a federally recognized

reservation territory, which means they can control any area they own within that territory, rather

than only the land still held in trust2. Control here can mean the ability to disregard state taxes,

to have a smoke shop or casino, or as Chief Gray has recently done, to deny state inspectors the

right to enter a grocery store owned by the tribe. For 100 years the Osage reservation has gone

2 Shortly after the end of the treaty making period in the 1870s the U.S. Congress began the creation of
reservations. Central to the creation of these areas was the federal government's paternal belief that it
needed to take care of the land for the Indian people, fearing that they would otherwise lose the land.
These reservations were thus owned by the federal government and held in trust for an Indian tribe or
individual. Trust land today is most frequently land that has been held in trust since the allotment of the
reservations. As was discussed in chapter three, Indians with half or more blood were not seen as
competent of managing their own affairs and so their land was held in trust by the federal government.
Most land within the Osage reservation is no longer held in trust, but is owned by individuals. While it is
possible to reenter lands into trust, the BIA has made it a cumbersome process. Thus, all other tribes in
Oklahoma are limited in their authority to lands that have remained in trust or have gone through the
reentry process.









relatively unacknowledged. Until recently, the Osage did not have the infrastructure necessary,

or the finances available, to act on much of its jurisdictional authority within the reservation.

With the rise of Osage taxation and gaming, as well as the 2004-2006 reform process, the status

of the Osage reservation has become a central aspect of the debate over Osage sovereignty.

Because the Osage have not acted on all of their reservation prerogatives until recently,

many people (particularly the non-Osage residing on the reservation) not only do not understand

the authority with which the tribe is empowered, but deny the existence of the reservation. For

example, the Oklahoma Tax Commission refuses to recognize its own lack of jurisdiction on the

reservation. In 2001, the Osage Nation filed a suit against the Oklahoma Tax Commission and

individual tax commissioners, seeking "an injunction restraining the State of Oklahoma from

levying and collecting income taxes upon the income of the Nation's members who are

employed, earn income and reside within the Nation's reservation" (Pitchlyn 2004a: 3). The

case went to the Northern District Court of Oklahoma where the State of Oklahoma brought a

motion requesting dismissal, arguing that such actions could not be brought against the State in

federal court. The judge sided with the Osage Nation, but the case was immediately appealed to

the Tenth Circuit court of appeals where it still awaits decision on whether or not the case can be

heard. If the State of Oklahoma fails in its stalling tactic and is forced to try the case in federal

court it will likely be forced to acknowledge not only the status of the reservation, but its

inability to tax those who work and reside within that territory.

There are two recent opinions that support the status of the Osage reservation. The first is

a 2005 opinion rendered by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Before opening a

casino in North Tulsa, the NIGC had to agree that the area was still part of a recognized









reservation.3 In their opinion of the Osage reservation's status, the NIGC cited previous

Department of the Interior documents to prove the continued recognition of the Osage

reservation. Among the documents supporting their case were the Act of June 5, 1872, ch. 310,

17 Stat. 228 (An Act to Confirm to the Great and Little Osage Indians a reservation in the Indian

Territory), the 1906 Act, which allotted the reservation, and a 2004 lease agreement approved by

the BIA. For many tribes, allotment was intended for the purposes of eradicating the

reservations, but the Osage case is recognized as different. In addition to purchasing the

reservation in Oklahoma with money from the sale of their Kansas lands, the Osage also

negotiated to keep the mineral estate under the reservation held in trust.4

One of the documents cited in the NIGC opinion is a report of the Solicitor General Nathan

R. Margold written to the Commission of Indian affairs on December 17, 1935. Concerning this

document the NIGC says,

The Solicitor determined that the lands are 'Tribal lands within the reservation boundaries'
and further noted that '[s]o far as I am advised no act of Congress has severed these lands
from the reservation. In the absence of such Congressional action they not only remain
within the reservation but also qualify as 'Indian country' under the rule that 'Indian
country' remains such until the Indian title is extinguished unless other wise [sic] provided
by Congress. [Coleman 2005: 5]

Other documents include a 1997 Oklahoma Gubernatorial Proclamation which stated that

whereasea, the Osage reservation covering all of Osage County is the only federally recognized

reservation remaining in Oklahoma"... (quotes in Coleman 2005: 6), as well as a 1992 map of

Indian Land published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Thus, the NIGC letter concludes,

"Based on the above documents, we understand that at least some offices within the Department


3 The NIGC was founded in 1988 by the federal Congress under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25
U.S.C. 2701 et seq). The act set out to provide standards by which tribes could be held accountable when
conducting gaming on Indian Lands. The purpose of the NIGC is to enforce those standards.

4 See chapter two for a description of this period.









of the Interior have concluded that the Osage Nation reservation has not been disestablished

...Please advise us immediately if your office disagrees with our understandings of the status of

the tribe's reservation" (Coleman 2005: 7). The Department of the Interior did not issue a

response and the casino opened in North Tulsa on non-trust reservation land.

Another recent opinion on the Osage reservation status was issued in Quarles vs. U.S.A. et

al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, where Chief Judge Eagan

determined that "Osage County is 'Indian country," as defined by 18 U.S.C 115 (CV-0913-CVE-

PJC 2005). Notably, neither the BIA, as a party, nor the U.S. Department of Justice, as counsel

for the BIA, made any objection to this determination by the Court. However, as was evident in

the case of the Oklahoma Tax commission, just because the Osage reservation is acknowledged

does not guarantee that the state of Oklahoma is always going recognize the sovereign authorities

of the Osage Nation, or even uphold its agreements with the Osage Nation. While there are

many different areas that could be used as examples in exploring the tribal-state relationship,

from cross deputization of the Osage Nation police force to Osage Child Support Services to

debates about who has authority to make environmental laws over the territory, I will examine

the case of the tobacco compacts to illustrate the complex nature of this relationship.

Tobacco Compacting

Compacting between states and Indian tribes is a relatively recent practice, originally

created to control gaming on Indian territories.5 Compacting allowed a compromise between the

sovereignty of the state, which did not want to have unregulated gaming within its territories, and

the sovereignty of the tribe, who wanted to increase their revenues and be further recognized as a



5 When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, it created three different classes of
gaming. To enter into Class III gaming, which was considered the traditional casino-style gambling,
tribes had to create a compact with the state.









legitimate governing authority within their territories. According to Bays (2002), tobacco

compacts developed out of the gaming precedent. "Once gaming exposed the geopolitical

barrier-and the comparative tax advantage-shielding Indian country from state civil-regulatory

authority, Indian entrepreneurs began opening smoke shops" (Bays 2002: 189). The resulting

loss of tax revenue prompted the state to attempt to regulate the wholesalers, forcing smoke-shop

owners to purchase from out-of state wholesalers. The problem remained, however, that

sovereign immunity prevented the state from enforcing its tax collection in Indian country, no

matter who made the purchase (498 U.S. 505).

The state, which was losing millions of dollars in tax revenue, turned to compacting as a

possible model for regaining some of these funds. To support this process and protect its own

interests and the interests of non-tribal smoke shops, the Oklahoma legislature in 1992 passed a

tax law that stopped the taxation of retailers and instead placed the burden on wholesalers. Any

untaxed cigarettes coming from wholesalers were now labeled as contraband and subject to

seizure. This law also recognized the ability of Indian country smoke shops to import tobacco

from out of state and gave the smoke shops a 75 percent break from the state tax rate (Bays

2002).

Pressure to sign these compacts came primarily from smoke shop owners, who were

growing weary of acting outside state law and were eager to take advantage of the new tax

break.6 However, tribes also benefited from these agreements through taxation of the shops,

which created a new financial base. Through these compacts, the tribes were able to establish

more authority over their territory and gain further recognition from the state. In response to

6 As Bays explains, "state legislation created incentive for smoke shop operators to lobby their tribal
governments to sign tobacco compacts... Prior to 1992 smoke shops were essentially unregulated,
untaxed, and unduly harassed. After 1992, smoke shops began to gain legitimacy, and many grew and
expanded" (Bays 2002: 191).









criticism that the tribes were "selling out to the state," Bill Anoatubby, the Governor of the

Chickasaw, replied "this government-to-government compact is the most reasonable method of

settling disputes. This is a true exercise of Tribal sovereignty" (Associated Press 1992: 10B).

For many tribal leaders, compacting became a way to assert sovereignty, not as exclusive power,

but in terms of collaborative control. Wilma Mankiller, Principal chief of the Cherokee Nation,

argued for compacting in just these terms. "Some may say the Indians would be giving up

something, but I say we are dealing from a position of strength. I think it would be a nice legacy

to lead the first step toward collaboration" (quoted in Bays 2002: 191).

In 2003, however, these compacts began to expire. Chief Grey worked with other tribes to

negotiate a single new compact with the State and all tribes. Oklahoma's Director of Finance,

Scott Meacham, ignored these requests and refused to meet with tribes (Osage News 2006a).

The tribes were outraged. Not only were State officials refusing to meet with tribes as a whole,

but they were also supplanting the negotiated compact process with a single take-it-or-leave-it

offer. After the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations negotiated their own compacts, other tribes,

including the Osage, began to vie for the best position. The Osage were able to extend the

exception rule for tribes living near the border to fit 12 of their 15 smoke shops.7 This meant that

these shops were only paying the State at a rate of 6 cents per pack of cigarettes compared to the

86-cent non-exemption rate. Complicating these agreements was State Question 713, which

raised tobacco taxes to $1.03 a pack but also eliminated sales tax from all tobacco sales. This not

only cut the margin of the Indian smoke shops, but was also a breach of tribal contracts.

Meanwhile, Meacham was unable to live up to his promise to the weary Republican

Oklahoma Congress that the tobacco tax would lead to a large financial increase for the state.

7 Because the States bordering Oklahoma had lower tax rates, those smoke shops near the border were
able to negotiate a lesser rate to stay competitive.









Feeling the pressure to do away with the retail-to-retail sales, the Oklahoma Tax Commission

adopted emergency rules late in 2005 that required wholesalers to sell the same number of

cigarettes to smoke shops as they did in 2004, with only an additional 10 percent. While there

were some exceptions made for expanding businesses, the procedure was cumbersome. The

result was that many tribal smoke shops lost business or had to shut down (Hinton 2006a). Early

in 2006, 26 tribal leaders from the Osage, Muscogee Creek and Cherokee Nations met and

attempted to build cohesion in order to stand up to the state. Chief Gray made a presentation on

the failure of the compacting process where he referred to it as "Meacham's Mess" in reference

to the State Treasurer. "This has created a full-fledged political mess," Gray said. "It's a clear

indicator that this isn't about cigarettes; it's about compacts and sovereignty" (quoted in

Ruckman 2006a: 8).

In several letters to Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, Chief Gray requested to not sign the

emergency tax laws because they violated the existing compact and imposed unilateral

legislation (Gray 2006). When this request was denied, the Osage took the Oklahoma Tax

Commission to federal court on charges that the new rules broke the compact as well as the

"United States constitution through the restriction of the commerce, and breaking of the contracts

clause of the Constitution" (Osage News 2006d: 4). While several State judges sided with the

tribes and Tobacco retailers, suspending their application in those situations, the U.S. district

court ruled that Gov. Henry needed to engage in arbitration with the Osage to settle the dispute.

From this condensed history of tobacco compacting in Oklahoma, it is possible to get a

sense of the complex relationships between the sovereignty of the state and the sovereignty of

the tribal nations. While the tribes are working for a relationship built on compromise, the State

of Oklahoma's most recent actions reveal a determined resistance to abiding to their own









agreements. Playing to the interests of groups such as the Quick Trip Corporation, the State has

shown complete disregard for the sovereignty of the tribal nations. As a result, by 2007 the tribal

stores have gained almost half of the cigarette market, but according to state records are only

paying 12 percent of the taxes collected. Until the state decides to work with the tribes, rather

than against them, the tribes are going to continue to find creative ways to utilize the state's lack

of jurisdiction.

Delineating Sovereignty From Within

During the same period that the Osage were involved in these external negotiations with

the State, they were also engaged in their own internal debates about what sovereignty ought to

mean. While the 2004-2006 reform process began with a call to reform membership, it quickly

became clear that larger reforms were needed. Throughout the Osage population, there were

widespread calls for more accountability, sustainable economic development, and cultural

revitalization. Central to the 2004-2006 reform process then, was not just the assertion of

sovereignty, but the act of defining what exactly this sovereignty would mean.

Shortly after the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) had been appointed,

Leonard Maker, the head of planning for the tribe, addressed them, speaking on the

commission's job in educating the public about sovereignty. "Most of our people don't

understand sovereignty; it's not part of their daily life. They say, 'it's a nice phrase but what

does it mean to me'... I think that's one of the tasks of the commission, to make sure that people

are aware of what sovereignty is and why it's important" (OGRC Business Meeting March 21,

2005). Maker then went on to describe the tangible results of sovereignty, such as the tribe being

the largest employer on the reservation, the opening of the new casino, and tribal programs in

areas such as education and housing. In an interview I conducted with him a year earlier, Maker

also emphasized the lack of knowledge about the meaning of sovereignty and he concluded by









saying, "All these things are part of sovereignty, the ability of our tribe to meet the needs of our

own people, in a way that is special to us" (Personal Communication July, 20 2004).

In the first round of community meetings, Maker explained to the public what sovereignty

meant to the Osage:

'Congress hereby reaffirms the inherent sovereign right of the Osage Tribe to determine its
own form of government,' which is as broad a statement as you can make in terms of
federal law as to what this tribe's right is. That means we can do whatever we want. We
don't need the Secretary to approve it; we don't need the President to approve it; it's ours;
it's yours to determine what your government wants to be ... It is also an idea that this is
an expression of Osage sovereignty. It's up to us to not have other people telling us what to
do. [Tulsa May 05, 2005]

This opinion that sovereignty was, at its most basic, the right for Osage to decide Osage fate, was

frequently mentioned throughout the reform process. One young Osage said in another

community meeting that the recent law, "basically takes all the handcuffs and all the shackles off

us as a tribe...We're creating a government; a new one. We get to pick it; we get to decide what

it is. It is our decision, nobody else's" (Skiatook, May 12, 2005).

This desire to take control was not limited simply to the creation of a new government.

During an interview I conducted with Osage Tribal Councilman Mark Freeman about the

government reform, he said, "We need to get started working on that and get a determination of

our sovereignty in that water on the Osage reservation. We need to step up to the plate on our

reservation status. By not fighting for it in the past we've allowed the state to take over some

things; we're going to have to take them back" (Personal Communication May 23, 2005). Some

Osage, however, were afraid that the tribe might not yet be ready to take over all aspects of their

sovereignty, especially when the issue of compacting the minerals was brought to the table.

These Osage argued that the tribe was losing money in many of their enterprises, most notably

the Palace Grocery store, and thus was not yet prepared to take over full control of the mineral

estate.









At an Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) meeting where Chief Gray was presenting

on compacting the mineral estate in order to provide better monitoring of the wells, one woman

argued, "According to the article that came out in the Tulsa paper, the Osage Tribe is not really

in compliance with [the National Indian Gaming Commission] on some things they haven't

done. If they're not capable of handling this and getting all their ducks in a row, why should we

trust the council now to manage the minerals?" (August 29, 2005). While the Chief responded

that the negotiations with the NIGC were just part of the process of negotiation, many fears

about Osage readiness for full self-government continued. Mixed with these fears were the

deeper anxieties about the loss of the mineral's protected status if the tribe wrested control from

the BIA. As another woman explained in the same meeting, "If you take the contract from the

BIA, what protection do we still have and is it still in restricted funds? Because once you take it

out of the BIA, it loses all restrictions" (August 29, 2005). Chief Gray responded by saying,

The law of self-governance has been on the books since the 1970s. Over the years tribes
who have engaged in taking over these BIA programs, part of the critical elements of this
bill ever getting passed to begin with and a significant issue for all the tribes who have
compacted over half of the BIA budget now, is the trust relationship has not changed. This
is a negotiated management agreement between the tribe and the federal government...
The benefits of self-governance are not fear, but hope. You have to have faith in yourself
and faith in your other tribal members to assume that we can bring the tools and resources
together.

The Osage Tribal Council decision not to compact minerals did not abate these anxieties.

Instead, with the passage of the 2006 Osage Nation Constitution and the assertion of fuller

autonomy, these fears continued to manifest. Because of the long history of threatened Osage

termination, many Osage continued to worry that the federal government was using "self-

determination" as a means to get out of the Indian business for good. Thus efforts by Chief Gray

to establish more authority were frequently met with concerns that the federal government would

soon cease to recognize the need for the trust relationship.









A parallel desire intertwined with the concept of sovereignty was cultural revitalization.

For many Osage, asserting sovereignty meant revitalizing the culture and saving the language.

At a business meeting in June, Osage Reform Commissioners discussed the role of sovereignty

and the reform process in revitalizing culture. Cl was discussing how he felt that few people he

knew, particularly the younger people, really cared anything about the reform. C2 responded

that he had had the opposite experience. His daughter had pinned him to the wall about getting

this done right and his son had also expressed the importance of the reform. For them it was not

just about the vote, but also about being a part of the Osage Nation through the practice of

various cultural activities. He went on to say, "It is more than a vote, it will revitalize culture

and give all Osage a place to come home to, something to belong to." C2 then spoke on how

much a sense of community could help by giving people a sense of belonging. C3 agreed and

said, "Group identity helps people to their core" (OGRC Business Meeting July 11, 2005).

2006 Osage Constitution and the Community Backlash

Since federal legislation has limited the abilities of the Osage to determine their form of

government and membership criteria for almost a hundred years, the very act writing of the 2006

Osage Constitution was an act of sovereignty. Furthermore, the contents of the constitution

speak to understandings of what this sovereignty means. The primary section in which

sovereignty is discussed is Article II, which lays out the territory and jurisdiction of the Osage

Nation.

Territory is defined as the Osage reservation and all other lands under federally-restricted
status title to which is held by the Nation or the People, or by the United States in trust on
behalf of the Nation or the People, and any such additional lands as are hereafter acquired
and similarly held by the Nation or the People or by the United States on behalf of the
Nation or the People. Territory is defined as, but is not limited to, air, water, surface, sub-
surface, natural resources and any interest therein, notwithstanding the issuance of any
patent or right of way in fee or otherwise, by the governments of the United States or the
Osage Nation, existing and/or in the future. [Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2]









The Constitution then goes on to describe the Osage Nation's jurisdiction as extending "over all

persons, subjects, property, and over all activities that occur within the territory of the Osage

Nation and over all Osage citizens, subjects, property and activities outside such territory

affecting the rights and laws of the Osage Nation" (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2). This

section concludes by saying that "Nothing in this Article shall be construed to limit or impair the

ability of the Osage Nation to exercise its jurisdiction within or without its territory based upon

its inherent sovereign authority as a nation of Osage People" (emphasis added, Osage Nation

Constitution 2006: 2).

Article IV, the Declaration of Rights, outlines Popular Sovereignty as, "All political power

is vested in and derived from the Osage People. All government of right originates with the

Osage People, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole"

(Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 3). This section continues the statement concerning

sovereignty by saying that, "The Osage People have the exclusive right of governing themselves

as a free, sovereign, and independent nation as done from time immemorial." (Osage Nation

Constitution 2006: 3). From these excerpts it is clear that the Osage Constitution is taking a

strong stand as to the strength and breadth of it own sovereignty. The strength of these

statements did not go unnoticed within the surrounding community.

Shortly after the passage of the 2006 Osage Constitution, a group of ranchers and Osage

Country landowners began expressing their displeasure with the Osage Nation's jurisdictional

claims within the constitution. In a meeting with Representative Frank Lucas, one resident of the

area said, "I understand all politics are local. Here in Osage County we have a unique situation.

This is the Osage mineral reservation underground. We're worried about possible conflict of

interest with the Osage constitution asserting sovereignty over the area of the reservation. We'd









like to know exactly where the reservation is or isn't" (February 21, 2006). Lucas responded that

the bill that granted the Osage sovereignty only gave the Osage what the other tribes in

Oklahoma had, but that he was not sure about the reservation question.

For a little over a year these complaints remained quelled, but in late May 2006 the Osage

Nation Congress began reviewing a Natural Resource bill, quickly prompting controversy among

some Osage Country residents. The News Examiner-Enterprise reported that Dick Surber,

representing the Osage County Cattlemen's Association, saw the bill as an attempt by the Osage

Nation to take over the entire reservation. Surber was quoted as saying, "We look upon this as

an opportunity to state our position once and for all: that we are not under the jurisdiction or

supervision or control of the Osage tribe" (quoted in 2007: News 431). While the bill was

quickly tabled, it had already unleashed "vitriolic and deafening objections" throughout Osage

County (Bigheart Times 2007b: 1).

In addition to fears about harsh environmental laws, there were a whole host of concerns

ranging from land loss to taxation to complete lawlessness. Much of this was based on

misunderstandings about what it would mean for Osage Country to be officially treated like a

reservation. These misunderstandings quickly swelled and affected many interactions between

the Osage Nation and non-Osage residents, including denying the Osage Nation police's

authority in issuing state tickets, even though cross-deputization had been in place for 11 years.

When Chief Gray declared that state inspectors no longer had authority with the Osage-owned

grocery store, many people worried that the tribe would soon allow no state representatives

within the reservation boundary altogether.

One of the more interesting places to follow this debate was the Osage Shareholders

Association webpage. Because the recent assertions of Osage sovereignty had stirred some









shareholders to fear that their headright would not be protected, there was a strange bond created

between this minority Osage viewpoint and the non-Osage community backlash to sovereignty.

In July of 2007 one Osage, who actively argued against the current administration's policy of

exerting sovereignty, posted the following editorial from the Daily Oklahoman by a non-Osage

landowner:

Jim Gray, principal chief of the Osage Tribe, continues to make it clear that he wants
Osage County to be considered off limits to the state government because he contends the
entire county is a tribal reservation. Gray backed a bill in the tribe's legislature that would
have allowed the Osage to create and regulate environmental standards throughout the
county. The bill, which got derailed, would have applied to anyone who lives or does
business in Osage County and would have given tribal court final say in settling disputes.
More recently, Gray told state consumer protection inspectors to stay away from a tribe-
owned store in Fairfax because the store is located within the Osage reservation. He wrote
to the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to say that unless federal or
Osage laws dictate otherwise, no state agency is allowed to enter the store "or any other
tribally licensed business located within the Osage reservation for the purpose of enforcing
state law and regulations." Guess that means Gray won't mind if the Highway Patrol stops
enforcing the speed limits on the winding highways that run through Osage County. Or if
the Department of Transportation removes from its maintenance list any roads and bridges
in the county that need repair. Or that he won't be calling his county commissioner or any
other county office seeking assistance if a water pipe bursts or another other public works
project needs attention. Gray wants the tribe to stand alone. It seems to us he ought to be
careful what he wishes for. [www.osageshareholders.org 2007]

In response to this posting, several people on the forum expressed outrage that any Osage would

take the side of the "backward and superstitious" whites. They argued it was instead time to

"civilize" the white population and educate them as to what Osage sovereignty would really

mean. To these and other accusations another poster argued,

What's being ignored, by our leadership and those that follow, is that we are a little bitty
fish in a big pond and we don't yet know if we even have any teeth. I don't think anyone
here is saying that we shouldn't strive for sovereignty, inasmuch as the Yankee government
in Washington will let us exercise it. What is being questioned is the hap-hazard, bull(-
calf) in the China-shop-way this administration is going about it. It seems that the reality
of our situation has been lost in the fervor of what we know to be right.
[www.osageshareholders.org 2007]









This and other posts illustrate the sorts of limitations that the colonial situation has created

among the Osage. For some Osage, fears about possible ramifications have become more

important than "what we know to be right." Even while Osage sovereignty is accepted as a

fundamental truth, the possibility that the federal or state governments will actually recognize

this seemed unlikely to some.

In a similar vein, the original poster attempted to clarify his own fears by saying that,

"...But it [sovereignty] also comes with a price, that being that we have special rights and

privileges that can be put in jeopardy when mistakes are made..." (www.osageshareholders.org

2007). This response echoes many of the concerns expressed during the reform process,

particularly during discussions about compacting. Perhaps even more powerfully than the above

fear that Osage sovereignty will not be recognized, this fear shows the power of continued

colonialism among the Osage. In addition to doubting Osage competence, this posting illustrates

the priorities among some Osage to put "special rights and privileges," which here most likely

refers to Osage Mineral Estate proceeds, above concerns for greater Osage autonomy. These

people frequently argue that the current Osage administration is not competent enough to

actually pull off sovereignty and thus it is better to leave things alone for now.

However, not all Osage posting on the Osage Shareholders Association webpage agreed

with taking such a conservative approach. To the above postings one person responded,

How sad it is that you perceive yourself, and all Osage, in such a sad pathetic light!
Seriously, I really feel bad for you. It can't be comfortable to live such a diminished,
marginalized existence. Did you go to a government boarding school? Did they, the U.S.
government, do this to you? It doesn't have to be this way. God isn't white and the whites
aren't gods. They're no better than we Osage. They aren't 100 feet tall and they do
eventually die just as everything else in this world does. Formerly oppressed native
peoples can and do move beyond the mental artifacts which make them prisoners in their
own skins. You can as well. Kick that hateful little white-man right out of your head!
[www.osageshareholders.org 2007]









Fears about Osage sovereignty claims were further brought into question a month later when

Senator Coburn held a community meeting. News Channel 8 ran a story on the meeting, which

included quotes from interviews taken before and after the meeting. The story began with a

quote from rancher Dick Surber, "For the last hundred years this has been Osage County,

Oklahoma ... Private property is the most sacred right we have" (Kinny 2007: www.ktul.com).

After a few less confrontational excerpts from the actual meeting, the story concluded by saying,

"Senator Coburn says sovereignty is determined by the U.S. Congress, not the treaty, but the

tribe should not apply pressure. 'The thing is, if they press the sovereignty issue the risk is they

lose sovereignty because the Congress will change it, so they are walking a tight line" (Kinny

2007: www.ktul.com).

Many Osage who attended the meeting expressed concern by the representation of the

meeting in the news broadcast. As one young Osage wrote, "I was at this meeting. Tom Coburn

was asked repeatedly about this issue during the meeting and clearly stated he did not know

enough about the issue to comment on it. Then he obviously marched outside to talk to the

cameras about the subject. After I saw that story on TV I wondered whether or not Channel 8

attended the same meeting as I did" (www.osageshareholders.org 2007). One of the central

statements made by Coburn during the community meeting was that the federal government did

have to uphold the treaties. Another Osage who attended the meeting said that he disagreed with

both the coverage and the fears it reinforced.

If Mr. Coburn is talking "holding up the treaties" then he is somewhat recognizing our
sovereignty, albeit to a conservative (to which he is very conservative) extent. Also, I agree
and understand all too well that the US government has a lot to do with determining our
issues. So, any hint from a very conservative senator acknowledging our sovereignty to
some extent is some gain for the Osage. [www.osageshareholders.org 2007]









The meeting, its news coverage, and the concerns it raised among the Osage, are typical of the

complex ways in which debates about sovereignty are currently taking place within the colonial

context.

Conclusion

Rather than understanding sovereignty as some sort of fixed power, it must instead be seen

as a series of articulations that are neither straightforward nor consistent across space or time. In

defining sovereignty strictly in terms of its connection to the European state system, political

theorists have reinforced the subjugation of indigenous people. By insisting that indigenous

governments were less complex, these theorists provided the foundational groundwork for

justifying colonialism in America. In looking at sovereignty not as a fact that does or does not

exist within a space, but instead as a knowledge system used to reinforce or argue for authority,

it is possible to begin to understand the use of the term sovereignty across the globe today.

Understanding the meaning of Osage sovereignty today means following it through the

speeches, court cases, arbitrations, community meetings, news representations, and online

message boards. It means seeing sovereignty not as one bounded object, but a series of

negotiations that are taking place among various Osage and their surrounding communities.

Sovereignty for the Osage Nation has come to mean the act of taking control over Osage affairs

in as many ways as they are allowed given their current colonial situation. This control is not the

sort of absolute power that theorists typically associate with sovereignty, but a layered and

interconnected relationship with the state of Oklahoma and the federal government. While

finding compromises has certainly become an intricate part of this sovereignty, creative

avoidance has also become necessary, especially when dealing with a state government which

not willing to keep its promises. As Chief Gray and the Osage Nation continue to act on the

sovereign authority outlined in the 2006 Osage Constitution, they will encounter those









attempting to deny their sovereignty or limit its meaning to particular situations. These

limitations, like its layered nature, are central to sovereignty across the globe. It is only through

continuous articulations and negotiations of sovereignty that it takes on the appearance of being a

concrete fact.









CHAPTER 6
OBSTACLES TO COMMUNITY BASED REFORM

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development has argued that a central

element of creating a successful economy within Indian country is to directly involve the citizens

in any government reform effort. As Stephen Cornell et. al. (2004) outlines:

[G]oveming institutions must be viewed as legitimate by the First Nation's citizens if they
are to be effective. This means institutions have to match citizens' ideas of how authority
should be organized and exercised; otherwise, citizens are unlikely to view the institutions
as their own and are unlikely to support them. This suggests further that the process of
institution building has to find ways to directly involve First Nations' citizens. [emphasis
added: 19]

This ideal of community involvement was certainly integral to the official information circulated

during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. As the Osage News reported shortly after the

Osage Tribal Council formed the Osage Government Reform Commission, "The goal of the

Commission is to provide a means through which a government will be established that reflects

the will of the Osage People" (2005c: 2). The ordinance that created the commission also used

similar wording and listed a series of activities including the development of informative

materials, a website, news articles, community meetings, workshops, symposia, and surveys as a

way to solicit the desires of the greater Osage community.

Such simply stated ideals, however, overlook the complexities inherent within community-

based reform. Few populations, American Indian or otherwise, have much practical knowledge

about the intricate details involved in governing structures, much less the time and interest to

invest in creating a governing document. Community meetings are frequently long meandering

affairs that must negotiate between informing the public and trying to collect their conflicting

opinions. Information about the reform process must compete with rumors, which result from

legitimate confusion, fear, as well as competing political goals. Because government reform is

inherently political, any change in the structure of power is bound to cause malcontent. The









writing of any document, particularly an important legal one, becomes challenging when

attempted in a group. The 2004-2006 Osage reform process provides valuable insights into some

of the central problems that develop within community-based reform, particularly when it is

completed in a short period.

Despite the difficulties of the reform process, the Osage were successful in passing a

constitution by a two-thirds margin. However, the road to reform was not as smooth as that

margin might suggest. From informal conversations, public statements, and online blogs, it is

possible to see that there were legitimate complaints as well as unfounded rumors circulating

during the reform period, complicating the process of drafting a constitution. There were

moments during the reform that most of the people active in the reform, including myself, were

convinced that the process would not succeed. There are, in fact, those who still argue that it did

not. My goal here is not to determine the ultimate success or failure of the 2006 Osage

Constitution; this can only be known with time. Instead, I will focus on the main obstacles that

the reform process encountered, so that future reformers, Osage or otherwise, might better

understand their potential challenges.

Constitutional Convention vs. Reform Commission

In 2004, Leonard Maker, the Head of Planning for the Osage Tribal Council (OTC), was

put in charge of developing a plan for government reform. The OTC had recently written

legislation to enable a reform process and was lobbying the federal Congress in order to get this

legislation passed. In an interview I conducted with Maker during the summer of 2004, he talked

at length about his plans for the reform process: "The best solution is obvious, it is a

constitutional convention, where you have delegates who come representing the various groups

of Osage on the reservation. Traditionalists, non-traditionalists, people who don't live on the

reservation, shareholders, non-shareholders, young people, old people, all have the opportunity









to participate" (Personal Communication July 20, 2004). However, by the time I talked with him

again in December, shortly after the passage of the reform legislation, the official plan did not

include a constitutional convention. Instead, it called for the creation of the Osage Government

Reform Commission (OGRC) whose ten members were to be appointed by and accountable to

the Osage Tribal Council.

When I asked Maker about this change, he explained that some of the tribal council were

afraid that a constitutional convention would not get the job done within the short timeframe.

Because the OTC's four-year elections were coming up the following June, many people felt that

the reform process had to happen before there was another election by the shareholders. The

primary fear was that if the shareholders wanted to prevent the government reform, they could

simply vote in people who would not fund the reform process and the necessary elections.

Whether or not this fear was legitimate, it was strong enough to mandate that there would be a

very short 16-month period for the reform process to be completed.

Maker claimed that in addition to worrying about the timing of the reform, some on the

tribal council expressed doubt that a random selection of Osage would be knowledgeable enough

to write a constitution. Furthermore, they also felt the need to maintain some control over the

reform process. As Maker told me in an interview: "Through the plan, they were delegating

substantial authority to these members of the commission. And then the commission itself had to

be people that the council had to be comfortable with" (Personal Communication, May 12,

2005). They eventually decided to adopt a process whereby they each nominated two Osage,

briefly discussed their capabilities, and then held a vote. From this process, the top ten were

appointed to the commission. At least one member of the tribal council, however, expressed

frustration with the process, saying that they had not taken enough time to make their selections.









This complaint, that there was insufficient time during various parts of the process, continued to

be a central area of contention throughout the reform proceedings.

However, this decision by the OTC did not entirely quell the push for a constitutional

convention. In many of their early meetings and informal discussions, the reform commissioners

debated the possibility of hosting a convention. At one of these meetings, Maker responded:

That's why I laid out some guidelines in the plan so whoever got on the commission would
be guided in a sense. Down the road, it's already there; the milestones are already there.
We're not going to argue about whether or not we are going to have a constitutional
convention. Those decisions were already made by the council when they decided to go
down this road [May 23, 2005].

Others outside the reform process also called for a constitutional convention. This issue came up

during an OGRC meeting with all the Osage Nation program directors. In addition to

community meetings, the OGRC occasionally held meetings with the employees of the Osage

Tribe, many of whom were Osage, since they would be the most affected by any change in the

governing structure. In November, the OGRC scheduled a referendum vote, which would let the

Osage voters decide on a few of the key issues within the constitution, such as membership.

During a meeting discussing the referendum questions, one of the program directors said that

these questions should have been created within a constitutional convention rather than by the

commission themselves. To this, one of the commissioners responded, "We are having this

referendum vote in lieu of a constitutional convention because of the deadline we were given to

get this process done. Our alternatives have been to give people surveys, public forums, and this

referendum. And then in February, there will be a vote on the ratification of the constitution that

will contain these elements, although maybe not exactly as written here" (November 07, 2005).










Even after the passage of the constitution, there were those who continued to call for a

constitutional convention, particularly among a group of mostly shareholding1 Osage, who used

the Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) as their primary forum. Members of this group had a

range of problems with the reform process, including low voter turnout2, critiques concerning the

distribution of absentee ballots and other election materials and, of central importance, a

fundamental disagreement with the way in which the mineral estate was incorporated into the

Osage constitution3. While some of these concerns were related to genuine problems arising

during the reform process, the reactions within the OSA were magnified by several factors.

Perhaps above all, it must be understood that the Osage shareholders had spent the last hundred

years with a complete monopoly over Osage politics. In 1994, they had lost this monopoly

through a court ruling, but regained it through an appeal. Thus, the OSA's reaction to the

government reform process cannot be separated from their political motivations of wishing to



1 Osage shareholders are all Osage who have a share in the Osage mineral estate. In 1906 when the reservation was
allotted, the mineral estate was kept in tact. The proceeds from the sale of oil and gas were divided evenly among
all 2,229 people listed on the 1906 Osage roll. Current law requires that this share in the mineral estate can not be
given away until one dies and then it can only be given to other Osage. It is possible for non-Osage to have a share
in the mineral estate (a headright) for their lifetime, but afterwards the headright has to return to a lineal descendent
of the 2,229 people listed on the 1906 Osage roll. Many people today only have partial shares in the mineral estate
because their parents' or grandparents' shares were usually divided among multiple siblings. Additionally 1/4 of all
headrights left the tribe before laws were in place forbidding non-Osage to pass the headright on to other non-Osage.
2 The November 2005 referendum vote had 1,670 voters and the March 2006 ratification of the constitution had
2,182. While the total number of people who were eligible for an Osage membership is estimated to be between 12
and 16 thousand, in February of 2006 there were only 5,755 people with Osage membership cards, many under the
voting age (Osage News 2006b). Part of the reason for the low number of membership cards was that it was new
process, most people only having Certificate Degree of Indian Blood cards from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Another reason was that many people of Osage decent had moved away from the reservation and lost all contact
with the tribe. In comparison, 55.3 percent of the voting-age population turned out for the 2004 American federal
election and 37 percent for the 2002 election (Federal Election Commission 2007).

3 In February of 2006, shortly before the passage of the 2006 Constitution, the Osage Shareholders Association sent
out a mailing to all Osage Shareholders. In the letter they listed seven reasons why people should "Vote No For A
Better Future" including "insufficient protection of Tribal membership," "insufficient protection of the Osage
Mineral Estate," "more power to the government at the expense of the people," "more power to the chief," "more
power to the tribal courts," "less power to the National Congress," and "lack of popular participation in the reform
process." Under each of these they included a short explanation. On the first of March the OGRC responded with
their own mailer with the same seven categories and their response. See appendix 1 and 2.









maintain control of the Osage government. However, these political motivations were also

complicated by colonial based fear. In addition to fighting to maintain their control over Osage

politics, this group also had to fight the federal government to maintain the OTC's status as a

federally recognized tribe.

In 1906, when the OTC was set up, the federal government thought that it was creating an

end to the "Indian problem." In 25 years, it imagined that the Osage people would be

incorporated into American culture and would no longer need to have a tribal governing body to

manage Osage affairs. Even while Osage shareholders fought this incorporation through various

extensions of their trust relationship, more and more Osage fell outside the shareholding system.

By the time the federal Congress was persuaded in 2004 to give the Osage the same rights as

other tribes to determine their own membership and form of government, they had created a

complex problem for the Osage in terms of how the system of headright shares would be

preserved while allowing for a government that met the current needs of all Osage people. This

impasse illustrates the continuing colonial impacts on the Osage people today. Fear of change,

in particular, threatened to stagnate all reform efforts, letting few conversations stray far from the

protection of the mineral estate. The colonial process had created circumstances that made many

Osage people fear any government reform as a path toward termination.

On the Osage Shareholders online forum, these fears led some Osage to call for a

constitutional convention, arguing that merely amending the 2006 Constitution would not be

enough to fix the perceived problems. Furthermore, some of these people worried that the bar

for creating amendments to the constitution was set too high. As the constitution states, "Every

petition shall include the full text of the proposed amendment, and be signed by qualified

electors of the Osage Nation equal in number to at least twenty-five (25%) percent of the









electorate." However, since the electorate consists of every person with a membership card in

the Osage Nation, which in 2007 had exceeded 10,000 card carrying members, only 2,182 of

whom had voted in the last election, many people found the possibility of an amendment by

petition unlikely. Thus, some members argued for a constitutional convention. As one observer

on the shareholder's website wrote:

[T]he United States was governed under the Articles of Confederation first. It wasn't
working so it was scrapped for something better. The question is then do we have an
Articles of Confederation on our hands. In my opinion, we have a poorly written
document that first serves the executive office, puts the people second with a weak
legislative branch and finally puts the headright holders at the very end. Relegating
management of their mineral estate to people appointed by an executive that is elected at
large [sic]. Why try and fix something so dysfunctional? Why not scrap it and sit down
and think through something new, something more empowering to the people and more
protective of the interests of the headright holders, with regard to the management of the
resources they rely on. [Osagehareholders.org 2007]

In addition to arguing for a constitutional convention, this quote illustrates some of the other

concerns that developed around the 2006 Osage Constitution, particularly within the OSA.

Because the constitution was written in a large group with a tight time deadline, its wording was

occasionally awkward. As one Osage wrote in a letter to Chief Jim Gray and the Osage tribal

council:

I write to you as an Osage citizen and a voting member of the Mineral Estate. I have
recently acquired a copy of the proposed Constitution for our new government. I am very
concerned about lack of skill and word craft exhibited by this document. A Constitution
should be a very carefully worded blueprint for how we want our government to be
organized and administered... This Document is so long and poorly worded that I have
been studying it for nearly a week and am still very unsure as to what it says, and even less
sure, what it means. I don't know how anyone could be expected to read it in a voting
booth and make an intelligent judgment as to its worth. I fear its only salvation would be to
start after the flowery preamble and examine every Article with an eye toward discovering
the basic concept trying to be expressed. Then having a competent person rewrite it in a
simple, legally correct way that will stand the test of time and the Court system. [February
8, 2006]

Since most of the people responsible for writing the 2006 constitution had no legal training the

document did not fit some understandings of what a constitution should look like. Another









central point discussed frequently within the OSA was the authority given to the executive

branch. As the above letter continues, "As a member of the Mineral Estate I am very concerned

with how the Mineral Council is intertwined with and subjugated by the new Tribal government

in the Proposed Constitution" (February 8, 2006). Because the mineral estate was placed within

the larger Osage Nation, the Chief was given the authority to veto any law passed by the mineral

estate that violated Osage Law. Furthermore, the Congress could pass laws concerning the

environment or other areas that would affect the mineral estate so long as it did not violate the

Constitution. The relevant section of the constitution reads, "The right to income from mineral

royalties shall be respected and protected by the Osage Nation through the Osage Minerals

Council formerly known as the Osage Tribal Council and composed of eight (8) members

elected by the mineral royalty interest holders" (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 16). If

shareholders felt that their royalties were not being respected, they could go to the Osage court;

however, the executive department appointed the judges, which lead some shareholders to

reamin suspect that their perspective would be heard. Thus, rather than trying to address their

issues with the Constitution, this group of Osage continued to call for a constitutional

convention, even after the ratification of the constitution.

While it is certainly true that the 2006 Osage constitution was not perfect, the fears

articulated by the OSA were more complicated than simple grievances with how the reform

process was conducted. Colonial-based fear played a large role in bringing various elements of

the constitution into question. Because the Osage shareholders had been fighting to maintain

their control against both the federal government and the growing group of non-shareholding

Osage for almost a hundred years, some shareholders saw the 2006 Osage Constitution as just

the latest attempt to destroy the mineral estate. Because some shareholders felt that both their









wealth and their power were threatened, any problem with the 2006 Constitution was seen as

fatal. These shareholders wanted, above all, to protect the mineral estate. Thus we can

understand the potency of their reaction against the 2006 Constitution; they wanted ensure that

nothing would change with the mineral estate. Any problem with the reform process was used

by the Shareholders Association as evidence that either the Osage were not competent enough to

control their own affairs or that someone non-Shareholders, the federal government, Chief

Gray was trying to break apart the Osage mineral estate. These fears manifested in powerful

ways throughout this reform process, as the rest of this chapter will explore.

Community Meetings

Instead of a constitutional convention, the commission was given the task of hosting a

series of community meetings across Oklahoma, Texas, and California to solicit information

from various Osage. These community meetings were intended to serve the dual purpose of

informing the public about the reform process and also gathering opinions about what Osage

wanted from government reform. The commissioners described these community meetings as

both the most challenging and rewarding part of the reform process: "It was rewarding really

getting a feel for what people wanted...When you think about it, the most challenging was the

parts that were the most rewarding. It was really challenging to sit through some of those town

meetings and just be hit up side of the head every once in a while with criticism and with

negative statements. I hadn't dealt with that much criticism before" (Personal Communication

July 11, 2006). These meetings provided a forum for Osage to discuss government reform, but

they were also the main venue to challenge what was seen as wrong with the reform process.

The government reform commission attended over forty community meetings, each of

which lasted approximately two hours. Occasionally their job was easy, such as when people

had prepared their comments and even researched solutions to the issues the reform was trying to









address. More frequently, those in attendance had not yet had the time or motivation to

investigate the what they wanted and what options were available Frustrated with the progress

of one community meeting, a man complained:

Ml: I get tired of hearing all these people talk about losing their headrights or blood
quantum. I want to see something happen. I'm 33 years old and we've been talking about
this as long as I can remember.

Commissioner 1: What do you want to happen?

Ml: I want this to hurry up.

C2: Talk to us. Tell us what you want. We don't know if you don't talk.

Ml: You're talking about this government. Not all of us are understanding the various
governments that you've got listed on this one sheet, the constitution versus what you've
got now?

C3: Resolution.

Ml: Right. So how can we tell you what we want when we don't know what it is? I don't
have anything to say. I know a constitutional government is made up of three branches,
but that's pretty much all I know about it. So how can I talk to you about something if I
don't even know about? [Skiatook Community Meeting, May 12, 2005]

The gap between what is needed from the community and what the community actually has to

offer is perhaps the biggest problem that must be addressed in any community reform effort.

While the general Osage population is certainly well educated and informed about many issues,

few community members came into the reform process with much information about the

intricacies of governmental theory. General populations rarely have such background knowledge

and thus a central goal of any reform effort must be education.

The OGRC realized early on that this would be one of their largest challenges and set to

work circulating an information packet. However, they were not able to mail out this packet

about the reform process until September 20054. In the meantime, the community did not step


4 There were many reasons for the delay in the distribution of the packet. As will be discussed later, the primary
problem involved the Osage Government Reform Commission taking ownership for the reform process. They









up to educate itself about governing structures. The OGRC's frustration was expressed at the

same Skiatook community meeting when a Commissioner addressed another community

member who had said that they did not have enough information:

Commissioner: And I would like to ask, Al, do you vote in the state, county, or
presidential elections?

Audience: Are you talking to me? Yes.

C: Yes? Ok, how did you learn about this?

A: Tonight?

C: No, about voting and your right to vote.

A: Well, (laughs)

C: How do you decide how you are going to vote?

A: Well, information I collected.

C: Right. Come on, you need to get some information for yourself.

A: Right, right.

C: It is sort of like the same standards. [Skiatook Community Meeting, May 12, 2005]

While the OGRC did eventually succeed in circulating much information about governing

structures and possibilities for government reform, many people felt that not enough options

were made available within this literature. One example of this can be seen in the questionnaire

circulated in October 2005. Question number two asked: "Are you in favor of a representative

democracy with a 3 (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) branch form of government?" This was

followed by question three: "If you answered 'NO' to question 2, what form of government do

you prefer?" Within this wording, the three-branch form of government was the only real option

waited to receive materials and guidance from elsewhere rather than overseeing the writing of the material
themselves. They also ran into problems because originally they envisioned that the packet would be mailed out as a
brochure, but then learned that the Osage Tribal Council wanted the material to go out as part of their
monthly/quarterly newspaper. Making the information part of the newspaper also greatly slowed down the process
because it required layout and oversight from the OTC's staff.









provided. Suggesting multiple options would have increased the involvement of the public, but

it would have also risked that possibility that the public would become divided about the

structure of the government, greatly slowing down the reform process. With this question, they

received an 82.8 percent majority in favor of a three-branch system with only 7 percent offering

another possible solution.

Another challenge of hosting community meetings is fortitude. The opinions expressed

during community meetings are often presented within long speeches. While the government

reform commission tried to address this problem by creating a time limit, it was not always

easily enforced or desired. An Osage elder said the following within a 15-minute speech during

the last round of community meetings, right before the ratification of the constitution:

This started with membership and voting, now today it exploded. It reminds me of the old
Osage. The same thing they did back then, you're doing it today. I have calls from
California and Texas. They're confused about this. They asked me questions how to vote.
I said if you don't know, vote no. I understand you met in California and Dallas and
Houston. A lot of them are Osage. I was on the council 20 years. What this book [the
draft of the constitution] talks about is the same thing as back then... That was before your
time 'cause you don't remember the old days in the 50's and the 40's. They brought it up
to the council and they voted it down. These Osage in different places are confused about
this, what you propose. You got down here "propose." That can be changed in 30 days.
We don't have 30 days. We had the voting right back then. I waited 45 years to get on the
council. At that time I had my votes. Today you're changing it. Everybody wants to be
Osage, but don't participate in our traditions and culture and language. They think you can
learn the language in two days. You can't do that. I can understand Osage better than I
can speak it... This proposal you got today has them all confused. I told them if you get
confused vote no. I can't see that's going help us any better. It will make conflict among
the people. All these young ones see a new thing coming along, but they don't know a
thing about it. You say the mineral estate is protected; it's true; it's going be here. There's
a lot of history about how it got here. You people don't know. None of them in here don't
know; some of them do. My cousin over here, he knows a little bit. So does his dad and
grandfather. This is getting out of hand. You confuse people. It's confusing to all those
Osage out in California. There's a lot of history about Osage. 3,700 Osage are full-blood.
By the time of 1906 there was thousands. When that Allotment Act came in the Osage
didn't want it but they got out- voted by mixed-blood. The 2,229 are all gone. I met some
of them over time. They wanted to leave it as is. They asked me how I felt and I said I
want to leave it as is with the tribal council and give it back to them. I understand that the
elected chief wants sole authority; we voted him down. That's ok. We went on. This here









you get people confused when you change things. When the time comes hopefully they'll
vote down the constitution. In Bill Martin's day they voted it down. You people weren't
even around back then. Everybody wants to be an Osage. You get 1/16th, half, a quarter.
Osage have been blessed. When they came in from Kansas there was more. You talk
about the trail of tears. Cherokees had come up from Georgia and Tennessee. At that time
a lot of people were the same way. A lot of good stories back then. I think all the elders
ought to get together at one time and talk about what they know about it; about their
families, what they told them back then. I think it would be good with the young ones
coming on; they want to know. When that time comes you got this proposed program and
you get them confused. I understand all of that legislature, executive and judiciary. I've
been to school. I have experience. I was 35 years in the world. I came back and was on
the tribal council for 20 years. We went all over to campaign. My nephew talking over
here, he's got a good subject. My niece over here, related in some way. All of us in here
from the Hominy area, we're related. Billy-Sam he's related too... [Hominy Community
Meeting, February 28, 2006]

Speeches of this length were common in community meetings, especially when a time frame was

not enforced. However, the simple solution of enforcing a time limit can create further

problems, particularly when it is customary within a community to speak in interrelated stories

rather than in short sound bytes.

In addition to illustrating the manner in which some Osage communicated their

information, this quote is also telling because of its conclusions. This elder argues that the old

form of government was effective and that this new government has people confused. While, as

I will later show, some of the referendum questions and the constitution itself could have been

"clearer," this issue of confusion was a tool being used by this speaker. As this speaker says,

"you get people confused when you change things." While this quote represented the view of

only a small minority of Osage, the central message is one that will always be present within any

reform effort. This elder was, above all, arguing that the status quo needed to be maintained, the

old structure should not be changed. As a former tribal councilperson, this elder's authority and

prestige were tied up with the tribal council structure of government. Because he did not want to

see any change, he used the inevitable confusion resulting from change as a reason that no









changes should be made. Change is no doubt always confusing, but it is also a fundamental part

of community-based reform.

Non-Shareholders

Another central issue that developed early in the reform process pertained to the makeup of

the Osage government reform commission. The original ordinance provided that "Four of the

appointees shall not be owners of Osage headrights or hold any interest in Osage headrights"

(emphasis added, Maker 2005: 2). However, the ordinance was amended and the final ten

commissioners were all Osage headright holders. This change in law was a classic example of

OTC governance. Laws were frequently made one week only to be completely changed the next

week. This made doing business on the reservation or planning for the future very difficult and

was a leading reason cited for changing the governance structure.

This move to include only Osage shareholders was likely an attempt by the OTC to

appease its constituents. Since the Osage shareholders had elected the OTC, some of the council

people felt that ultimately their responsibility was to the shareholder and not the Osage

population as a whole. Putting all shareholders in charge of the reform process was likely their

attempt to satisfy their electorate, showing that it was still shareholders who had ultimate control

over the process. As is clear from the OSA, this effort was not enough to convince all the

shareholders that the process had been in their best interest. At least one Osage shareholder went

as far as to argue that the reform elections were not valid because the Osage shareholders had

never voted for the reform process themselves. On the Osage Shareholders website he wrote:

I bet a lot of you remember the time when in order to vote in US, State and Local elections
you had to be 21 years old. Then the 26th amendment was passed making it legal for those
18-20 yrs old to vote. Do you remember who voted for that amendment? It was voted for
only by those 21 and older. Why? Because they were the only legal voters until they voted
to allow the 18-20 yr. olds to vote. Can you see what has taken place in our elections. The
only legal voters of the Osage Tribe are the shareholders. Now I ask you do you remember
a vote that only shareholders, being the legal voters of the Osage Tribe, voted in to give









voting rights to those that are not shareholders? It never happened. So how did this take
place? Some will say H.R. 2912, but that simply is not true. The vote for the constitution
was not a valid vote either. All votes and elections since the election for the 31st Tribal
Council have been bogus. Am I against non-shareholders voting? Am I against a
constitution? No, not if there is a properly held election where the legal voters have the
opportunity to freely make a choice. So far this has not happened. Does anyone think it is
about time it does? [September 28, 2007]

In this and other postings, it is clear that for some shareholders the efforts by the OTC to appease

its constituency were not successful. The Congressional law (H.R. 2912) that began the reform

process spoke clearly as it related to membership:

Congress hereby clarifies that the term 'legal membership' in section 1 of the Act entitled,
'An Act For the division of lands and funds of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma Territory,
and for other purposes,' approved June 28, 1906 (34 Stat. 539), means the persons eligible
for allotments of Osage Reservation lands and a pro rata share of the Osage mineral estate
as provided in that Act, not membership in the Osage Tribe for all purposes. Congress
hereby reaffirms the inherent sovereign right of the Osage Tribe to determine its own
membership, provided that the rights of any person to Osage mineral estate shares are not
diminished thereby.

While this makes it clear that the legal membership of the Osage Tribe does not have to be the

Osage shareholders, it leaves membership up to the "Osage Tribe" to decide. However, it was

not clear who the members of the Osage Tribe were that would have the authority to decide

membership standards. While the OGRC debated this for many meetings, they ultimately asked

the OTC to make the decision, and the OTC voted to allow all the descendents of the 1906 Act to

vote in the initial elections, casting the widest net possible.

In most other ways, the OGRC represented a reasonable sampling of Oklahoma Osage. As

Maker told the commissioners during an early business meeting, "You had different diverse

backgrounds and I thought that was important. You all represent different groups.

Unintentionally, that's how this commission came about, we have younger persons; older people;

elders; men; women; people who worked in government; outside of government. It was a good

mix as it turned out" (May 23, 2005). These differences, however, led to some initial problems









with the group dynamics of the reform commission. Debates over large issues such as who

could vote in the initial elections were further complicated by a group often people who had

vastly different ideas of who it was that should constitute an Osage. Coming from such different

backgrounds, they also had different ways of making their arguments, and multiple ideas about

how their job should be completed. Some felt that they needed to complete all the tasks

personally; others felt that they should leave most of the work to the staff; and still others argued

passionately that other Osage should be brought in where needed. It was only through getting to

know one another and by building up their trust of each other that they began to find

compromises.

While the commission learned to work together, its lack of non-shareholders proved an

area of much contention, particularly as younger people became active in the reform process. In

an attempt to involve non-shareholders, the OGRC held a special community meeting. However,

more shareholders than non-shareholders turned out at the meeting, curious what the non-

shareholders would have to say. Because non-shareholders were frequently young adults who

had not yet inherited a headright, they were generally living away from Osage communities

because of school or employment. Furthermore, when they were around they were far more

likely to have young children or other commitments that did not allow them to attend community

meetings. Perhaps most importantly, these non-shareholders had been told for years that they

needed to "wait their turn" to participate in tribal politics. Because the Osage system had

privileged the oldest generation for so long, many young people had been alienated from tribal

politics altogether. One non-shareholder pointed out at a community meeting, "You're not going

get young people involved in this because when older people come up here they sit and talk









about their headrights. All the younger people think well, I don't have any business up there

'cause I don't have a headright" (Skiatook Community Meeting, May 12, 2005).

As the OGRC succeeded through a "get out the vote" campaign and other efforts to

involve more of the youth, some Osage cautioned that this new reform process was contrary to

the long-standing Osage tradition that subordinated Osage children to their elders. As one tribal

elder told me in an interview:

To me they are offering it up to these young Osage, you know. Our people have always
alienated our children. My children and everybody else's children being in the
culture... They seem to have the control over their children because that's the way they
were brought up. That is the way I was brought up. I'd hate to go against it, but here
we're telling our children, get out there and vote and take over, and shape this government
the way you want it. We're handing it to them on a silver platter. [Personal
Communication November 19, 2005]

Within this quote, this elder goes as far as to say that alienating Osage children is part of Osage

culture. In both the older governing structure with its Little Old Men controlling political affairs

and within the Tribal Council structure, where usually one's parents had to pass away before one

could become active in tribal politics, younger generations were alienated from tribal

governance. For this tribal elder, the ability of older generations to maintain control over their

children was a fundamental part of being Osage. For him, the inclusion of younger generations,

like many changes implemented by the reform process, went against long standing practices and

was thus met with some resistance. In these reactions, it becomes impossible to untangle the

various fears that were at work during the 2004-2006 reform process including: losing the

mineral estate altogether, general confusion, loss of control (over the mineral estate and/or the

tribal practices), and change in practices more generally.

Lack of Ownership

Another central obstacle facing the reform commissioners was their lack of initial

investment in the process itself. Because Maker and the OTC had handed them a carefully










crafted plan, the commissioners had little control over the process, particularly at first. Some of

the reform commissioners went as far as to joke that Maker had already written a constitution,

which he would hand over to them when it was time. This joke reveals the sense in which some

of the reform commissioners felt like the reform process was outside of their control. The lack

of control over the initial reform process led to some resentment among the commissioners and

also confusion about what exactly their role was. Early on, Maker recognized that this had

become a problem for the commission, explaining to me in an interview:

One of the first issues was that the commission itself was unaware the extent to which they
had been authorized to carry out the project... I think there was uncertainty for about a
month on their role, and to a certain extent they are still trying to decide whether or not
they are a policy making body or whether they are a hands-on management entity. The
fact that they did not have a staff for a while also added to the confusion. [May 12, 2005
Personal Communication]

This lack of ownership by the commission became particularly evident when the OGRC began

putting together what was originally termed the "June Packet," which instead was issued through

an edition of the Osage News distributed in September. Even from a brief survey of the

headlines in this Osage News, it is clear that Government Reform was just one of the many

topics covered5. However, the overwhelming amount of material in the issue was only one of

the many problems associated with the "June Packet."



5 This September issue of the Osage News contained these headlines: Osage Nation Enters New Era of Self-
Determination, Why We Need Government Reform, Got Input? Osage Citizens Participate in Government Reform,
Thoughts on Being Osage, Thoughts from a Government Reform Commissioner, Nation-Building 101, Ordinance
Establishing the Osage Government Reform Commission, Learning from the Past as We Envision Our Future,
Planning Office Report: Planning the Government Reform Project, Concerned about the Future of the Mineral
Estate?, 12th Annual Standing Bear Pow Wow, Agreement by Chiefs Proposed, ITMA And NCAI Lead National
Workshop On Trust Reform & Cobell Settlement Legislative Initiative, Osage Chief Shares Lead on National Indian
Trust Reform Effort, Testimony of the Intertribal Monitoring Association on Indian Trust Funds, New Exploration
and Development Agreement Between Tribe and Amvest, Osage Million Dollar Elm Adopts North Tulsa School,
Osage Tribal Membership Department Needs Correct Address Information, Consider Advertising in the Osage
News!, Osage Nation Historical Dates & Political Events, Constitution of the Osage Nation (1881), Notice of
Referendum, Opening of Tulsa Million Dollar Elm Brings Praise, Bartlesville Casino Site Selected; Survey Work
Begins, Osage Nation District Court provides Justice to All, Osage Housing Authority Breaks Ground on New
Multi-family Apartment, Women in Agriculture Conference, Transportation Improvement Program, Osage Nation,
USA, BIA, IHS Who's Who, New Osage Business Formed, Osage Tax Commission Director Continues to Serve,









When several members of the reform commission began drafting the June Packet it quickly

became clear that the group did not yet have the trust necessary to delegate work. In a business

meeting immediately prior to the May 12th 2005 community meeting in Skiatook, Oklahoma

several of the group members were accused of trying to do all the work themselves and of

excluding others from participation. This small group had wanted to get the process of writing

the packet materials underway, but others felt they had not gone through the proper channels to

take the work on themselves. This divide was further complicated by group differences in

education, residence on and off the reservation, racial phenotypes, and their connection to Osage

cultural practices. This lack of trust stopped the writing of the June packet altogether and led

some members of the reform commission to turn to Leonard Maker as the primary author.

On June 20th 2005, the reform commission held a business meeting in which it was

discussed:

Commissioner 1: Our next item on our business meeting is the June packet. Anybody
have any input?

C2: It was my understanding we would all receive copies of what was going in by email. I
didn't receive anything. So I think we have to table that issue until Leonard gets back. He
was going to prepare them and deliver them to us and we don't have them.

Cl: So the June packet, we will table that until our next meeting or when Leonard gets
back. We'll move forward then to the survey.

C3: I did bring some possible questions. I think that whatever's going on we have to start
working on it whether it's in groups or whatever. It's going to need to go on. I think it's

Osage Seal is Patented, Pawhuska's Historic Swinging Bridge, Update on Osage Nation v. Oklahoma Tax
Commission, ENR Moves to Downtown Pawhuska, Osage Nation's Proposal for Pesticide Survey, OTC Announces
Chief Gray's Candidacy for President of NCAI, NCAI announces 62md Annual Convention, Osage Language
Program Still Growing, Osage Tribal Tourism Boasts Many New Events, The Osage Tribal Council's effort to
establish a Cultural Center for the Osage Nation is underway, Head Start Begins New School Year, Parenting
Classes Offered, Child Support Enforcement Month, Osage Nation Anticipates Tribal Child Support Program,
Education News, Osage Nation June Employee of the Month Carol Kliesen, Unique Osage Novel Hits Bookstores,
Osage Softball Team Scores Big for the 2005 Summer League, Revitalizing of Native American Economies a
Priority for U.S. Department of Commerce, WIC 10th Anniversary Celebration, Drum Ceremony Unites Osage, New
Scholarship, Congratulations! Recent Graduates, 2005 Osage Tribal Princess Slected Julia Katherine Armeda
Maker, American Indian Student Association, and Coat of Honor.









something we can be working on while other things are going on. [OGRC business
meeting]

This seemingly mundane negotiation was actually a turning point for the reform commission, as

they began to take ownership of the reform process and build trust within the group.

When Hepsi Bamett, the program coordinator for the OGRC, arrived in the summer of

2005, the commissioners still had not taken full responsibility for the process. In an interview I

conducted with her a year later, Bamett described this period:

I think the most challenging aspect of working with the commission was initially there was
no ownership over the process. This was something they had been asked to do and they
were presented with a plan [the ordinance] and...when I got there they were spending the
majority of their time trying to interpret what the plan meant them to do. Not what it
meant as a whole, but what it was that they were supposed to do next... I told them,
"Because it has us on a time frame that is really accelerated and we are already behind,
let's go ahead and make some adjustments. Let's look at where we want to be in the end
and let's back track to where we are now and see what has to get done and then change the
calendar accordingly." That step right there created a sense of ownership that ended up
being sort of the turning point, I felt like, for the commission. [Personal Communication
July 30, 2006]

Before this, the commission spent their meetings going in circles about various issues ranging

from what sort of food should be served at an upcoming community meeting to whether or not

the process was even possible within such a short time frame. As they began to take control of

the process themselves, they stopped asking questions of each step and instead focused on how

to best accomplish their goals of creating a constitution based on community feedback.

Taking ownership over the reform process also required breaking into small groups, which

would be entrusted with various tasks, including drafting questions for the survey or articles for

publication. Early in the process, one of the commissioners suggested breaking into groups, but

was severely reprimanded when the small group tried to report back to the larger group. The

initial lack of trust among the reform commissioners caused some to suspect those meeting in a

small group of trying to seize control of the entire process. A central component of any









commission-based reform process is not only the creation of smaller project groups, but also the

development of trust to make the group work acceptable. This primarily takes time, but it was

also something that the project coordinator had to actively work to create. In spending more

time around each other, particularly the concentrated time of travel, the commissioners

eventually grew to trust one another.

The final issue with taking ownership of the reform process was accepting the terms of

completion, namely the short time frame. When this topic again arose in late September, one of

the commissioners talked about how he had a problem with the process and the short time frame

in particular. He felt that it was unreasonable to have a democratic process within such a short

timeframe. Another commissioner turned to him and said, "You can't beat a dead horse though"

and then continued by saying that they had all agreed to try to make this process happen. Even

with all of its constraints, she said she was going to see it through to the end. The conversation

then turned to a debate over the possible benefits that more time would afford to the reform

process. Several of the commissioners agreed that they probably would not get much more

diverse feedback with more time and that the quickness of the process had actually created a

"sense of energy around the reform" (OGRC Constitution Writing Subgroup Meeting, September

21, 2005). While Barnett certainly played the largest role in building group dynamics among the

commissioners, this process also just took time. The commissioners had to have the time and

space to get to know each other and the process of reform itself.

Writing As a Group

Even after the commissioners had taken ownership over the reform process, the actual

writing of the Constitution was still an extreme challenge. Barnett compiled a very rough

constitution by bringing together all of the documents submitted by the general Osage public,

and drafts written by the OGRC drafting committee. Many of the sections had multiple









possibilities and little was in a final written state. Working with this very rough document, the

commission dedicated over 30 working hours in full commission meetings drafting the

constitution. In between each session, Barnett and the lawyers for the OGRC spent countless

hours compiling the OGRC's decisions and smoothing over some of the rough edges. The entire

drafting process took place within the span of three weeks, with several of the sessions including

5-6 hours of debates, ranging from simple word choice to more complicated discussions of how

the judicial branch should be organized.

From the very beginning of the reform process, several Osage had expressed an interest in

writing the preamble and they had each submitted their drafts to one of the commissioners who

had agreed to compile their efforts into a single draft version. At the beginning of the meeting

slated to draft the preamble, the aforementioned commissioner stated:

On the first couple of paragraphs, I wrote that more in the form of poetry than following
grammar and I sent it to some poets and to writers and none of them really had a problem
with it...they all thought it was very well put together and they understand that if you're
going to put the restraints of grammar you're going to lose a lot of feeling and a lot of
meaning. [Preamble Writing Meeting, January 30, 2006]

Later in the meeting, however, it became clear that, much like the rest of the constitution writing

process, each word was going to be scrutinized by everyone present, including myself:

P4: Somehow you've got to get from ancient tribal order to the treaties to the 1881
constitution.

P7: I think if you take out the word "value" and remove from "here to there."

P4: You don't want to say "evolution."

P7: Just take what you just did.

P4: So it would be "acknowledging our ancient tribal order"?

P7: Yeah, that would work.

P6: Do you feel like we need to put the treaties in? My way of thinking, the treaties
weren't necessarily great things that we did. We had to do them.









P9: They were as great as the 1906 Act; we had to do it as well.


P8: I think we can treat most treaties as being documented withdrawals. You're basically
documenting your freedom to withdraw defensively to another point. It's a continuing
battle.

P4: I understand if we're not going to put in the 1906 Act. We're just going to
acknowledge the constitution and our own form of government?

P9: Now we can say something about the formal parts of our treaties from previous
century and how they provided us with the opportunity to write the new constitution; or
something like that.

P7: Would it read well if we took the "ing" off "acknowledging"?

P8: I think that goes with "giving thanks for their strength." The trouble with that is that
"acknowledging" might be the only way we can start this next part. We're going to
acknowledge that 1881 constitution and acknowledge some other things. It depends on
how we can come up with this next...

Jean: Can we end it with "giving thanks for their wisdom and strength" and then add
"acknowledging our ancient tribal orders" in the next sentence.6

P6: That's the way it was and [P9] changed it.

P7: You can start a new sentence with "We give thanks."

P4: I want to say that through this constitution, I would just start with how it was done
where it says "paying homage."... [Preamble Writing Meeting, January 30, 2006]

This excerpt is typical of the problems that develop when trying to write any document as a

group. While it was helpful to discuss larger concepts in groups, the actual writing becomes very

challenging and, above all, time consuming to deal with as a group. In the above dialogue, the

writers are not only dealing with larger issues, such as how to acknowledge the 1906 act, but also

with small writing details. Each of these 30 hours of negotiated drafting involved equally




6 While my primary role in the 2004-2006 reform was to document the process, from time to time I was also a
participant. In addition to sending in a questionnaire about the reform process and voting in all of the Osage
elections, I, on rare occasions, also gave advice. Sometimes this advice was solicited and taken seriously and other
times it was neither. My participation in the process was certainly far less than most of the other Osage actively
involved in the reform process, but it is worth mentioning.









grueling discussions, with countless hours spent by Barnett and the lawyers compiling and

recompiling this information between each meeting.

Communication

The problems drafting the constitution and late delivery of the "June Packet" were not the

only problems the OGRC encountered in trying to communicate with the public. Because of

confidentiality issues, the OGRC could not gain access to the Bureau of Indian Affairs list of

addresses for Osage Certificate Degree of Blood (CDIB) cardholders. Instead, they had to

compile their own list of Osage from various sources. The Chiefs staff had compiled one list of

Osage names and contact information for circulation in the monthly/quarterly newsletter Osage

News. The Osage Membership department had compiled another list of people who had recently

applied for the new Osage membership cards. However, both of these lists left out a significant

number of Osage who had not been in direct contact with the tribe. Through their webpage and

community meetings, the reform commission attempted to solicit this information, but despite

their efforts, many Osage were still not reached because they had never provided the tribe with

their contact information. Communications mailed to those for whom addresses could be found

included several newsletters dealing with the reform, postcard reminders of the referendum and

ratification votes, and a questionnaire soliciting Osage opinions about the reform.

The most critical problem faced by the reform commission concerned the November

referendum elections. Since the reform process was on such a tight deadline, some of the

absentee ballots, including one of the commissioner's, did not reach them until after the vote.

This was partially related to the quick turn-around time, but also to unusually slow mail. It took

over a month for some absentee ballots to reach their destination. While all of these people could

have voted if they had shown up in person, many people could not travel to Pawhuska for the

vote. Additionally, the election company who sent out the absentee ballots forgot to meter the









return envelopes, causing even more consternation and confusion when the election company

started mailing out stamps.

Such problems compromised some community support for the reform, rousing suspicions

that the reform proceedings were being handled unprofessionally or that certain Osage people

were purposely being alienated from the voting process because they did not live on the

reservation. The OGRC overnighted absentee ballots to anyone who reported theirs missing, but

some people felt that this was not enough to mediate the situation. One very active contributor to

the Osage Shareholders Website wrote the following in response to the reform process:

There was no communication to many of us. There were serious problems with the
absentee ballots in the Nov. election. My name was lost, so I could not vote. When I
called the OGRC about this, no one returned my calls or emails. I finally got HB [Hepsi
Barnett], one time when she accidentally answered her phone. She was totally
unprofessional, rude, abrupt, totally unconcerned .... In a well run operation she would
have taken my name, looked into the problem, found out the number of people affected,
issued a statement of what happened, how it was corrected, and an apology. None of this
happened. "Been pretty messy" true, and not something to laugh at...Delegation of
responsibility, open communication, better organizational skills, and a realistic timeline
would have prevented this. [Osagehareholders.org June 25, 2006]

To the extent that Barnett came off as abrupt, it may have been due to overwork. Because the

reform commissioners were unpaid and had other responsibilities, most of the work of

implementation fell to the OGRC staff. Frequently, Barnett only had the assistance of one to two

other staff members. This posting, while it lashes out at the program coordinator perhaps

unfairly, does list the necessary ideals of any reform process: "Delegation of responsibility, open

communication, better organizational skills, and a realistic timeline." Many of the

commissioners, and Barnett in particular, were continually berated, even while they worked

exhaustedly to make the reform process run as smoothly as possible. In addition to the

legitimate problems with the timeframe, lack of staff, and control issues, these attacks frequently

turned personal in nature, and were more cruel than helpful.









Rumors

These personal attacks are closely related to another central problem of communication

that must be addressed in any political setting: the circulation of rumors. While rumors

frequently contain misinformation, not all rumors are necessarily false. As Luise White (2000)

argues, rumors are "not events misinterpreted and deformed, but rather events analyzed and

commented upon" (58). I would argue that the rumors during the Osage reform process were at

times misinterpretations, but certainly not always. Rumors can be created out of confusion, but

their goal is almost always political. If you can further confuse people, it becomes easier to

guide them in your direction. Even if rumors are unsuccessful in convincing people, they make

people stop and think; they force people to question.

When Chief Gray, for example, was attempting to hire a group to monitor oil well

production on the Osage reservation, a rumor quickly spread that Iran was going to take over

Osage oil. At an OGRC business meeting, one community member expressed her fear:

He's [one of the people who owned the monitoring company] on the board for Chevron.
He's also Iranian. He's on the Iranian USA council. And they made statements, things like
they wish the United States government would be more lenient to Iran and that we weren't
doing the right thing. That's like implicating our oil wells. They would have total control.
They want to put their computers over every one of our wells and they would have total
control and we wouldn't have any control. That sounds like a lot of pressure from a foreign
country that could be very dangerous. We're ready to bomb them and they're trying to get
into our oil wells and get control over them. [September 26, 2005]

While this rumor was based on a series of stretched connections, it was still a powerful enough

rumor to end Gray's attempts hire a monitoring company. This and other similar rumors during

this period were successful not because they were accurate, or because they were based on well

thought out logic, but because they played off peoples' fears and forced them to question every

aspect of any process.









Another popular rumor during the reform process surrounded the purging of Osage rolls.

There was a group of people listed on the 1906 roll who the Osage leaders at the time said were

not of Osage blood, some of whom they argued had been put on the roll fraudulently. During the

2004-2006 reform, these issues were brought up several times, and some people believed that

this reform period was the time in which the Osage needed to act on these issues. As Leonard

Maker argued in one OGRC business meeting, "I used to think this issue of blood was dead, but

it has been brought back. It is going to take strength to fix, but we are talking about the identity

of the Osage Nation. This is the first time in 100 years that we can answer the questions of who

is Osage. Should we just stick our head back in the sand?" (August 18, 2005).

This issue was further complicated by the 2005 November referendum vote, which had

two contradictory questions. Because of the complexity of the issues surrounding Osage blood

and citizenship, the OGRC spent many meetings struggling over how to word the referendum

questions. Since they had heard so many people request that the 1906 roll be used as the base

membership roll, they included this as question 1. However, many people had also talked about

wanting to get rid of the supposed fraudulent enrollees. While 86 percent of the voters had said

that they wanted the 1906 allotment roll set as the base roll, 80 percent selected "Membership of

people on the base roll to be subject to challenge by the new government if it is proven that

fraudulent measures were used to establish membership into the tribe." Question 2 caused much

confusion on its own because it was not clear to many people who this would really affect.

Some people even said that they thought this would only apply to new enrollees, even though the

question talks specifically about the base roll.

Using the feedback provided in the questionnaire as well as the referendum results, the

commission decided to write a constitution that set the base membership roll as "those persons









whose names appear on the final roll of the Osage tribe of Indians pursuant to the Act of June 28,

1906" (2006:2). Section 2 of the article on membership stated the qualification for membership

as, "all lineal descendants of those Osage listed on the 1906 roll are eligible for membership in

the Osage Nation." Building on the confusion from the referendum questions a rumor began to

circulate that this wording would allow for the Osage congress to purge the membership rolls

because of the words "are eligible." This rumor began with a posting on the Osage Shareholders

webpage, which argued against the proposed Osage constitution because it "is so loosely

constructed and poorly worded that we don't know exactly how it could be interpreted in the

future" (Osagehareholders.org March 8, 2006). The author of the posting supported her assertion

by giving the following example:

A typical provision might read as follows, "all lineal descendants of the base (1906)
membership roll shall constitute the citizenry." In the case of the proposed Osage Nation
Constitution, such descendants are "eligible" for membership, just like I am "eligible" to
attend Harvard Medical School or "eligible" to marry George Clooney. The National
Congress is vested with the authority to establish eligibility criteria, and we have no idea
what that criteria is or could be in the future ... it could involve blood quanta or residency.
Who really knows? [Osagehareholders.org March 8, 2006]

The author is, in fact, citing a conversation that had taken place at the Osage constitutional

writing retreat two months earlier. At this retreat, the reform commissioners, staff, and various

Osage lawyers and community members gathered to write the final draft of the Osage

Constitution. During the discussion of citizenship criteria the following debate ensued:

Participants: I was thinking that "the right to"... let's think about that. "Shall have the
right to," "Shall be eligible to be members of the Osage Nation?" So then it's not just in
the door. It's also you're in the door, but maybe it turns out you never should have been in
the door.

P2: Shall have the right to apply for membership of the Osage Nation.

PI: I think "apply for" means that's what you get; that's up front; that's getting in the
door. What happens if somebody's already in the door. We've got a membership roll now.

P3: "Is eligible?"









PI: Yeah. Is eligible.

P3: Have a right.

P4: Shall be eligible to enroll.

P2: "Are eligible." Take out "shall have."...

PI: It says the base membership is the 1906 roll. And then the next one is all lineal blood
descendants are eligible for citizenship.

P4: Of those

P2: Of those Osage

Pl: Absolutely. So if you're an adoptee and you're an original allottee, you're a member.
If you're a descendant of an adoptee who's not of Osage blood, you're not eligible, the
way it's written. Because it's limited to all lineal blood descendants. No, it's not. So what
you're saying there then is... [emphasis added, January 6, 2006]

Within this debate, P1 is arguing for a way in which the future Osage Congress could deny

membership to people without Osage blood, even if they were lineal descendants of someone on

the 1906 roll. Because 100-400 of the 2,229 people listed on the 1906 roll were considered

fraudulent by the OTC at the time of allotment, there were some Osage who felt that now was

the time to right this wrong. P2, P3, and P4 did not agree. They felt like the only way the

constitution was going to have popular support was if all lineal descendants of the 1906 roll were

guaranteed citizenship.

At a writing session on January 23, the reform commission was again trying to determine

how the membership clause should be written. Although these later meetings were open to the

public, the OGRC, their staff, and myself (with my video camera) were generally the only ones

in attendance due in part to a lack of interest and in part to a lack of widespread notification of

the meetings. Again, the commission was concerned to represent both desires on the referendum

questionnaire: the desire to use the 1906 roll to determine membership and the desire to address

concerns about fraudulent members. One of the commissioners argued that the second question









about fraudulence was not a good question because many people did not realize that it pertained

to the 1906 roll. Many people thought it was about those who had been fraudulently enrolled

after 1906. This discussion was intertwined with a debate about the need to set the base roll.

Another commissioner argued that the easiest way to allow for the Congress to deal with

fraudulent members was by not setting a base roll. If no base roll was set, then the Congress

would be able to determine membership however it pleased. Several members of the reform

commission then argued that it was necessary to set a base roll because they did not think that

this issue should keep coming up every time there was a change in the administration. Still

another person argued that there needed to be some means for challenging enrollment. The

following debate ensued:

P4: But that won't satisfy because if they have any uncertainty they'll vote no. If we go to
them and say we're not doing it, but the new government might do it, they're going to vote
no. So should we say "to challenge an enrollment is limited to new enrollments?" How are
we going explain that to the people?

P5: This is my understanding, one of the reasons to use "eligible for" and not establish it
as a base roll was that it would be very difficult once you establish it as a base roll because
we've already said that's your base roll. Everything is derived from there and it would be
almost impossible to challenge. And that's what he [P1 above] was urging us to do. If what
you want to do is challenge that, you can only put that they are eligible. They too are
eligible; those people on that 1906 roll are eligible for membership. The base roll
establishes them, as they are the base membership of the tribe. Everything flows from
there.

P2: We talked about that a long time ago, how many people were actually challenged?

P5: About 244, there were a lot of descendants that were on there that we challenged back
then.

P6: And a lot of those were Osage.

P4: Some of them were. But I don't know. We would have to do a lot of research to
determine how many were fraudulent...

P2: I just don't want to lie to somebody and tell them, I just want to know in my own mind
how we feel about "to challenge suspect enrollment." I can understand that on new
enrollments, but that would just be it. As long as we're honest with them say yeah, they









can go back and challenge the 1906 Act with this; but chances of ever being successful
then are slim.

P4: If we established that [1906 roll] as the base roll, that seems to be something we've
done on our own.

P5: In other words that may be something we just have to live with; I can live with it.
[OGRC drafting meeting, January 23, 2006]

Within this discussion, P4 argues that the constitution must be clear in order to pass. If people

are uncertain about the membership criteria now or in the future, P4 feels like they will vote

against the constitution. P5 continues the earlier argument against determining a base roll; once

a base roll is set there can be no challenges to the membership criteria or the descendants of the

244 people that P5 feels were fraudulently listed on the 1906 roll. P6 is not convinced that those

people were all fraudulent because at least some of them had been fully adopted into the tribe

long before allotment. P4 agrees and argues that they should just go ahead and set the base roll

even though the referendum vote called for the ability to challenge the base roll. P5 concludes

the argument by saying that they should set a base roll.

As a result of this and other discussions about membership, the OGRC and its staff decided

to proceed with setting the base roll, mostly to ensure that the constitution would pass. However,

because their final draft still included the word "eligible", some community members held onto

the idea that it would still be possible to challenge fraudulent members and thus purge the rolls.

While the reform commissioners argued they had used the term eligible to accommodate the

descendents of the 1906 roll who did not want to become members (such as those enrolled in

other tribes), some people still doubted the intensions of the commission. A small group of

Osage used the word eligible to argue that the constitution allowed for the purging of the rolls

and that the entire constitution should therefore be rejected. Many commissioners felt that this

rumor of a purge was being used as a ruse to defeat the constitution.









Even though much discussion against the constitution's membership clause took place on

the Osage Shareholders website, it was not strictly a shareholder issue. There were some

shareholders that supported the purging of the rolls and others that rejected it. The issue was

more closely related to geographic area, but not even location was a good indicator of the

dividing lines. Obviously, those people who worried that they would be kicked of the rolls were

the ones that objected the most to this wording of the constitution. However, even some of those

who were completely confident about their own status as Osage felt like it was simply too much

work to go back and determine who was Osage and who was not. Many people just wanted to

avoid a witch-hunt; feeling like it was not a productive use of time.

At several community meetings, the membership clause of the proposed Osage

constitution was brought up and addressed. In a community meeting in California, an Osage

community member and the OGRC lawyer talked at length about the membership clause:

Community Member: The verbiage in the proposed constitution talks about the base roll.
"All lineal descents... are eligible for membership" as opposed to, "are considered
members." I guess my question is that this leaves membership up to some decision by the
subsequent persons who are elected to congress as opposed to being predetermined as a
constitutional right.

OGRC Lawyer: Your attention is drawn to the word "eligible." The key to that is just
because you're entitled to membership by law, it doesn't mean you have to be a member if
you choose not to be. Although the people decided they wanted dual membership, most
tribes will not. So many people that have a right to have Osage membership and to be an
active part of his process must make a decision; whether to give up their membership in
another tribe in order to do that. The fact that you are eligible for membership does not
require that you be a member; that's an election you have to make.

CM: The other side of that is that conceivably the congress could somehow determine that
I am not a member or certain people who are lineal descendants for whatever reason are
not going to be members.

OL: As long as you are a lineal descendant, which is the qualification of Section 2, the
congress can't change that. The people would have to amend this constitution to change
that. Congress will not have the authority in and of itself to change the standards for
membership.









CM: As an attorney I'd have to bow to your experience for that interpretation. [Carlsbad
California community meeting, February 17, 2006]

No matter how many times the commission and its legal staff argued that it was not going to be

possible to purge the rolls within this constitution, the rumor never lost its strength. A central

part of this was no doubt the continued fears associated with roll purging. However, it is also

likely that certain people continued to stir up this issue as a way of trying to discredit the new

government and Chief Gray in particular. Even a year after the passage of the 2006 Constitution,

there were still frequent calls for amendments to change the words "eligible for membership" to

the "right to membership." The fears associated with this purging of the rolls can clearly be seen

in the following post on the shareholders website:

While we are talking about roll purging would seem a good time to make sure everyone is
aware of what our Constitution says about our membership rights. It says that the 1906 roll
shall be the base roll for membership in the tribe and that all members and decedents of 06
roll members are "Eligible" for membership. It is important to remember that in the
referendum we overwhelming voted for the exact same wording on the membership
question except for one very important part. The referendum question stated that this same
group of people had the "Right" to membership. I believe that this was a bait and switch
tactic that was done with a purpose in mind. But what does the change mean? The word
"eligible" allows the Congress, with the mere passage of a law requiring but seven votes
and the Chiefs signature, to set our membership requirements any way they may choose
so long as those chosen are decedents of 06 roll members. The criteria used could be
anything, blood quantum, residential geography, or even a selected group of family
surnames. HR 2912 very clearly gave us the right to set our own membership, so any legal
challenge to this type of roll purging would be fought in our tribal courts, which could only
use this same Constitutional wording as its guide, and would surely find it as being legal.
Other parts of the Constitution membership section allows for the challenging of whether
1906 members were properly enrolled, so the "right" to membership wording would not
stop those that can be proven as being fraudulently included on that roll from being
removed. The "eligible" wording is only useful for removing those that have a legitimate
claim to membership, but are no longer wanted by those in power. [September 10, 2007]

Here, it is not just the descendents of the supposed fraudulent members who could be targeted,

but everyone. Such fears, while clearly based on the confusing wording in the referendum

questions and final constitution, take the rumor of roll purging to the next level. By insinuating

that the current administration is going to use the "eligible wording" to start removing any









members they please, this internet posting attempts delegitimize the constitution and bring the

current administration into question. After an annual meeting among Osage in California, the

following was posted on the shareholders website:

We hear from Calif the the [sic] chief dodged the question about Roll Purging & Mr
Supernaw reports the chief "indicated that he thought the word "right" would force
descendents to enroll." All I can say is that he is either flat out lieing [sic] or he is really,
really stupid. I have the right to vote, but no one makes me. I have the right to own a gun,
but no one makes me. We have all sorts of "rights" but whether one takes advantage of
these rights is an individuals [sic] choice. The chief must believe that we are ignorant. He
needs to go. Anyone willing to help start a recall petition?

While Chief Gray's argument against amending the constitution clearly falls apart here, there is

something more at work within these rumors. Chief Gray has clearly stated on multiple

occasions that he has no intent of purging the rolls, however, people are not reacting against

actions or even statements, so much as fear. Because the base roll has been set as the 1906 roll,

it is unlikely that roll purging would be constitutional even with the word "eligible." Importantly,

the above statement does not end with a desire to amend the constitution, but instead a recall of

Chief Gray The rumor of roll purging is powerful not because it is a reality, but because it brings

both the constitution and current governing officials into question.

Unlike the rumor about Osage oil, the rumors concerning the purging of the rolls pointed

to a deeper truth. There were Osage who wanted to see the fraudulence of the 1906 roll

investigated, and who wanted to instigate a blood quantum and/or a residency requirement.

However, these people were clearly in the minority. While many of the OGRC were convinced

that their membership clause would not allow this, the word 'eligible' was not strong enough to

appease community fears. However, it was more than legitimate fear that caused this rumor to

continue even without any actual threat of roll purging. This rumor was clearly part of the

deeper politics that are always at work within community-based reform.









Conclusion

The Osage Government Reform Commission was assigned a very large task that was to be

completed in a very short period. They were not only required to write a constitution, but they

had to design a process to involve the widely dispersed and often uninformed Osage public.

Because they were a diverse group of people it took time before they were able to build enough

trust to begin the process. This lack of group cohesion was furthered by a lack of ownership in

the process by many of the members. Community meetings were an extremely challenging venue

where the information that was collected often had to be sifted through and translated into

components that could be directly included in the constitution. Further, these community

meetings often involved personal attacks and other trying challenges for the reform

commissioners. The OGRC did eventually build a strong trust of one another and was able to

work toward the common goal of creating a constitution that they felt would benefit all Osage

and reflected the feedback they had received.

Because of the small staff there were periods when tasks were completed in a rush, the

staff or the companies whom they hired made mistakes, and communication was insufficient.

Better organization, more small group work, and a larger staff would all have improved the

reform process. Because the OGRC decided to write the constitution as a group, they had to

work tirelessly to make a document that was coherent, well written, and an accurate reflection of

the views that had been expressed in the community meetings and questionnaires. Even with all

of these struggles, the OGRC was able to write a constitution that passed by a 2/3rd margin of

the voting Osage. The success of the process was primarily do to the trust the reform

commission was able to build within itself, their legitimate desire to write a constitution

reflecting the desires of the Osage people, and the Osage Tribal Council's ability to allow the

commission to work independently.









Even after the implementation of the new government, there continued to be a group made

up mostly of Osage shareholders, but also a few other Osage, who were not satisfied with the

reform process. Rather than seeing the 2006 Constitution as an end to government reform, they

hoped to continue the reform process, either through amendments or a constitutional convention.

Rumors were a particularly important tool used by those who were unsatisfied with the reform

process, shareholder or otherwise. By building on the confusion inherent in community-based

reform, these rumors were less about spreading misinformation than about bringing the new

government into question. Uniting those who were upset about changes in the mineral estate and

Osage politics, those who feared any change, those who did not want the rolls to be purged, and

those who were upset with the current administration, the Osage Shareholders website became a

forum for discontent. By following the postings on this site, it becomes clear that while some of

the complaints voiced are based on legitimate concerns, many also stem from what seems on the

surface to be irrational fears. A look at Osage colonial history, however, reveals the genesis of

many of these fears. By examining both Osage history and the current situations within other

American Indian nations today, it is not difficult to believe that the Osage mineral estate could be

dissolved, the rolls could be purged, and a small minority of Osage could take control of the

tribe. While none of these actions are currently likely among the Osage, none of them are outside

the realm of possibility.

Because of the large change in power that took place during the 2004-2006 reform process,

these grievances with the 2006 Osage constitution are likely to remain potent. When the "process

of institution building" is organized to "directly involve First Nations' citizens," as suggested by

the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, many complications can arise,

as the Osage case illustrates. Community based government reform is time-consuming; many









citizens lack knowledge about government structures; and the experience of colonization has left

a legacy of division and suspicion that seems to afflict even the most transparent efforts to build

an effective and equitable governing structure. Ultimately, this chapter illustrates that

community based government reform efforts cannot escape the political environments in which

they take place. The way forward for the Osage, it would seem, is to not get caught up in these

fears, but instead to focus their energies on rebuilding the Osage Nation, whatever future reforms

or compromises this might necessitate.









CHAPTER 7
CONCLUSION

In this dissertation, I have told various stories of nation building, negotiation, and

endurance. At every turn, the Osage have met the colonially imposed obstacles with cunning

and fortitude. Building on older ways of being as well as discourses more recently in circulation,

the Osage first officially declared themselves a nation in 1881. By 1906, however, the Bureau of

Indian Affairs insisted that they were instead the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma, whose job was only

to manage the mineral estate and whose life span was limited to 25 years. The Osage refused

again and again to be subsumed by the larger American population, and continued to insist on

their inherent sovereign rights. In 2006, the Osage were able once again to declare themselves a

Nation. This dissertation is ultimately about what this declaration means, how various Osage

and non-Osage people understand it, and how the negotiation of sovereignty and the rebuilding

of an indigenous nation occurred at the beginning of the 2lst century.

The colonial process has taken its toll on the Osage. By the time the federal Congress was

persuaded in 2004 to give the Osage the same rights as other tribes in the continental United

States (to determine their own membership and form of government), the United States had

created a complex problem for the Osage. The Osage Government Reform Commission

(OGRC) was left with the dilemma of how to appease the shareholders while creating a

government that met the current needs of all Osage people. While the federal law passed in 2004

clearly states that the rights of any person to their Osage mineral estate shares can not be

diminished (H.R. 2912), many Osage shareholders still worried that the new government would

affect their proceeds from and control over the mineral estate. Rather than putting their energy

into researching information for the government reform process, these Osage shareholders









insisted that the focus remain on issues surrounding the mineral estate. In an exit interview I

conducted with Hepsi Barnett, the coordinator for the OGRC, she argued:

We could not get away from this issue with government reform, we couldn't. Ok, it was
like, lets put this issue to rest, your shares are protected, they were protected by the federal
government, they are protected by this constitution. So they are protected, end of story. In
my mind there were so many other issues that I felt like, now we can move on, we can
really wrestle with some of the finer details of how to make this three branch system
Osage. But we never got there and so in terms of the influences, that was the elephant in
the room all the time. Regardless of how much education we attempted it was difficult to
not always have the conversation come back to that. [July 30, 2006 Personal
Communication]

Barnett's commentary illustrates that the mineral estate system was one of the most powerful

continuing colonial impacts on the Osage people during the 2004-2006 reform process. Because

the system imposed by the BIA in 1906 created a group of Osage who benefited financially and

also had clear control over the Osage government and the mineral estate in particular, some

members of this group became staunchly opposed to any change that would alter these vested

interests.

This desire to maintain the status quo was also interwoven with a more general fear of

change. This fear arose most powerfully in the debates and rumors that circulated about the

reform process. Like all community reform efforts, the Osage process was far from perfect, yet

the severity of the reaction to proposed reconfigurations of Osage citizenship and nationhood can

only be understood within the context of the Osage's long history of colonialism. For some

Osage, change has become intricately associated with the federal government's efforts to

terminate its relation with Indian tribal nations. Because the federal government has repeatedly

attempted to end its trust relationship with the Osage, some Osage have come to assume that any

change will ultimately lead to this end. All change, even that implemented internally, has come

to be viewed as highly suspect by these Osage.









In addition to fear, colonialization has created several other impasses for the Osage people,

namely the criteria that can be used to determine citizenship in the Osage Nation. Because the

Osage Nation exists within a larger nation-state, its membership cannot be based on birth within

a territory or an application procedure that is open to anyone interested. This is partly related to

the large influx of non-Osage who have moved onto the Osage reservation, but it has deeper

roots in the United States government's desire to define Indians biologically, rather than

territorially or by other means. In 1884, the Commissioner of Indian affairs wrote about the

problems of determining who was Indian for the purposes of allotment: "I think it would be for

the benefit of all to exclude persons of less than one half Indian blood, and to retain all who are

regularly adopted, if Indians, and to add the children of such, but to discourage or prohibit any

further adoptions by Indian tribes, especially of whites" (Annual Report 1884: XXVII). Through

his focus on Indian blood, the Commissioner of Indian affairs wanted to limit claims to Indian

ancestry, thus also limiting the federal government's responsibility to treaties and its various

Indian focused programs.

While the Osage have never instituted a blood quantum, most Osage today have accepted

that being Osage means having Osage blood. While this desire for Osage blood was most

frequently associated with being a lineal descendent of someone listed on the 1906 roll, in its

more acute forms it means having at least one birthparent with a minimum of one half Osage

blood. Up until the allotment of the reservation in 1906, the Osage population contained many

people who had been adopted into the tribe. This group included white spouses as well as large

groups of other American Indian peoples. Being considered Osage had as much to do with

residence and life practices as it did with being conceived by other Osage. With the allotment of

the reservation, this changed. Because of limited resources, as well as the powerful racial ideas









of Indianness in circulation, being Osage became more and more associated with having Osage

blood.

In 2006, the Osage created a constitution that defined citizenship through lineal descent.

While the Osage Constitution left open the possibility for adoption in the future, only lineal

descendents of those Osage listed on the 1906 roll were able to vote in the 2006 elections. This

insistence on a blood relationship is another lasting legacy of the colonial process. However, it

also shows that the Osage have not directly internalized Euro-American understandings of race,

but have reworked blood to fit their own notions of relation. The Osage are using blood to

connect a group of people separated by geography, culture, and racialized characteristics. Rather

than a finite substance that can be overpowered when mixed, Osage blood is now enacted within

the 2006 Constitution as an interminable substance. Instead of simply a means of exclusion,

blood has also become a vehicle for connection.

Through my investigations into Osage history and the 2004-2006 reform, it quickly

became apparent that the Osage have never been passive victims of the colonial process. Many

Osage have continued to be active in the process of fashioning their own future, particularly

during the implementation of the 2006 Constitution. Using their history of embracing change,

many Osage saw this reform period as a way to again "move to a new country." Insistence on

Osage sovereignty in both the 2006 Constitution and the negotiations with the state of Oklahoma

indicates that the Osage are at the beginning of a renaissance. In building a government structure

that is not centered on the mineral estate but on programs that serve all lineal descendants of

those Osage listed on the 1906 roll, the 2006 Constitution greatly changed the trajectory of

Osage life and identity. Rather than having a government structure that frequently made a law

one week to completely overturn it the next, the Osage government must now learn how to make









laws that will last. Rather than operating as a small tribal council primarily concerned with

maximizing proceeds from a mineral estate, the Osage government must now take over the full

responsibilities of a tribal nation.

Without money from casinos, the 2004-2006 reform process would not have been

possible-there would have been no funds to pay for the staff of the reform commission, the

mailings, or the elections. Because the proceeds from the Osage Mineral Estate were distributed

among the shareholders, only a very small percentage of that money could be used for running

the Osage Tribal Council (OTC). Prior to casino income, the OTC was completely dependent on

funds from the federal government and other granting institutions for the running of programs

such as social services, the health clinic, education, Osage language revitalization, the cultural

center, and various economic development programs. When funding came from grants, such

assistance occurred for only short periods of time. Influxes of funds from casinos (as well as a

growing tax base from tobacco, license plates, etc) meant that important social and educational

programs could be funded more consistently and serve the needs of far more Osage.

The old tribal council structure, however, was not fit to manage these growing programs.

Because the OTC was a resolution-based system, with laws changing each week, it was not able

to provide any consistency for tribal programs. Without checks to their authority, the OTC also

frequently micromanaged these programs and appointed close relatives or friends to positions

they were unqualified for. Since the tribal council structure was designed around the mineral

estate, these programs were often argued to be outside the OTC's jurisdiction. Finally the OTC

did not represent the people being served by these enlarged programs and was viewed as an

inappropriate governing agency for the Osage Nation. Thus in multiple ways, it was gaming that

enabled the Osage to "move to a new country."









As the Osage invest their money in new businesses, they will hopefully find even more

sustainable ways to move away from their dependence on the federal government and non-profit

foundations. By continuing to insist on and believe in their inherent sovereignty, the Osage can

build a community that meets their own needs. Sovereignty for the Osage Nation has come to

mean the act of taking control over their own affairs in as many ways as they can negotiate,

given their placement within a larger nation-state. This control is not the sort of absolute

authority that theorists typically associate with sovereignty, but a layered and interconnected

relationship with the state of Oklahoma and the federal government. This sovereignty is about

building better economies and healthier communities.

A central goal of this research has been to understand the histories of contested politics at

work within the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Rather than seeing Osage citizenship and

nationhood as static phenomena, I have inquired into many of the complex motivations behind

fashioning ideas of self among the Osage. Within questions of citizenship, it quickly becomes

apparent that there are vastly divergent ideas about what the qualifications should be, even

though the majority agreed to a simple blood linkage. It is also clear that these ideas of being

Osage, while built into the citizenship criteria of the 2006 Constitution, also exist independently

of this or any legislation. Similarly, the many ideas about the shape of the governance structure

and the reach of its sovereign authority illustrate that the passage of the 2006 Osage Constitution

was just the beginning of debates about what the Osage Nation should become.

For centuries, anthropologists and political theorists dealing with American Indian

populations have focused their research on collection, purification, and classification. These

disciplines have created frozen categories of what it means to be an American Indian, often

locating this reality in a mythic past. More than anything else, I hope this study offers a new









path forward for anthropology, American Indian studies, and political theory. Rather than

seeking transcendental truths, I have shifted the focus of study to the ways in which various

peoples' notions of truth are circulated. Rather than working to create or solidify categories of

being Osage, I explore the ways in which various notions of Osage citizenship and sovereignty

are constructed and maintained, as well as how these categories are always under debate among

the Osage themselves. My goal has been to free the Osage from limits of classificatory schemes,

including my own, and open up the full range of possibilities for an Osage future.











APPENDIX A
VOTE NO FOR A BETTER FUTURE




VOTE NO FOR A BETTER FIU RE

Why Vote No on dhe Pmropwed Osage Nation Consution? T"hi maTy b10 tho most important decision
you make as a citizen of the Osage Natiom

SInLuftfi t cif hr ~iecri i of' T,-il,.i Ma-rrher.-hip. T'le proposed Coistitution doxs noit create a
presumricnp that lineal descendants lo 1906 Act allortew are members of the Osage Nation.
Rather, Tribal members mun s bear ti burden of establishing trimbcmrship through imspecified
criteria.

lnsuitiJiJ l PCIFroreioin of Lhe OIare Mnii.n-nr11 Eniic. The Osage Mianeul Trust is not addressed
until Article 15. Even there, it is bried in the middle of other provisions elating to hunting,
fisling, and natural resource inhji L'etiJl The powers of the proposed Osage Minerals Coneli
and the Csate Nation Cogress are extensively inlerhwined. The doemient endeavors to "ensure
that the rights of member of the Osngc Nation to income derived from Lbat mineral estate are
protectLe," wir thlt rce.'j.1grLL. die special legal or political status of the Osage Mineral EsLtate ~G a
matter of federal lal .

1 .1fc P.r-i rP rhi G.r, enLr'uii aE lb.-K E.nsK Of thle People. A Constitution, by definition,
tl:in..- .in luuiTr Tile powerir: TJ.e .< c rn-r en m1 P,. cx cr.:l:<. -iowever, diis CLontilution prnTo eCS
to give the Omage gove-rrnment more power thaT it ha} ever wielded bforc. In fact, it ordains a
govenLmnac t of virtually unYhii d powers. Arlicle 18 provides that, adoptionn Lhis CostitLUio
does TXIOL otm.stitute an agreemeLt on the pafI of the Oia&c Nati on-. luit Tir .~e I ifre 't, lie <. I. aie
Nation of any right or powe it. may otherwise be entitled to exercise."

+ More Power to the Chief. The Constitution endows the Chief with the broad power to appoint key
tribal officers, including the Tribal Treasurer and members of the Osage Nation Tudiciary. The
Cuontiltuion -p ,rically exempts such political appointee~ firm the merit-based cmplovment and
anti-nepotism p.''r.. r: dlt 11. .[-pl to all other tribal employees.

M+ More Power to the Tribl Cj trls. Under this Constitution, die Os.agNationjudiciary (who may or
may not be Osage) can strike provisions of the Constitution that it find ure invalid or offensive, In
odei 1., ord3, the Osage Niin Jidi in.i can amend this Ci 1n iLuriiin in its sole discretion.

O Less Power to the National Cmret.. The governing body of the' Osage Nation, styd- as, the
Osage Ntion Congrcss, is the branch of .c.eC irient most directly accountable to die people. Yet,
the C'*.rnrvt-. is scheduled to meet only twice per year for 24 cluTL.S itive days each .sessionl, IThis
sihoeddle not only is impractical and burJcrI.qme, iL shifls the balance of power in favor of ieh
Executive and Judicial Branches of governamrn, who presumably will operate and render decisions
throughout the year.

- T.aek of PW-r'ilr '.irnkipti:n in the R f.rri Proccss. By its own admission, die Osage
iovertinmeit Relibin Commission has endeavored to remainL ijrpurtial and detached tluvughout the
Constittional process. lhe Cuirnmissi-ner wee appoint d in part because they were mrst tribal
errployccs nor related to seated Tribal CTounjcil muanl rs. Tht Comnmission refused to retain die
counsel of Osage lawyers on tho belief that an Osage lawyer uculd not be impartial. Htoi"e ,e.. the
continued emphasis on impartiality and detachment is what we question most. When a Nation is
dctelmning the blueprint for its own detiny, impartlrlityr and detachment Ihae no place in tie
process. We mrus withhold our approval until there is a doctment in place by the Osage people.
and for the Osage people,


Irfiid out more, please visit lt tjri//ww w.,osnahihr koldersrg.











APPENDIX B
DEAR OSAGE PEOPLE




Decr Osage Pe.ope.,

While maiT of you mav have a-epady votod out the Proposed (sage Nadion Cortiti0tidon: we feel it
is importular trr evCrveAe t.o .ee respOirL.(se ti'i the poijnJtg f the rerelnt l]e=er rom. the ir. l-. lcr'
Association. The italici2ed text is quoted from their etier and our responses follow. Thank yio tor taking
the time to consider the following responses-

IzMefircie- n Protelion of Tribal Armbersnhj
T' propmosd Ceonisstforri doms ant creasi a presuiption that tineal descenduints of 2906 Act rtlloutves are
trIemberSOf the OsaCge Ialilon. Rarher, Tribud mnnbersr mu hear she burden o~f estai.hfing membership
tiiugh u.specifted curirena.

Response:
By a plain reading and understanding of Sections I and 2 of Arriclc 11 entided "Men4ibership" ll.here is
clearly a prcsimtiptirn estahiBhed that "All Jinial leccwendants of those Osages listed n thie 1906 Roll" are
eligible for nicmt'erhip in the Osaige Nation-

Since the cons cTnsu desire of the Osage pcnple ji that dual membership fior tde 0sage people wlo desire i(
als be members of oiter fcierally re-ognizcd Iridbt s,hould be pefiited, aid Lt;nii nrg that many Iuibes do
not penrit dual membership, ic would be presumptuous of us o declare that all those that are eligible re in
Fact lemticr of the Osag~ Nation. Uider Or ur Constitutional design each eligible person will make a
choice as to wc r wh cr to 'badrtniaed as a minther tlhrugh a piacess that should be establisted by the Osage
Nation Cot Cgrss and/or their appoint d Ejwtoltiimneni or MAmbcrnrship Comlmittee or Agency. Thin is ltIe sole
purpose of o0r I lte Of tfh. ini "cli. .-i*-i" in conrtec ion with dth quaiifiicanio for m\1'hcrAship.

la.irH-inr mr POnr,.rn 4,fthf, '.'Ir,I : ilmrrl Eqw..-
T-.,.. ."':I-, M *,,,; r0,. n ,. i.ar..'.' **,*. '", -.. r. 15. Even there it is buried ia the middle of other
provisions relating to hunting, fishing, ami naupraJ rer.ource management. The powers of the r r,-?.?
Osacre M i ruals C(ounred orldl w e (Serie rNaion Congresr are, extensively intertvirned. The 0I cwur'.t
endeavors to "eaSwuef. rh thet ,i ]hts of members of iu. Osarge NIrtion to mirn.mw derived falwn tluf mnlferll
siare are prot as n minter tffetrderixd law.

Response:
At Article XV, Section 4. "the governmuen of the Osage Nation" has 'the perpetual obligation to ensure the
pieMervation uf tlhe Osage Minteril Estnwe". Thtre can be I1o greater statemenL of protecting iu f lse MinerJa
Estate expressed t Ita "perpeltui' (which rneans forever) proiecion. Evtry provision of the proposed
Consditution is sgniMicarjt arid ..-1l r .; i'. fif itl'r proper fa'ifLg and fkutatdatir or the fne Tw PgVcr TnerTi.
The Coastrturin is abut.t the form and design of the government arnd addresses tile Mineral k.~ta as a
valuable ntulral resource uring language that is taken trrrn the Os~a, Allotnmnt Act. The ricntion of the
Mitaeial Council in a provision in the middle of the docrument, atnoig other provisions, does nothing to
reduce or hinder the protection to be provided to the Council and the royalty interests the Cournil is
elected L, administer,

The rights ol' he shareholders nt rnyalzie.s tlion the Os.age Minerl Estatie aire pioected as a maritter of
rtederal law and regulation in 1The -sage Refomrrnaiujjn t, i'L 01-431, Section 1 (bh} I), I STAT. 2609.
In recognition of these federal protections, the proposed Coistituiion prohibit "the creation of any law or
ordinance pcrtainiTng the mineral yaltides from the MiincrJl Eslate Llit i:L:-; in conflict wih Federal law
and regulations. Thus the fear of the shareholders are misplaced in heir focus on the proposed
Constinuionm: arid should nore appropriateJly he directed atL any chlan.e thaL might occur in the rcnUperamient
uf the US. Congress on these issues. Although dese provisions of tli proposed Coastitution ae not
icgally necessary for the reformatimn of the Osage goverrucmnt, they appeiI as written fnr the purpose of
asstuiig all Osages of tfl intent of the proposed CirnsiLttito[ to comply with the Proviso of the U.S.
Cuingess in thai rmerrad. Even if (he proposed (Cusir]]tit1to did not specifically addtrkss dthe righLE, federal














Law wouJr noc hie altered m~mpgy y ry r:itu uroissicn frto thle prupo.s.4 C-onl stclic~. It is .earl ttinr nully the
.:.S Con 5.c .s C Tan L InactEL;c ioHf hat R.l OL il alter the Mjinral EtIarc. r;vyalty interest rlnhIs.

AMore Power to the Gfovermnent W the Exipese of the Peoot
A Consratuitin, br ,i7.u..' A;, --.,r ( f '; ;.. p ;,-e.; ;he government may e-etrct' -- Fn4 Is ver, this
CorStitution pmro.pes to give the Ogsage gov-rernten more power their it has ever vwrelded ebfore. n .fac. it
ordains a o gt-ernmntjr of virtuirly urnibmawt powenrr. Arricle /8 provider that, "olegin fr this
CQovfrihilwu cfies not comznriutm an r f oan 6 pae n (t '..'e i *.*r *' .* ..'r .* e. cisu br. r the
O.SLnCe Jationon of any pt.9 s. p ewe.r it mrv tshe.nmvf i, e.ntidled ti sel rnse.

Respnqe:,
[there is an apparent misunderstanding by some of the Reserved Powers pruoisioa (Alrtile XVTIIT wiichl
sen5es to rm-it the power of the newly .hrraid branlCes of governmental to tiose powers described in the
proputed Cooutbtujion. The powers dtht are not rnmtneraited and vetacd in enie of the three branches of
L ovL!mrrerit are thus resersvd In the .civc eigi <. lsage 4Ljau.-r Thr O(sag Natinn. as referenicd throitghuat
the proposed Co istirution refer to the Osage People as a whole. All msaevcd powers are rbit reserved In
the care, and thre whll of the (.kame People, In lead the -nsse-rial stincturc of thte uew govelanent as
established by tth prorin~psd Consliltiuon is designed t, be a _govrnrrTenTr l he Peuple. by the F .p~i: and
for the Peopie. As sueh, any subsequ liL growth o expansion of the po s f e pow the branches of the
government can only occur though an expression of the will of the Osage People though armnndunent of
Ihe Consiirution. Thruig thhe propsoed tlircen branch :ystem of pvcrmcrnil, iricludi:D the system ofn
check andbdla ceps that is iicliudced no braciio is emprowcrd to grow ird expand at tihe expense of another
branch or &tisrrituent., noTr at tthe cRuE lse of the Osage PeoCplc without tenir coIrsent.

Moreover, as a result of a long line of case. dccitsinas, ts legal reality is the tnhal guvemnuneist can only
exercise trho' sliVeieign powers that n ta n incnsistent WlLh federal law. The sirusggle t[ eqtpa an d
extri tribal sovereignty is an ongoing process and a tribal constitution that does not e]-ir-.r-g..-: limits on
rihoe poawrs clearly signals tlh inr.Tn that the tribal government n and the people tn he governed are to enjoy
the full range powers [t urlt avaitlab to hcmrr. ThatL expresson of a hroad sovereipg authority is a uod
LJ-;inL' nut sonethin Lo te ferried.

Monre Poier to the (Chief
Tote Cmsltfttuioit erdlnws [tre CAie/wirk there ir:wdi poiwe.r to appoihr kej tri/ba officers, i.nc/iisg t.6! Tl-i&hal
Treasurer and members of the Osage Natiotn j.ediciary. The Constituton specfically exempts such
political appoirees from the merit-based employment and andtineporismr policies trha apple' to all other
tribal b .,,,- i L .

Response:
These is no quesioti that untier the LropoFmed Consitiution the Office of thie Pri ip.l Chief is versed wilt
greatez prowrs than tfie Osu'ge PIeole have witiescqd for te past 100 yearix. JIn fact, sinjc LIrIe Ia 1 .Ajt
was imposed on the Osage, the Osage Chrie has bccD, tbu all pracical puorpaes, merely a ceremonial
position with no independent authority in the operation of the business of [he Osage government. The
icief his bees given no vote in the decision of govtrcmnt vfLC t aill f wih.ich ar currentlt.i male: by the
Council, vxr.cpt for those are occasions when the Chiefor Assistant Cthef is invited to vote for the purpose
of brtealing a dcLudlock ir; the Council's decision making process.

IlUnder the currently proposed Consttittiut ihe Office of the Principal QCif will be sire oglherred so Ithr le
office will serve more in a leaderniip tole and not merely as a voice thaL delivers the messages and
decisions of the Council, In addition, the authority of the Principal Chief to make appointments is not, as
many sMen to fuar,. absolute. All key appooimnnents, ntade by the Principal Chief. such as the appointm.ni;x
to the .Tulidcty and the Office of the Treasurze, are subject to the consent and approval of th e UOa~ Nation
Congress. Time only exception In this cmniman aiad approval of appointmens is in the rigtii f rth Chief to
-2













make rFAxuive stitl appOintrllejlts that scrve at the pLcasL-re of LIt Executivo 3id are typically asked to
resign wben a new PxccuLive is elec-ted, In o1iwhr wordbl, thce partiulur staff do not enjoy the privileges
ard pnrtcctions of a merit Ilaed system anI thus atL nor. sulject.o th chm puolRics.

More Power to the Trtal Conry
tiradr thi CoCnstituion, the .I.,: Nation judiciary (Who may or may ot be Osage) can strike pgivis)ns
aft'h Ccnstisution lrt Jfrt find& S are inv-id or ffersi.v. le other words, the O.age A'Auon .hdiciary can
ameandthis CoManMsIton in is rile discretion.

Respqnner
Do not be cronfuised by the wording of Article XX I, which does not imply fthi the Okage Judiciry will find
any portion of the Osage Nation ConstitutiMo ii be tmwlawful. This is a traditional prOvis on lhaL enisures
that any unforeseen failure of a single provision to meet constitutional scrutiny would not diminish or
damage te rimainder or the Consitutiton. t is also witttca in a fashion that would support the argi mnt,
and currently i IL.jn ,f -the federal courtS, that only a tubal judiciary might have the authority o interprGt a
triball COItLILtLtiolnal piovisioio. Nohing in the r;:opusaed Coistitinirn would empuL. er the Court to aseond
die Consiltatitn, nor to modify any cims titutional pnivision. The process flr constitutional arneidments is
provided in Article XX of the IroposIe Coaatitutiom.

By definition, the judicial branch is only there to interpret the laws that are enacted by the Osage Nation
Congress. If we do not provide a judiciary with these powers, it will be likely that the courts of other
swvereigns statet or federal) witl assume thsa peiwrs in Ihte hsence of an indrcpedent Osage Judiciary.

T'he proposed Constfition does provide that The ChiefJustice and (Chief Judge musf be OGsage. AdMirioaal
judgeships do not requk'r that the appointee be an Ossae, but if an Osage is (ie most qualified, they will be
appointed to terve. _Most kjportantly. whomever is appointed shoud he well qualified.

Less Pomwar Wi the National Congrffi
The g.irerning h4- d of tfh OscL ,Naim", styled as the Oscir Nr.fion Congrs.r s is te branch of
government most directly iacorunrtable to th peop. p Yet, tiL Con grcs Is sc-hedrded to meet only h -ice p r
year far ?4 .oreon daFve dayo etuch se.sion. 'hit .sc'hdula'- mt ony is impruiaclicld and bIrdensomn it Srifti
de ba~lnc of power iftln fur ,f ther Ec 'iwcw i nd Judicial itrnrchexs of go:rrvme1t, who prvsumnoly will
operate and render dciions J r..-':4 ,'ait the Jear.

Response:
Even [w*urh the Congress is only in rusiular session for these limited periods, there iS also available to the
Congress the use of special sessions when nncLaed. It is expected thd all of the preparation fir enwcting
laws will be do:ne through Icgislidve crrrrritti(s) irr the interimn between Pihe scwlrekrf sesfi ons.
MoaTcnvr, tle role of the three brand es is clearly defined in the Proposed Consitiutqon. The day-to-day
. per-y~ E ofttlje government is a filution fr ftie Executive Hranch ard does not rely on Congress bheig in
session in order to condIteL the business of the Nation, Rather, under the traditional design of this
democratic form of gvemment, the Osage Nation Congress will enact laws during sessions; the Executive
branch will j. iplkr -r,in ri,., 1:,h, y b.eeinl that those Laws are faithfully xecule4d, adminitLered and enfrced
within te capacity provided by thi Constitutioi for ihat branch; and the Judicial batEch will interpret the
laws and the Osage Nation CorstC.itution when nrtcL san Lu reIsolve conflirtn and issues that erme before the
court.

WirhouL 1the laws =Ealhted by Congress, the I'xecutive birnch haN iEl law to csceuite and ciatin arnd tei
Judicial branch has no law to interpret. The People ab-- luEIlY maintain a voice in their goveronert since
the Peoplc choose members of Congress and t1eir Principan Chief and Assistant Prinipal Chief at the polls.
Il addition, the Chief Justie anId Associate Justices must stand forr retlnLion by a vote of die i'cp.]ie aftor
their iJJtial e(m. ., I[i. .IL+ rk'i J. II;.. e initially sEpointed rld .i 'r.ri-ncd, Ihr People cletl the Principa

3














(hief and Co'rgresss -who, are responsible fbr all s ch appoinnmcTnis and confirrritionFs. 'lhis cmiur-S I.uLL Ji
appoinmnent and confirmnticn pr exesr make all of the elected officials accountable for their actions in
filling these positions witl capable anid dedicated individual s.

Lack OefPfSdar Parqiia.U,', inr ihe Refar.a Prt, s.
BY its own admnmi.ion, the Osagp Government Reform Commission has endijvred ro remain impartial and
detac ed througAmho the Costl irfonal process. The CGvrnsmm ion'rx w4w ar pointed in pari be eytT they
were mn.t tribal empffoyest, nor related to wua-d Trtbal Council members. The Cont/nmssion refJ id at
retain tih retnel 1of Orage lAmerrs o t.he helief tilmt wn Osag lawyer eorn not he impuarlt. IHow.ewa,
the conlifnure e.hrnti. on rjtjairjr.r arni dtferhment is wha t i.r ques ton nots. fWen a NaUtin is
dermwmriing ae htueprint for ae own dsiury, i'' -! .ej v and detacrhmernt have no ptare in the process.
We must Sithhold our approval unti there is a docurmed in place by tIh OsaI e peot ands ir the u.suge



The Osage Nation GCuvenment Rfon Comniwmission was appointed in MarcTh i[ 2005 anid charged wfth
gathering an undnders ending of lie will of the lOsage People as to thle tbmn of government desjied. In our
nrle aa Corramisivners, we luve conductJe a pncess that has agIrcssively solicited input from 9 all the
Osage PeopJe, fhc Osage Go vcninent Refomn C-ommrission h rr held more than 25 Cnmituynitv
Meetings with Osage People in OklJghona Califonlia and Texas; weekly or bi-weekly Business
Meetings:p a a number of committee Tineinlg all open to the general Osaee public and designal l1
solicit input from Osages on the ihuSL of goverinw.nt reinrm. Tn addition_ a nationwide survey Fuid
profcssionwl phoinc poll were conducted for lie purpose of specifically dcternniiJin the type of
bgovemnmet wantn d by the Osage Peotpl. li''ially To care that the inlimnmltioi gathered by the
Commission through the varies rnediums representc d tb.N will of the Oage People, a ecfercndrumn was
conducted and all 0sages, I8 1ud over, had the opportuniLy to vvote a the basic structure eaI form of
government. Based on the results of the referendum, an overwhelming Iii prirn of Osaes voted for a
three branch system of government with an executive, a =leRslativt tl a judicial brand thal incdfdes a
separation of powerS between ihc branches,

Valuable input was collected and douumlLeunte d d an understanding of whtl thIe PIeile desired wam gainea
fromil each of the various apprTuae he. No one who wished Lu express their views and ideas for tlhe reformed
govrentlem I hus beea excluded from the pr... j

The reforin prnu~c~ i[self it'J been extremely Inlnortant in our ability as a iRe L.rmin CAomission to drnft a
propoCed Constitution thit assem bles the broad ranrg oFopiniuns ild ideas of the OsLua People in a single
docurrment designed it reform the Osage government. At dtis point it is impossible to tdterminec whether
she proposar C:ontituticm would be substantively crilfTerer if: i) every O(sage pmovidcd tmre input; ii) die
princess were extended over several yeans. rather than months; nr, iii) Ouaie tai'yer's were u.scd Lo advise
Ihf Crommiwion, Essentially, given tie same input, regardless of how often or over twhat peio)d of time it
was collected, there is no reason o thi-nk that the result would bx. -&i ril. ,iic' differren

Consider, -' you will, that this imperfect document may, in fact, be perf cL for the Osage People k.r it
firmly etlablishes who is Osage and provides a taLructurally sound rl inoatirm for Osaues to self-de ernine
the future of ihe Osage Nation, Minor ldtails carn always be amended in the fiare. Self governance is the
very basis of tribha !svertig'ty, and the proposed Constitution is a true expression lt Osae ituvereignty',
[astly, we must rciemrnber the chUaic we irakC direct L affects the Oaage Nation's greatest natural
resource, our children whose futures depend on our actions now. Please take the time and effort to make
an informed decision when you vote. Voting is thle new Osag. tradition.

Ka-KKth-1Na,
The sage Coverunmment Reform Connruission
4









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

After graduating as the Outstanding Graduate in Photojournalism at Ohio University in

2002, Jean Dennison accepted a Fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in anthropology at the

University of Florida. In 2004 she produced "City of Murals: an Imaging in Authenticity," for

partial completion of Masters of Arts and began her dissertation research on the 2004-2006

Osage Government reform process. The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

and the National Science Foundation funded this research. In 2005 she published a review

article in Visual Studies entitled, Visualizing Anthropology. Her paper's "Our Heritage, Our

Future: Archaeology and the Interessement of Desires" and "Moving to a New Country: Osage

Negotiations of Colonial Limitations" have been accepted for publication in edited volumes.

Dennison has taught six courses in visual/cultural anthropology and Tribal Administration at the

University of Florida and The Evergreen State College. Dennison's areas of interest include:

science studies; visual anthropology; language enrichment and youth media; the Osage Nation;

and North American Indian subjectivities, citizenship, sovereignty and Nation building.





PAGE 1

1 CONSTITUTING AN OSAGE NATION: HISTORIES, CITIZENSHIPS, AND SOVEREIGNTIES By JEAN DENNISON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Jean Dennison

PAGE 3

3 To my father, who pointed the way.

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In writing this dissertation I incurred m any de bts, most especially to those Osage who have allowed me to share their perspectives and hist ories. The early encouragement and patience of the 31st Osage Tribal Council, Julia Lookout, Leonard Maker, Katherine Red Corn, the Osage Government Reform Commission, Hepsi Barnett, and the Osage Language Department made this research possible. The stories told and questions asked by the general Osage population gave substance to this dissertation. To th ese people I will forever be in debt. While at the University of Florida I was fortunate to find a group of professors and graduate students who have nurtured my academic growth. Dr. Peter Schmidt continually impressed me with his insights. His thoughtful reviews and questions kept me on track. Dr. Marilyn Thomas-Houstons support during my 6 years at the University of Florida and her unwavering confidence in my abilit ies kept me at the University. Through their excellent seminars both Dr. Brenda Chalfin and Dr. Stacey Langwick provided me with the central theories that inform this disse rtation. Without their guidance I would have been at a great disadvantage. My fellow graduate students provided the other central components of my graduate education. The critical perspectives provi ded by Rob Freeman, Roberto Barrios, Lauren Fordyce, Jai Hale Gallardo and Scott Catey cannot be overstated. Scott spent many hours reading and commenting on my early chapters. His continued insistence led me to return repeatedly to the archival documents that play a crucial role in the storie s I tell below. Because of our parallel paths through the research and wri ting stages of our dissertations Lauren provided the most important part of any graduate education: emotional and moral support. My graduate studies and disse rtation writing were supported by University of Florida fellowships. I received major grants from the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren to

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5 conduct my research in Oklahoma during th e Osage Tribes 2004-2006 government reform process. I offer thanks to the funding sources and to the people that helped make these great opportunities available. I would also like to thank my husband, pa rents, and grandmother, who all provided additional financial suppor t throughout the graduate process. This dissertation, in addition to bei ng born out of a supportive community, good supervision, and funding, developed out of ongoing conversations among current scholars in the fields of Anthropology and American Indian St udies. From these discussions I am most indebted to Audra Simpson whos e research, writing, and comments on my dissertation were my biggest inspiration. My conversa tions with and readings of Cir ce Sturm, Pauline Strong, Valerie Lambert, Kimberly TallBear, Lee Baker, Mich ael Asch, and Brian Noble provided additional resources for thinking through this material. This dissertation benefite d greatly from the editors who gene rously lent their time. Special thanks to Traci Yoder for her keen eye and qui ck turn around time, my mother Sally Dennison whose patience with my writing has helped me to succeed in academia, and finally, my husband Michael Ritter, who in addition to his consta nt patience and support during the research and writing stages of this project, spen t six straight days helping me to tear apart and put the first full draft of my dissertation back together. Additionally, several Osage also thoughtfully reviewed the dissertation. In directing me to essential r eadings, as well as critiq uing its weak points, Veronica Pipestem greatly assisted me with the final version. Pris cilla Ibas review of Chapter 6 flagged several of my errors as well as challe nged me to further articul ate both the successes and challenges of the reform process. Lastly I would like to acknowledge the limits of this dissertati on. While I strove to capture the complexities involved in the current Osage po litical situation, it must be recognized that

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6 words can only convey slices of experience. In addition to being limited by the inexperience of my youth, it is simply not possible to write about, much less unders tand all of the vastly different and changing ideas surrounding Osage histories, citi zenships and sovereignties. My hope then is that this dissertation is unde rstood as a beginning.

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7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................10 Approach to Research.............................................................................................................12 Positioning Myself........................................................................................................... 12 Moving from Reflexivity to Diffraction..........................................................................20 Timeline...........................................................................................................................23 Evidence Collected.......................................................................................................... 24 Approach to Writing............................................................................................................ ...25 Mincing Words................................................................................................................ 25 Anthropology and the North American Indian................................................................ 26 Political Anthropology.................................................................................................... 34 Science Studies................................................................................................................ 37 Histories, Citizenships and Sovereignties....................................................................... 40 2 MOVING TO A NEW COUNTR Y: NEGOTIATING COL ONIAL LI MITATIONS.......... 44 Separation of Culture and the State........................................................................................45 Moving to a New Country......................................................................................................51 Trade Relations and Land Acquisition............................................................................54 A More Workable Government...................................................................................59 Leaving the Old Ways Behind........................................................................................ 62 Colonial Reworkings of Change.............................................................................................64 The Battle Against Allotment.......................................................................................... 65 Incorporation and Termination........................................................................................ 69 Efforts Toward Reform...................................................................................................73 Leave It Alone.................................................................................................................75 Debating the role of th e Osage Mineral Estate ....................................................................... 81 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................87 3 THE FUNDAMENTAL PO WERS OF BLOOD ................................................................... 90 BIA, CDIB, OTC, OGRC and Who Gets to Vote.................................................................. 91 The Dangerous Power of Blood.............................................................................................97 Historicizing Race...........................................................................................................97 Racializing Indians through Science............................................................................... 99 Mixing Blood in 19th Century American Literature and Science..................................102 Blood and Policy...........................................................................................................105 Colonial Impacts............................................................................................................ 114

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8 Conclusion............................................................................................................................119 4 MEMORY IN THE BLOOD................................................................................................ 120 Adoption...............................................................................................................................121 Reworking Blood..................................................................................................................127 Telling Osage History.................................................................................................... 127 100 Years of Federal Control Over Osage Citizenship................................................. 131 Vehicle of Connection................................................................................................... 135 Constitutionalizing Blood.............................................................................................. 143 Conclusion............................................................................................................................145 5 THE LIFE OF OSAGE SOVEREIGNTY............................................................................ 148 Histories of Sovereignty.......................................................................................................149 Situating Osage Sovereignty.................................................................................................151 Layered Sovereignties..........................................................................................................158 Tobacco Compacting.....................................................................................................162 Delineating Sovereignty From Within.................................................................................. 166 2006 Osage Constitution and the Community Backlash............................................... 169 Conclusion............................................................................................................................175 6 OBSTACLES TO COMMUNI TY BASED REFORM ....................................................... 177 Constitutional Convention vs. Reform Commission............................................................ 178 Community Meetings...........................................................................................................185 Non-Shareholders.................................................................................................................190 Lack of Ownership...............................................................................................................193 Writing As a Group............................................................................................................. .197 Communication.................................................................................................................. ...200 Rumors......................................................................................................................... .........202 Conclusion............................................................................................................................211 7 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... 214 APPENDIX A VOTE NO FOR A BE TTER FUTURE ................................................................................221 B DEAR OSAGE PEOPLE..................................................................................................... 222 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................226 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................236

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9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CONSTITUTING AN OSAGE NATION: HISTORIES, CITIZENSHIPS, AND SOVEREIGNTIES By Jean Dennison May 2008 Chair: Peter Schmidt Major: Anthropology This dissertation examines the mapping of Osage nation building with in the context of their 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. It is driven by three primary concerns: first, to study how the colonial situa tion created certain limita tions on and possibilities for Osage citizenship and governmental formation; second, to follow the ways in which desires surrounding Osage identity and governance were created and changed through the reform process; and third, to record how the write rs of the 2006 Osage Constitution navigated the conflicts arising from these hist ories and desires in order to cr eate the new governing structure. My analysis integrates colonial policies, local histories, aut horized and unauthorized stories about the reform process, biological facts, emotions and personal experiences. By recognizing the dynamic tensions from these differe nt sources, my research promotes a detailed picture of how understandings of past, present and future are currently being debated among the Osage. One of the primary goals of this diss ertation is to explore how American Indian populations today are negotiating colonialism and how these less ons might help us understand politics more generally.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Diffraction patterns record the history of interaction, interference, reinforcem ent, difference. Diffraction is a bout heterogeneous history, not about originals. Unlike reflections, diffractions do not displace the same elsewhereRather, diffraction can be a metaphor for another kind of critical consciousnessone committed to making a difference and not repeating the Sacr ed Image of Same. [Haraway 1997] As I was walking into the Osage Tribal Counc il office, I decided to drop by and visit Julia Lookout. Julia had been my first contact w ithin the Osage government when I began my research almost a year before and had been ex tremely helpful and encour aging about my desire to study the Osages government reform process. When I asked her how things were going, she responded with her usual same ol same ol, but she was visibly frustrated. Before coming to work for Chief Jim Gray and the Osage Trib al Council (OTC), Julia had spent her career working for Fortune 500 companies, helping to create better business environments. She had frequently talked about her frus trations with the tribal council form of government and how its structure made any sort of pla nning impossible. I could see that she was busy, so I started to walk away, but she stopped me by saying, And you wanted to be Indian. This led to an awkward pause where I was not sure how to respond; was it that simple, had I returned to do my research with my fathers tr ibe in order to avoid b ecoming white in the world of academia? Reading my thoughts she went on to say, I always thought that I would grow up to be a white girl, but look at me back here deali ng with all this. Jean, lo ok at you now. You just could not stay away. She then told me sh e was impressed with how I had stuck through the entire reform process, with all it s drama. I can hardly handle it most of the time, she said, but there is just so much work that needs to be done here (Personal communication, April 19, 2006).

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11 In the many conversations I had while doing my dissertation research on the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, it became clear that seem ingly solid categories, such as white or Indian, were continually in flux. To be white could mean having a certain biological make-up or it could refer to a lack of Osage community connection. For many Osage, deciding where to live and whether or not to work for the Osage Trib e was as much about identity as it was about employment. Rebuilding the Osage Nation after a century of federal control was not only about sovereignty and identity, but also about build ing a healthier community. Within the 2004-2006 reform process, it became impossible to expli cate the internal and ex ternal debates about identity, sovereignty, nation building, and tribally sponsored community programs. If the Osage remained a tribe of around 4,000 people, whose el ected leaders were primarily responsible for increasing revenues of the mineral estate distri buted in per capita payments to these select people then the impact of the Osage tribe on th e lives of Osage people was going to be held to a minimum. If, on the other hand, the Osage were able to create a nati on that represented the 16,000 people descendant from the 1906 roll, with a government focused on building a whole host of programs including health care, language revitalization, education, and elder services, then other notions about being part of an Osage community became possible. In December 2004, the OTC sponsored federal legislation (HR 2912) that lifted 98 years of direct colonial control, allowing the Osage peopl e to once again determine their own citizenship and form of government. The federal government was no longer going to hold the Osage people under a resolution style government w ith its 4,000 shareholders, but what would take its place? As the appointed members of the Osage Gove rnment Reform Commi ssion (OGRC) solicited opinions about the future of Osage citizenship an d governmental structure, I was able to gather various ideas about what it meant to rebuild an indigenous nation in th e early part of the 21st

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12 century. This dissertation will explore these ideas in order to understand the ways in which histories, emotions, and experiences were hard ened into the constituti on adopted by the Osage people on March 3, 2006. Moreover, this dissertation will make sense of the motivations that led the Osage people to reconfi gure the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma into the Osage Nation, and the implications this has for the Osage peopl e and the colonial rela tionship more generally. Approach to Research Positioning Myself Late one night in March 2004, I received a call fro m my father. He told me that up on the hill (the area in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where th e OTC chambers and other offices of the Osage Tribe are located), there had been a lot of di scussion about reforming tribal membership. I laughed and told him that people had been talkin g about reforming member ship my whole life and most of his. He replied that this was diffe rent, and that the OTC had introduced a bill in the US Congress to finally settle the membership pr oblem and Congressional field hearings had just been held in Tulsa. At these hearings, various people had argued that the Osage needed, like all other tribes in the continental United States, to be able to determine their own citizenship and form of government. It now looked like the U.S. House would soon pass the bill and send it on to the Senate. My father, always scheming for ways to bring me back to Oklahoma, made a convincing enough case that night on the phone to get me back home for the summer. I had just finished my Masters at the University of Fl orida (UF) and was eager to star t my dissertation research. I talked with the OTC and received their approval to do research, began doing interviews with the key players in the reform, and facilitated a yout h video workshop where three Osage girls made a video about what it meant to them to be Indian today entitled How, We Are Present. For the 2004-2005 school year, I returned to UF, where I finished my coursework, wrote grants, and

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13 took my qualifying exams. I was able to return briefly to Oklahoma in February 2005 to join in the celebration of Osage Sovereignty Day. Du ring the celebration, I wo rked with the Osage Tribal Museum in order to reco rd interviews of various Osage and what they wanted from the reform process. In May 2005, I was finally done w ith all my obligations in Florida and was able to return to Oklahoma full-time for my dissertation research. When I attended my first Osage Governme nt Reform Commission (OGRC) business meeting, I became concerned that the reform pr ocess might not be successful. There were thirteen months remaining before the next OT C elections were scheduled, and this suddenly seemed like an extremely short timeframe in wh ich to write a constitution. It took the OGRC many months to begin working as a cohesive gr oup or even toward a common goal. When I attended my first meeting in early May 2005, they had been together a litt le over two months but were still negotiating their relati onships. They had also just rece ntly acquired staff members and an office, so the process was just beginning in earnest. The conversations during my first meeting jumped from topic to topic with little coherence. Wh en I introduced myself and the dissertation project I was hoping to do on the reform process, they seemed accepting, yet hesitant. They were still unsure of how the reform process should proceed and thus having another witness with a video camera (there wa s already one provided by the tribal museum) likely only added to their sense of being overwhelmed. During this early period, I frequently ha d extra time between Tribal Council and Government Reform meetings. Occasionally, I would stop by and see an elder who worked for the tribe. Even upon first meeting me, she was ve ry talkative, always telling intricately woven stories that frequently incorporated Indian politics, recent television programming, and Osage genealogies. About a politician from another tribe she said, He is an apple Indian, red on the

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14 outside, but white w ithin, meaning that while he looked In dian, his practices resembled a white man. She then asked me if I was a Dennison Os age. When I answered yes and told her who my grandfather was, she said that she had known him. She said that her grandfather had also married a white woman, but that even before that it was unlikely that her family had been fullblood Osage. There were almost no Osage fullblood families after the French. My grandfather had sandy brown hair like yours, but he could speak Osage. Pe ople would come from all around to speak Osage with both my grandfather and my father, but I never learned much. This focus on the multiple strands of behavi or, physical traits, and language/cultural proficiently continued to freque nt many discussions during the reform process. My own heritage was occasionally brought up. Many people placed far more emphasis on my connections to the tribe through my father and gra ndfather than my seemingly disc onnected phenotype of fair skin or lighter brown hair and eyes, at least in my presence. Since my grandfather had been an original allottee, meaning he had been listed on the 1906 Osage allotment roll, and had lived his entire life on the Osage reservation, most Osag e saw me as an Osage, even though I could not under the old federally imposed structure particip ate in tribal politics. My father, who had inherited his fathers share in the Osage minera l estate, was an official member of the Osage tribe, having the right to vote and run for office. Under this existing system, it was not until his death would I inherit his share in the mineral estate and be able to vote in tribal elections. As the reform continued, the commissioners and many of the other Osage involved in the reform accepted me (and my video camera) as part of the process. Because I attended OTC and other meetings as well as talked to many diffe rent Osage, I frequently could offer helpful information about what was going on around the reservat ion. It was also clea r that as an Osage I hoped for the success of the reform process, so that I might be able to participate in tribal politics

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15 while my father was still living. This inside connection frequently gave me access to discussions I would likely not have had otherwis e, at least not as qui ckly. Most likely this connection also kept some people from confronting me about do ing my research. As one younger Osage told me during an OTC meeting, Youre Osage, you have the right to write about this process however you want. Of course, there were others who were concerned about how I was going to be using the information I collected, particularly dur ing the meetings I recorded of the Osage Shareholders Association (OSA). Prior to each of the five mee tings I recorded of the OSA, I would ask those in charge of the meeting whether or not it was okay if I recorded the meeting. I was repeatedly told that it was an open mee ting and that it was ofte n recorded for various reasons. During the first four meetings, nobody voiced any concern, so I continued to record the meetings. Many people in attendance knew about my research and told me that they were glad to have their opinions recorded. By February 2006, the OSA, for reasons that will be discussed throughout this dissertation, was taking a strong stance against the propos ed Osage Constitution. On February 26, 2006, various participants in the Shareholders associat ion began to fear that their stance against the constitution was going to be used against them or their children who were employed by the Osage Nation. One woman had recently been fired from one of the tribally owned casinos and some of the shareholders were afraid this was because she had attended a recorded meeting about problems with the Osages gaming institutions held by the OSA. When I asked the woman herself, she told me that she thought she had lost her job because she was not willing to fall in line with the person who was running the casino (Personal Communicati on: February 26, 2006).

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16 Because of the controversy, I suggested that th e chair of the meeting open the issue of my filming for discussion among those in attendance. Because I was not recording the discussion, the following account was derived from my notes: Participant 1 : This is a closed association who pays dues and thus the information here is not open to the public. P2: I might agree with you during our normal business, but what we are discussing today is public and I want a record of it. I want the council and the commission to see it. P3: I agree that this is a private cl ub, we have to pay $25 a year to be a part of it. Further, people will not feel free to talk if the camera is on. P4: I would like to suggest a compromise. I th ink that she should r ecord the four major presentations we have and then she can turn the camera off allowing people to have their discussion. P5: There could be people who are singled out fo r their opinions. There have already been some repercussions of all the video that is being done. P6: I want the council and the commission to hear what I have to say, but there are others who might not feel comfortable. Jean Dennison: That is why I asked when I came in today if anybody had a problem with my recording. Let me back up a minute and tell you all why I am here. For those of you who dont know me, I am currently doing my dissertation res earch on the Osage governmental reform process. This organizatio n [OSA] is a very important part of that process, so several months back I came to one of your meetings. At that time Billy Sam was chairing the meeting and I asked him if anybody would have a problem with my recording. He said that it was an open m eeting and that anything said there could be shared. I understand that he might have mis understood that and I sure dont want to get people into trouble or make anyone uncomfortable, so I am glad this is being put to a vote. P7: Another option rather than being recorded could be having everyone who wants to share something write it down on one of these index cards. P4: I make the motion that we allow her to film the first four recordings with the understanding that it is only for our use and for her own use and it shall not be shared with any third party. Jean: I could make sure that any use of this material did not include anyones names and that the actual footage would not be shown. P5: I second that motion.

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17 P8: But now there are two concurrent motions on the floor. We need to vote on the first motion, which was just whether or not we wa nted recordings at these meetings. P5: That was not the last motion; the last moti on was just whether or not we wanted to open up the issue for discussion. P9: All those in favor of P4s suggestion that she be allowed to film the first four speakers and that the footage be for us and her to use, but that it should not be disclosed to any third party please raise your handAll those opposed. There were no votes opposed to th is motion, so I recorded the four presentations and then turned off my camera. This was the only encounter I had during the reform process about my recordings, likely because all of the other record ings were either voluntary (i.e. during a formal interview) or were during public meetings. People who spoke during public meetings knew they were going on record (not only my record, but also records being made by the OTC, the Osage Tribal Museum, and/or the OGRC). Another example of the sort of hesitation I occasionally encountered during my fieldwork occurred while I was attending an OTC meeting. During the meeting, I sat next to a woman with whom I had not yet had any interactions. She as ked me about some of the video footage I had recorded of the Osage Sovereignty Day celebra tion and then discussed how much last minute work she had to do on their sons outfits for the y early June dances. Were you at the dances last year? she inquired, and I responded that I had been. She then asked where I lived and I told her that I was staying with my parents in Skiat ook, a town about 45 minutes outside of Pawhuska (the capital of the Osage Nation), which stra ddles the Osage reservation and Tulsa County. Starting to show some frustration, she said, To me you have an accent, an eastern accent. I was a little taken aback by this, but responded that I had gone to college in Ohio and married an Ohioian. To this she expressed satisfaction; she had succeeded in placing my foreignness in an understandable sphere. It is an Ohio accent, sh e said with authority. By continuing to study

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18 me, she had eventually found a char acteristic that marked me as partially outside the spectrum of the community (Personal Comm unication June 1, 2005). The need to place a researcher, or anyone within the spectrum of belonging is a fundamental part of constructing any community. During my research I was frequently situated as both part of and outside th ese boundaries, even within the same conversation. The more I explored these positionings, both my own and that of others, the more it became clear that few people were able to maintain a position of be ing completely of the Osage community at all times and within all spaces. During these frequent clashes over knowledge and boundary mapping, it was the very definition of the community that was at stake. Because the Osage, like all communities, is not only always in flux, but also defined differently from different subject positions, these discussions about who was enti tled to claim belongi ng, and how much, were central to very establishment of a community. Th is dissertation is fundamentally an effort to explore these negotiations thr oughout the period of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Whereas within the reservation categories su ch as being Indian or being white were generally acknowledged as fluid and consisting of a range of factors such as physical traits, biological relation, cultural invo lvement, language proficiency, a nd even ones accent, outside the reservation these categories were far more fixe d. While at school in Florida, I had occasional encounters with other graduate st udents who seemed perplexed w ith how to position me. While I looked white, I had a connection to the Osag e community. A few people even questioned me outright about the sincerity of this connection and insinuated that its primary function was to give me better access to scholarships and grants One of these encount ers took place during my office hours after I had returned to Florida to co mplete my dissertation. In a conversation with two fellow graduate students, I mentioned that my father was actually registered by the federal

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19 government as incompetent, meaning that the federal government managed any trust lands or funds he possessed. One of the students, whom I had only had occasional contact with, looked at me and said, I did not know you were Nativ e American. Is your father a full-blood? I responded no, and explained that the Osage did not configure membership st rictly along the lines of blood quantum, but by descent. The conversation then continued: Grad student 1: So, did you father grow up in the area? Jean: Yeah, and they live in the area now. GS2: Do they live in tipi's? All: Laugh. GS2: Sorry, when I lived in Canada my friend who was an anthropologist took me to stay in a tipi. Jean: Was the tipi where they lived or was this something they set up for visitors? GS2: I guess it could have been just where we st ayed. I think it was part of some festival. I am not sure where the people stayed. GS1: So that makes sense. I knew you did your re search there [with the Osage], but that would make sense with the funding. They woul d be like, of course. Now, where are my Yoruba roots? Conversations of this kind, while not frequent during my graduate education, did occur on occasion. Another graduate student asking me about my background said, but you dont dress like an Indian. Valerie Lamber t (2007) has also written about th e different perceptions of the categories of white and Indian on and off the re servation (see also: Sturm 2002, Garroutte 2003). According to Lambert, The larger, non-Indian so ciety treats the categories of white (or black) and Choctaw as mutually exclusive. In general, Choctaws do not (2007: 200). Because I did not fit certain notions from popular film or el sewhere about what it was that constituted an Indian, including certain dress, skin color, or even living in a tipi, some people outside the reservation have a hard time accepting the authentic ity of Osage connection. As this dissertation

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20 will explore, such inquiries have long histories as well as important ramifications for the Osage reform process. In these ways, I was deeply implicated in all asp ects of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, but particularly with one of its central questions: Who is it that constitutes an Osage? Moving from Reflexivity to Diffraction The reflections just shared have becom e qu ite common within cult ural anthropology and certainly have a place in terms of understand ing how the process of knowledge production takes place. There is no doubt that my preexisting conn ection to the Osage tribe helped to frame the sorts of questions I asked as well as the sorts of answers I found satisfying. I do not begin my dissertation with these stories, how ever, to reveal any bias that unde rlies this dissertation. To do so would reinforce the idea that my marked experience is somehow less accurate than a more neutral perspective. The ideal witness has traditionally been construc ted within western scientific discourses as objective, neutral, and thus invisibl e. In order to really see how things are, one is supposed to ignore personal opinions and just translate reality as it is. Ho wever, as Donna Haraway (1997) writes, this space of objectivity is located in a deeply western, heterosexual, white, male perspective. Citing the Protestant English scientist Robert Boyle as one of the central models and forerunners of the paradigm of objectiv ity, Haraway argues, Enhancing their agency through their masculine virtue exer cised in carefully regulated public spaces, modest men were to be self-invisible, transparent, so that thei r reports would not be pol luted by the bodyThis is a crucial epistemological move in the grounding of several centuries of race, sex, and class discourse as objective scientific reports (1997: 32). Boyle, whose laboratory experiments involved gentlemen witnesses, helped to esta blish the criteria around which one could remain unmarked and thus objective.

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21 Those who do not fit the image of this modest gentlemen must frequently struggle to prove that their own point of view does not pollute neutral scientific observation. Rather than having the authority to witness, th ese marked individuals are understood as inherently subjective. Colored, sexed, and laboring persons still have to do a lot of work to become similarly transparent to count as objective, modest witnesse s to the world rather th an to their bias or special interest (Har away 1997: 32). In this way, the specia l interests of the white, protestant, heterosexual gentlemen were rendered as neutral, ju st as all other positions came to be marked. Embedded in the facts produced in these scientifical ly objective spaces are the perspectives of a very small minority of the population. In leav ing such positions as unmarked, science has frequently reinforced the observations fr om certain positions as more real. Reflexivity is often touted as the solution to this problem of self-invisibility. However, as Haraway goes on to point out, this relentless in sistence on reflexivity[is] not able to get beyond self-vision as the cure for self-invisibili ty. The disease and the cure seem to be practically the same thing, if wh at you are after is another kind of world and worldliness (1997: 33-34). Reflexivity often assumes that under the bias lies an inhe rent truth, which must simply be unearthed, thus hiding the multitude ways in which realities in the making consist of negotiated experiences. Rather than challenging the existing st atus quo, reflexivity works to reinforce it. Even as it refocuses the discussion on the self and the subjective rather than the other and the objective, it sti ll maintains these binaries. Reflexivity has become a way of purging oneself of all the markers of subjectivity, rather than a way of understanding who it is that is able to claim objectivity and why.

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22 As an alternative to reflexivity, Haraway presents diffraction. While her concept of diffraction is not completely developed, Haraway describes it most fully in reference to a painting by Lynn Randolph. Diffraction patterns record the history of interaction, interference, reinforcement, difference. Diffraction is a bout heterogeneous history, not about originals. Unlike reflections, diffractions do not displace the same elsewhereRather, diffraction can be a metaphor for another kind of critical consciousnessone committed to making a difference and not repeating the Sacr ed Image of Same. [1997: 273] In this dissertation, I will use diffraction, rather than objectivity or refl exivity as my central metaphor. Instead of trying to discover what it is that constitutes Osageness, or to reflect the idea of Osageness through my own experience, this dissert ation looks at a broad range of evidence including colonial policie s, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories about the reform process, biological facts, emotions and personal experiences in order to map out Osage nation building within the context of the 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. Rather than attempt to create a si ngle lived reality surrounding the Osage, I follow the diverse ways in which various Osage incorporate differing ideas into their own notions of self and nation, creating multiple lived realities. Th ese diffraction patterns complicate simple ideas of Indian, Osage, or coloni zed, focusing instead on the ways in which these categories are continually being negotiated. By moving the focus of anthropologica l writing away from a taxonomic approach, diffraction works to explicate rather than to generalize. In a similar vein, Valerie Lambert (2007) write s that anthropologists should center their research and writing around key events. Using the writing of Sally Falk Moore, she calls for the study of events that provide evidence of the ongoing dismantling of structures or attempts to create new ones, that reveal ongoing contests and conflict and competitions or that expose the complex mix of order, anti-order and non-order th at characterize ethnogra phic realities (11). The 2004-2006 Osage reform process was just such an event. By focusing on what is being

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23 negotiated, rather than making gene ralizations about what is, the Osage reform process allows for a study of the Osage that avoids creating a homogenized and timeless picture. I work to understand the continuous production and negotiati on of these categories. In doing so, my goal is to open up possibilities for an Osage future, rather than to foreclose a future by defining the Osage as encapsulated in a static past. Timeline In an interview I conducted with Osage Chief Jim Gray shortly after the passage of HR 2912 (a US law recognizing the Osage inherent right to determ ine their own membership and form of government), he explained how this law developed. Duri ng the 2002 OTC election, several of the candidates, includ ing Gray, ran on a platform of changing the requirements for membership in the Osage Nation. When thos e running on this membership platform were elected for the next four-year term, the new tr ibal council felt it had a mandate to reform membership. They held community meetings and ultimately lobbied Congress for a bill that would not only allow for membership reform, but also reforms in the structure of government (Personal communication, December 29, 2004). In February 2005, the OTC created the ten-member re form commission and set them the task of determining what changes the Osage people wanted for membership and government structure. Leonard Maker, the Head of Planning for the Osage Tribe, had spent the previous year developing a reform plan, which was to be implemented once the bill was passed. According to the Comprehensive Plan created by Maker and es tablished as an ordinance by the OTC, the OGRC were responsible for: hol ding a series of community meetings; creating a webpage; circulating mailings in order to obtain citizen involvement; creati ng a questionnaire representing the information gathered from the public; and, then drafting a constitution that represented the majority opinions as expressed in the questionn aire. While the reform commission completed all

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24 of these assignments, they also added a referendum1 election in November 2005 because they did not feel they had enough information from the questionnaire to draft a c onstitution. The final vote of the Constitution was held in March 2006, a nd elections to the new government were held in June. Evidence Collected From May 2005 until August 2006, I attended and video-recorded the weekly OGRC meetings as well as the bi-weekly OTC meetings. During this time, I also recorded 71 interviews with various people of Osage descent, including members of the OTC and OGRC, about what they wanted from the reform process as we ll as how they thought about the process. Additionally, the OGRC held 42 comm unity meetings at various places on the reservation, in nearby cities, and in Texas and California, wher e Osage gave their opinions about what kind of government the Nation should have, how citizensh ip ought to be determined, and the problems they had with the reform process. I attended and recorded 34 of those meeti ngs as well as talked informally with people about the reform process. I also attended and recorded five of the monthly meetings held by the Osage Shareholde rs Association, where many of the complaints associated with the reform process were articulated. Even when recording these meetings and interviews, I took extensive notes so that I mi ght better understand the co ntext in which these conversations were taking place. The Internet also provided a central tool fo r following the reform process. On a weekly basis, I read and recorded the extensiv e information posted online through the Osage 1 While the election was called a referendum, its purpose was to allow people to agree or disagree with a series of options. The issues ranged from membership qualifications to the structure of the government. All of the options were supported by over 78 percent of the voters. Four of the questions presented two options, all of which had clear victories except question 8, which was slit 48.4percent to 51.6 percent. This was the only question that was not directly incorporated from the referendum vote into the fi nal constitution. See appendix-c for a breakdown of the referendum vote.

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25 Government Reform website, the Osage Shareholder website, and several other sites that had space devoted to the Osage reform process. I have continued to monitor these online forums for discussions on the reform process, which is still actively being de bated over a year later. In order to provide a background to the reform pr ocess, I also completed extensive archival research at the White Hair Memorial Research Center and Tulsa University. I spent additional time in Oklahoma working with the Osage Language Department, the Osage Education Department, and the Osage Tribal Museum. Thes e spaces provided an important backdrop to the reform process and offered alternative perspectives concerning the reform. Approach to Writing Mincing Words W ithin the literature on Ameri can Indian communities, anthropological or other, there has been a long-standing debate about terminology. Th e term Native American arose as a reaction to the term Indian, which was seen as a colo nial word beginning w ith Columbus supposed confusion about landing in India. When at all possible, it is certainly best to use tribally specific terms such as Osage or Choctaw, but sometimes it is important to refer to larger trends affecting indigenous people throughout America. I have chosen to use the word Indian, primarily because it was the word most commonly used within th e Osage community. I will also use the word indigenous, which is beginning to grow in popularity. Similarly, I occasionally use the designation tribe, althou gh the Osage refer to themselves more and more as the Osage Nation, because the word tribe is still in common usage. The term tribal nation helps to clarify when I am talking about American Indian nations rather than nations more generally. Tense is another common problem with which writers of anthropology frequently have to deal. Anthropologists have been strongly critiqued for their use of the ethnographic present, the use of the present tense to create synchronic times divorced from change. Present tense has

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26 the ability to freeze cultures within a static time ignoring changes that are constantly occurring. For this reason, most of this disser tation is written in past tense. The use of past tense is also problematic because American Indians have far t oo frequently been vanished to the past. My best solution to these problems has been to re ference the specific pe riod I am talking about, namely the 2004-2006 reform process. I will also occasionally switch into present tense in order to make the point that these are issues that are still important to Osage people today and will likely remain so into the future. Because I was using a video camera throughout my research, most of the quotes within this dissertation are directly from tran scriptions made of meetings or interviews. Only occasionally when I was not recording were the quotes take n from my notes. All quotes from interviews, meetings, and personal conversations have a date, and the community meetings are also referenced as to their location. When I am re ferencing a conversation that either happened informally or during a formal interview, I refe r to it as a personal communication. Even though most people I interviewed did not request anonymit y, I have only used the names of the major, public governmental figures to av oid any negative consequences that could result from being quoted. Anthropology and the North American Indian The earliest tendencies within anthropology were to collect, purify, and classify. Growing out of the field of ethnology, with its clear c onnections to social Da rwinism, anthropologys origins are rooted in the classi fication of the human races (Baker 1998). Located within driving distance from Am erican univers ities and museums, North-Amer ican Indian populations were seen as a central link in understa nding the evolution of humans from a state of primitive savagery to modern civilization. Lewis Henry Morgans in terest in Native American social organization and ideas of progress inspired the di scipline of anthropology. In his book Ancient Society

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27 Morgan argues that each culture represents a di fferent stage of evolution and can be placed on a progressive evolutionary scale. For Morgan, every group goes through these various levels of development, each with its own distinctive mode of subsistence, in order to reach civilization. As he writes, with the production of inventi ons and discoveries, and with the growth of institutions, the human mind necessarily grew and expanded; and we are led to recognize a gradual enlargement of the brain itself (1877: 37). While such an approach clearly challenged assumptions about the fixed nature of race, it used research with American Indians to prove their inferiority. In describing early ethnographers, Leah Dilw orth (1996) argues that salvage anthropology grew out of desire not to save American Indian cultures from extinction, but to promote it. These ethnographers believed anthropology was a science that could be an agent of social reform; by observing civilization at earlier stages of its evol ution they could understand the nature of progress and use this knowledge to further the nations progress. They also felt their studies would provide an swers to the Indian problem, which after the Civil War, seemed soluble by either civiliz ation or extermination (24) Dilworth goes on to say that Mo rgans ideas of cultural evoluti on dovetailed nicely with notions of assimilation; it made the process of civilizat ion seem inevitable and natural (27). Through their research, these early ethnogr aphers argued that American Indians were capable of being civilized, which was then used as a justification for allotment and other devastating federal programs. Anthropologists we nt about proving their hierarch ies through the collection of thousands of pounds of American Indian material culture and thousands of pages of kinship charts, grammatical structures, and taxonomic de scriptions of ceremonies. The goal was to create a record of these practices before they were gone, because even though the culture was assumed to be inferior, its study was seen as central to understanding modern civilization. One consequence of this search for material to be categorized as authentically primitive was that early anthropologists frequently missed th e political realities that were being negotiated

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28 at the time of their research. In describing the work done among the Hopi in the late 19th century, Dilworth (1996) argues that even thoug h complex debates about allotment that were taking place they were generally absent from early anthropological accounts. Even though ethnographers were working at Hopi amidst these political and social conf licts, this information was, for the most part, absent from Fewkess and other ethnographic accountsThese scientists were interested in the essential Hopithey we re interested in form ulating theories about humanity as a whole (29-30). Instead of focusing on lived experience, these early anthropologists were interested in snippets of culture that could be collected and then displayed (through books or exhibits) as part of their argument for the exis tence of a hierarchical schema. An early example of how colle ction and classification was put to use is the World's Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. Following the lead of a series of expositions starting in 1851, the Columbian Exposition set out to show the "natural conditions" of all the people inhabiting America before Columbus arrive d, and to promote the spread of humanity and civilization across the continen t (Hinsley 1991: 347). The goal of the organizers, including anthropologists, was to "estab lish a baseline against which to measure civili zed progress" (Hinsley 1991: 350). For Marilyn Ivy (1995), being modern often requires this emergence of tradition, because progressive history has to be measured against some sort of background (5). Further, the modern concept of the nation-state also requires such a baseline. As Benedict Anderson writes in Imagined Communities (1983), If nation-states ar e widely conceded to be new and historical, the nations to which they give political expression al ways loom out of the immemorial past (11-12). In the case of the Columbian Exposition, the United States was a young country and thus needed to connect itself with an immemorial past, something the historically located native was made to provide.

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29 The organizers of the Columbian Exposition, however, did not stop with the creation of this pristine native. They also turned this native into an object for modern consumption. In setting up the exposition, for example, it became crucial to demarcate the visitor from the performer with a physical boundary, because it was felt that "where the gaze can be returned, specular commerce becomes uneasy (Hinsley 1991: 358). For Hinsley, this detachment was further strengthened by the payment of an admi ssion fee. "The process of commodification," Hinsley argues, "rested on the premise that at th e bottom everything is for sale and everyone has a pricethat the world, no matter how bizarre, is reducible to cash terms" (1991: 362). By creating the natives as static in time and making them into a commodity, the organizers of the fair established objectification as a potent way of dealing with other cultures. This objectification was extremely potent in shaping not only the imaginations of the American people, but also the policies of th e federal government toward American Indian populations (not to mention the parallel proces ses occurring with African Americans and other non-whites). In talking about the three founding fathers of Am erican anthropology, including Daniel Brinton (1837-1899), John We sley Powell (1834-1902), and Frederic Ward Putnam (1839-1915), Lee Baker (1998) argues, Each of these men articulated an evolutionary paradigm imbued with ideas of pr ogress and racial inferiority. In turn, politicians and others within specific institutions used these or sim ilar ideas to justify the oppression of people of color (52-53). For American Indians, this era of the founding of anthropology was closely linked to the federal governments policies of allotment, termination, and assimilation (forced education, the criminalization of religious and cultural practices, and the onslaught of missionaries within their territories). For the Osage, this period involved the loss of over a hundred million acres of land, the destruction of two governing systems, and a complete change

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30 in lifestyle with the imposition of allotment. Th ere is no doubt that early anthropologists played an importa nt role in the colonial oppressi on of American Indian peoples, both by ignoring oppressive policies in their writings as well as by offering justification for federal policies through their salvage tec hniques and evolutionary classification systems. In the early twentieth century, as anthropologists began to ta ke a more critical stance toward cultural evolution and the hierarchies of early anthropology, they tended to embrace cultural relativism. Thomas Biolsi (1997) descri bes Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Edward Sapirs version of relativism as intergrationist relativism. In this view, a culture is an integrated, coherent whole, which is greater than the various shre ds and patches that make up its parts. Furthermore, the world is filled with an array of distinct cultures, with discrete boundaries, not unlike species (Bio lsi 1997:136). While this approach allowed anthropologists to move away from racial hierarchies, it was still dependent on the pr oblematic approach of classification. If there were boundaries around a culture, then there were also points at which cultures ceased to be coherent and thus became inauthentic. In discussing the work of anthropologist Haviland Mek eel (1902-1947) among the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge reservation, Biolsi argues that just such a problem developed: The cultural relativist apparatus generated a severe classificatory problem for Mekeel in which mo st Oglala people and most of what they thought and did in the real world of the reservation could not appear authentically Indian (136). Instead of tryi ng to understand the complex realit ies that were being negotiated within the colonial situati on, Mekeel and other anthropolog ists attempted to purify and categorize. By searching for the least polluted group (i.e. the group that ha d had the least contact with white people or culture), thes e anthropologists not only reinfor ced very particular images of

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31 what it was that constituted an Indian, but also wo rked with government agencies to force these ideas back onto Indian populations, through citizenship criteria and/ or governmental structure. Mekeel, for example, was hired by the Applie d Anthropology Unit of the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) in 1935 to help draft tribal constitutions for the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations under the provisions of the Indian Re organization Act. As Bi olsi explains, Mekeel and the superintendent insisted that the tiyospaye was the only appropriate form of political organization for the Lakota, and that other units of organizationt hose being demanded by many Lakotas, for instance represented inappropriate forms resulting from the effects of reservation life and the breakdown of aboriginal organization (1997: 149). Ignoring not only the requests of the indigenous populat ions, but also important preex isting arrangements within the Treaty of 1868, these constitutions gave substantiv e shape to anthropological desires to purify the people they encountered into their models of the primitive past. As Biolsi notes, Thus did a powerful anthropological vision of the primitive help construct, not just an idea about the Lakota, but one of the very real, very material, coloni al structures through which the Lakota would be allowed to be Lakota in twentieth-century Am erican their official tribal government. Ultimately, these desires by early anthropologists to collect, purify, and to classify have had real and devastating impacts on American Indian populations. Reacting to these unsatisfying encounters with anthropologists, American Indian communities began closing their doors. In 1970 Vine Deloria, Jr wrote: Behind each policy and program with which Indians are plagued, if traced completely back to its origin, stands the anthr opologist. The fundamental thesis of the anthropologist is that people are then considered objects for experi mentation, for manipulation, and for eventual extinction Not even Indians can relate themselves to this type of creature who, to the anthropologists, is the real I ndian. Indian people begin to feel that they are merely shadows of a mythical super-Indian. [81-82]

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32 Within this passage, Deloria brings up three central issues with the role anthropologists have too often played in the lives of Am erican Indian people. The an thropologists re search not only objectifies the Indian, but is also responsible for programs that have aided the federal government in their colonial proj ect to control, transform and eventually annihilate Indian populations. Additionally, anthropo logists have used their tools of collection, purification, and generalization to create a mythi cal super-Indian, which not only does not exist, but also makes many Indian people feel inauthentic. In the last thirty years, an thropologists have increasingly responded to these critiques, moving away from the insisten ce on purification and categori zation toward understanding the complex dynamics at work within current Indian communities. Instead of trying to purify the people and situations in which they come into contact, recent anthropologists have attempted to understand issues that are important to Indi an populations. Thomas Biolsi and Larry Zimmermans 1997 edited volume Indians and Anthropologists: Vine Deloria Jr., and the Critique of Anthropology investigated various anthropologists response to Delorias critiques. In their introduction, Biolsi and Zimmerman argue, What will ultimately be required for us [Indians and Anthropologists] to get along is not new theories, paradigms, discourses, or texts (no matter how critical they might be), nor new sensitivities and ethical stances on the part of anthropologists (no matter how progre ssive they might be), but a cha nge in the social relations of scholarly production within the academy (17). By this, Biolsi and Zimmerman mean that research should stop reflecting the agendas of th e establishment (whether that be the federal government, academia, or the colonial project more generally) and to start building collaborative relationships with indigenous communities that engage the issues these communities find of central importance today.

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33 As Biolsi and Zimmerman point out, this is not a simple project. In addition to a shift in focus, a significant change would also require a modification of institutional protocol: To change the content of what anthropologists do, we will have to develop new criteria of promotion and tenure, for example, in which outreach and se rvice to American Indian constituencies count as much, if not more than, traditional scholar ship (1997:17). Another component Biolsi and Zimmerman cite as central to moving away from the colonial relationship between American Indians and anthropologists is the structural change in the relationship that keeps American Indians outside of academia. In the ten years si nce this publication, this structural relationship has slowly begun to change. More and more North American Indians are entering academia, gaining training in anthropology, and writing on is sues of central importance to their own communities. Audra Simpson and Valerie Lambert are two central examples. Simpson works with the Kahnawake Mohawk focusing on narratives of self, home, and nation. She writes, The culture a nd issues of native peoples can best be examined in terms of the lived experience of nationhood. In order to appreciate that experience, one must take account of the shared set of meanings that are ne gotiated through narrations--through the voices and structural conditions that consti tute selfhood (2000: 126). Rather than attempting to categorize Kahnawake practices into bite size chunks or purify Kahnawake culture down to some fundamental essence, Simpson focuses on a plurality of experiences and narrations. She analyzes the utterances, conversations and disc ourses that work in concert to shape the collective fate of the community and enab le forms of recognition and membership within the polity of Kahnawake (2003: 11). Instead of ignori ng the ways in which settler state politics are at work within the lives of Kahnawake people, Simpson understands these colonial politics as a crucial, although hardly all determ ining, aspect of her research. Rather than seeing Kahnawake

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34 identity as something that simply is, Simpson works to understand the various local and colonial factors involved in these negotiated processe s of internal and external recognition. In a similar vein, Lambert focuses on the w ays by which living Choctaws are exercising Choctaw tribal sovereignty (2007: 15). In order to do this she l ooks at how tribal history, local political movements, economic development, elec tion politics, race, identity, and relationships with the state of Oklahoma and the federal gove rnment are all interwoven within the daily practice of Choctaw sovereignty. Like Simp son, she refuses to freeze Choctaw identity or nationhood as something static, but instead unders tands them as sufficiently flexible and polysemous that they can be selected, assemb led, and deployed in different ways and with different meanings at different points in time[They] are not fixed, but are best understood as claims that are negotiated and renegotiated, instit utionalized and reinstitutionalized, over time (2007: 10). By shifting the focus from purified culture to contested politics, both Lambert and Simpson avoid many of the shortc omings found within earlier anthropological studies of the American Indian. Instead of ignoring the issu es of central importanc e to indigenous people today, both Lambert and Simpson meet these issues head on. These two authors thus provide a central orientation for my treatment of the Osage. Political Anthropology Because of these early approaches, anthropolog is ts and political scientists have been slow to recognize American Indian popul ations as having sophisticated political structures, much less the status of nations (Mair 1977) Reacting to these historie s, Simpson (2000) makes the argument that, much like the nationhood of western stat es (which we will take to be the analytic norm and proceed to problematise), the nationhood of indigenous peoples is made from the bare parts of consciousness and history. However, unlike the nationhood of western states, the nationhood of indigenous peoples has been bifurcated and disassemb led with global processes of

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35 colonization (116). Simpson, unlike earlier po litical anthropologists engaging indigenous populations, sees the nation not as a category that groups either do or do not fit within, but instead recognizes the importance of the discour ses active within the communities themselves. Various people across the world now refer to themse lves as nations, even when they exist within larger nation-state systems such as the United St ates and Canada. Denying that these groups fit some category of the nation-state does not help us understand this phenomenon better. Instead, Simpson outlines a productive appr oach to the nation, arguing th at it is a collectively selfconscious, deliberate and politically expedien t formulation and a lived phenomenon (2000: 118). Within the field of political anthropol ogy, there has been a recent move toward understanding governmental formations less in te rms of defining political institutions, creating concrete categories, or labeling regime shifts. Political anthropologists are moving away from defining the boundaries around terms such at the nation and instead focusing on the local meanings, circulating discourses, multiple contestations, and changing forms of power (Palay 2002: 469). In this way, Julia Paley (2002), Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer (1985), and William Roseberry (1994) have called for a poli tical anthropology that sees governments as enacting a form of power that is not a shared ideology but a common ma terial and meaningful framework for living through, ta lking about and acting upon social orders characterized by domination (Roseberry 1994: 361). Rather than s eeing the nation as a particular set of political practices, this approach focuses on the processes at work within governing institutions. I build upon this approach to political processes by ex amining the Osage constitutional reform as a moment in which local debates about power are negotiated through particular limiting

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36 discourses, including U.S. governmental policie s, differing local unders tandings, and conflicting ideas about history, biology, and relation. Duncan Ivison, Paul Patton and Will Sanders (2 000) explicitly explore the relationship between political theory and the rights of indigenous people. Rather than creating a static definition of sovereignty involving its connection to the nation-state system, these authors attempt to understand how the concept of sovereignty is being mobilized within indigenous communities, a subject I explore at length when asking how the Osage envision sovereignty. Ultimately, these authors argue for a more context-sensitive and multilayered approach to questions of justice, identity, de mocracy and sovereignty. The resu lt would be a political theory open to new modes of cultural and political belo nging (21). Rather than making assumptions about colonial politics or what has been for ced on indigenous populatio ns, this perspective provides another alternative: focusing on political belonging in the making. By looking in depth at government building among the Osage, it is pos sible to understand the complexities involved in questions of politics and justice in Native North American today. Lambert (2007) also provides an importan t approach to political anthropology among indigenous groups. Argui ng against the work of political theorist Ernest Gellner, Lambert discusses how nation-building projects are not necessarily hom ogenizing. She recognizes that for the Choctaw there were some limited homogeni zing effects, but there is also a process of pluralization at work: While exploring ethnographically a set of key principles of informal Choctaw political organization, I id entify and describe the producti on of difference that emerged during and through the tribal elec toral process (Lambert 2007: 13) Specifically, she looks at how the election created three di viding lines among the Choctaw, including employment by the tribe, residence within the re servation territory, a nd a blood quantum. Similarly, I explore the

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37 limitations within Gellners trad itional thesis of homogenizati on, arguing that the Osage Nationbuilding process maintained and strengthened ol der divisions among the Osage, including the shareholder/non-shareholder and blo od based divisions as well as worked to create new divides between those supporting and not supporting the 2006 constitution. Science Studies The third bo dy of literature I draw from is sc ience studies. While only a small part of my dissertation includes the study of sc ience, these approaches underpin my entire research project. Scholars such as Joseph Dumit (1997), Sarah Fr anklin (1997), Donna Haraway (1997), and Bruno Latour (2000) have resisted the notion of the ideal witness, constructed within western scientific discourse as objective, neutral, and thus invisible. Instead of trying to discover an ultimate Truth, these authors create new ethnographies that use variously situated perspectives in order to expose the boundaries that get ma de around nature, culture, objects, subjects, and science. These authors work against the traditional approach of discovering what is and instead attempt to trace out the ways in which realities take shape. Franklin (1997), for example, uses this a pproach to understand the desires surrounding invitro fertilization (IVF) in England. Franklin uses variously s ituated perspectives such as historical accounts of conception, interviews with women from Britain during the Thatcher period, debates in the British Parliament, and pop ular media representations to show how hopes for a naturalized family become intertwined with conceptions of scientific progress, Darwinian understandings of nature, consumerist technology, a nd patriotic perceptions of citizenship. Like most of the theorists within science studies, she is careful not to write off these technologies as either all good or all bad, but presents these discourses as heavily embedded within a complex network of desires. By looking at the various discourses in wh ich these discourses are put to work, Franklin is better able to understand how realities in the making are taking shape around

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38 IVF. Similarly, I combine personal discussions message board postings, newspaper articles, Osage legislation, community meetings, formal interviews, cour t rulings, Oklahoma regulations, origin stories, competing histories, biological facts, and participant observations during the writing of the 2006 Osage constitution in or der to understand the interlinking process surrounding indigenous nation-building in the 21st century. Joseph Dumits approach to science studies has also greatly shaped both the kinds of questions my research asked and how I presen t my written representation of nation-building among the Osage. In particular, I have been in fluenced by his understanding of objective selffashioning, the process whereby we take facts about ourselvesa bout our bodies, minds, capacities, traits, states, limitations, propensities, etc.that we have re ad, heard, or otherwise encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives (1997: 89). This understanding of identity allows me to witness the ways in which the f acts surrounding sovereignty and biology never travel alone, but are laden with stories, experiences, authoriti es, and definitions of human nature. Throughout, I build on Dumits ideas about self-fashioning to better understand the ways in which various Osage made sens e of self and nation during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Bruno Latour also contributes significantly to the field of science st udies and my approach to anthropology. In one publication, he writes ab out how it became possible for Ramses II to be diagnosed with tuberculosis three thousand y ears after his death, when the disease was only discovered as existing in the 19th century. Latour ( 2000) writes, Koch bacillus can be extended into the past to be su rebut this cannot be done at no cost. To allow for such an extension, some work has to be done, especially so me laboratory work. The mummy has to be brought into contact with a hospital, examined by white-coat speci alists under floodlight s, the lungs X-rayed,

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39 bones sterilized with cobalt 60, and so on (249). What Latour points out as interesting about the diagnosis of the Ramses IIs body is not so much th at it is a rewriting of history to match present scientific understandings but that there is a host of apparatuses and concepts that must be utilized in order for this to happen. In other word s, the facts of tubercul osis cant exist without these technologies, and these tec hnologies cannot travel back in tim e. For technology, Latour points out, objects never escape the conditions of thei r production (2000: 250). This approach allows me to better investigat e the biological elements of Osage citizenship. Rather than seeing blood as simply a bodily substan ce, I view it as an institution. As Latour goes on to say, When a phenomenon definite ly exists this does not mean that it exists forever, or independently of all practice and discipline, but that it has been entrenched in a costly and massive institution that has to be monitored and prot ected with great care (255 emphasis added). These institutions are an ything but static, for there are ma ny forces that must constantly work to maintain them as realities. This study, then, is about the mapping of various institutions including : colonialism, EuroAmerican blood, Osage blood, sovereignty, and commun ity based reform. I investigate each of these institutions by looking at th e various ways in which they were talked about, the various objects, subjects, and histories that were brought into these debates, and how they manifested within the 2006 Osage Constitution. Within each ch apter, I inquire into on e of these institutions, examining the forces that go into its maintenance, those that are trying rework it or completely tear it apart, and perhaps most importantly, how these institutions were being circulated during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Like Hara ways diffraction, science studies provides an approach to American Indian studies that does not take categories for granted, but instead follows the ways in which they are created and negotiated.

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40 Histories, Citizenships and Sovereignties In order to examine nation-building among th e Osage, I investigate the debates about history, citizenship, and sovereignty that su rrounded the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Central to this story are the obstacles that col onialism imposes as well as the difficulties faced within community-based reform efforts. Chapter Two focuses on how the Osage have negotiated their colonial relationship with th e United States government and examines how various Osage have dealt with the colonial proce ss. While some people have become afraid of change because of its connection to the federal governments policy of termination, others have continued to embrace earlier ideas of moving to a new country. For these latter Osage, even drastic change is seen as something inherently pa rt of what it means to be Osage, rather than something that destroys Osage identity. In look ing at these debates about change, this chapter focuses on the colonial histories that are told about the Osage, how these histories were discussed during the reform process, and ultimately how th ese histories are negotiated in order to fashion particular Osage identities. It becomes clear th at various histories were mobilized throughout the reform process in order to argue for very specif ic ideas of what the future of the Osage nation should entail. Chapter Three lays the foundation for my disc ussion of Osage citizenship and blood-based ideas about belonging. In additi on to focusing on many of the centr al debates about citizenship during the 2004-2006 Osage reform pr ocess, this chapter also take s an in-depth look into the histories surrounding blood within Euro-American understandings of race and biology. Through the circulation of racial notions in science, literature, and federal policy, some Osage have internalized race-based classificat ion systems, even as they turned these systems on their head. Rather than devaluing Osage blood, these coloni al understandings of race are used by some Osage as a way of asserting their own authority to claim Osage identity and others lack of

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41 authority. Within these asserti ons about the importance of bl ood is certainly an element of colonial-based fear. Without these racial markin gs, some Osage fear that the federal government will cease to recognize them as Indians. This chap ter speaks to the power of colonial discourses as well as the Osage power to rework these di scourses, empowering themselves and their own ideas about what constitutes an Osage. The discussions I present in Chapter Four further complicate the more over-determined elements of Euro-American notions of blood. Rath er than merely inverti ng the racial hierarchy, many Osage completely reworked blood as a me ans to create a connection among the Osage, rather than as a means to exclude. By inve stigating the specific histories surrounding Osage adoption and Osage understandings of blood, this ch apter explores the racial undertones within discussions of blood. Rather th an defining citizenship by reside nce within a de fined territory, Osage blood-based understandings of connectio n allow for a more inclusive approach to determine belonging. Ultimately, the very act of havi ng to create such strict ideas of what it is that constitutes a citizen illustrates the power of the current world system, with its insistence on strictly defined nations and populations. Within Chapter Five I will provide insight in to the larger context in which the Osage reform process took place. Debates about sovere ignty were central to the reform process along with other negotiations taking pl ace about how the government and the citizenship criteria would be structured, and they will continue to be a central aspect of Osage nation-building. I investigate both the concept of sovereignty itself, some aspects of its history, and how the Osage were using it during th e first part of the 21st century. Rather than the exclusive or even supreme authority to control everything within a territory, Osage and other American Indians are now fighting for what can better be understood as layered sovereignties. While some people might

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42 find the term layered authority to be more appropria te, in this chapter I i llustrate the historical reasons the term sovereignty has become so impo rtant. I then examine negotiations between the Osage Nation and the State of Oklahoma, in which this sovereignty was being determined. The debates about tobacco compacting with the Stat e of Oklahoma provide an important illustration of the processual nature of Amer ican Indian sovereignty today. I conclude with an investigation into how the 2006 Osage Constitution addresses issues of sovereignty and some of the immediate backlashes from non-Osage to these claims to au thority within the Osag e reservation after the passage of the Constitution. These investigations reveal that Osage claims to sovereignty are no different from any other claim to sovereignty across the globe. Sovereignty is always a negotiated process. Chapter Six addresses the problems that developed during the Osage community-led government reform process. In addition to ta lking about the structure of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process and the major complaints voiced about the process, the largest challenge to community-based reform is that it is inherently political. Those who had the most to gain, including myself, supported the process, while those who had the most to lose, primarily members of the Osage Shareholders Association, tried hard to stop the process. While there were other forces at work, it is clear that many of those who do not support the current administration also do not support the 2006 Constitu tion. It is also evident that no reform process is ever complete, that these matters will continue to be negotiated among the Osage. This dissertation is ultimately about a particular moment in the colonial relationship between the Osage and the U.S. government. After a hundred years, the Osage have once again asserted, and had acknowledged, th eir right to determine their own citizenship and form of government. In order to understand the various fo rces at work within this moment, I have

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43 outlined a range of histories. These hist ories include stories of Osage governmental organization, colonial relations, federal pol icies, blood, adoption, ci tizenship, sovereignty, reform, and, perhaps most tenaciously, negotiation. I have also pa id particular attention to the ways in which various Osage were talking about the reform, what it meant to them, and what they envisioned for the future of the Osage Natio n. Central to my story are the uneven ways in which the Osage people have interacted with the colonial process. Some Osage feared this change, worrying that it was just the latest attempt to destroy the mineral estate, which they viewed as the fundamental core of the Osage. Others were hesitant, worrying that a hundred years of colonial control had rendered the Osag e no longer fully capable of self-management. Still other Osage saw this moment as one of th e great moves to a new country, signally that change for the better was on its way. Through this study I offer anthropology, political science, and American Indian studies several lessons. Perhaps most importantly, this study acknowledge s the uneven nature of the colonial relationship as well as the lack of uniformity within American Indian populations. Rather than viewing either the colonial process or the Osage themselves as fixed objects of study, I have built on recent work within scienc e studies to better understand the complex ways in which circulating knowledge works to reinfor ce and break apart variou s power structures. I have studied the ways in which different people talk about Osage history, citizenship, sovereignty, and governmental reform in order to better understand the many forces at work within this particular colonial moment. Ra ther than viewing anthropologys goal as the collection of facts about the way things are, I see anthropology as providing key insight into how things are negotiated. My approach refuses to fr eeze the Osage, or the co lonial relationship, as something static and thus works to open up possibilities for an Osage future.

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44 CHAPTER 2 MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRY: NEGO TIATING COL ONIAL LIMITATIONS In fact only a few basic stor ies are told, over and over, a bout Native Americans and other tribal peoples. These soci eties are always either dying or surviving, assimilating or resistingTheir history was a series of cultural and political transa ctions, not all-ornothing conversions or resistances. [Clifford 1988] In the United States, the coloni al process has primarily involve d a series of attempts by the United States government to absorb indigenous populations under its su preme authority. In telling various Osage stories of colonialism, how ever, it becomes apparent that this was and continues to be a negotiated process. By inve stigating the limitations colonialism imposes on the Osage, as well as the possibilities it enables, it is easy to see how this process is far from uniform, but instead contains many creative maneuveri ngs. Of central importance to this story is the way in which the Osages older governing practices were rendered unfamiliar to the Osage population through the imposition of a tribal council structure of government. However, this is not a story about the colonized but rather the continuing, complex and uneven negotiations that have taken place between various Osage and the United States government. One of the most telling results of the colonial process can be seen within the decision to include almost no Osage cultural practices, either current or hi storical, into the 2006 Osage constitution. For many Osage, keeping this cultu re separate from the governing institution is a way of keeping it safe from the influence of politics. Furthermore, because the Osage have been under a foreign governing institution for over 100 years, it no longer made sense to connect Osage cultural practices and governance. Another central aspect of the continuing colonial process is the way in which the Osage Mineral Esta te has come to be seen by some as a sacred institution, whose quarterly payment checks an d administration were at times given more thought than the structure of the Osage government itself. Finally, while some Osage embrace change as a central element of Osage identity, ot hers have come to fear change, because of its

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45 connections to the federal government threats of ending Osage recognition. Only after outlining Osage history is it possible to understand how th ese various responses cr eated very specific arguments about the shape of the Osage gove rning institutions dur ing the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Separation of Culture and the State The Osage people, callin g themselves Ni-U-Ko n-Ska, or Children of the Middle Waters, had various smaller and larger levels at which governance took place. Using the extensive writings of Francis La Flesche, a member of the Omaha tribe who did research on the Osage around the turn of the 20th century, Garrick A. Bailey (1995) pi eced together a picture of Osage cosmology and tribal organization. Although th e Osage first encountered Europeans in 1541, Bailey argues that it was not until the mid 19th century that their social and religious structure was changed radically by the colonial process. Thus, in the early 20th century when La Flesche interviewed Osage, he was able to talk to many people who had reached adulthood under the system that had been in place immediately prior to full colonialization. Bailey argues that early in Osage history a group of tribal advisors, referred to here and elsewhere as the Little Old Men, gathered together to observe and reason out the structure of the cosmos. When they felt secure in their observations, they organized the various Osage people into a model of the cosmos with twenty-four u-ds-the/fireplaces, or clans, representing the spectrum of life symbols, which included animals, plants, celestial bodies and other occurrences such as storms and thunder. Each of these clans was divided into smaller bands as well as grouped together into two groups, the Ea rth people (Hun-kah) and the Sky people (Tzizho). Collectively all twenty-four clans, through their life symbols, symbolically represented the cosmos in all its diversity (Bailey 1995: 40).

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46 During the 2004-2006 Osage government reform pro cess, this Osage history, as outlined in Baileys book and also told in oral histories, occasionally surfaced as a possible model for what the Osage Nation could become. A bill reaffirmi ng the inherent sovereign rights of the Osage Tribe to determine its own membership and form of government (Public Law 108-431) passed both federal houses and was signed into law in December of 2004. This left the Osage Tribal Council, as the acting government of the Osage Nation, with the job of creating a process for reform1. Because they were already occupied with the general operations of the tribe (signing mineral leases, overseeing several multi-million dollar casinos, and running health, housing, language and education programs), they decide d to create the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) to oversee the reform pr ocess. The OTC appointed ten people as commissioners, all of whom ended up being headri ght holders, with the goa l to provide a means through which the Osage People will establish a gove rnment that reflects the will of the Osage People (Osage Government Reform Project Co mprehensive Plan February 21: 2005: 8). Early in the reform process, the OGRC gathered at Tulsa University for a training session on Indian governance and law, sponsored by the TU Indian Law program. During the training, one of the TU lawyers asked, How important are the clans, the Great people and Little people? Ho w important are these things to your new government? Should a tr aditional chief be brought back? We get taught to think in terms of thr ee branches (what the rules are, if they are followed, and who mediates the situation when they are not). Ma ybe this history is useful, maybe it is not. How much of this are you going to carry in to the future? Diffe rent tribes are doing different things. How much tradition of the Osage must be taken into the future for the betterment of the Osage Nation? [TU Training May 19th, 2005] Addressing these questions, one of the Osage refo rm commissioners went to the blackboard at the front of the room, saying that she had studied the traditional government through the writings 1 The OTC could have easily ignored the Public Law, esp ecially since implementing re form meant they would be putting themselves out of business as the primary Osage government.

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47 of Bailey as well as through member s of her own family for 25 years. She drew two half circles on the board with the sky people on top and the earth people on botto m. She explained that they each had their own high chief and lesser chiefs. She continued by saying that part of the governance structure involved a large gathering in th e Fall. So they gather; they begin to fast and pray. And they come out of this lodge here [pointing to the blackboard] and they begin to dance on this side like this [Sky]; and on this side [Earth] they dance like this. They meet in the middle. They do that for four days from sun up to sun down. They never sing the same song twice. Theyve got four days of memorized songs and each clan would have their own (TU Training May 19th, 2005). The commissioner went on to explain that it wa s only possible for this event to take place if all the clans were there and they each sang their own songs, which only they knew. If there was any disharmony in the tribe, they had to work it out beforehand. She concluded by saying, You had to forgive and have restitution all the time. This translates to me into two houses, government houses. It would bring in custom and tradition if we had a new government that had both the sky and the earth people invo lved and in the villages. That was the band people. So we know enough of our traditiona l customs to know how maybe to put this together. I dont know that anybody would want it like that or not, but each one could have representatives from these two sides. [TU Training: May 19th, 2005] By the end of the process, however, it was clear that few other people had concrete ideas as to how an Osage governing document c ould incorporate these ancient pr actices or particular Osage customs. Furthermore, many people argued agains t the inclusion of any Osage cultural practices because they felt that they needed to remain separate from the government. About six months into the reform process, a questionnaire was circulated to all Osage who had current contact information lis ted with the Tribe. Over thir teen hundred Osage returned the questionnaire with approximately 500 suggestions to the question of how Osage culture could be incorporated into the new governin g document. Some of the questionnaire responses rejected the

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48 idea that the governing document should include cultu re at all. One person wrote, It shouldnt. Osage culture should be maintained and transferred by the people themselves. If you need a governing document to tell you how to be Osage, youve waited too late to take care of your culture. Another person responded, Osage culture has done well withou t being incorporated into a governing document. Keep it separated, independent. These and other vocal Osage argued adamantly that the new Osage governing doc ument should be completely separate from tribal culture, and particularly separate from older tribal practices such as the clan system. The other questionnaire responses focused mostly on how the new government structure needed to ensure that language and cultural practices were preserved and supported, by the new government, but few responses suggested any sort of inclusion of these practices within the constitution. The one exception to this was an Elde rs Council. The 1994 Osage Constitution2 had included a council of elders, which was to serve in an advisory capacity to the Osage National Council on matters pertaining to cultural, histor ical, and traditional ac tivities of the Osage people (Constitution of the Osage Nation 1994: 12). This Elders Council had been partially modeled after the Little Old Men discussed in oral traditions. This council of elders was referred to eight times within the questionnair e and about the same number of times during community meetings. However, even within thes e calls there was frequently still a desire to keep the government and culture separate. As the only person who expanded on their ideas about an Elders Council wrote on their questionnaire, The gove rnment should not have anything to do with the preservation of the culture. It should be preserved by a council of elders, who 2 From 1994 until 1997 the Osage oporated a Constitution cr eated from the court case Fletcher v. United States, where Judge James O. Ellison mandated a constitutional refere ndum process. The Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, overturned this constitution arguing that Ellisons mandate had violated the sovereign immunity of the Osage Tribal Council.

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49 direct the government on cultura l issues. Anyone on the culture commission would not serve in government. Outside the questionnaire, many Osage expressed similar concerns regarding the incorporation of older Osage prac tices into the new governing syst em. Central to these concerns was the desire to keep politics outside cultural events such as naming ceremonies and the yearly dances, which had their own means for de termining authority. Many of the elders3 I talked with or heard speak during the 2004-2006 reform process wanted to make sure the new government was not able to meddle in cultural affairs. Several tribal elders argued adamantly against including anything from the old ways with statements such as, If you dont know what you are doing, you could do a great deal of damage. We ha ve an order to everything we do (Personal Communication: February 07, 2006). During the writing retreat in early Janua ry 2006, the Osage government reform commission, its staff, Osage lawyers, and a coupl e of Osage elders met to turn the year of community feedback into a constitution. One of the primary issues early on was the way in which cultural aspects, including an Elders Council, should or should not be included in the constitution. In the constitutional draft asse mbled by Hepsi Barnet, the OGRC Coordinator, a similar Council of Elders was outlined as existed in the 1994 Constitution. In response, one of the elders told a couple of stories. The first st ory discussed how when his father had been on the Tribal Council in the 1950s he ha d gone to one of the districts to try to help with some problems that had developed. Dad went down there and said, is there any way the council can help you? And he was immediately told, in Osage, to get his rear back to the hill and stay there. Well take care of this, they said (Writing Retreat Janu ary 07, 2006). The second poi nt he addressed was 3 Elder here refers not just to age, but those who were le aders in various cultural affairs, i.e. Headman or Whipman of the In Lon Schka Dances.

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50 how, for many traditionalists, it was the cultural aspects that enabled an Osage government and thus the culture needed to be recognized as a bove the constitution. What gives us sovereignty is our language, our dances, our names, our ways, our customs, our dress, our land, jurisdiction; thats our sovereignty. Because of that we can create a constitution (Writing Retreat January 07, 2006). In this way, he argued that the culture needed to be protect ed from politics. He referred to the government and the culture as oil and water, and thus in need of constant separation. Agreeing with him, one of the Osage lawyers said that his father had taught him very similar things. He went on to suggest that it would be a major problem if the headmen from the yearly dances wanted to use the Elders Council to become part of the government. Then you have an added incentive for that position, people trying to get into that position to get into government (Writing Retreat January 07, 2006). In stead the Osage lawyer suggested, What if we just said in Section 1 that the government has a duty to promote language and culture thats something the government does better than inte rfering with traditiona l structures in place (Writing Retreat January 07, 2006). Following these arguments, Article XVI of th e 2006 Osage Constitution reads, The Osage People have the inherent right to preserve and foster their hi storic linguistic and cultural lifeways. The Osage Nation shall protect a nd promote the language, culture, and traditional ways of the Osage people (Osage Nation Cons titution 2006: 17). Additionally, the Constitution says, The first regular congressional session of each year shall be titled the Hun-kah Session and the second regular congressional session of the year shall be ti tled the Tzi-zho Session. This schedule shall be in honor of the ancient moiety division of Earth and Sky and serves to remind all Osage of the responsibility to bring balance and harmony to the nation (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 5). In 2006, the Osage voter s passed a constitution that honored these

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51 ancient moiety divisions and worked to pro tect and promote the language, culture, and traditional ways, but did not directly incorporate any of these historical or cultural aspects into their new governing structure. In writing about constitutional reform am ong Indian tribes, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development argues th at having a cultural match is one of three most critical factors in having an economically successful government. They define cultural match as a fit between those gove rning institutions and indigenous political culturein short, the institutions had to match indigenous ideas about how authority s hould be organized and exercised; otherwise, it would lack legitimacy with the people being governed and would lose their trust and allegiance (Corne ll et. all 2004: 7). Wh ile this and other as pects of the Harvard Project were frequently cited during the reform process, including in the May 2005 issue of the Osage News this theory did not quite make sense for the Osage, whose primary desire was to keep cultural practices separate from the governing structure. One of the reasons given for this separation wa s a fear that the government would interfere with the cultural systems in place, which al ready had well-established means of determining authority. Another fear was that close association between the tw o would bring people into the cultural practices with the wrong reasons. However, to real ly understand this disconnection between Osage cultural practices and governance it is central to tu rn back to Osage history and the means by which the United States government succeeded in breaking apart older Osage governing structures from thei r inlayed cultural practices. Moving to a New Country In his sem inal book on Osage history, John Jose ph Mathews (1961) describes the origin of the Osage people. He explains that the newly-arrived-upon-earth children of the sky, represented by the Wah-Sha-She, the Water People, the subHunkah, the Land People, and the

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52 grand division the Tzi-Sho, the Sky People, came upon the Isolated Earth People, the indigenous ones (1961: 53). These four groups decided to co me together and form a tribal unit and were anxious to lead the Isolated Earth People away from the earth-ugliness of their village, saying that they were thus taking them to a new count ry (1961: 53). As Mathews continues, this was only the first of many moves to a new country. The Little Ol d Men spoke of these moves as one might speak of changing camping places, and each organizational step was a step away from the old, just as they walked away from the di sorder of the old campsites (Mathews 1961: 53). As others have noted (Burns 2004, Warrior 2005) these moves were more than geographical changes in location, but also in cluded changes in governing style, community structure, and spiritual practices. Contrary to popular notions th at being American Indian means remaining unchanged since time immemorial, many Osage have pulled on th is idea of moving to a new country to describe periods of change. In this way, many Osage make sense of even drastic change as something inherently part of what it means to be Osage, rather than something that destroys Osage identity. In talking about the success of the Osages first written constitution, for example, Warrior (2005) states, I would like to suggest, though, that a major part of the answer lies not with the cultural practices the Osage we re learning from outside their culture, but with the continuation of traditions th ey had developed over the course of centuries. In adopting their constitution, in other words, they were moving to a new country (74). The central goal of this chapter is to provi de a rendering of Osage history that does not insist that the Osage Nation exist unchanged. In stead, I will show how the Osage have creatively maneuvered within the colonial process, avoidi ng the federal governments efforts to swallow them completely within the U.S. governing struct ure. Simultaneously, my story accounts for the

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53 unethical process by which the United States government attempted to subsume the Osage and the consequences of colonialism on the Osage pe ople. By showing the forces the Osage have been up against, this is a story of endu rance. By affirming the Osage right to be these stories, given authority throughout the 2004 -2006 Osage reform processes, are ultimately more about an Osage future than about an Osage past. In order to understand the process whereby the Osage people were separated from these older Osage practices, I will next turn to various accounts of how the col onial process unfolded. In telling this particular story, it becomes evident that the embrace of change through the continued use of the metaphor of moving to a new country is central to understanding the complexities of the Osage colonial situation. Rather than building an identity on the idea of maintaining a certain way of life, many Osage ha ve built an identity on their willingness to embrace change. Indigenous people are defined by colonizing forces, such as the U.S. federal government, as those who can prove an unbroke n link with the past traditions and cultures of a geographic area. James Clifford (1988) documents the powerful consequences of such tactics in the Mashpee Wampanoag 1976 court case, in which the tribe was denied federal recognition because to recreate a culture that had been lost was, by definition of the court, inauthentic (1988: 341). Importantly, this link to past ways of life is also exactly what the colonial process has been trying to sever. As Clifford goes on to say, The Mashpee were trapped by the stories that could be told about themIn fact only a few basic stories are told, over a nd over, about Native Americans and other tribal peoples. These societies are always e ither dying or surviving, assimilating or resistingTheir history was a series of cultural and political tr ansactions, not all-or-n othing conversions or resistances. [1988: 342] In this chapter, my focus is not on conversion or resistance. Instead, I tell a story of uneven, but continual negotiations between the Os age and various colonizing forces.

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54 Trade Relations and Land Acquisition The Osage first encountered Europeans, speci fically the French, in 1673. According to historian Willard Rollings (2004), it only took twen ty years of contact to fully equip the Osage with horses and guns, allowing them to control west ward trade on the prairie-plains of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and parts of Oklahoma: L iving along the Arkansas, Missouri, Osage, and Red Rivers allowed the Osage to severely obstruct French trade into the West and to seriously limit their western rivals access to guns and a mmunition necessary to counter Osage raids (Rollings 2004: 25). By the late 18th century, the Osage not only controlled the trade between the French and the Western tribes, but also am ong the different Europ ean frontiers (Rollings 2004). Terry P. Wilson (1985) outlines a very simila r story of early contact, adding that it was their interactions with the French that caused th e Osage to greatly escalate their raiding of nearby tribes. Similar to the story to ld by Rollings, Wilson continues, Taking full advantage of their strategic position on the Missour i River, the Osage extracted from the French, and later the Spanish, anxious expressions of goodwill in the form of gifts and diplomatic favors. At the same time, they terrorized other tribes with the aid of French weapons and horses. So frequent became thes e incursions against ne ighboring tribes and depredations on French and Spanish traders and trappers that the Spanish governor in New Orleans accepted the recommendation of Auguste Chouteau, a French trader, that a fort be built near the Osage to bring them under control. [1985: 2-3] According to Wilson, this tradi ng post completed in 1795 did little to stop Osage raiding, but did succeed in providing the French with enough contro l over Osage leaders to convince almost half the Osage to resettle near the Arkansas river, allowing for the easier ex change of trade goods. Wilson suggests that this split likely marked the beginning of the end of traditional life for the Osage because the tribe was no longer consolidat ed enough to protect their domain (1985: 5). In 1803, the American government purchased th is area from the French as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and the Osages trade adva ntages, and thus authority in the area, was

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55 heavily threatened, particularly with the removal of other Indian groups into Osage territory. As President Jefferson expanded on Washingtons Indian assimilation plans, the first step was to remove the eastern tribes to west of the Mississi ppi river, the area controlled by the Osage. As Rollings describes, The Osage were the first western tribe se nt to Washington by Lewis and Clark because they occupied and controlled that region just across the Mississippi between the Missouri and the Red Rivers that was to be th e new homeland for those eastern tribes (2004: 36). After his first meeting with the Osage delega tion, Jefferson wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith. The Osage arrived day before yesterday; had their first audience yesterday, I will have another today. They are the finest men we have ever seen. They ha ve not yet learnt the use of spirituous liquor. We shall endeavor to impress them str ongly not only with our justice and liberality, but w ith our power and therefore shall send them on to see our populous cities, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The truth is they are the great nation South of the Missouri, their posse ssion extending from thence to the Red river, as the Sioux are great North of that river. With these two nations we must stand well, because in their quarter we are misera bly weak. [Jefferson 1804: Jackson 1978: 200] From this letter, it is clear that in 1804 the scal es of power had yet to tip in the favor of the new nation of the United States. From Jefferson s speech to the Osage delegation a couple of days later, it is possible to understand some of the strategies he would use to change the power dynamic with the Osage: Our dwellings indeed are very far apart; but not too far to carry commerce & useful intercourse. You have furs a nd peltries which we want and we have clothes and other useful things which you wantWe propos e, my children, immediat ely to establish an Agent to reside with you, who will speak to you our words, and convey yours to us (Jefferson 1804: Jackson 1978: 201). The two central aspect s of this relationship, as Jefferson outlines them here, are trade and the establishing of an ag ent. While the effects of the agents and their growing authority were still years in the making, th e effects of trade with the United States were realized much sooner.

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56 Jeffersons plan for this area was to increase the numbers of trading posts and to provide unlimited credit, encouraging Indians to create larg e debts, which could later be used to acquire Indian land4. According to Rollings, these efforts only strengthened the Osage, giving them more trade to control. In 1808, therefore, th e territorial governor Meriwether Lewis banned on all trade with the Osage and ordered the tribe to move to a site on the Missouri river. At this new site, threatened with war and an end to all trad e, two of the three Osage bands were forced to sign a peace treaty where they ceded fifty thousa nd square miles of land in exchange for a new trading post and an annuity of $1,200. By 1814, the United States government was able to control all trade with the Osage, making the Os age extremely vulnerable to the wishes of the American government (Rollings 2004). Control of trade and greater access to guns and horses allowed the American government to gain the upper hand in negotiations with the Os age in a very short period. According to Burns (2004), from 1808 until 1839 there were seven trea ties under which the Osage lost control over 10,151,718,000 acres. He writes, These cessions were more than mere yielding of territory. Along with the cessions went the sacred animals and the responsibility for protecting the land. Thus each cession weakened the Osage spirit an d limited their food base. Dispirited and undernourished, the Osage were increasingly vulnera ble to assaults on th eir lands and culture (2004: 166). Unlike many indigenous populations, who were moved far from their homes, the Osage were able to remain within their territorial base, even as this base continued to drastically shrink 4 As he wrote to William Henry Harrison in 1803, To promote this disposition to exchange land, which th ey have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push out trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. [1950: 370]

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57 in size. U.S. payments for Osage lands were shockingly low, for example, one-sixth of a cent per acre in 1808. In 1818. a tract of land in Oklahoma and Arkansas was purchased from the Osage for $4,000 and immediately sold to th e Cherokee for $2,000,000 (Burns 2004). About this process as a whole Burns writes, With few exceptions, Indian land titles were usually obtained by chicanery of all ki nds, coercion, flattery, bribery, false claims, and seldom by outright conquest. Many justificat ions were offered for seizing I ndian lands, but the fact remains that Indian lands were taken wit hout any real right and with comp ensations that were insulting in their insignificance (2004: 166). The Osage, however, rarely accepted these treaties without resistance. As Rollings writes, W hen forced to give up somethi ng, they agreed reluctantly and often immediately repudiated or ignored any c oncessions, as witnessed by their refusal to consolidate all three bands in the north or to vacate any lands ceded in the 1808, 1818, 1825, and 1839 treaties (2004: 39). In losi ng control over trade in their area, the Osage lost the authority that would have enabled them to deny American desires for land. On the American side, acquisition of land was typically justified in terms of meeting the needs of the growing American population. The United States gove rnment initiated the treaty making-process in the 1860s because whites had m oved onto the Osage reserve. Superintendent Elijah Sells, who negotiated the 1865 treaty, illustrates some of th e issues at work during this period: The Osage reservation is within the geographi cal limits of the State of Kansas, and white settlements are crowding down upon Indian lands and in many in stances within the Indian reservation. The imminent dange r of conflict between the white s and the Indians as well as the demands for these lands for white settlement by the authorities of and settlers in Kansas furnishes satisfactory reasons why the Indian ti tle to these lands should be extinguished at an early date. [1865: 6] The U.S. government persuaded the Osage to cede 871,791.11 acres of land in Kansas. However, unbeknownst to most Osage, $776,931.58 of th e sale profits went into a Civilization

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58 fund. As the treaty reads, the remaining procee ds of sales shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the Civilizat ion fund to be used unde r the direction of the Secretary of the Interior for the education and civilization of Indian tribes residing within the limits of the United States (Kappler 1972: 878) In this way, the Osage were forced to contribute over three-quarters of a million dollars to the build ing of colonial schools across America, including Carlisle Indian School and Haskell Institute. According to David Parsons (1940), the use of their funds for such projects was the final straw for many Osage, who by 1869 were no longer willing to enter into the treaty-making process. Concerning a speech made in 1869 by Ch ief Joseph Paw-ne-no-pahshe, Parsons writes, He said he was opposed to selling more land and stated that their listening to the advice of the Great Father had already co st the Osage a great deal of country and had brought on the deplorable condition in which they found themselvesHe reminded the commissioners that instead of protecting the Osage as provided by treaty, they had told them that they would be unprotected; and that instead of removing the intrud ers they had come for more land. [1940: 32] The Osage, however, were not the only ones who had grown dissatisfied with the treaty-making process. On March 3, 1871, the Congress passed an Indian Appropriation Bill that stated, Provided That here-after no Indian na tion or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty ( 16 Stat. L. 465). This brief peri od of Osage history was certainly the most destructive period of the colonial process to date. In addition to loosing billions of acres of land and funding projects whose sole intent was to destroy native culture, the treaty period also worked to deteriorate the gove rning structure of the Osage people. Even at the beginning of the treaty process it was clear that the current form of government was not suitable for negotiating with the United States. Sinc e each of the treaties was signed by only a small fraction of the Osage leadership, but had full ramifications on all

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59 Osage, many people became disgruntled. Furthermore, the loss of land and the dispersal of the annuity checks led to drastic changes in dail y routines, rendering older forms of governing incommensurate with current lifestyles. Finally, in negotiating the colonial situation some Osage certainly the internalized ideas of civilization currently in circ ulation, giving older practices an air of savagery. With all of these factors working in unison, it was clear that by the late 19th century older practices no longer made sense. A More Workable Government In a last attempt to escape Am ericas continued territorial expansion, the Osage were persuaded to sell their lands in Kansas and buy back a small tract of their Oklahoma lands in what was by then known as Indian Territory. Instead of allowing the promised period of isolation, the federal government immediately began a whole new seri es of invasive tactics, this time focused on dismantling the Osage governing st ructure. According to Burns, the older Osage government was still intact in 1870, at the signing of the Osage Removal Act. The Osage had refused to meet at the Removal Council until all Osage leaders had finished the Spring Hunt, which ended in Oklahoma rather th an on the old Kansas lands. This battle to maintain control over thei r own affairs was also evidenced, according to Burns, in the questions the Osage prepared for their Superintendent Enoch Hoag upon their first meeting in Oklahoma. In addition to inquiring a bout who controlled the f unds promised to them by the American government, the leaders wanted to know, Would the Osage be permitted to have their own regulations in their new ho me (Burns 2004: 319). The answers to these questions were, according to Burns, importantly connected. By not giving the Osage control over their own funds, the federal government was able to gain an upper hand in Osage affairs (Burns 2004).

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60 For Deloria and Lytle (1983), a cen tral aspect of the colonial process was the destruction of many of the tribal governments. Frustrated by the slow and deliberative process by which most tribal organizations made decisions, the federa l government began creating more workable councils, which could quickly make decisions and support federal mandates. As Deloria and Lytle describe, The Indian agent would gather to gether the most influential leaders of the bands or communities living on the reservation and ask them to form an ongoing council to assist him in whatever functions he felt could be delegated to them (1983: 93). By creating small tribal councils, the BIA not only tried to take control of the decision-making processes across Indian country, but they often succeeded in destroying the ways of life that surrounded older governing structures. In 1877, the BIAs Osage agent desc ribed his creation of the first Osage council structure: The Osage in many respects differ from other In dians of the Indian Territory. They are more jealous of each other, and of those who care for them. Each chief seems jealous lest some other chief should outrank him, and he nce the difficulty of governing the tribe through the chiefs, and in some instances the chief fails to control his own immediate band. Another years experience prove s the wisdom of the course adopted on taking charge of the agency, in the selection of an execu tive committee, consisting of governor, chief councilor, and business committee of five, maki ng seven persons selected from among the leading men of all the different factions. These seven men, regardless of character, are recognized as the representative men of the tribe, and through them its business with the agent and government is transacted. [Annual Report: 92] This long excerpt from the BIA is revealing on mu ltiple levels. The jealous ies and control issues described within the report were the inevitable resu lt of the colonial process. In addition to being transferred to smaller and smaller land bases an d seeing the extinction of the buffalo and other resources, the Osage people had to deal with their entire government structure being ignored by the BIA agent, who appointed his own leaders within the Osage people. By completely disregarding the entire Osage structure of governance, the Osage agent delivered a powerful blow to the Osage peoples autonomy.

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61 The Osage did not passively accept this r econfiguration, but in 1881 passed a Constitution that once again allowed them to govern themselves According to Wilson (1985), this effort to reestablish self governance was directly motivated by the success of an Osage delegation that traveled to Washington D.C., goi ng over their BIA agents head, where they negotiated for treaty annuities to be paid mostly in cash. By taking over the BIAs mechanism for control, the annuity payments, the Osage delegation also reasserted their ability to speak for themselves rather than through an agent of the federal government. This Constitution was copied directly, almost wordfor-word, from the 1839 Cherokee Constitution, with its three-part government, democratic elections, and control over its own boundaries. The Osage thus adopted a governing structure that was fundamentally recognizable to the U.S. federal government in hopes of being left alone to manage their own affairs. As I mentioned above, for Robert Warrior (2005), the 1881 Osage Constitution was a classic example of the Osage practice of movi ng to a new country. Following the practice of accepting radical change as part of maintaining national identity, the Osage set out to regain their autonomy. About the 1881 Cons titution, Warrior writes, But this was more than mere mimicry and the framers of the Osage Constitution took it as seriously as the leaders of the United States had in adopting theirs. As had happened all those centuries ago when the people from the star s invited the Isolated Earth People to turn away from the chaos and violence, the embattled Little Ones looked deep into themselves and declared themselves to be a people the 1881 constitution sets out the parameters of a self-determined, self-imagined, autonomous Os age Nation. They undid the lie that Indian people were not capable of living out the ch allenges of modernit y. [2005: 74-75 emphases added] From Warriors reading of this history, it is po ssible to better understand th e uneven nature of the colonial process. While some people simply read the 1881 Osage Constitution as mimicking the colonial government, many Osage have argued that it was an attempt to subvert the colonial process through a subversion of Americas tools of democracy and nation building. Importantly,

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62 this Osage willingness to change was predicated on the insistence of maintaining themselves as a distinct people. For Warrior, the writing of the 1881 Constitution shows how change was accepted as a necessary part of surv ival rather than a threat to some sort of fundamental Osage identity linked to immemorial past. In describing the 1881 constitutional government, Agent Miles wrote, The Osage regard themselves as a nation with a big N,This government is a very real thing to the Os age (Annual Report 1894, 241). Leaving the Old Ways Behind In observing the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, it became clear to me that this belief in leaving the old ways was still a part of some Osage worldview s. Over and over again, people argued that older practices no l onger made sense within the colonial context and could not be practiced in fragments. Add itionally, there was a very strong sense among some Osage that these older cultural practices, which formed the basis of governance prior to the colonial period, should not be included because they no longer had meaning to the majority of the Osage people. One elder who had studied Osage history extensively explained to me that these old ways were heavily integrated with a religi on that was no longer practiced and required elements that were now illegal under federal law, such as the occasi onal murder of non-Osage. We have had to change with the flow of time and the old people knew that. They insisted that we not try to bring these things we could not understand forw ard (Personal Communication May 24, 2005). Another elder expressed to me his concern about the use of older Osage words and ideas within the new governing document. These words are not understood anymore. These are ideas that were supposed to be left behind (P ersonal Communication: January 01, 2006). Because of the long colonial history that separated the majority of Osage from these practices, it did not make sense to imagine this stru cture as a possibility for the future. This was stated most clearly during an OGRC business meeting after an Osage attending the meeting had

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63 expressed concern that the Osage Constitution had b een patterned after the colonizer rather than their own heritage. In response to this, one of the reform commissioners said: I think we all honor and reflect our heritage from before we were moved from Missouri and KansasBut what we discovered in our process, which has been about 11 months talking to Osage people everywhere, is that the majority of Osage we talked to cant understand how those structures worked. Fortunately or unfor tunately, they can understand the federal government system. So when weve asked this question in surveys, would you like a three-part government or would you like something else, an overwhelming majority said theyd like a th ree-part government; it s one theyre familiar with. [OGRC business meeting February 06, 2006] Within the reform process, many Osage embraced the idea of moving to a new country as part of their imaginings as to what the fu ture of Osage government should look like. This concept was also evident in the more general co nversations about culture that took place during my dissertation research. At an Osage Tribal Council meeting in August 2005, it was brought to the councils attention that an Osage war bundle had been found for sale on Ebay. The Osage employee in charge of repatriation had immedi ately contacted the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation depart ment as well as the FBI, who had gained possession of the bundle and wanted to know what should be done next. Gilcrease museum had offered to keep it. One of the people on the council suggested that since there had been a ceremony 100 years ago to put the bundles away (i.e. bury them), perhap s there should be some sort of ceremony to welcome the bundle back. Another person on the council, however, protested immediately. He said, I want to go on the record at this point that we should not have any new ceremonies. We just need to put that stuff away. We don t know anything about it (OTC Committee Meeting, August 22, 2005). The rest of the council agreed to have the bundle buried immediately. These sorts of interactions occurred frequently during the reform process when older cultural practices were brought up. A central aspect of these ideas of moving to a new country was not only that these things c ould not be understood anymore and thus needed to be put away,

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64 but also that cultural practices had to change in order to con tinue having meaning to peoples lives today. As one Osage elde r explained to me, people often over interpret the meaning of cultural aspects of the yearly In -Lon-Schka dances. She gave th e example of a visitor who had asked her the purpose of the fans. Her response was, Have you noticed it is a hundred degrees out here? The elder said that she thought most things were done because that is what made sense at the time, not because it had some deep spiritual meaning. Or perhaps the deep spiritual meaning could not be separated from the fact of its functionality. She th en told a story of her cousin who had always cut turkeys in half be fore cooking them, until one day she found out from her grandmother that the only reason this had be en done for generations was because they had not had a pan big enough for the full turkey. Th is led us into a conversation about older Osage practices and how those things had to be left behind. The main problem are the pe ople that sit on their high horse tellin g other people they are doing things wrong, when they really could not know any betterWe cant go back, those things are gone, we have to go forward (Personal Communication, August 22, 2005). Colonial Reworkings of Change Not all m embers of colonized populations react in the same manner. While much of the effort behind the writing of the 2006 Osage Cons titution can be seen as an attempt to embrace change and make the most of the colonial situa tion, there was also a small, but vocal minority of Osage who greatly feared any sort of change. A central part of the con tinued colonial situation for these Osage was an associati on between change and the termination of the Osage Nation. To understand these fears and where th ey came from it is again important to look at Osage history, particularly the period surrounding the a llotment of the Osag e reservation.

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65 The Battle Against Allotment No matter how real the government was to th e Osage, in 1900 the BIA once again created a Tribal Council government, with their own appointed officials. The BIA agent justified this move by arguing that: The principal causes were (1) Acrimonious disputes between the two factions over election; (2) enti re absence of harmony between th e Osage tribal offices and the Indian agent in administration of tribal affairs; (3) the selection of ignorant men as officeholders; and (4) the profligate use of moneys received from permit taxes (Annual Report 1900: 173174). However, as several Osage historia ns have argued (Burns 2004, Warrior 2005, Wilson 1985), the creation of the new Trib al Council had much more to do with the desire to allot the reservation than it did with any problems that had developed within this new government. As Burns writes, If we were to apply the same criteria to recent administration of the United States government, it too would be abolishedWhen on e considers that the Osage did not spend their future generations into a vast debt, one has a right to question the suspension of their governmentIt was known that the Nationa l Council was opposed to allotment. Allotment was a necessity from the Euro-A merican viewpoint, especially with the possibility of statehood in the ne ar future. [Burns 2004: 393-394] For these historians, it was allotment rather than Osage governing problems that led to the dismantling of the 1881 Osage Nation. The federal policy of allotment officially be gan in 1887 with the Dawes General Allotment Act that called for widespread surveying of na tive tribal lands and pe oples. Once the surveys had been completed, these lands were parceled out, usually in 160-acre tracks, to individual Indians. The remaining lands were then opened up for white settlement. As M. Annette James describes, between 1887 and 1934, the aggregate I ndian land base within the United States was legally reduced from about 138 million acres to about 48 million (1992 117). Another primary motivating force was the potential for relief from the obligations promised in the treaties with

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66 North American Indian nations. If Indians were made into Amer ican citizens, then the treaty promises of continued payments wo uld no longer have to be honored. This large-scale policy of allotment was s een at the time by both the federal government and an array of humanitarian organizations, including the Indi an Rights Association, Indian Protection Committee, and the Friends of the Indians, as a solution to the problems of the Indian. Since colonial contact, Indian resources such as the buffalo and other game had been depleted, leading to wide-scale hunger and drastic changes in lifestyle. A llotment, it was argued, would create American citizens by allowing each Indi an to become a civilized contributor to American society. Euro-Americans saw the breakup of tribal lands as allowing Indians to move beyond the problems supposedly created by trib al structure and a dopt civilization. Because the Osage had purchased their lands they were not subject to the Dawes Allotment Act that forced this breakup of tribal lands. Wilson writes at length about the federal governments campaign to allot the Osage reservation. In 1888, when the United States government decided to turn Indian Territory into Oklahoma Terr itory, three Osage representatives from the national government traveled to Washington, arguing shrewdly that such a creation would ultimately lead to the loss of Osage lands. In Washington they argued, We shall have no friends around us and no hope for the future, and no motive to cultivate the ground that must soon pass into the hands of st rangers (quoted in Wilson 1985: 37). The U.S. government continued its push for allotment, arguing that Oklahoma needed to become a state and thus all reservati ons had to be allotted. In 1893, the Osage National Council appointed a co mmittee to deal with this pressure to allot. This committee traveled to Washington D.C. in 1894 to voice Osage perspectives about the allotment process. The Osage expressed two pr imary concerns with allotment, that the past

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67 treaty obligations be honored a nd that the roll be examined fo r fraudulent entries, since the decision to allot would depend on a vote of en rolled adult males (Wilson 1985). In response, Secretary of the Interior Hoke Smith argued that these were minor problems and that he wanted to know what their issues were with the concept of allotment in general: Bigheart replied for the delegation, citing th e disastrous effects on other tribes of application of the Dawes Act. He also noted examples of white men who, despite having been reared in a tradition of economic endeavor had been financially ruined trying to farm small parcels of land in Oklahoma Territory and nearby states. Exasperated by Bighearts adroit arguments, Smith abruptly terminat ed the exchange with a warning:, You had better think seriously about the advisability of[taking] lands individually, now when [you] can do so on very liberal termsthe time is coming when [you] will have to. [quoted in Wilson 1985: 39] Later the same year, a federal Commission came to the reservation to co ntinue their arguments for allotment. According to Wilson (1985), in January of 1895 a representative from the Osage government by the name of Strike Ax argued: When our chiefs sold reservations in th e states, the government would say you are all hemmed in by whites and your Great Father does not want you to be bothered, just come down to the red mans country where you will never be disturbed. The government promised me when we came here that we w ould be the fartherst [sic] west and..at the fartherest edge of Indian c ountry and it was impossible to be bothered and now you seem to think we are in bad shape with the white s. As you say, we have more whites than Indians, but where shall we go? [40] To which a member of the federal Commission replied: On your farm. (Wilson 1985: 40). These excerpts illustrate the insistence with which the fede ral government imposed not only allotment, but also the certain assumptions about civilization. In saying that the farm was the only place left for the Osage, the federal govern ment was attempting to transform the Indian body into a civilized American citizen. The Osage National Council was not swayed by these arguments for civilization and continued to rebuff all of the federal governments lobbying (Wilson 1985).

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68 In 1898, the federal government, tired of dea ling with the Osage National Council, once again created a tribal council structure for the Osage and populated it with allotment-friendly Osage. As Wilson writes, Hitchcocks decision to abrogate the Os age national government came at the direct request of the commissioner of Indian Affairs, William A. Jones. A firm advocate of speedy allotment fo r all reservations, Jones beli eved that tribal government perpetuated barbarism and reta rded civilization (1985: 42). It was still another six years before the federal government was able to sway the Osage population in favor of allotment, but in the meantime they had intentionally destr oyed another Osage governing structure, the 1881 Constitution. Central to Wilsons story of allotment is the fe deral governments desire to reassert control over the Osage population. Through their insistence on allotment, the U.S. government was attempting to do away with Indian governance altogether, thus rendering themselves the only sovereign authority within the United States. The Osage Nati onal Council, attuned to this reconfiguring, fought allotment not only for its insistence on individua l land ownership, but because it would once again mean the loss of Os age autonomy. It was this story of wrongful, and even illegal, destruction of the Osage Natio nal Council that continued to circulate during the 100 years of federal control of Osage governance. These grievances eventually led various Osage to turn to federal court5 and ultimately the United States Congress in order to reinstate the Osages right to determine their own government. 5 The two central Osage lawsuits dealing with Osage governmental reorganization were Logan v. Andrus (640 F.2d. 269 10th Cir. 1981) and Fletcher v. United States (90 C.248e Northern District Court of Oklahoma). The ultimate decision of both courts was that while the 1881 Constitution had been illegally abolished the Osage Tribal Council was the federally recognized government of the Osage people.

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69 Incorporation and Termination The battle for allotment ended with its favorable vote by the Osage population and the passage of the 1906 Act on June 28th (34 Stat. 539). This ac t allotted the 1,470,057-acre Osage reservation and dispersed $9,000,000 from the Os age BIA account among 2,230 people listed on the BIAs Osage roll. Importantly, the Osage fought for and were able to preserve the cohesiveness of their reservation by maintaining collective ownership over the mineral reserves under this area. The BIA set up an elected tribal government whos e only job was to administer this mineral estate. This government was only inte nded to last for twenty-five years, at which time the BIA assumed that the Osage people would be able to manage th eir affairs individually, eliminating any need for a tribal government. Under this new system, tribal membership was based on a commercia l model of headright shares. Rather than allowing the Osage people to act as a nation, as they had in 1881, the headright system attempted to render the Osage people nothing more than shareholders in a minerals corporation. This meant that only those Osage listed on the 190 6 roll could vote or run for office in tribal elections. Osage born after the July 1, 1907 cutoff date could not participate in tribal politics unless they inherited a share in the mineral estate from someone listed on the roll. Furthermore, in the mid-twentieth centur y, the weight of the vote became dependent on the percentage of the headright. This headright system of membership often cr eated two different classes of people within a single Osage family. One common example of this occurred when older siblings were original allottees, meaning they were listed on the 1906 ro ll, but their younger siblings were born after the cutoff date. All those listed on the roll, no matter what their age, were given four-160 acre parcels of land within th e Osage reservation, 1/2229th share of all monies produced from the mineral estate, and a vote in tribal elections. Any Osage born after the 1907 cutoff date received

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70 no benefits and had no voice in the tribal elec tions. It was only upon the death of a person holding a share in the mineral estate that these disenfranchised people could gain access to the land, money and the ability to vote Often when a parent would di e, they would leave equal parts of their mineral share to each of their children. If there were two children, they would each get 1/4458th of a share in the mineral estate and half a vote in tribal elections. Additionally, a quarter of the h eadrights left tribal member-control in the 20-year period when the mineral estate headrights were consid ered like any other property, which could be willed or sold to anyone or any organization. Many churches, lawyers and even famous actors ended up with shares in the mineral estate. This did not give the new owners a vote in tribal elections, but it did keep some Osage descendant s from voting. Because the headright system was linked to quarterly financial payouts from the sale of oil on the reservation, all attempts to open up membership were challenged as merely attempts to redistribute this money. By the twenty-first century, this form of government had left nearly 16,000 of the approximately 20,000 people with Osage ancestry wit hout voting rights, alienating them from tribal politics. Furthermore, the mineral estate was originally set to expire in 1931, with the mineral rights transferring to the property owners. According to Burns, by the 1920s much of Osage land had passed to whites, particularly lo cal bank owners and legal guardi ans. These individuals banded together in 1920 and fought against the extension of the Osage Mineral Trust, in hopes that they could gain access to these lucr ative mineral rights. At this moment, the Osage people were drastically close to being swallowed up by the general American governance system. To fight this the Osage Tribal Council drafted a resolution that stated: WHEREAS, said banks have large deposits of Osage Tribal funds and said guardians are receiving great benefits from handling th e estates of members of the tribe, and in opposing the extension of the mineral period, ar e working to the detriment of the Osage Tribe of Indians and to the detriment of their wards, respectivelyTHEREFORE, be it

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71 Resolved by the Osage Tribal CouncilTha t the Council hereby requests the Honorable Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to withdraw from any bank, whose officers or directors use any influence to prevent th e granting of an extension of the mineral period, all funds of the Osage Tr ibe deposited therein, and that they use their influence and efforts to cause to be removed a ny guardian of the estate of an Osage Indian who is using his influence to prevent the gran ting of the extension of the mineral period. [quoted in Burns 2002: 426-427] Rather than sending this resolution directly to the federal gove rnment, it was first circulated to eighty-four guardians and seven banks, all of whom immediately withdrew their opposition to the extension. This, however, was not the end of the opposition to the extension of the Osage mineral estate. Not surprising ly, the Oklahoma Congressional members refused to support the extension bill unless th e Osage agreed to a 5 percent Gross Production Tax on all minerals extracted. In this way, the state was able to ga in access to tribal resources, something usually prevented by the federal government. The Osage Tribal Council, not having any other option, agreed to the tax6 (Burns 2002). The Osage Tribal Council was able to exte nd the mineral estate until 1958 and then to 1983. It was not until 1978 that the Osage were able to convince the government to change wording about the duration of the mineral estate from until otherwise provided by Act of Congress to in perpetuity (92 Stat. 1660). However, as Burns (2002) argues, what the Congress was extending into perpetu ity here was the mineral estate, not this particular system of Osage governance. In the same 1978 law it was stated, The tribal government so constituted shall continue in force and effect until Janu ary 1, 1984, and thereafter until otherwise provided by Act of Congress. 6 This Gross Production tax remained a very large issue during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, particularly because a certain percentage of the monies were supposed to go to education and roads in Osage county (also known as the Osage reservation). The State of Oklahoma continues to refuse to account for these monies, and, other than a few bonus checks to local schools, it is still unclear wh ere this money has gone. Much like the monies of the Civilization fund, tax funds earmarked for the Osage no doubt went to many things the Osage neither had control over nor supported.

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72 In addition to this battle to maintain the mineral estate, the Osage also had to fight against the 1950s federal policy of termination. In 1953, the Osage, along with several other tribes, faced termination through House Concurrent Resolution 108. While the federal government had long been trying to get out of the Indian busin ess, this period of termination was its most straightforward and successful attempt. Because of Osage wealth, they were seen as no longer needing the support of the federa l government and thus eligible for termination. The Osage, understanding the importance of fe deral recognition, sent represen tatives to Washington to use Osage wealth to negotiate a continuing rela tionship. During the he arings on July 22, 1953, Osage Tribal Councilman George V. Labadie made the following argument: MR. HARRISON: You are willing to pay ev ery bit of the expenses? MR. LABADIE: Yes, sir. MR. HARRISON: That will include not only th e $40,000, which is the difference between the $300,000 cost of operation and th e $260,000 you pay, but also the cost of administration by the Department of the Interior. MR. LABADIE: Correct and the area directors. MR. HARRISON: I understand then you will take imme diate steps to work out with the Department of the Interior representatives the plans to take care of the payment on a fair and equitable basis? MR. LABADIE: Certainly. MR. HARRISON: I might say I can find no fault with an agreement of that kind nor can I find any fault with the continuation of the trust provided you are willing to pay for the additional cost. I might just say frankly that I feel that a tribe that is as wealthy as your tribe is and people as competen t as you are, making the record that you and other people have in business, certainly should not expect the federal government to continue payment of all the extra costs. If the continuation of [t he] trust is going to be beneficial to you, then you should be willing to pay for it. MR. LABADIE: That is correct. And we will do that. [quoted in Burns 2002: 428-429] This exchange illustrates that by 1953 the federal government had long forgotten all the promises it had made to the Osage in exchange for their land. Once again, the Osage had no choice but to

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73 accept the terms the federal government was willing to offer. Because of Osage oil money the Osage continued to be recognized as a federal trib e. Since the passage of this bill in 1953, the Osage are the only tribe paying for the costs of running their own BIA agency (Burns 2002). Because the oil under the Osage reservation will ev entually run out, many people have feared the eventual termination of the Osage tribe. Howe ver, recent investment in gaming has once again altered the situation, al lowing the Osage to create programs to serve their comm unity and rebuild the Osage Nation. While Osage governance and aut onomy are based on principles far older than economic development, it is through these means that the Osage and many other Tribal Nations today are being revitalized. Efforts Toward Reform Even while fighting the federal governm ent in order to maintain recognition, more and more Osage were being alienated from the shar eholder controlled governme nt. In the 1950s and 1960s, a group of Osage got together to form the Osage Nation Organization (Oh No). The central argument of the group was that the 1881 Osage Nation had been illegally terminated by the BIA and was thus still an active government. In addition to wanting to return to this governing structure, this group was motivated by a desire to move Osage citizenship away from the headright system toward a 1/4th blood quantum requirement. Because of their insistence on a blood quantum, and fears that thei r real intent was to do away with the headright system altogether, which was still providing shareholders with a substantial check each quarter, the Oh Nos were never successful in their reform effo rts. Rather than bringing an end to the Osage Tribal Council (OTC), they ended up rallying many Osage behind this federally imposed system. However, in 1978 this effort to delegitimize the OTC led to Logan v. Andrus (457 F. Supp. 1318), with mixed results. The trial judge held that the 1881 Constitution had been illegally abolished saying, The Secretary of the Interior was attempting to exer cise legislative power

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74 when he purportedly abolished the government of the Osage Nation in 1900, and thus such action was beyond the scope of his authority a nd of no legal effect (457 F. Supp. 1318, 1324). However, the court decided that because the OTC had been in place for over seventy years, it now had general legislative aut hority over the tribe. Thus, ev en though the BIA had illegally abolished the Osage Nation, the OTC was now c onsidered the only active government of the Osage people. In the appeal, the legislative author ity of the OTC was reaffirmed (640 F.2d 269 [1981]). This issue was again brought up in 1990, when another group of Osage took the preexisting Osage constitutional government to federal Court ( Fletcher v. United States 116 F.3d 1315). As Robert Warrior explains, In a move that surprised many, in 1992 U.S. District Court Judge James O. Ellison reached what can be seen legally as a decision in equity and mandated a process through which citizen-members of the Osage Nation (most of whom were ineligib le to vote under the tribal council system) voted, over the course of two years, in a referendum process to reinstate their National Council. [2005: 54] This court-mandated process resulted in a new Constitutional government, which was seen as being amended from the 1881 Osage Constitution. Because this outcome was a negotiation between the BIA and the plaintiffs of the case, much of the new constitution was written without the consent of the Osage populati on as a whole. A majority of Osage voters did approve the final 1994 Constitution. In 1997, however, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Ellisons ruling on the basis that the OTC had sove reign immunity and could not have its general powers stricken by the U.S. court system. In recognizing the OTC as the Osage government, this ruling extinguished the 1994 Osage government and returned voting to only those holding a share in the minerals estate (Warrior 2005). By 2004, this imposed Tribal Council structure had done much damage to the Osage as a nation. In addition to alienating thousands of Osage from tribal politics, this system had many

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75 problems as a governing institution. Because all authority was concentrated in the tribal council, there was no one to prevent misuse of au thority, misappropriation of funds, or outright corruption. Frequently, the Osag e voters responded to these pr oblems by electing new officials every election, but the lack of continuity led to projects being funded for short periods and then scrapped with each electoral change. Finally, be cause there was no official way of making law, a resolution was often passed one week and overt urned the next. These problems ultimately scared away valuable people, resources and funds from the reservation area. Leave It Alone Even with all its p roblems, the Tribal Council system still had authority among many Osage people during the 2004-2006 government reform process. While there were certainly plenty of shareholders in favor of changing th e governing structure, there was a small group who wanted to keep the system exactly like it was. As one tribal elder e xplained in a community meeting, Our generation back then, my grandfat hers days, my fathers days, they had a good time back then because they worked under this council system. It was good for them. The next generation, my generation, these young ones in here, their parents, your parents and my parents, they were involved back then. They thought it was good the tribal counc il had sole authority (February 28, 2006). Central to th ese sorts of arguments was the feeling that this system had been in place for a century and it had worked to keep the Osage people together. Furthermore, because parents and grandparents were most fr equently the ones to have a headright, it was argued that this system allowed elders to make decisions based on their more mature understanding of Osage politics and history. Fo r other people the Tribal Council system had developed authority simply because it had been in place for a hundred years. During an Osage government reform business meeting in September of 2005, one of the commissioners pointed out that the real cultural match for the government had a lot less to do

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76 with cultural practices and a lot more to do w ith the Osage shareholder system, which had been in place for the last hundred years. Perhaps mo re than any other comment received during the reform process, the OGRC was told over and ov er again, I dont care about what sort of government you create, but dont touch the minera l estate. During a community meeting in Greyhorse one man said, You all need to stay out of the mineral es tateYou all have your other business to take care of. You have no busin ess in there. The shareholders can decide; the shareholders can appoint; let th e shareholders figure it out (January 12, 2006). Another frequent comment focused on making sure the mineral estate was kept separated from the other governing affairs, Ok, so what is needed is a clear separation of the minerals operation and the governing of the nation, as well as their various monies. Th ey must be kept separate (Oklahoma City May 05, 2005). In fact, the force of these concerns was str ong enough to frequently derail entire meetings. While the focus of the meeting might be on the pr oblems of nepotism or the need for checks and balances, the comments would ofte n return to the mineral estate. The general consensus was that current shareholders should continue to be th e only ones receiving the proceeds from the mineral estate, which was guaranteed by federal Law, or making any decisions re lated to the mineral estate. From these discussions, it became clear that the structure of the new government was far less important to many Osage than th e protection of the mineral estate. The central motivation for keeping things the same was fear. Because of movements such as the Osage Nation Organization (Oh No), there wa s a strong connection cr eated in the minds of many Osage between reforming the government and redistributing the minera l shares. While the Oh Nos never argued for the redistribution of th e mineral shares, they did attempt to get other money owed to the tribe by the federal government distributed to descen dants of the 1906 act

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77 who were on record as having 1/4th and over Osage blood. Concerns that similar efforts were at work within the 2004-2006 reform caused significa nt commotion throughout the reform process, with the reform commission having to insist over and over again that the mineral estate shares were protected from redistributi on, taxing, and being used as colla teral by the new government. These fears greatly complicated the Osage refo rm process, because they created questions about any sort of change. Articulations such as the following were frequent throughout the reform process, You're not going to changeyou're not going to, like she said, your Mineral Estates are protected. It's ruled by a CFR Regulations in the Supreme Cour t so you can't set one, this referendum thing here has no d ealings with that. You can't say anything about that so I want everyone to know that you can't change that pa rt of it. Is it true that just what you are here to do is to form a new government? [OGRC community Meeting, Pawhuska, April 4, 2005] The code of federal regulations (CFR) mentioned a bove is a set of U.S. regulations that stipulate how the Osage mineral estate was supposed to op erate, including how ma ny elected officials it would have. These codes were originally wr itten to support the 1906 C ongressional Act, but have been amended many times in the last hundred years. During the reform process these CFRs were brought up repeatedly, usually ending c onversations about alternative government structures and refocusing the discussion ar ound the laws already in place. The reform commissioners themselves spent many hours mired in discussion about the CFRs and how they could work around them if cha nging them was not an option. Finally, the OGRC turned to the BIA for guidanc e as to how the federal government would react to such a change. When the Osage Superint endent was approached a bout this subject, she clarified that the federal govern ment would change the CFRs to meet the new Osage governing structure. While many people were relieved that they did truly ha ve this sort of freedom, other Osage, particularly members of the Osage Share holder Association, continue d to feel that it was

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78 better just to leave the mineral estate alone. Ma ny people equated change with a threat to the Trust Relationship7. In a posting on the Osage Sharehol ders Association (OSA) Website in October of 2006, one person explained that the an xieties surrounding the tr ust were not simply monetary. He went on to say, Its all about the legal concept of a trust and about keeping th e Osage Trust intact, so that the special relationship the 1906 act gives all the Osage people with the federal government, will not be destroyed. A trust can be thought of as a box in which something of value is kept safe for the owners. It is usually meant to keep the valuables safe not only from outside forces, but also fr om unauthorized use from the owners. So there are special rules as to its use and a trustee is placed in charge of both protecting the valuables and regulating their use. As long as the box is kept intact a nd all the rules are followed the trust itself can be thought of as being intact and unassailableI want agreements made that are consistent with the CFRs. Central to this posting is a fear that if any rules associated with the mineral estate were changed that the entire trust relationship would crumble. Because of the effort involved in extending the mineral estate into perpetuity, there were good historical reasons to assume that the federal government would use any excuse possible to finally succeed in subsuming the Osage completely. Throughout the reform process, these sorts of fears were articulated in many different ways. At the beginning of an Osage government Reform meeting, the Osage public was given the opportunity to expres s their concerns, and one shareholder said, There are several Osage that think that there is a plot going on to try to get the minerals from underneath the trust; that the [new Osage] government will actually end up with the minerals and theyll no longer be ours; that theyll be turned over to somebody else because it goes back to greed. When you look at this land all around us and think at one time we owned every inch of this ground. A nd now we have hardly nothing. [September, 26, 2005] 7There are many arguments about the origin and exact meaning of the trust relationship between the United States government and Indian Tribes. Wilkins and Lomawaima (2001) summarize these debates and describe this trust as the notion of federal responsibility to protect or enhance tribal assets (including fiscal, natural, human, and cultural resources) through policy decisions and management actions (65).

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79 Because of the long history of colonial encr oachment, the Osage people certainly have good reason to fear further losses. Over and over ag ain, the federal government made promises and then broke them, playing Osage factions agains t each other in an attempt to meet the EuroAmerican desires for westward expansion lead ing to smaller and smaller reservations and ultimately allotment. In particular, the more recent loss of reservation land to whites through means such as failure to pay property taxes and outr ight fraud, is still very fresh in the minds of many Osage. Unfortunately, as frequently occurs after prolonged colonia lization, these fears are not limited to the actions of the colonizer, but are turned inward, she dding doubt on all reform efforts. These individuals cont inued to fight the government refo rm process and formed part of the 33 percent minority that eventually voted against the 2006 Osage constitution. This small group of shareholders saw such mo ves by the federal government to allow more Osage self-determination as the gove rnments latest attempt to get out of the Indian business. On the Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) we bpage, one member wrote a long posting entitled, White Hair Stills the Wind, which told a particular Osage hist ory in order to support one way in which the Osage future could be imagined. The posting tells a story about two of the Osage Villages, the Grand Village and the Little Osage Village. The Little Osage had asked and received permission to secede, but later, surround ed by enemies, asked the larger group if they could return. The Little Osage ended up settlin g about 6 miles away. The posting continues that in 1806, when US Army Lieutenant Zebulon Montgom ery Pike visited the Osage, he could not convince White Hair, the central leader of the Grand Village, to help him establish a route through to the Colorado area, but the Little Osage decided to he lp. Because of his reckless temperament Pike ended up abandoning all his men, who did not have enough food or

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80 protection from the cold, and was eventually cap tured by the Spanish. The posting concludes by saying, In modern day Osage politics, there seems to be a willingness by the US government to remove their responsibility to the Osage. Is this the same reckless temperament White Hair saw in the folly of the Americans in 1806? Also are Shareholder Osage (also known as Osage) equivalent to Grand Village Osage of 1806 when they demonstrate their willingness to grant a group of Osage permission to pursue their own political endeavor? I am sure that the temperament of the 1906 Os age will once more be demonstrated if the efforts of the new government fall short of e xpectation. There seems to be a substantial effort displayed by the new Osage government as they tend toward the betterment of our Osage people. But cautious concern, as demonstr ated by White Hair in 1806, to protect the Osage Trust should be our greater calling as th e electorate. Lets not forget that the 1906 Act was probably second only to the life ways and ancient rule of the Grand Village of the Osage, on the Osage River in Missouri. [ www.Osagehareholders.org 2006] This posting equates the reckless temperament of Pike and the Little Osage to the new Osage Nation. In this telling of Osage history, the Os age Mineral Estate becomes the protector of the Osage people, as well as a form of government s econd only to the life ways and ancient rule of the Grand Village of the Osage. Using history in such a way en ables this writer to question the new Osage government while reasserting the im portance of the Osage Mineral estate. This posting also illustrate s the power the 1906 Act continues to hold for some Osage individuals. Furthermore, this story exemplifies that the source of this authority stems primarily from a fear that the U.S. will no longer recogni ze its trust relationshi p with the Osage Nation, thus bringing about the termination of the mine ral estate and ultimately the Osage Nation as a whole. Through the colonial process, self-det ermination itself has because a dangerous sign for some Osage. These fears surrounding the mineral estate powerfully illustrate the ways in which the colonial process has impacted the Osage people. Fears of termination of the trust relationship were powerful enough to make the 2004-2006 reform process exceedingly complicated. Through repeated threats of termination, the fede ral government has created a situation in which

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81 many Osage are terrified of any change, even while acknowledging the insurmountable problems with the Tribal Council structure. Debating the role of the Osage Mineral Estate From the very beginning of the reform process, it was clear that the hardest problem the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) had to solve was how to reform the government while simultaneously leaving the minera l estate intact. In le gislation created by the Osage Tribal Council and passed by the Un ited States Congress, it was stated, Notwithstanding section 9 of th e Act entitled, An Act For the division of lands and funds of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma Territory, and for other purposes, approved June 28, 1906 (34 Stat. 539), Congress hereby reaffirms th e inherent sovereign right of the Osage Tribe to determine its own form of government provided that the rights of any person to Osage mineral estate shares are not dimini shed thereby. [Public Law 108-431: December 3, 2004] Thus, the Osage people had the right to create any government they wanted, so long as this government did not diminish the rights of any pers ons to their mineral estate shares. However, legality was just the beginning of the issues associated with the Osage Mineral estate. The OGRC learned very early in their first round of community meetings that most Osage Shareholders were fine with allowing non-sharehol ders to becomes citizens, but they wanted to be assured, over and over again, th at these changes were not going to affect their mineral estate shares. The rest of this chap ter will explore the different vi ews in circulation during the 20042006 reform process about how the mineral estate should be handled in the making of a new Osage government. Among the Osage people, ther e were multiple ideas about how the mineral estate should be treated, includ ing leaving everything alone, crea ting the mineral estate as one house in a bicameral system, or making it part of the larger Osage Nation. In exploring the debates surrounding each of thes e ideas, it is possible to understand both the problems

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82 colonialism has created for the Osage people and the continued insistence that this colonial situation not prevent the Osage from rebuilding themselves as a nation. The primary problem with the Leave it Alone strategy is that most Osage agreed that membership needed to be reformed. There was no way, however, to simply add new people into the current Osage government without opening up the mineral estate decisions to nonshareholders, because the current government was the sole decision-making body for the mineral estate. It was thus reasoned that there had to be some way to create a new government while preserving the mineral estate. One creative solution to these complexities was to create a bicameral system of governance. While there we re many versions of this suggested, the general idea was that the Osage shareholders would elect one body and the general Osage population, including the shareholders, would el ect another. This was seen as not only uniting the tribe, but also appeasing the shareholders who were afraid that the new government would in some way harm the mineral estate. At one of the early community meetings a shareholder outlined this view: I dont particularly want to see a nation and a tr ibe. I want to see us all together. One way to do that would be to have a bicameral form of government where you have a council that is elected by the shareholders Its going to happen no matter what because thats part of the law. But also have a Hous e that would be elected by all of the Osage I think if we put it all together in one unit, one govern ment, we could do something that would be effective as far as all of us working together. [OGRC community meeting Skiatook: May 12, 2005] As we saw earlier, one of the reform commission ers also desired a bicamer al structure because it would also create a link with earlier Osage governments. To address these ideas the Osage Government Reform Commission created the foll owing question as part of the November referendum: Option A. The newly reformed Osage govern ment is reorganized under one governing constitution of the Osage Nation with one governing body organized into a 3 branch system that does not include the Osage Tribal Council as part of that system. The Osage

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83 Tribal Council functions as an independent body with no governmental authority, yet retaining all its pres ent fundamental organization, aut hority and responsibilities over the Osage mineral estate in accordance with the Osage Allotment Ac t of June 28, 1906. (sec. 9, 34 Stat. 539) Or Option B: The newly reformed Osage govern ment is reorganized under one governing constitution of the Osage nation with one gove rning body organized into a 3 branch system that does include the Osage Tribal Council as part of that system. The Osage Tribal Council is established as a s econd chamber of a bicameral, or two house system, within the legislative branch of the newly refo rmed Osage government. Elected by Osage shareholders, the Osage Tribal Council retains all its pres ent fundamental organization, authority and responsibilities over the Osage mineral estate in accordance with the Osage Allotment Act of June 28, 1906 (sec.9, 34 stat 53 9). All legislative authority, other than that specified to manage the mineral estate, is delegated to a house of representatives elected at large by a ll adult members of the Osage Nati on. A bright line must be drawn between the two houses to clearly de lineate duties and responsibilities. When the Osage people answered this question, th ey were split almost exactly down the middle with 51.6 percent of the voters voting for option A and 48.40 percen t voting for option B. The one thing that was certain from this result wa s that the Osage people were not united around a bicameral system of governance. Because Option A. had officially won the referendum election, the Osage Tribal Council could not be part of the 3-branch system in the form of one half of the legislature. However, many people still feared a repeat of the two-gove rnment system created in 1994. The telling of Osage histories once again played a major role in how the Osage future was imagined. In 1994, a three-part government was cr eated with a National Council, Executive, and Legislative branches. Because this constitution was a court-mandated negotiation among the BIA, the Osage Tribal Council, and the part y suing the government for im proper dissolution of the 1881 government, the Osage Tribal Council was left intact. The assumption was that the Tribal Council would focus on the minerals and the ne w National Council would handle all other Osage affairs.

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84 Several problems quickly developed between th ese two organizations. First, the national government had no way to pay for itself. Oil mone y was used to pay for the Tribal Council, but could not be used for the national government and gaming was not yet a resource the Osage Nation had developed. Anothe r problem was that the buildings, equipment, and other possessions had ambiguous ownershi p, with both sides claiming the title. Finally, it was argued that the National Council was meddling in the Tribal Council affairs th rough the creation of certain laws. In a Pawhuska community m eeting during the 2004-2006 reform process these issues were brought up and one Osage responded at length: Weve been dealing with this for years and years. Like Mr. Redeag le said, the 1906 [Act] has been very good to us. But our people have always been moving forward and we always change and change is needed. We have to ma ke some changes because there are Osage that are totally estranged from their own nation. At the same time, lets learn from our history. People who dont know their history are bound to liv e the same things over and over again. The main reason I came tonight is share a little bit of information with you; a little bit of our history. I was on the trib al council with Mr. Redeagle in 1994 when we had a constitution. I thought it was a good constituti on. I thought it spelled things out. When we started out we were happy, like a bunch of kids starting something new. The tribal council was glad to shift all those responsibil ities and duties over to the national council; we took care of the minerals. During the ti me that the tribal c ouncil took care of the minerals, for the first time in history, the Osage people pumped our own oil. No other people in the world had this many resources a nd sat on it and did nothing but take royalty income . But weve got to learn from mistakes. I am saying lets make sure the Osage tribal council does not br eak any rules of the National government. Lets make sure that the rules are written in such a way that that doesnt become necessary, because this was the downfall of our last government. [January 19, 2006] This quote nicely summarizes many central issues of the 2004-2006 reform process. While history is central for understandi ng future paths, change is sti ll highlighted as the central way forward for the Osage people. Furthermore, this q uote illustrates from an inside perspective that even if the Osage people had good intentions starting out with the 1994 government, it failed because there was no agreed upon process for them to negotiate their relationship. Others during the reform process insisted sp ecifically on th e need for one government. During a Bartlesville community meeting another person said:

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85 Its one government, the way I see it. The way that my father, I and Paula, and my family here and friends, have been debating since last week on a daily basis. When the constitution is set, its done, and we have a president or chief, the mineral estate then becomes a boardTheres no longer a government because if youre not dealing with my health care anymore, my education, my housi ng, of that which, it is a contradiction in terms The mineral estate now becomes a true economic developing board. [April 28, 2005] In the end, the reform commission ended up writi ng a constitution that included something very similar to this view, with the Minerals Council ac ting within the larger Osage Nation. This decision to create one government still left the central problem of how the mineral estate could be included in th e government and subject to the la ws of the nation, while at the same time maintaining the greatest possible independence. The OGRC spent several weeks meeting with their lawyers, holding a law sy mposium of Osage lawyers and meeting in a weeklong writing retreat. After coming up with their best solution, the OGRC took their ideas back to the people in a series of community meetings. One of the government reform commissioners explained their findings at a Hominy community meeting: Its well understood that the tribal council or mineral council w ould not have the same role that theyve always played. They will no longer be the governing body of the Osage people. But its our feeling a nd the feelings of the Osage people that weve visited with that they certainly want that council to exis t and they want them to handle strictly the mineral shares for the shareholders. The pr oblem remains, how do we keep a governmentto-government relationship existing? We don t want to go back to two governments and we will not. Well have one governing body and then the mineral council will be a separate part, still elected by the shareholders The way we feel it will be tied to the government is that a clause could be written in there that within five days of a lease, the chief would have a right to decline it if it violates Osage law set by the constitution. He cant decline just because he doesnt like it. But if it violates Osage law he can then decline it. That is the tie th at brings it into the new gove rnment to keep its sovereign immunity powers under the government. With out it we were afraid, and weve had attorneys advise us, that the Bureau of Indian Affairs could say were no longer going to deal with this because thats not the govern ing body any more. And it would put us in a quandary of who does have a say. And we think the Osage people feel that the shareholders want that mineral council to ov ersee and to control th e oil porti on, but not anything to do with day-to-day government. [January 16, 2006]

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86 In 2006, this approach to incorporating the Os age minerals council into a new government was accepted by a 2/3rd majority of the Osage voters. Ar ticle XV, section 4 of the 2006 Osage Constitution created a minerals management agency entitled the Osage Minerals Council. This agency was, as the constitution reads, establishe d for the sole purpose of continuing its previous duties to administer and develop the Osage Mineral Estate in accordance with the Osage Allotment Act of June 28, 1906, as amended, with no legislative authority for the Osage Nation government. To assure that the Osage Minera ls Council did not violate Osage law, the same section of 2006 Constitution includes this stipulation: Mineral leases approved and executed by the Council shall be deemed approved by the Osage Nation unless, within five (5) working da ys, written objection is received from the Office of the Principal Chief that the executed lease or other development activity violates Osage law or regulation. Any dispute that arises through this process may be heard before the Supreme Court of the Osage Nation Judiciary. What was particularly important about this move was that those shareholders voting for the new system, including the acting members of the Osage Tribal Council, voted for a system in which they were going to lose their monopoly over gene ral Osage governance. When asked about this loss of power, one person with multiple headrights responded, That is power I should never have had to begin with (persona l communication, September 12, 2005). The passage of the 2006 constitution was only the beginning of the debates about the new role of the Osage mineral estate. Many people co ntinued to express fears that this new system gave the Chief too much authority over the minera l estate, especially sinc e the Chief did not have to be a shareholder. Some even went as far as to threaten lawsuits because they felt the minerals council had not been properly protected. They ar gued that the mineral estate had in fact been diminished by its new place within the larger Osag e Nation, particularly since they no longer had a chief or vice chief and were left with just th e 8 council members. As one tribal elder put it

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87 early on in the reform process, there was always the possibility that the future of the Osage Nation would be decided by a lawsuit. If they decide to allow all Osage into the syst em, then the headright holders have a right to sue because the council has not pr otected the headrights by bringing in all these voters. If they create a two part system, with one group over the mineral estate, then the other group will sue because they are not having full say in their government. Either way they should just do it and get the lawsuit out of the way, because it will decide what kind of government we are going to have. [P ersonal Communication August 26, 2005] These debates surrounding the Osage mineral estate illustrate, perhaps more than anything else, the complex set of issues the colonial s ituation has created for the Osage people. Conclusion In this chapter, I have combined various hist o ries of the Osage people in order to tell my own story of the colonial process. The Osage be nefited from their centra l location and were able to gain power during the early colonial period by establishing ex tensive trade relations. When the United States government monopolized trade in the area, this Osage position was greatly weakened. Through control of trade, greater access to guns and horses, and outright deception, the United States government was able to negotiate a series of vast la nd acquisitions. Control over land, and the annuity payments promised fo r the land, enabled the federal government to take control of Osage governance and to ultimately persuade the Osage to accept allotment. In 1906, when the Osage Tribal Council was se t up, the federal government thought that it was creating an end to the Indian problem. In 25 years it imagined that the Osage people would be incorporated into American culture and would no longer need to have a governing body to manage Osage affairs. The Osage were able to fight off this series of threats through various creative maneuverings, which, while drastic ally changing their governmental structure and way of life, enabled them to maintain their position of difference in relation to the general

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88 American population. Even while the Osag e fought this incorporation through various extensions of their trust relations hip, more and more Osage fell outsi de their governing structure. By the time the federal Congress was persuade d in 2004 to give the Osage the same rights as other tribes, to determin e their own membership and form of government, the U.S. government had created a complex problem for the Osage in terms of how the system of headright shares would be preserved while allowing for a government that met the current needs of all Osage people. This impasse illustrates the continuing colonial impacts on the Osage people today. Fear of change, in particular, threat ened to stagnate all reform efforts, letting few conversations stray far from the pr otection of the mineral estate. In making fear the central topic of discussion, the colonial process has weighed heavily on the Osage people. Another consequence of the colonization ha s been the complete disconnection between older Osage governing practices and the 2006 co nstitution. The colonial government not only illegalized central aspects of these earlier Osage ways of be ing, but also, over time, rendered them unfamiliar. In creating a tribal council structure and only recognizing its authority, the United States government succeeded in significantly altering Osage practices. Interestingly, the disconnect created between Osage culture and pol itical structures was still strong enough in 2006 to facilitate the general cons ensus that Osage cultural practices should remain completely separate from Osage governance. In dictating the government structure of the Osage for 100 years, the United States government broke apar t older linkages between religion, governance and culture, so that by 2006 cultural pr actices were understood as something completely separate from governance. However, the Osage cannot be understood as passive victims of colonization. Over and over again they have argued for their right to ma intain as much of their autonomy as possible.

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89 Using their history of embracing change, the Osage have not let themselves be dissolved as a people, even if this meant dras tically changing their own ways of living. Rather than defining themselves simply in terms of a connection to a single past, many Osage have embraced change as a means of ensuring their future. While some might read Osage history as a series of losses, their continued perseverance in the face of great colonial opposition should instead be read as a series of negotiations. Over and over again, the Osage have asserted that they are not only a people, but also a nation. To this end, the 2006 Osage preamble reads, Having resolved to live in harmony, we now co me together so that we may once more unite as a nation and as a PeopleAcknowledging our ancient tribal order as the foundation of our present government, first reformed in the 1881 Constitution of the Osage Nation, we continue our legacy by again reorganizing our governmentWe, the Osage People, based on centuries of being a People, now strengthen our government in order to preserve and perpetuate a full and abundant Osage way of life that benefits all Osage, living and yet unborn. [Osage Constitution: 1] Rather than treating the past as so me sort of static ideal to be returned to, this passage is creating a connection with the past, predicated on Osage reorganization. It is this ability to change that enables an Osage future. Furthermore, it is the Osage insistence on their own nationhood that denies the federal governments efforts of total incorporation. As Article I states, This tribe shall hereafter be referred to as The Osage Natio n, formerly known as the Osage Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma (Osage Constitution 2006:1). By once again rejecting the labe l of tribe, the Osage people are utilizing the id ea of nationhood to reassert their ability to control their own affairs. In 2006, they succeeded in reasserting themselves as a nation, even as the fear of change threatened to stagnate or reverse this process.

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90 CHAPTER 3 THE FUNDAMENTAL PO WERS OF BL OOD Objective self-fashioning is how we take facts about ourselvesa bout our bodies, minds, capacities, traits, states, limitations, propensities, etc.that we have read, heard, or otherwise encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives. [Dumit 1997] In March of 2006, the Osage voters approved a constitution stating, all lineal descendants of those Osage listed on the 1906 ro ll are eligible for membership in the Osage Nation (Osage Nation Constitution 2006). While this phrase appears simple, it is actually a complex consolidation of a myriad of debates surrounding citizenship that have been going on for centuries, particularly regarding the role Osag e blood should play in determining who can be considered an Osage citizen. The next two chapte rs will map the various institutions that have surrounded Osage blood. As Bruno Latour (200 0) writes, When a phenomenon definitely exists this does not mean that it exists forever, or independently of all practice and discipline, but that it has been entrenched in a costly and ma ssive institution that has to be monitored and protected with great care (255). Blood must be understood not simply as a physical substance, but also as an institution, or, more accurately, multiple institutions, which ar e not uniform throughout time or space. In human history, the significance of blood has ch anged many times. Even now, blood, as the substance by which physical traits are passed fr om one generation to the next, no longer quite makes sense. Genes have come to take bloods place as a marker of heredity, leaving blood as mere metaphor, no longer assumed to contain the fundamental characteristic s of an individual, and therefore, no longer supported by current scie nce. Scientists are now investing their time and resources into tracing out c onnections between gene tic codes and physical traits, leaving the institution of blood to unravel from neglect. However, for many Osage as well as other indigenous peoples, blood still has real power. In order to make sense of this power, the various

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91 institutions of blood must be scrutinized. After outlining some of the debates about blood which took place at the beginning of the 2004-2006 reform process, this chapter will trace out European understandings of Indianness and how some of these concepts surfaced during the reform process. The following chapter will illustrate, howeve r, that the Osage did not simply accept this European institution of blood, but created thei r own institution, negotiated out of their own experiences. BIA, CDIB, OTC, OGRC and Who Gets to Vote During the summ er of 2004, I returned home to Oklahoma in order to lay the foundation for my dissertation research on the Osage govern ment reform bill that was moving through the US Congress. The second interview I conducted wa s with Leonard Maker, the head of planning for the Osage Nation. Maker had been put in charge of creating a plan for the reform process and had a large schematic drawn on a dry erase board in his office outlining the major events he thought should take place, including: community meetings, trainings, and a referendum election. During the interview, Maker explained that th e first decision to make was who got to vote on the future of the Osage nation. Giving a brief history of the tribe, he explained that in 1906, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) fina lly persuaded the Osage population to allot their reservation, the BIA create d a roll that listed all the members of the trib e. From this roll, Maker went on to say, there are around 20,000 lineal descenda nts, all of whom were eligible for Osage Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) cards from the BIA. However, because of the shareholder system created by the federal gov ernment in 1906, children born after July 1, 1907 were not eligible to vote in tribal politics or run for office. It was only when members on the original roll died that Osage born after the cutoff date were able to inherit land, a share in the mineral estate proceeds, and a vot e in tribal politics. This wa s even further complicated by a later decision to have tribal votes dependent on the percentage of headright held. When three

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92 siblings would inherit equa l shares of one parents headright, for example, they were only given a 1/3rd vote in tribal elections. By 2004, this syst em recognized only 4,000 people as eligible to vote, with many having less than half a vote. Th ese inequalities are what eventually led the Osage Tribal Council (OTC) to press the fede ral Congress for a change in the law. In discussing who he thought should be elig ible to vote if the bill was passed, Maker asked, It is a chicken and e gg question, who decides who the Osage are to participate? Assuming that everybody, most of the 20,000 peopl e that we say are of Osage descent, are of Osage descent, then those are the people we wa nt to be represented (Personal Communication: July 20, 2004). Maker went on to explain howev er, that central to the passage of Osage allotment in 1906 was the stipulation that the Chie f would have three months to file with the Secretary of the Interior a list of names that were on the BIA roll by fraud or descended from people put on the roll by fraud. The principal Ch ief created a list of 244 persons. The Secretary of the Interior heard these cases, but in the e nd decided not to remove any names from the list based on what he saw as insufficient evidence. (Personal Communication, July 20, 2004; Annual Report 1907: 116). Maker went on to explain that some Osage di d not want the 1906 roll to be the basis for membership because of these fraudulent enrollees. It was argued that because these people did not have Osage blood, they should not be granted a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card, and ultimately should not be eligible to vote in Osage elections. Maker explained, I just learned over the last se veral years we had a person work ing at the agency here who was able to look at the roll a nd at the documentation that was available to show that there are a number of people on the Osage roll from 1906 who were not of Osage blood. This person refused to issue CDIB cards to these people because, simply, they were not of Osage blood. She could not ethically or legally, in her opinion, sign off on a document that said they were of Osage blood because from her analysis from what the actual record showed, they were clearly not of Osage blood. [Personal Communica tion: July 20, 2004]

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93 This question of who should be el igible to participate was thus not easily answered. On one hand, there was a 100-year precedent of the 2,229 headrights that had by now been unevenly split among 4,000 people controlling Osage elections. However, this was the system the OTC was trying to fix with their U. S. Congressional bill. On th e other hand, there were around 20,000 people who were lineal descendants of the 1906 ro ll, but this roll now contained hundreds of descendants perceived as fraudulen t. Finally, this issue of fra ud was caught up in debates about blood and biological conceptions of being Osage. Some of the people listed on the 1906 roll had been adopted into the tribe and were accepted at the time even though they had no Osage blood. Adoption was practiced by the Osag e before the arrival of the Europeans and was seen by some to be more culturally appropriate than blood-based forms of membership. The bill reaffirming the inherent sovereign righ ts of the Osage Tribe to determine its own membership and form of government (Public Law 108-431) passed both federal houses and was signed into law in December of 2004. Choosing to act immediately on this law, the Osage Tribal Council (OTC) put Makers reform plan into motion. In February of 2005, the OTC appointed ten people as commissioners with their mission being to provide a means through which the Osage People will establish a government that re flects the will of the Osage People (Osage Government Reform Project Comprehensive Plan, February 21, 2005: 8). Makers original plan called for half the commissioners to be headri ght holders and half nonheadright holders, but various Osage Tribal Councilmen argued that they wanted to instead focus on getting the best people for the job (OTC Committee Meeting, February 7, 2005). When all the reform commissioners ended up being h eadright holders it seemed more likely that the motivation for changing the comprehensive plan was a fear that non-shareholders (those who had not yet, or never would, inherit a headright) might create a government that was somehow harmful to the

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94 mineral estate. This move, however, caused many people to question the process of the reform from the very beginning, saying the reform co mmission did not accurately represent the Osage population1. The plan handed to this new commission (officially titled the Osage Government Reform Commission) by the OTC did not, however, clarify who was meant by the Osage People, but did stipulate that they needed to create a registration process for the proposed constitutional referendum based on existing lists including, the CDIB list, member ship list, newsletter list, other lists as well as certify this list for the referendum (Osa ge Government Reform Project Comprehensive Plan, February 21: 2005: 8). Fo r Maker and some members of the OTC, this process included at least the option of having the voting list go through a period in which descendants from these members who had been lis ted as fraudulent were subject to challenge (Personal Communication: July 20, 2004). In May of 2005, I returned to Oklahoma to complete my dissertation research. The reform process had officially started in February with the appointme nt of the OGRC, but by May the OGRC was just setting up its office and beginning its first round of community meetings. In addition to the OGRC business and community m eetings, I began attending the weekly OTC meetings. At 9 a.m. on July 1,st I arrived for an OTC meeting and was immediately asked to leave the chambers, along with all other non-elec ted officials, because the CDIB department2 had asked for an executive session. Later, from various sources, I pieced togeth er that this meeting 1 This and other problems with the reform will be discussed at length in chapter six. 2 In order to take more control of the process by which the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awarded Osage Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) cards, the 31st Osage Tribal Council (200-2004 ) contracted with the BIA, and created the CDIB department within the Osage Tribe. This department was intended to help Osage fill out the necessary paperwork, but ultimately it was still the BIA who determined the criteria for the card and signed off all cards issued. According to the BIA, to receive a CDIB card you had to prove descent from someone listed on the BIAs 1906-allotment roll. This card enabled you to receive certain federal benefits including health care at Indian clinics and various Native American scholarships.

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95 was called because the BIA was no longer signing CDIB cards of those descendants who did not have Osage blood. This was particularly si gnificant since federal government had never admitted that there were people on the 1906 roll w ho were fraudulent, even when Osage leaders had taken such arguments to a hearing in front of the Secretary of the In terior in the early 20th century. The OTC was thus left with a dilemma of whether or not to act on this opportunity to show that the BIAs roll had b een wrong all these years. If so, the federal government could probably be held negligible in court for massive losses of land and mineral estate proceeds that went to non-Osage. Several weeks later, after holding long mee tings with the OGRC about the list of nonblooded and fraudulent Osage, the OTC reali zed through conversations with the Osage BIA Superintendent that this was not a change in BI A policy. It turned out that an Osage woman in the tribal CDIB department had started placing the word adopt ed on all CDIB card applications when she had evidence claiming the ancestor did not have Osage blood, either because they had been adopted into the tribe or because they had been placed on the roll fraudulently. When the BIA Superintendent of the Osage Tribe received these CDIB applications, she had been refusing to sign them because of the word adopted, not realizing these people were lineal desce ndants of those listed on the 190 6 roll. The timing of this maneuver by the tribal CDIB department, however caused months of consternation not only for the OTC but also for the OGRC, who were tryi ng to figure out what voting requirements would be used for the November referendum election. This one issue, in fact, caused the commission to go in circles for months trying to figure out how they might best handle the voting requirements. On August 18, 2005, another business meeting turn ed into a discussion about the supposed fraudulent names:

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96 Commissioner 1: What are we going to do about these two hundred names? C2: It is not our job to do anything about it. Maker: You need to include a process for peopl e who want to dispute certain names on the 1906 roll. One way to do this would be to post the list in vari ous places and give people a certain amount of time to come up with evidence against certain names. C3: That list of the fraudulent names is totally ar bitrary; it is not base d on any real proof. Maker: I have heard that there is enough evid ence on file at the BIA to sufficiently document that these people were not Osage. You all need to stop going in circles around this issue and just take a vote. Then you must get started getting stuff done. C3: What about putting it in the constitution th at they need to be of Osage blood and letting the new government, with its ow n court system, enforce the idea? C2: What about adopted children of Osage? Ou r tribe used to adopt children, didnt they? C4: You can be ethnically Osage, but that doe s not make you an Osage citizen. The two need to be separated. Maker: I used to think this issue of blood was d ead, but it has been brought back. It is going to take strength to fix, but we are ta lking about the identity of the Osage Nation. This is the first time in 100 years that we can answer the questions of who is Osage. Should we just stick our head back in the sand? [August 18, 2005] Later in the meeting, it was decided that anyone with an Osage CDIB card from the BIA, which was based solely on being a descendant from th e BIAs 1906 allotment roll, would have a vote in the November referendum election a nd thus a say in how citizenship ought to be determined. As Chief Gray put it at the end of the meeting, the best approach is to include everybody, cast the widest net possible as to the direction of the trib e. You can't limit citizenship before you determine citizenship (J im Gray, August 18 2005). Within this discussion, it is possible to follow the ways in which this issue of blood caused a great deal of anxiety during the reform process, ultimately consuming much of the reform commissions time and energy. Central to this a nxiety are a series of c onflicting ideas about the role blood should play in determining Osage citi zenship. Fundamental to Makers argument is the idea that blood is one, if not the, central component in determining not only Osage

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97 citizenship, but also the identity of the Osage Nation. In this view, the roll is something that Osage have been waiting a century to fix a nd are now finally being given the opportunity. Maker was far from the only person during the re form process who felt this way. However, there were also other views, such as the one put forth by C2, that blood should not be made the central determining factor because of older Osag e practices of adoption. A third view, put forth by C4, also discredited a purel y biological understanding of Osage citizenship, arguing elsewhere that Osage citizenship was also about living in and contributing to the community at large. This and the following chapter provide a background to each of these arguments, their histories, and ultimately how they were written into the 2006 Osage constitution. Pauline Turner Strong and Barrik Van Winkle ( 1996) call for research that explores blood quantum3 as a discourse of conquest with manifo ld and contradictory effects, but without invalidating rights and resistances that have been couched in term s of that very discourse (1996: 565). Blood was certainly a discourse of conquest for the Osage, as it was for other American Indians. Over the years it has served, at le ast symbolically, as a dividing line reworking perceptions of who counted as Osag e. The rest of this chapter focuses on blood as a discourse of conquest, while the following chapter will illustrate the more complicated understandings of blood that surfaced during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. The Dangerous Power of Blood Historicizing Race While blood is certainly a biol ogical substance, it must be made sense of through the various institutions that surr ound it, including the Euro-American institution of race. Like all 3 Blood quantum is the percentage of blood one has based on inheriting half of ones blood from the father and half from the mother. If a father was 1/4th Osage and the mother was none, the child would have an Osage blood quantum of 1/8th. If the Father was full-blood Osage and the moth er was half-blood Osage, then the child would have an Osage blood quantum of 3/4th.

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98 aspects of science, constructions of race rely on biological, so cial, and philosophical ways of knowing. Central to understanding the power of blood, then, is parsing out this institution of race for its various components. As the following sections will explore, the Euro-American institution of race relied on a vast assortment of objects and ideas including agriculture, Christianity, the savage, possession of propert y, colonization, the nation-state, the world map, evolution, human skulls, lead shot, the clin ic, the novel, and U.S. federal policies. Audrey Smedley (1993) argues that English interactions with the Irish laid the groundwork for race relations in the United States. After th e invasion of Ireland, many of the English became frustrated with what they saw as Irelands total re jection of agriculture a nd blatant disrespect for God, order, structure and control. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in particular, there developed a growing image of the Irish as something less than human, as a people whose capacity for civilization was stunted (Smedley 1993: 58). Such c oncepts of savagery became central to the development of ideas surrounding race. In particular, the English placed high value on the possession of property, linking it not just to what it m eant to be civilized, but also, through the Protestant Reformation, to what it meant to be favored by God. As a result, the Irish rejection of private property was seen not only as a rejection of ci vilization, but also as evidence of their inferiority in the eyes of God (Smedley 1993). These growing feelings of superiority were d eeply rooted in the process of colonization, and the growth of the nation-state. The people Europeans encountered across the globe were seen as nomadic, pagan, and orderless in the eyes of European descendants. According to Robert F. Berkhofer (1978), colonialism grew ou t of the new economic and political order of the 15th century: The rising spirit of nationalism and the emergence of nationstates in that area spurred exploration of the non-European world a nd divided the rest of the globe into national

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99 spheres of colonization (Ber khofer 1978: 4). As Europe be gan to map out the world around them, the world took on a drastically new shape. As James Scott (1989) argues, maps, such as those created during the colonial era, are never s imply depictions of what exists, but are valueladen objects that mold the world into a certain way of being. Not only was the world mapped into spheres of control, but it was also engrav ed with concepts of civilization, marking off Europe from the rest of the world. Nationalism, the growing global market, and Chri stianity all worked together to shape the concepts of difference that were the foundation of race. As Berkhofer argues in relation to Spanish perceptions of the new world, Indians might, therefore, have the wrong or no religion, have misguided or no governmentbut they alwa ys stood in Christian error and deficient in civilization according to Spanish standards of measurement (Berkhof er 1978: 4). Steeped in this concept of Christian civilization, the native cultu res encountered were likened to children and thought to be in need of modernizing. Wo rking together, these ideas provided a central foundation for the science of race through the creation of both the primitive and the civilized. Racializing Indians through Science Through colonialism concepts of cultural hier archies were already present in America. However, it was evolution, stemming in part from the growing moment um of the Industrial Revolution, which turned these gr and myths into science. Darw inism, and particularly its adaptation by Herbert Spencer into Cultural Darwinism, created the framework for much of this evolutionary timeline. According to Spencer and his adherents, each society was to be viewed as a solid entity whose progress could be measur ed by how well it is ord ered. This order involved having a clear, codified an d specific social organization. In this view, all societies are

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100 seen to travel on the same path, however, some were seen as further developed than others (Latham 2000). Central to the idea of race was the concept of blood, which was seen as literally transmitting racial qualities from one generation to the next. According to Melissa L. Meyer, the etymological link between blood and lineage goes back at least 800 years. By 1200, blood increasingly connotes lineage, desc ent, and ancestry in association with roya l claims to property and power and presages modern conceptions of race (1999: 235). Over time, race became more interwoven into European understandings of blood and blood relations. By 1800, the ideas surrounding blood relations were thus intricately interwoven with understandings of race, purity, and superiority (Meyer 1999). Uli Linke (1999) also traces out the connections between bl ood and race. Building on the work of Michel Foucault, Linke argues that in early European hist ory blood developed its potency and power from its c onnection to the female menstr ual cycle and ideas surrounding reproduction. However, these an cient connections surrounding bl ood were reworked not only to stand for ideas of descent, heredity and genealog y, but as a method of naturalizing the concept of race. Central to this European idea of bl ood was the concept of the natural body. Blood, body and race were solidified as biologic al realities, existing outside any sort of social or historical understandings. The material body was seized by a dissecting gaze that embraced not only the entire organism, not only its surfaces, but also its recesses, orifices, and hidden crevicesAssigned to the realms of nature and biology, the body was thus expelled from history (Linke 1999: 157). Discoveries within the laboratory came to be seen as having an objective authority, independent of social understandings. Through such clinical observations, race was given a biological reality.

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101 One of the central contributors to these unders tandings of a racialized body was geologist Samual G. Morton. Building on phrenological th eories of his day, including those of the 18th century German physiologist and physical anthropologist Johann Fr iedrich Blumenback,4 Morton began the collection and classification of human skulls in 1830. Mo rton argued that the interior of the cranium revealed brain size and that cr anial capacity differed among the races so brain size and intelligence were correlated (Bieder 1986: 64). Later Morton (1839) argues that this clear ranking of intelligence started with t he Black and moved up the scale from Indian, Malay, Mongolian and at the pinnacle the Caucasian. Using his vast collection of I ndian skulls, Morton went on to show that no drastic change had occurred for centuries in either the shape or size of Indian crania. From this observation, he argued that mental capacity was not determined by society, but was innately biological and passed on from one generation to th e next. As Robert E. Beider (1986) argues, Morton shared with other phrenologists the assumption that the Indians rejection of civilization lay not in willfulness but in their mental inability, given the si ze of their brains, to absorb civilization (73). By comparing the various weights of lead shot required to fill hum an skulls, Morton was able to locate older concepts of civilization within th e context of the body. From 1200 to 1900, the human body was gradually racialized. From changes in economy, religion, and world structure came understandi ngs of modernity, which served to create differently shaped bodies, including the civili zed European body and the primitive indigenous body. These bodies existed within the context of the growing field of biology as well as the economic, religious and political tr ends of the day. Over time, blood came to be the central 4 Blumenbach used craniometrical research to divide th e human species into five races, which included the "Caucasian race" or "white race"; the "Mongolian" or "ye llow race"; the "Malayan" or "brown race"; the "Negro, "Ethiopian, or "black race"; an d the "American" or "red race.

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102 symbol by which these biological, religious, economic, and political traits were passed from one generation to the next. Because of the prof ound differences established between the primitive and civilized body, blood mixing became a central qua ndary of early Americ an colonialists and ultimately the means by which complete colonization seemed possible. Mixing Blood in 19th Century American Literature and Science Such theories as Mortons on the impossibili ty of civilizing the Indian were highly debated, particularly when they involved percepti ons of mixed-blood Indians. Unlike African blood, which had a polluting nature (Baker 1998) there was a great deal of debate about the impact of Indian blood, particularly when mixed with Caucasian blood. Such fears and confusion surrounding mixed-blood Indians is evid ent in the literature and science of the 19th Century. In Oregon Trail (1849), Francis Parkma n describes several half-breeds as, a race of rather extraordinary composition, being according to the common saying half Indian, half white man, and half devil (362). William Scheick (1979) talks about this and other fictional characterizations of mixed-bloods as representative of the am biguous relationship Americans had with Indians and mixed-bloods in particular. Fiction of the time strove to glorify the noble savage and at the same moment celebrate civilizations victor y over savagery. According to Scheik, this was most frequently accomplished by placing the Indian within the remote past. However, the existence of mixed-bloods challe nged such easy placements. Whereas the fullblood Indian could be restricted to Americas prehistory or histor y, could be safely confined to the past, the mixed-blood Indian belonged very mu ch to the present and, quite possibly, to the future of America (Scheick 1979: 2). For American fiction writers of the 19th century, this ambivalence played out in the question of whet her or not mixed-bloods were an asset or a hindrance to western expansion.

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103 One example that Scheick uses to illustrate the attitudes toward ha lf-bloods during this period is Alexander Ross The Fur Hunters of the Far West (1855): Half-breeds, or as they are more generally styled, bruls, from the particular colour of their skin, being of a swarthy hue, as if sunburnt, as they grow up resemble, almost in every aspect, the pure Indian. With the difference th at they are more desi gning, more daring, and more dissolute.They are by far the fittest persons for the Indian countries, the best calculated by nature for going among Indians. They are vigorous, brave; and while they possess the shrewdness and sagacity of the whites, they inherit the agility and expertness of the savage. [quoted in Scheick 1979: 3] In this example and pervasive throughout the literatur e of this time, half-bloods looked and behaved like Indians, but they lacked the comm unal dedication of full-bl ooded Indians. This shrewdness was also seen in ambiguous terms. When it was employed in favor of projects of civilization, such as treaties or missionary work it was glorified. However, when it was used against trading companies or other Euro-American projects, it was seen as a fatal flaw (Brown 1985). In a similar fashion, Robert E. Bieder ( 1980) surveyed philanthr opic, political, and scientific literature during the early 19th century for discussions of mixed-bloods. Bieders primary argument is that mixed-bloods were used as pawns in the debate about whether humans were all one species (monogenesis) or multiple sp ecies (polygenesis). Taking race to its extreme, Morton and other polygenists argue d that human populations consti tuted separate species with entirely different biological compositions. Becau se the leading definition of species included the barren nature of any mixed offspring, polygenists had to make sense of the growing mixed-blood population. J.C. Nott, a Southern physician wr iting in 1843, argued that, while the progeny of two species (i.e. hybrids) did not live as long as either parent a nd were more prone to disease, they were also intermediate in intelligence be tween the two parent stoc ks (Bieder 1980: 23). Thus, while polygenists argued that the mixing of species violated the will of God and the

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104 natural structure of the species, they linked hi gher intelligence with even small quantities of white blood. Early monogenesists, meanwhile, used this ar gument about the effect s of interbreeding on intelligence to argue for interbreeding as part of the civilization effort. One such argument came from Thomas Jefferson in an 1803 letter to Be njamin Hawkins about the Creek Indians: In truth, the ultimate point of rest and happiness for them is to let our settlement and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and b ecome one people. Incorporating themselves with us as citizens of the United States, this is what the natural progress of things will of course, bring on, and it will better to promote than retard it. [Jefferson quoted in Bergh 1907: 363] Building on such ideas, New England Scientist Samuel Williams wrote in 1810 that it only took three generations for the Indian to be bred out because of the Indians cream-colored skin. Likewise, traveler Timothy Flint reported on hi s experiences in the S outh that the general consensus among white southerners in 1826 was that the only possible way to civilize the Indian was through inter-breeding. Flin t supported this position by argui ng, in effect, wherever there are half-breeds, as they are called, there is gene rally a faction, a party; and this race finds it convenient to espouse the interest s of civilization and Christianity (Flint quoted in Bieder 1980: 19). Here, even more than with the polygenist s, there was a strong c onnection between white blood, civilization, and Christianity. Both the scientific and fictional literature of the 19th century struggled to make sense of the impact of mixing Indian and white blood. W ithin these writings, blood became a powerful signifier of various physical a nd mental states separating the civilized from the savage. Furthermore, these discussions illustrate that while the exact nature of the mixed-blood Indian was ambiguous, certain physical, me ntal, spiritual and economic deficiencies were seen as being non-civilized and thus Indian. In exploring the middle ground between the Caucasian and the Indian, 19th century writings in science and literature further solidified these categories and traits

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105 as being passed through the blood. These id eas became foundational to federal policy, eventually working their way into indigenous ways of understanding. Blood and Policy By the 19th century, conceptions of blood and race were already interwoven into U.S. federal Indian policy. As part of several tr eaties, including the 1825 Osage treaty, mixed-bloods were singled out and given propert y within the new reservation areas. The Chippewa treaty of 1826 stated that, halfbreeds5, scattered through this extensive country, should be stimulated to exertion and improvement by the possession of permanent property and fixed residences (Kappler 1972: 268). Central to such practices was the idea that because of their white blood, mixed-bloods were more capable of adapting to private property ownership. Conflating bloodbased understandings of race with the possession of property, 19th century treaties enforced a very particular notion of what it meant to be ci vilized and thus what it meant to be Indian. These connections between propert y, labor, and civilization go b ack at least as far as the writing of John Locke. Locke was a 17th century English philosophe r who is credited with codifying the principles underl ying modern governance, which gr eatly influenced documents such as Thomas Jeffersons Declar ation of Independence. In his Second Treatise of Government Locke states that what separate s the Indian from those who are counted the civilized part of mankind is that the latter inve sted the land with labor, thus making it their property (2002: 14). He that, in obedience to this command of God, subdued, tilled, and sowed any part of it, thereby annexed to it something that was his property, which another ha d no title to, nor could without injury take from him (Locke 2002: 15). In a ddition to providing justific ation for the colonial 5 The term half-breed originated in En glish common law and referred to two siblings who shared only one parent. Within the colonial situation the term half-breed, like blood began to take on racial connotations, referring to any person of mixed racial descent (Meyer 1999).

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106 takeover of Indian land, so that the la nd could be given value through labor,6 this logic also formed the basis of the various civilization efforts imposed upon the American Indian. It was believed that if Indians could be persuaded to invest labor into thei r own individual property, they would join civilization and give up their communal title to the land. In July of 1832, the federal Congress created the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which was charged with directing and ma naging federal Indian policy. The first man to hold this office was Elbert Herring. In the fi rst Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Herring argued that the only soluti on to the Indian problem was for Indians to assimilate into white culture, particularly in regards to private owners hip of property. This assimilation was seen as necessary for the pre servation of peace and tr anquility in the United States (Annual Report 1832: 163). In outlining his case for assimilation, Herring argued, On the whole, it may be a matter of serious doubt whet her, even with the fostering care and assured protection of the United States, th e preservation and perpetuity of the Indian race are at all attainable, under the form of government and rude civil regulations subsisting among them (Ibid). The Euro-American values of property ow nership, order and peace were seen as directly threatened not just by tribal structures a nd ways of life, but by the Indian race itself7. Out of this and similar sentiments grew the U.S. federal governments policy of allotment. Allotment, it was argued, would create American citizens by allowing each Indian to become a 6 Locke explains that Nor is it so strange, as perhaps befo re consideration it may appear, that the property of labour should be able to overbalance the community of land. For tis labour indeed that puts the difference of value on everything... (2005: 18). 7 Joel Pfister (2004) explores at length the process by which Euro-Americans attempted to individually incorporate Indians into U.S. culture, particularly at the Carlisle Indian school. He argues that white reformers and Indian educators frequently referred to their desire to Americanize, civili ze, and individualize their students. Pfister goes on to say, Assimilationist reformers used the category of individuality to reencode relations of dependence, such as routinized daily work, not just as desirable but as relations signifying independence (2004:12). In this way, Euro-Americans attempted to Kill the Indian in him, and save the man, as the famous quote by the director of Carlisle states in 1892 (Pfister 2004: 20).

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107 civilized contributor to American society th rough investment in privately owned property, ideally through farming. As Franci s Paul Prucha (1984) st ates, It was an article of faith with the reformers that civilization was impossible wit hout the incentive to work that only came from individual ownership of a piece of property (224). The division of tribal lands was also seen as central to the break-up of tribal structures, which were blamed for retarding Indian peoples ability to adopt ci vilized lifesty les. M. Annette James (1992) argues that by taking control of membership through the creation of rolls, the goal for allotment was not only to create a limited group of people that could claim Indianness, but also to do away with, ultimately, the Indian population all together. By insisting on the individual ownership of land, as well as the destruction of tribal governmen ts, the goal was to turn Indians into individualized American citizens. In 1884, the Commissioner of Indi an affairs wrote about the problems of determining who was Indian for the purposes of allo tment. I think it would be fo r the benefit of all to exclude persons of less than one half Indian blood, and to retain all who are regular ly adopted, if Indians, and to add the children of such, but to discoura ge or prohibit any furthe r adoptions by Indian tribes, especially of whites (Annual Report 1884: XXVII). Through his focus on Indian blood, the Commissioner of Indian affairs wanted to lim it the people who were able to claim Indian ancestry, thus also limit the federal governments re sponsibility to its promises made in treaties. While the rolls created for allotment did not manda te the exclusion of persons of lesser blood or even those whom the tribe had adopted, it did create a new standard for determining membership. In almost all cases, Indian nations have used the rolls created for the purposes of allotment as a baseline for citizenship. Proving lineal descent from these rolls has become the standard minimal requirement for tribal membership, with many more tribes requiring a minimal

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108 blood quantum relation. In both types of cases, a blood relation to someone listed on the roll has become the standard. Shortly after the passage of the Dawes Gene ral Allotment Act in 1887, which authorized the President of the United States to divide tribal lands for indi vidual ownership, it became apparent that allotment was not going to succeed in making each new Indian landowner a farmer, as the humanitarians had hoped. Many Indians were unable to farm because of age or involvement in school while others simply had no desire to farm. Furthermore, many Indians were either selling their lands or having them take n away through fraud or inab ility to pay taxes. In 1906, Congress passed the Burke Act, which pos tponed the point at whic h Indian individuals would receive complete control over their lands until the end of the trust period. In his 1906 Annual Report, Commissioner Leupp explained his reasoning for the passage of this bill: Like his white neighbor, the Indian is of mo re than one sort, ranging from good degrees of intelligence, industry, and thrift to the dept hs of helplessness, ignorance, and vice. Experience has proved that Indians of the form er class do better when allowed to run their own business than when the government tries to run it for them, but that citizenship and the jurisdiction of the local courts are of no advantage to Indian s of the latter classSuch conditions made plain the need of some la w which would enable the Indian Office to manage the affairs of the helpless class with undisputed authority, but, on the other hand, to remove from the roll of wards and depe ndants the large and increasing number of Indians who no longer needed any supervis ion from a bureau in Washington. [Annual Report 1906: 27-31] Commissioner Leupp then discusses how the Burke law postpones the acquisition of citizenship until the end of the process. However, as Le upp goes on to say, to nullify the injustice which such a general provision might inflict upon Indians capable of taking their place in the States as citizens a very comprehensive proviso confers au thority on the Secretary of the Interior to terminate the trust period by issuing a patent in fee8 whenever he is satisfied of the competency9 8 A patent in fee means that the land was owned outright and no longer had any federally imposed restrictions on its use or sale.

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109 of an allottee to manage his own affairs (1906: 31). Competency, as it became known, was tied up with not only citizenship and land, but also the earlier c oncepts surroundi ng civilization including Christianity, educati on and farming. The federal gove rnment decided to maintain control over lands of those they vi ewed as still too Indian to manage their own affairs. While the central goal was still the complete assimila tion of the Indian population into the general American citizenry, the immediate effect was to mark certain characteristics as competent and others as incompetent or still Indian. One of the most powerful illustrations of how blood, incompetence, Indianness, and guardianship were being interw oven during this period is th e circuit court decision in Mosier v. United States (1912). The court held The question, then, to be decided on this bran ch of the case is: Does the mere fact of citizenship destroy the allegation of the i ndictment that Hezel Gray was on December 28, 1909, an Osage Indian under the charge of an Indian superintendent, and an Indian over whom the government, through the Interior Depa rtment, exercised guardianship? There is certainly nothing inconsistent in being an Indi an and a citizen of th e United States at the same time The word Indian describes a person of Indian blood. The word citizen describes a political status. If as a matter of law and fact the government is exercising guardianship over an Indian who is also a citi zen, it is not for the courts to say when the guardianship shall cease. [emphasis added, 117 C. C. A. 162, 198 Fed. 54] In this case, the Osage woman Hazel Gray wa s sold liquor, which the federal government considered a crime because of her status as their ward. While Gray was a U.S. citizen, she was more importantly of Indian blood and a thus viewed as incapable of consuming liquor in a responsible manner. Of central importance here is the effort the federal government was exerting in establishing their own definition of Indianness, not as a person politically affiliated with a tribal nation, but as a member of a race in competent to manage his or her own affairs. 9 Competency became the legal phrase meaning that the Indian had been deemed capable of handling their own affairs and could thus be issued a patent in fee.

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110 It was not long until blood too was written into the official criteria for establishing competency. During that same year, the federal Congress also passed the Clapp Act (59 PL 154), which appropriated money for the allotment of the White Earth reservation and many other reservations not yet allotted. Because the 1826 treaty with the Chippewa, mentioned above, had encouraged the civilization of mixed-bloods through the individual control of land, the Clapp Act made a unique stipulation for the White Earth reservation: That all restrictions as to th e sale, encumbrance, or taxation for allotments with the White Earth reservation in the state of Minnesota, heretofore or hereafter held by adult mixedblood Indians, are hereby removedand as to full-bloods said restrictions shall be removed when the Secretary of th e Interior is satisfied that said adult full-blood Indians are competent to handle their own affairs [59 PL 154 1907: 1034] However, nowhere did the Clapp Act describe who it was that qualified as a mixed-blood nor was there a legal roll lis ting the blood status of the White Earth population (Hilger 1998). To solve this dilemma, the BIA turned to physic al anthropology. As Da vid L. Beaulieu (1984) discusses, from 1915-1916 two anthropologists were brought onto the White Earth reservation to physically examine the Chippewa people. These sc ientists used methods such as anthropometric measurements, hair and scalp samples, and the sc ratching of the skin in order to determine who was full-blood, mixed-blood, and non-blood for th e purposes of discrediting land allotment claims and determining who was competent e nough to sell their land and pay taxes (Beaulieu 1984). In 1914, one of the scientists, Dr. Ales Hrdlic ka, published a paper claiming that he could scientifically distinguish between those of pure Indian and mixed-race descent by comparing measurements with his analysis of skulls and ot her physical features of full-blooded Indians. While neither of the anthropologi sts brought to the White Earth reservation had any substantial experience with the Chippewa people, they claimed that by using the Pima, a tribe who had reportedly killed all non-full-blood Pima children, they could apply these measurements to all

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111 Native American people. One of the most popul ar measurements was the skin reaction test, which Hrdlicka discussed at length in his 1916 article Popular Picture of Indian Upset by Investigation. Eagle Beak Nose Belongs Not to Redman but to Fiction: An interesting test developed by the writer during the preliminary work and one which proved of much diagnostic value, both as to blood status and as to the general health of the person, consisted of drawing with some force the nail of the fore-finger over the chest, along the middle and also a few inches to each si de. This creates a reaction consisting of a reddening, or hyperemia, along the lines drawn. In the full-bloods the reaction as a rule is quite slight to moderate, and evanescent, or of only moderate duration; in mixed-bloods, unless anemic, it is more intense as well as lasting. [quoted in Beaulieu 1984: 298] Such tests were used in multiple court cases to determine not only an Indians competence level, but also their claim to land allotment10. In 1916, the BIA sent field agents out to do in-d epth field reports on various reservations. Unlike other reports that focused on needs for ed ucation or tuberculosis treatments, the Osage report focused on the need for a blood-based dis tinction in handling tribal affairs. Throughout his report, Agent Vaux deals with the stark cont rasts between the full-bloods and the partbloods, in issues ranging from the boarding school, the value placed on money, and the partbloods ability to conduct their own business affairs. Broadly speaking, the full-bloods are uneducated in the ways of the white man as respects their ability to conduct their business affairs. A very considerable number of them can not speak English, and but a few can read and write in that language. They appear to be in many respects very trustful of those in wh om they have confidence, and in certain 10 One such case went all the way to the Suprem e Court. In the 1914 case of United States v. First National Bank (234 U.S. 245) the court rend ered an opinion about the meaning of mixedblood in the Clapp act. In this case the government was arguing that mixed-blood meant more than half white, while full-blood meant anyone having over half Indian blood. If this was the case, then the three Indians, Bay-bah-mah-ge-wabe, O-bah-baum, and Equay-zaince, would not have been eligible to declare themselves mixedbloods and thus would not have lost their land in mortgage to the bank. However, the court argued that the original legisl ation did not say halfblood, but simply mixed-blood. The conviction is very strong that if Congress intended to remove restrictions only from those who had half white blood or more, it would have inserted in the act words necessary to make that intention clear (234 U.S. 245 1914: 261-262). Thus the court upheld that mixed-blood followed the one-d rop rule of racial pu rity, meaning no matter how little white blood someone had they were still of mixed-blood status.

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112 directions are easily led. Mixed-bloods, on the other hand, are in very great many instances shrewd business men of ability, and as competent to conduct their affairs as other residents of the United States. Yet under th e allotment act of June 28, 1906, all are treated exactly alike. [A nnual Report 1917: 341] In summing up his report, Agent Vaux recommends that a distinction be made between the incompetent full-bloods and the part bloods, and that the latter be given their full share of tribal property and be allowed to do with it as they see fit, while greater effort be made fully to protect the former (Annual Report 1917: 350). The follo wing year that is exactly what the BIA commissioner did. Because of the tedious and slow process of individually determining the competency of each Indian, as well as the observations of extr eme difference among groups such as the Osage, Commissioner Sells reluctantly turned to blood as a more efficient way of assigning American citizenship to competent Indians. As Sells writes, While ethnologically a preponderance of white blood has not heretofore been a criterion of competency, nor even now is it always a safe stan dard, it is almost an axiom that an Indian who has a larger proportion of white blood than Indian partakes more of the characteristics of the former than of the la tter. In thought and action, so far as the business world is concerned, he approximates more closely to the white blood ancestry. [Annual Report 1917: 3] In 1917, Sells issued a statement of policy that gave patents in f ee to all adult Indians under onehalf Indian blood, allowing them to sell all their land. Indians over half-blood could also be declared competent after careful investigation, but they were unable to sell their last 40 acres, which was to be used as a homestead (Annual Report 1917: 4). Sells goes on to discuss the importance of this policy, This is a new and far-reaching declaration of policy. It means the dawn of a new era in Indian administration. It means that the compet ent Indian will no longe r be treated as half ward and half citizen. It m eans reduced appropriations by the government and more selfrespect and independence for the Indian. It means the ultimate absorption of the Indian race into the body politic of the Nation. It mean s, in short, the beginning of the end of the Indian problem. [Annual Report 1917: 5]

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113 While such far-reaching policy did not have the desired effect of ending the federal governments responsibility to Indian people, it did further solidify blood as a central component of what it means to be Indian. Building on long established ideas of paternalism, the federal government instituted policy that officially conflated blood and comp etency (i.e being civilized). The federal government assumed that those with ha lf or more white blood were capable of being white, i.e. valued their private property and underst ood the U.S. political and judicial systems. During the 20th century, the federal Indian polic y continued to include some blood quantum requirements, as is illu strated in the federal Register, While eligibility for benefits under some federa l statutes is limited to tribal members with a certain blood degree, and the right of non-tribal Indians to organize is limited to those with 1/2 or more degree Indian blood, federal law imposes no general blood degree requirement for tribal membership. Moreover, under the federal regulations for determining eligibility as a tribe, a blood quantum requirement is not included in the criteria. While blood degree may be some evid ence of social and cultural cohesion and maintenance of tribal relations, it is most defi nitely not conclusive as to the existence of tribal relations. [1983: 78] While Indian nations within the continental Unit ed States were all ev entually recognized as having the inherent right to de termine their own membership, colonial ideas surrounding blood and biological relation took hold not only in dete rmining access to federal programs, but also in structuring the ways in which Indi an tribes understood themselves. This conflation between blood and Indianess, through the institutions of race and competency, continues to be extremely powerful among many Indian people. As I showed with the discussions during the reform, many Osage felt that there needed to be some mechanism for limiting membership because of th e rights associated with tribal membership. However, the need for Indian blood goes much deeper than a selfish desire to limit access to goods promised to tribal members. While the fear of whites again stealing what belongs to Indian people is no doubt very potent, conceptions of blood were far more complicated. Through the colonial

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114 process, Euro-American ideas of blood rela tion were incorporated into many peoples understandings of what it meant to be Indian. Sc ience, literature and policy all worked on Indian people and their understandings, as the following section will illustrate. Colonial Impacts By analyzin g the discussions that took place during the reform process, it is possible to see some of the direct effects th ese policies had on Osage understandi ngs of self. These comments should not be read as simple statements of concrete fact, however, but rather as manifestations of the fluid nature of identity. By focusing on how notions are always untidy and in flux, we as anthropologists are able to move away from a re liance on essentialized understandings of culture toward a way of understanding what Joseph Dumit (1997) calls objective self fashioning. Dumit defines this as the pr ocess by which, we take facts about ourselvesabout our bodies, minds, capacities, traits, states, limitations, prop ensities, etc.that we have read, heard, or otherwise encountered in the world and incorporate them into our lives (89). This section will focus on following the ways in which European understandings of blood were worked into some Osage understandings of self. Euro-American understandings of race and blood were perhaps most evident during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process in the discussions that tied certain physical characteristics to Osage identity. Through informal discussions, it became clear that some Osage were reading the Euro-American institution of blood directly onto the body. One example of this occurred in a conversation I had during the November 19th referendum vote: I am one of those people that is biased about blood quantum. When I see people that are 1/4th or 1/8th I do not see them as really Osage. I am 1/4th black, but I dont identify as black. I am 1/4th white but I dont go around claiming that I am white. If we were a tribe like the Omaha that did not have anything, then we would not have so many people claiming Osage identity. I am prejudiced agains t people that do not look Indian and this is only slightly lessened by ge tting to know them. [Personal communication, November 19, 2005]

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115 In addition to skin color, dark straight hair a nd a myriad of other physical and personality traits were attributed to being Osage. One of the larges t compliments that could be given to an infants parents was that the child showed Indian. Al so, side comments were frequently made about a person who supposedly dyed their hair or spent a lot of time in the sun, and t hus was not really as Indian as they appeared. Circe Sturm (2002) talks about similar conne ctions between blood, color, and race among the Cherokee in her book Blood Politics Throughout her work, Stur m shows us how ideas of blood and physical traits are a ssociated with being Cherokee, and also how these ideas are connected with notions of authenticity and culture. Sturm argues that this sort of racial thinking leads to the idea that as the Cherokee Nation prog ressively whitens, it r uns the risk of losing its distinct racial and cultural identity, the primordial substance of its national identity. In the eyes of the general public, the Cherokee Nation would no longer be a real Indian tribe (2002: 100). This linkage between culture and r ace was also compelling to some Osage. In a quote taken from a video made by three Osage youth during the summer of 2004, it is possible to trace out the direct links be ing made between culture and blood. Being Native, I think, is alrea dy in you when you are born. It is in your blood; it courses through your veins. I have heard of stories of people that want to be native and they sign up for these tribes. I guess you can re gister to be some type of I ndian if they want to be? I dont understand that because you cant just si gn your name on a piece of paper to be Indian, its not like that, you are born into it It comes with a special reverence and spirituality that is just innate. Its almo st automatic. [How, We Are Present, 2004] In addition to reverence and spirituality, some Os age saw several other cultural characteristics as being innately Indian. While I was ta lking with an Osage man he argued, Indians just need to be treated differently. It did not matter where they grew up. I dont care if they were raised in New York City; th ey still need to be shown how to do things that a white child would just unde rstand naturally. That is how th e Indian is, all he likes is to be accepted. The white man is about compe tition. The Indian mind works in a circle, not in the linear fashion of the white man. [Personal communication, March 20, 2006]

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116 These bio-cultural ideas were also connected with understandings of authenticity. The following excerpt provides an example of the sorts of connections being made between blood, culture and authenticity: I do believe, though, that our chief should be at least a quarter Osage and more. This is who represents our tribe. I know the Osage that are 1/32 and 1/64, and I'm not saying they're not Osage. But they weren't raised around traditional Osage who knew our ways and who lived in an Osage home. They don't understand this. I saw a picture of all the tribal chiefs in Oklahoma and about 3 quarters of them all looked white. It just doesn't seem right. [http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 17th 2005]. As evidenced by this example, the logic is that those people with lower blood quantum, or who simply looked white, were not as Indian as t hose with a higher blood quantum. This connection between blood, race, physical characteristics, tr adition and spirituality, and mental abilities is similar to earlier Euro-American understandings of blood and race. These excerpts illustrate that for some Osage, blood was the substance by which not only Osage race wa s passed on, but also a whole host of physical, mental, and cultural affinities. After hundreds of years of being told that Indians difference was located in the body, many Osage made sense of this difference thr ough the Euro-American institution of blood. Many of these ideas were buttressed by the idea that if nothing was done about the blood quantum, Osage would cease to exist as a tribe. As one tribal elder told me, If the full-bloods just play it by ear we are going to get bred ou t (Personal comm unication March, 20th 2006). Perhaps the best articulation of this idea can be seen in an interview I co nducted during the Sovereignty Day celebration: I would want there to be a line and then it would make us as a people want to marry our Osage peopleI would want that, I would want them to live here and for them to be at least 1/4th or 1/8th. Because I don't want to be known as the white Osage, blond hair blue eyed. Compared with other tribes, our council looks white to me. Why do we recognize them as a tribe, they all look white, they don' t look Indian, they don't look Osage. They all look white, so why are we as the United States of America recognizing these people when theyre not anything. [Personal communication, February 4th, 2005]

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117 Here and elsewhere during the reform process, so me Osage articulated that blood was the central characteristic guaranteeing tribal status. On ce Osage blood was understood as the fundamental substance necessary to make someone Osage, su rvival of the blood became fundamentally linked to the survival of the nation. This fear of termination, however, also led many people to question the fundamental nature of blood, by saying things like, Blood is a BIA genocide policy (Personal communication, February 4, 2005). This opinion wa s further articulated at an OGR C community meeting held in Pawhuska, Oklahoma: To create a blood quantum is to set the date fo r when the tribe goes out of existence. Blood quantum is a federal government method of defining Osage so that responsibility no longer belongs to them past a certain point. So why do we want to mimic any destructive system of membership that was created to destroy itse lf? The Bureau of Indi an Affairs is in the business of going out of business; we are in th e business of ensuring the future. It is our inherent right to determine our membership and our responsibility to ensure it lasts for as long as an Osage draws a breath. [April 22, 2005] The argument here, like the argument for a blood qua ntum above, is centered on the fear that the Osage tribe will one day be told by the federal g overnment that it no longer exists. Because delegates from the Osage tribe made several trips to Washington D.C. to ensure the tribes federal recognition, this fear is not without legitimacy. The power of this idea was so potent that it was used in both the arguments for and against a blood quantum. For those emphasizing the fundamental power of blood, the continued existence of the tribe depended on the continue d existence of Osage blood. Thes e people argued that if a blood quantum was not instituted, people would continue to marry outside of the tribe, diluting the blood even further. However, those arguing ag ainst a blood quantum pointed out that such a reliance on a blood quantum was what was going to mark the end of the tribe. Unlike a lineal descent approach, quantum creates a point at which the Osage trib e would cease to exist. The

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118 fundamental argument here is whether blood, partic ularly high degrees of blood, was a necessary part of what makes one Osage. Another lasting legacy of the colonial pr ocess on determining Osage citizenship was through the use of BIA created roll s. Many Osage rejected these ro lls on the basis that they were frequently inaccurate. During one of the early OG RC business meetings, Jerri Jean Branstetter, one of the commissioners, told a funny story about her blood quantum She said that when she had gone to work for the BIA she had been listed as a full-blood. However, she explained that she had annoyed some of the people in the offi ce and so they went in and whited-out her blood quantum and put her down as half-blood. When she inquired about the change, they explained that her grandfathers estate wa s currently being probate d and so her fathers Osage identity was being investigated. When she pressed the issue ag ain several months later they agreed that her fathers Osage ancestry was no longer in questio n. They once again used white-out, this time listing her as 119/128th because of one Frenchman they found in her genealogy several generations back. None of her other siblings quantums were ever changed. Likewise, stories were told of Osage chie fs and councilmen who had convinced those working at the BIA to raise their blood quantum as listed on the rolls. Many people thus saw blood quantum as a political tool that some used to gain authority. For many people such stories have discredited the authority of blood quantum record. In many cases people talked about how blood quantum had been misrepresented at the tim e of allotment either because of cultural understandings of what it meant to be a full-blood or for practical reasons of wanting to be able to sell their allotment with BIA approval, whic h was not allowed for someone with more than 50 percent blood quantum.

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119 Conclusion Through these debates about the rolls, as well the desire to look Indi an, and the fears of termination, it is possible to see some of the dire ct impacts of the coloni al period and its focus on Indian blood. Importantly, the federal government never directly mandated a blood quantum for the Osage. Instead, like many aspects of col onization, the Euro-American institution of blood was effective because of the informal circulation of facts through science, literature, and indirect policy. Within this chapter I have diffracted (Haraway 1997) these discourses surrounding the Indian body through the arguments of various Osage during the 2004-2006 government reform process. Through their statements about what th ey believe should constitute an Osage citizen it is possible to see some of the ways in whic h these Euro-American discourses have been incorporated into various Osage bodies. By insisting on the logic of Indians as a r ace, rather than as a political group, and periodically threatening termination, the federal g overnment has ensured that few tribes will risk a complete rejection of blood. Importantly, even when directly incorporated into their own understandings, these racially base d articulations of Osage identity were an inversion of EuroAmerican hierarchies. Within these contexts Osage blood has come to be highly valued, not scorned or looked down upon. In the next chapter, I will turn to Osage histories of adoption and blood to better understand how colonized people negotiate notions of self. Rather than understanding colonial policies and logics as over-determining, the following chapter will illustrate the complex maneuverings that ofte n occur within the colonial context.

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120 CHAPTER 4 MEMORY IN THE BLOOD It is not only a m atter of what history does to the body, but what subjects do with what history has done to the body. [Feldman 1991] When Europeans came to the American continent, they brought with them their understandings of blood. Over time, Euro-American ideas about evolution, race, Christianity, and savagery became embedded in the notion of blood, giving it symbolic and material potency. As I will show within this chapter, however, most Osage did not simply accept these EuroAmerican understandings of blood, but used their experiences to make sense of this substance and its relational powers. By l ooking closely at formal and in formal debates over citizenship during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process, as we ll as the histories surrounding these debates, I will investigate how various Osage incorporated di ffering ideas about blood into their notions of self. By 2006, the experiences surrounding Osag e blood were entangled with and supported by connections to the Osage clan system, adopti on, class hierarchies, re sidence, culture, land, headrights, and lineal descent. Audra Simpson (2002) offers a useful fram ework for thinking through such material. Building on the work of anthropologists Mi chael Jackson and Lila Abu-Lughod, Simpson presents radical empiricism as an alternative to the pitfalls of both the objective and subjective approaches to anthropology. Radical empirici sm attempts an understanding through listening, observing, entering into a conversation with one another through an attempt at engaging what was commonly misunderstood and misconstrued experience (Simpson 2000: 125). Such an approach allows for an investigation into the power-laden nature of knowledge without discounting the multiple and changing ways in which people experience their world. In this vein, this chapter will ask how various Osag e people articulated their hopes and fears surrounding Osage blood and how thes e various articulations were solidified into the citizenship

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121 criteria in the Osage Nations 2006 Constitution. Th is is not an attempt to create a unified or coherent idea of Osage identity, but instead to show the multiple ways in which people internalized, challenged, or modi fied biological conceptions of being Osage. As I follow the experiences surrounding Osage blood and how they are incorporated into peoples lives, it is possible to gain insight into the complicated ways in which colonial notions are reworked. In this case, Osage blood is most frequently unders tood as a basis for Osage relation, which at once builds upon, but is also outside Euro-American understandings of belonging. Adoption In discussing anthropological findings of the day, Bronislaw Ma linowski (1954) argues that an origin m yth conveys, expresses and stre ngthens the fundamental f act of local unity and of the kinship unity of the group of people desce ndant from a common ancestress the story of origin literally contains the legal charter of the community (116). For the Osage, a very different sort of legal charter is at work than the ones Malinowski wr ote about, with people descendant from a common ancestress. While there cannot be said to be a single Osage origin story, John Joseph Mathews (1961) wrot e down one story told frequently: When the newly-arrived-upon-earth children of the sky, represented by the Wah-Sha-She, the Water People, the sub-Hunkah, the Land Pe ople, and the grand division the Tzi-Sho, the Sky People, came upon the Isolated Earth Pe ople, the indigenous ones, the four groups formed a tribal unit, and were anxious to le ad the Isolated Earth People away from the earth-ugliness of their vi llage, saying that they were thus taking them to a new country. [53] In addition to citing the Osage concept of movi ng to a new country ou tlined in chapter two, this origin story is important because it does not attempt to crea te a single lineage for the Osage people, but talks instead about four separate groups being brought together. Significantly, concepts of a unified biological de scent are not present in this orig in story, or within the tribal organization that was later created. This Osage origin story does not priv ilege a single shared

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122 body or a unifying substance, but instead a process of unification through a shared change in lifestyle. According to La Flesche (1939), an individual was Osage by virtue of membership in one of the Osage fireplaces, which were inherited from the father. Howe ver, a central aspect of this system was the ability to adopt. La Flesche documents various ceremonies, including a process by which a d-gthe (war captive) becomes a Sh-ka (ceremonial messenger) and a member of the tribe: The d-gthe becomes a member of the family of hi s captor and of his gens. He can marry within the tribe, and because of his ceremonial office (trial Sh-ka ) he is respected and honored and is always welcome at the table of ev ery family in the tribe. He is clothed as well as fed by the families of the tribe and is regarded and spoken of as -xta, one who is a favored person. [La Flesche 1939: 83-84] According to Louis Burns, an historian of Osage descent, the Sh-ka were valued for their impartiality in disputes. Sh kas not only ran errands and carrie d messages, but they also arranged marriages, mediated disputes, and acted as an impartial spokesman. Of course, for these services the Sh ka was rewarded with gifts (2004: 214). In talking about Osage land policies, Burns argues that adopt ion was one of the primary ways for Osage to acquire land. Their practice was to adopt alien individuals and to either merg e with whole groups or to force them to move out of the desired area (2004: 89) In his text on customs and myth, Burns talks at length about the ceremony surrounding adoption and its symbolism of a new birth. He argues that adoption was extrem ely common, leading to rapid popul ation growth during periods of geographic expansion and warf are (1984). One recorded exampl e of such a merge occurred around 1812, when five lodges of Missouris, arou nd 100 people, fled an ongoing war with the Sac and Fox, and joined the Osage (McGee 1897). According to Willard H. Rollings (1992) when outsiders were adopted they were placed into one of the twenty-four clans, which meant

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123 that if they had children, their ch ildren would be considered member s of the clan, and thus of the tribe as a whole, in the same way as other Osage children. While practices of Osage adoption were stil l active during the 20042006 reform process, adopted individuals were no longer able to partic ipate in general Osage politics. The above and similar histories, repeated fre quently during the reform process, led to many debates about how the Osage Nation should determine citizenshi p. Drawing on this history, one community member explained that he felt there should be some mechanism for adop ting children not of Osage blood: I reminded people before that in times past, Osage on the battlefield didnt kill children; they brought them home and adopted them. A lot of our Osage people are descendants of those encounters. Some people recognize that. My parents always told me there were people who were Osage that their ancestors were taken in a battle when they were children. In my own mind I didnt have any conflict if that was the case If you adopt a child, like Korean or Vietnamese children, they beco me citizens of the United States by their adoption and it doesnt matter where they ar e from. [Personal Communication: June, 27 2005] Like many other Osage, this speaker used the histor ies told to him to make sense of the future of the Osage Nation. In his case, Osage adoption ha d been something of the Osage past and thus was seen as an important part of the Osage future. A large part of the desires for Osage blood st emmed from a need to have some mechanism for establishing boundaries around Osage citizenshi p. As one man said at a Bartlesville community meeting on April 28, 2005, When you use the words zero blood quantum, that means you just included everybody in the world as a tribal member. This need for exclusion, however, is quite complicated. While some argue d that tribes such as the Cherokee were so successful because of their large numbers, others feared such an open policy of inclusion. As part of their effort to collect as much information about government reform as possible, the OGRC staff set up a webpage, which included a discussion forum w ith topics such as blood and

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124 residency requirements. To a posting on how increased numbers of members would be better for everybody in the tribe, one person responded, Pleas e define what an Osage is. Do you REALLY want to sell out, make everyone a member, blacks, whites, Joe dokes down the road just to have more numbers? To have a strong government = numbers, hmmmm? Or is th at just to get more money from the government, so that we appear to be this huge nation. I w ill have to think on that one (http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionz one.com: accessed August 3, 2005). This debate then turned into a discussion about whether or not those with higher blood were the most deserving of tribal and federal benefits. There are some families that go around here and say that they know they are not Osage. But they said they sure will use what we give them. I believe not all are like that, but I just feel that when you have a trib e and membership that it should be by blood. Yes, they did adopt a lot in the Osage Tribe. I just dont think that it is right that they get a vote or anything when our own Osage children dont get much because the adopted ones and people that were on by fraud get the same as an Osage by blood. I am not saying people cant feel like they are Osage. It is different to feel than to actual ly be an Osage by blood. I have several friends that are really not Osage, and I feel th at they are taking away from my children. [http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 17, 2005] While there is much at work in these expressions, the primary emphasis is that to be Osage is to carry the biological (racial) fluid of Osage blood. By this reas oning, those that have been around the Osage tribe may or may not be Osage, but they are certainly not as Os age as those with high levels of Osage blood. One person who came from an adopted family wrote the following in response: Personally, I don't think it's not quite as eas y as saying "Only the Real Osage" and not anyone whose family were adopted in. Maybe the question should be adopted-in when and why? Osage always adopted people when n eeded to "fill the ranks" essentially. If someone was adopted in who was originally Po tawatomi or Pawnee or any other tribe, but their family has been part of the tribe si nce coming to Oklahoma, does that mean that family isn't Osage? My family, the Laba dies, has always grown up as "Osage" even though Frank Labadie, my great-g reat grandfather was French and Indian but possibly not Osage at all, but married to a Potawotami My great-grandfather got hauled off to Carlisle, where he had English beat into him because he only spoke Osage, Potawotami, and French when he went there. He and one of the Tinkers got hauled back every time

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125 they ran away to go home to the Osage. On e of my great-uncles argued the legal case before the US Congress that kept the Osage from being terminated in the 50s It was only as an adult I found out that we were "a doptees" too. Knowing that didn't change that Wakonda is God, and my inlonpa tells me "I love you inthadsi at night, or the way things just make sense at the dances every summer. Do I have the answer s about "who should be Osage?" Nope. It's a complicated question when you get back to the period before oil and land had provided the obvious incentive of greed to the question. Do I care about the money involved? Not a hang. Am I a starry eyed new-age back to nature nut? Nope again. I live in the real world where I enj oy my family and my truck, and work long hours for another tribe taking care of the same kind of problems that beset our tribe. Real people are who I enjoy, with our real history and traditions and relations and Inlonschka, not candy-coated stories. How do I think it should be decided? I hope all the Osage who vote on it will pray a lot on it. Then I'll live with the decision of the people, because it is my tribe's decision, even if that means we get kicked off the rolls, although of course I hope not. Inlonschka zhani. Hope that helps pe ople see that there might more to "adoptees" than looking for handouts. Gahgoonah. [http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 16th 2005] Central to this and other debates about the issu e of adoption are two inte rrelated issues: blood and financial gain. For certain Osage, both those adopted and t hose who cited the Osage practice of adoption, the need for Osage blood did not qu ite make sense. For others, blood has become the fundamental substance that defines Osage identity. After the OGRC wrote the constitution, they completed another round of community meetings where they discussed its contents. Du ring these meetings, one of the main areas of contention was the clause that read, The Osage Nation Congress shall enact laws not inconsistent with the constitution prescribing rules and regulations of governing membership, including application and appeal procedures, loss of member ship, and the adoption of members (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2). At the mee ting in Greyhorse, Oklahoma, several of the community members wanted to know what was meant by the adoption of members. Lawyer for the OGRC: What was intended by that prov ision is that the tribe has historically had a practice of adoption. All trib al cultures have done some form of adoption. And with that in mind I think that the intent was to l eave it to the elected officials to determine and establish what th at is, when its appropr iate, when its not appropriate and what pr ocess would be used.

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126 Audience1: This is in direct violation of Article 6, Section 2, under membership. If youre not a lineal descendant of the 1906 then youre not eligible. Theres no provision to adopting [sic] members. Lawyer: Thats why thats there is to leave the Congress to establish a means by which there might be adoption. Im not saying theyre going to. I think it was in that vein of understanding that the traditions of tribal cultures are to a dopt certain people into their body for whatever reason. A1: Certainly I can understand ceremonially adopting. But for the purposes of membership, I disagree with that. A2: With regards to adoption, years ago they adopted some people in and then all of a sudden they wanted all the rights of the Osage as far as sharing the mineral estate and all these things. Thats when the old council abo lished that idea of a ny outsiders or anyone that was not a descendant into the tr ibe. [February 21, 2006] Here and in other community meetings, it was apparent that for some Osage, to be ceremonially part of the tribe was one thing, but many people desired that there be a biological connection in order to receive the full benefits of tribal resources In these cases, the power of blood was intricately connected with money, services and/or control. It was felt that if there were no biological limitations put on tribal membership, then the resources of the tribe would be too divided and that real Osage by blood would not get as much because of all the non-blooded individuals seeking assistance. Some felt that blood made sense because it linked current tribal benefits with people who were descendants of t hose that suffered the most persecution for being Osage. Audra Simpson (2000) tells a series of stories about how blood and citizenship are entangled within Kahnawake notions of belonging. These stories serve to illustrate the ways in which blood, in fact fifty per cent or more Ka hnawake blood, has become the primary means of determining membership, but that its authority is not fixed. Like all aspects of lived experience, the power of blood is constantly under negotiation. These narrativ es she concludes, illustrate that Mohawk nationhood is shaped through what people say to each other, by what they say

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127 about each other they illustrate how place in the world is staked out and guarded through the defining moments of shared experience and the word s that then give shape to this experience (Simpson 2000:135). Similarly, the discussi ons during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process were an attempt to make sense of the various fa cts that would define Osage place, and, while not all Osage agreed, these discussi ons were eventually solidified into the wording of the 2006 Osage Constitution. Euro-American blood-based configurations, whet her they take place within U.S. federal policy, 19th Century American Literature, or scientific understandings of race, were no doubt very powerful in shaping Osage understandings of self. However, as Allen Feldman (1991) describes in his discussion of violence in Northern Ireland, It is not only a matter of what history does to the body but what subjects do with what histor y has done to the body (177). Therefore, while the previous chapter explor ed Euro-American understandings of blood, this chapter will instead focus on how various Osage ma de sense of these configurations, reworking meanings of blood so that it represented a system of relation rather than a system of exclusion. Reworking Blood Telling Osage History Osage historians do not m ap any of the above ideas surrounding blood directly onto the historical Osage body, but instead rework these ideas to fit their own experiences of being Osage and how this changed through intera ctions with Europeans. All hi stories tell particular stories about past events, privileging certain experience s and interpretations while ignoring others. Thus, these Osage histories must be read as a ttempts at reworking the historical body of the Osage, and the mixed-blood in particular. By looking at these histories, it is possible to gain some insight into how Osage experiences of self changed through the colonial process, particularly in the period leading up to the allotment of the Osage reservation.

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128 Born in 1895, John Joseph Mathews was the first published historian of Osage descent. In his last historical text, he wr ote at length about the early interactions between Osage and Europeans, who were referred to as In-Shta-Heh (Hairy Eyebrows) by the Osage, who had the practice of shaving off all facial hair. Accordi ng to Mathews, there was little change in Osage lifestyle from the mid 17th century until the mid 19th century, except in the economic organization of the tribe. Certain trade goods in cluding beads, tattoo needles, blankets, and the horse came to be highly valued. As Mathew s explains, these trade goods were new and interesting, if not greatly supe rior to the needles and awls made of wing bones and leg-bone splinters and quills. Nor was the trade blanket supe rior to the buffalo robe; as a matter of fact it was inferior but as he goes on to say, ac quiring them took far less effort (1961: 304). Mathews notes that at the begi nning of the nineteenth century there developed a noticeable change in appearance among the Osage. The re were young pale-faced people now whose trail you would know from the many footprin ts, since toes on the left foot would not be pointed in the absolute direction in which the walker was tr aveling (1961: 307). In terestingly, his various references are not only to skin color, which was so important to Europeans at the time, but also to things such as changes in smell, body hair, a nd walking habits. Mathews also mentions that white fathers continued to live with the Osage, adopting their habits and ways of life. Their acceptance within the tribe relied primarily on whethe r or not they had taken the proper, tribally sanctioned steps for marriage: Some of them [European men] had lived with the Little Ones l ong enough to be honored with the name grandfather, which meant that they had earned that name by having been formally married to their Osage wives by the tribal formula. Those who had taken widows to the sumac bushes or to the buck brush and became fathers and eventually grandfathers could never be honored by that name grandfather and would remain in the lower of the two social classes. This taboo applied to bot h the Osage men and women as well as to the white man. [1961: 308]

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129 According to Mathews, interaction with Europeans led to the deve lopment of two social classes, those that participated in tribal practices and those that did not. Those that did, even those not born to Osage parents, were consid ered part of the tribe like all other members. Those that did not were seen as being of a le sser social class. Since this marriage ceremony required official naming and adoption into the tribe, it was the pr ocess of being placed within the clan structure that was of central importance to establishing be longing and acceptance within the tribe. Even in the face of such noticeable biological differen ces, it was this breach of clan protocol, not biological difference itself, which was of cen tral importance to the Osage people. Those who did not participate in Osage cust omary practices, the lower social class as Mathews referred to them, were more likely to be drawn to non-Osage partners, thus furthering their isolation from tribal ways: When the traders and officials and the explor ers and the royal adventurers lured women to their robes by presents, these women were chiefly widows whose chances of remarriage were not too bright, or girls of the second class whose immediate ancestors had mated in the sumac or the tall grasses under the Moon Wo man, without benefits of formality. Those girls couldnt lose what th ey didnt have, social standi ng, but they could gain a few baubles [1961: 308] According to Mathews, it was this social class that was eventually formed into what is known as the Half-Breed band. In 1870, when the Osage were convinced to sell thei r Kansas reservation and purchase land in Oklahoma, BIA Agent Gibson unofficially added, for the convenience in signing the bill, an apocryphal band, the mixed-bl oods, but here he was still calling them the Half-breed Band (Mathews 1961: 694). Importa ntly, this apocryphal band of mixed-bloods was socially ostracized not because they had white blood, but because they had chosen not to follow tribal practices. In th is particular historical moment, blood came to signify tribal belonging, but not in the European sense of biol ogical purity. Instea d, blood signified the

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130 complex way in which certain individuals fell outsid e the clan structure of tribal membership and were left without a place in existing tribal politics and ways of life. Throughout his book on Osage hist ory, Burns also argues that blood was not the primary boundary-making device for Osage citizenship, even when it was the term being used by various Osage people. Residence and culture are high lighted, in contradistinction to blood, as the traditional and thus authentic ways of determining Osage citizenship: There were two groups of Osage-Euro-Ame rican mixed-bloods. One of these groups tended to live apart from the traditional Osage. They were very much like any French in habit and in their lifestyle. The other group tended to live with the full-bloods, and they followed the traditional Osage lifestyle. All mixed-bloods of the latter group were counted as full-bloods in population reports, and they we re considered to be full-bloods by the true full-bloods. [2004: 326-327] Burns goes on to make a very similar argument to that of Mathews, which held that it was adoption into the Osage structure, not blood, wh ich was the primary means of determining who was labeled a mixed-blood and thus not fully Osage. While these sorts of categories are no doubt reductionistic in their simplicity, this history is interesting for the ways in which blood is being reworked. While there were likely more th an two simple groups, this idea of the Halfbreed Band has certainly ta ken on authority through time. Within these histories, the Half-breed Band continued to grow in numbers and eventually, because of their fre quent ability to speak multiple languages and interact with both whites and Osage, gained a great de al of political force among the Osage. These abilities led to the creation of two politi cal factions, the mixed-bloods and the full-bloods. According to several Osage tribal historians, it was the issue of allotm ent that fully polarized these two factions, with the mixed-blood faction favoring allotment, and the full-blood faction opposing it (Wilson 1985; Burns 2004; Warrior 2005). As Dennis McAuliffe (1994) argues, in 1881 the Osage set up a two-party democracy consisting of the mixed-bloods and the full-bloods. Rather than falling

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131 along strictly biological lines, how ever, these parties re presented the different factions among the Osage tribe, the Civilization Party and the N on-Progressives. McAulif fe describes these two factions in the following way: The Progressives favored allotment, for they had grown more American than Indian in outlook and were attracted to allotments promise of U.S. citizenship, private land ownership, and recognition as being civilized. But not all the mixed-bloods favored allotment. The French Osagedescendants of the early traders who had married into and moved in with the tribewere as hard-core as the full-bloods in their opposition to allotment or any change of the Indian way of life. [McAuliffe 1994: 226] Once again, it is possible to see how the histories of self-identification at once complicate EuroAmerican biological conceptions of Indian id entity and reinforce certain connections among blood, culture, and authentic Osageness. What we have within each of these histories is a remapping of the European substance of blood. While European biologi cal understandings were caught up with notions of civilization, land ow nership, and Christianity, the Osage reworked these biological metaphors toward their own notions of belonging. Full-blooded Osage were reworked not as lacking white blood or civilization, but as havi ng a place within the tribal structure, and as participants in tribal culture. While mixe d-blood status was not strictly dependent on biology, it was still being associated with non-Osageness and thus Americanization. These experiences complicated Europeans understandings of blood and, at the same time, reinforced them. 100 Years of Federal Control Over Osage Citizenship The battle against allotm ent ended with a fa vorable vote by the Osage population and the passage of the 1906 Act on June 28th (34 Stat. 539). This act allotted the 1,470,057-acre Osage reservation and dispersed $9,000,000 among 2,230 pe ople listed on the BIAs Osage roll. Instead of determining membership by blood or residence, the BIA used the commercial corporation model of h eadright shares to determine who had a say in tribal politics and who

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132 could run for office. Under this system, Osag e born after July 1, 1907 could only participate in the tribe if they inherited a share in the mineral estate. Furthermore, in the mid 20th century, the weight of the individuals vote became dependent on the percentage of the headright he or she held. As the numbers of Osage descendants without voting rights within the tribe grew, more people began challenging the 1906 Acts system of membership. In the 1960s, some of these unalloted individuals formed a group known as the Osage Nation Organization (ONO) who argued that the 1881 constitution had never been legall y abolished and was thus still in effect. In terms of membership, this meant that the Osag e Nation could determine for itself who would be voting members of the tribe. The goal of this movement was two-fold. First, the group wanted to reestablish the Osage Nation through its 1881 constitutional government. Secondly, they wanted to change membership from the imposed 1906 head right/royalty system to a citizenship of all Osage descendants who held over 1/4th Osage blood, regardless of th eir status as headright holders. Given the destructive nature of the racial blood-quantum system, it is surprising that Osage, or any other Indian people, would argue for this system as a way of determining membership. However, as illustrated above, th e process through which blood became a powerful signifier for the Osage was far from straightforw ard. The terms half-breed and later mixed-blood did not simply imply a person of mixed descent. Instead, the terms originally marked a lack of participation in tribal marriage practices and t hus signified a lower class status. With more opportunities opening up for those people who coul d speak multiple languages or had practical knowledge of Euro-American practices, these alie nated mixed-blood Osage slowly started taking

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133 over tribal politics, again changing the meanings associated with the te rms mixed-blood and fullblood. These sorts of re-figurati ons are central to understandi ng the ONO movement and other desires for a tribal blood quantum requirement. As the last section e xplored, high levels of Indian blood continued to be associated with the preservation of tribal lif e-ways, which is logical in that if both parents are Osage, then they ar e far more likely to raise their children in Osage culture. Many perceived the blood quantum requirement as a way of encouraging people to marry within the tribe, which was seen as the ea siest way of maintaining a distinct Osage culture throughout multiple generations. It was the ONO movement that brought these concerns to the table. In an interview I conducted with Charles H. Lohah, one of the leaders of the ONO movement, he said that ONO stood for, Oh NO, were not going to put up with this anymore. Lohah went on to discuss the movement: It got pr etty raw. Theres a whole bunch of fraudulent enrollees from 1906, so one time we were denounced by what we called the so-called tribal council as being a group of full-bloods and nea r-full-bloods. So we star ted blasting the tribal council as no-bloods and near no-bloods (Pers onal Communication March 11, 2006). As Lohah explained, the ONO movement was further motivated by money owed to the tribe by the United States federal government from when they were living in Missouri. The Osage Tribal Council (OTC ) wanted the money from thes e claims to be paid through the headright system, which meant that all t hose born after June 1, 1907 would not receive a share unless they had inherited it from a deceased relative. But, as L ohah argued, Missouri was long before headrights were ever dreamed of, a nd since there were so many fake enrollees, we thought it ought to be distribute d to Indians, especially those around here. So anyway, we fought

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134 to keep it from being paid. Of course, that didnt make us a lot of friends (Personal Communication March 11, 2006). Because the ONOs not only wanted to expand membership to those without a share in the mineral estate, but also wanted to instate a 1/4th blood quantum, they were unable to gain widespread support for a ny of their proposals. Without support from the majority of people of Osage descent, they were unable to lobby Congress for a change in the membership requirements. In 1978, this effort to delegitimize the OTC led to Logan v. Andrus which ended up reaffirming the legislative authority of the OTC. The court refused to c onsider the question of membership because all of the plaintiff-appellant s were shareholders and thus unable to make a case for non-Shareholders (640 F .2d 269 [1981]). The issue of tr ibal membership was again challenged in the 1990 case of Fletcher v. United States, as was discussed in Chapter 2. From this lawsuit the court mandated a reform process, which resulted in a tribal membership based on the descendants of the federal governments 1906 allotment roll. Because the final outcome was a negotiation between the BIA and the plaintiffs of the case, the 1906 roll was chosen without the consent of the Osage population as a whole, ex cept as a final up or down vote of the entire constitution. In 1997, however, the 10th Circu it Court of Appeals reve rsed Judge Ellisons ruling on the basis that the OTC had sovereign immunity and coul d not have its general powers stricken by the U.S. court system. This ruli ng ended three years of National Council governing and reinstated the OTC as the general governing authority, with tribal membership limited to only those who held a headright or po rtion of a headright (Warrior 2005). Within these histories, it is possible to see th at there have been ma ny different institutions that have attempted, with various degrees of su ccess, to mold the body of the Osage. While European Americans were trying to create civilized, Christian landowners, the Osage were using

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135 clan adoptions and marriage ceremonies to bri ng European Americans into the body politic of the tribe. Later, as the headri ght system took more and more au thority, some Osage attempted to upset this colonial system with blood-based understandings of the body. These blood-based experiences did not simply turn the racial hier archy on its head, but also built on earlier notions associating clan membership and cultural preservation with full-blood status. By 2006, residence, descent, cultural affiliation, and the shareholder system were each caught up in the debates surrounding Osage blood. Vehicle of Connection One of the central goals of the 2004-2006 Osage reform process was to find a method of creating a boundary around the Osage people, a task both mandated and complicated by the colonial situation. In the peri od immediately before 1906, the Osage used a clan system to create a boundary between themselves and other groups. On the surface, this system was created through the biological relationship between a father and his childre n. However, a central aspect of this system was the ability to adopt, bringi ng in those not biologically related. According to Osage histories, however, neither this clan syst em nor the government structure of the Osage was static. Like all aspects of Osage life, these cultural practices changed with the needs of the people. In this way, Osage belonging was not bounded in any finite way through time, although adherence to the current cultural practices was certainly central. In 1881, when the Osage wrote their firs t constitution, they did not include any qualifications for Osage citizenship. The 1881 Constitution does provide a small amount of information about Osage citizenship. In article I, section 2, it states that: Whenever any citizen shall remove with his effects out of the limits of this Nation, and become a citizen of any other government, all hi s rights and privileges as a citizen of this Nation shall cease; Provided, nevertheless, That the National Council shall have power to re-admit by law to all the rights of citizensh ip any such persons who may at any time

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136 desire to return to the Nation, on memorial izing the Nation Council for such readmission. [Constitution of the Osage Nation 1881: 1] Such a statement shows that in 1881 Osage citi zenship was seen as both exclusive and bounded within the reservation territory. However, now here did this constitution bind Osage citizenship in any specific way. Through the creation of the 1906 roll, the fe deral government insisted on defining the Osage as a bounded group of people. This list was so static that even child ren born days after the cut-off date could not be added as Osage citizens. After 25 years it was assumed that all Osage would be competent enough to manage their own affairs, ending the need for the Osage Tribe altogether. Furthermore, in 1917 the federal gov ernment adopted blood as a way of determining who was competent to manage their own affairs and was thus, in their minds, no longer Indian. As Commissioner Sells writes in that years Annual Report: It is al most an axiom that an Indian who has a larger proportion of wh ite blood than Indian, partakes mo re of the characteristics of the former than of the latter. In thought and ac tion, so far as the busine ss world is concerned, he approximates more closely to the white blood an cestry (Annual Report 1917: 3). Thus, in 1917, Sells issued a policy that gave patents in f ee to all adult Indians under one-half Indian blood, which allowed them to sell all their land and become full U.S. citizens. Indians over half-blood could also be declared competent after careful i nvestigation, but they were unable to sell their last 40 acres, which was to be their homestead (Annual Report 1917: 4). This federal policy officially instituted blood as a means of determining who was and was not considered Indian, although in the end, it did not directly effect how Osage membership was determined. While the Osage succeeded in extending their government beyond those first 25 years, they were still tied to the boundary-making de vice of headright owne rship. Only through inheritance of a headright coul d anyone not on the 1906 roll become an Osage citizen, and even

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137 then they had to be a biological descendant of someone listed on the roll. Through the implementation of these rolls the federal governm ent inserted blood relation as the central means of establishing boundaries around Indian communities. Furthermore, through allotment of land and ideas of competency they attempted to argue that being Indian was a racial rather than a political identity. In 2004, when the Osage suc ceeded in gaining control over their membership, they had little choice but to create some ne w, concrete boundary around citizenship. Almost 100 years after the creation of the rolls, blood had come to be seen by most Osage as the central tool for determining Osage belonging. During the 2004-2006 reform process, some Osage argued that creating a blood quantum requirement would be a good way of establishing a solid barrier against those that were not Osage, or as Osage. Based on the colonial division of the Osage into the mixed-blood and the full-blood parties discussed above, some people expressed a fear that mixed-blooded Osage would again control the tribe. As one woman sa id, Theyll out-vote us. Those that have that 1/100th of blood quantum and really love their herita ge, will out-vote us b ecause there will just be so many more of them (May 9, 2005). For some Osage, a blood quantum did not so much represent racial purity or financial gain, but was part of a longstanding political divide. This divide, built out of cultural difference and solidif ied in the debate over allotment, was a strong motivating force for some Osage during the 2004-2006 reform process. However, many people also used Osage history to argue that being Osage was more th an or different from having a certain amount of Osage blood. As a local man told me during one of the interviews I conducted during the Sovereignty Day celebration, Everybody from the 1906 roll and their descendents in my view should be part of this tr ibe. It is important to rememb er that Indian nationhood is not a racial or ethnic matter, it is a political status. So blood quantum should be irrelevant (Personal

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138 communication, February 4th 2005). Here and elsewhere th roughout the reform, Osage blood was understood in a complex way. The people rejected a blood quantum, blood as a finite substance, even as they embraced a descent system, blood as connector. In addition to this articulation of the political nature of Osage citizenship, there were several other dangers associated with racial or blood-based ci tizenship that were discussed throughout the 2004-2006 reform process. Some pe ople articulated this al ong cultural lines. As a woman told me during the Sovereignty Day celeb ration, To me blood has very little to do with itWe have people that live away from here w ho are more Osage than some people that live right here in the community, because those people are recognized as Osage, culturally (Personal communication, February 4th, 2005). This idea was further explained in another interview later that day, My idea of whats an Osage is somebody that goes to the church, he lps out at the In-lonschka and wants to learn the language. And weve got a tribe of around 18-20,000 Osage, and we dont have but 180 that want to lear n the language. Then you look at all these people that say theyre Osage, but they neve r help out drum keeper s, and then you never see them in a church, you hardly ever see them at a hand-game, but yet theyre wanting blood quantum. If they want a blood quantum they ought to practice what we do. But instead just a few of us are trudging on trying to keep it goin g. To be an Osage, you have to have 3 things. You have to have land ba se, then you have to have language, then you also have to have culture (Per sonal communication, February 4, 2005). These experiences of Osage iden tity built on earlier understandings of Osage belonging. If being an Osage in the 19th century meant being part of a clan and being married in an Osage ceremony, then, for some people, being Osage in the 21st century must also be defi ned along cultural lines. Of the 1,650 people who voted on this question in the referendum election, only 236 (14.3 percent) were interested in having a minimum blood quantum. Instead, the majority of Osage voting on the referendum supported the use of the 1906 Osage Allotment roll for the base membership of the tribe. Part of the danger seen in the blood crit erion, of course, came from the

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139 fact that few people with a lower blood quantum would vote for kicking themselves off the tribal roll. As one man explained to me during the Sovereignty Day celebration, I am only 1/64th, but being Osage has been part of my personal identity all my life, ever since I was old enough to describe it in words. Two years ago I entered the circle [at the In-lon-ska dances]. I was named by Uncle Harry and I entered the circle. There has been some discussion that membership might be li mited to persons of a certain blood quantum, that would, I can tell you, that would be devastating to me personally, to have somebody tell me that I am no longer an Osage. I might be able to come back and dance as a guest if I wanted to be invited. I had a heart attack la st year and I was not ab le to be here, but I plan on coming in June. I don't want any more bad news folks. I am an Osage, I have always considered myself an Osage and I would lik e to be buried as a me mber of this tribe. [Personal Communication: February 4, 2005] Interestingly enough, although this man was arguing for Osage citizenship to be determined through descendancy from the 1906 roll, his desire to be considered Osage was articulated through a connection to Osage culture rather than any political or even descent based understandings of being Osage. These arguments against blood quantum, however, were rarely a total rejection of racial understandings of Osage identity. In fact, some of these same people expressed a wish that they did have a higher blood quantum. After a meeti ng a woman told me, I wish I had been born with a quarter or more blood, but I wasnt. This is not something I had any control over. This does not make me any less Osage than other people. I should not be removed from the rolls for this (Personal Communication: March 26th, 2006). Further, some people embraced the idea of blood without seeing it as a solid racial category. For many Osage, the idea of shared blood was more a metaphor of connection than an exclusionary racial category. As one man put it on the additional comments section of his OGRC questionnaire, The mo st extraordinary thing about my Osage blood is the knowledge that I am relate d to every other member of the tribe. To exclude individuals because of th eir degree of blood is contrary to the idea of tribal membership and a certain path to the ultimate di sappearance of the Osage Nation.

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140 Here and in other examples, the symbolic medium of blood was seen as uniting Osage descendants rather than dividi ng them along racial lines. Pauline Turner Strong and Barrik Van Winkle (1997) find similar reworkings of the concept of blood when analyzing various American Indian fiction authors, including N. Scott Moma days memory in the blood, which has been labeled as racist by some critics. Momadays memory in the blood becomes a refiguring of Indian blood that makes it a vehicle of connection and integrationlit erally, a remembering rather than one of calculation and differentiat ion (562). Momaday artic ulates blood memory as a comprehension of the connections between your family/Tribal Nati on and yourself. For Momaday this comprehension resides in the bloo d itself and is something that exits outside Western ways of knowing. This concept of blood memory was powerful enough to resonate directly with some Osage. As Veronica Pipestem, a young Osage shareholder, explains, Those of us who participate and strive to unde rstand our traditional ce remonial ways of life have felt this same feeling at times. This feeling of being surrounded, almost smothered, by that which is right in front of us and inside of us but escapes arti culation. This is the essence of blood memory...Blood memory is el usive because it is so large and it is manifest in so many diffe rent things and we are only able to catch tiny glimpses of it at any given time because of its vastness... Blood memory is subversive because it claims a set of stories and beliefs about the world as belongi ng to a particular group of people. It is, essentially, claiming that something is an Indi an thing and the read er, as an outsider, wouldnt understand. It limits what is knowable about a particular group of people, like the Kiowas, to Kiowas because they possess a particular type of blood memory that the rest of us do not. [Unpublished paper, November 9, 2005] Blood memory is thus knowledge of Indianness that cannot be quantified. As Chadwick Allen (1999) argues, Momadays blood memory boldly converts the supposedly objective arithmetic of measuring American Indian blood into an obviously subjective system of recognizing narrativesmemoriesof Indian indigeneity (111). Through the use of blood memory, blood ceases to function as a taxonomic system of disapp earance and instead represents the possibility of connection.

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141 This concept was also articulated in terms of the need for a connection to the Osage community. One Osage girl expl ained her thoughts this way: It is hard since Indians do get benefits fr om the government everyone might just be like, well, I am Indian. But, I think it is just rea lly your tribe. If your tribe accepts you as part of the tribe, if you are in the community, if your family is I ndian, then youre Indian. You dont have to be a certain amount or you dont have to look a certain wayIf you are in a tribe, people really want you to be dark skinne d and dark hair, because that is what people know of a certain ethnicity. They wa nt you to fit in a box. They are smallmindedPeople think that your sk in is who you are. Your ge nes are who you are, right? If you have Indian genes in you, then you are Indian, but there are all these plastic surgeries now. I mean, is Mi chael Jackson still a black man? It is a really interesting question. Lets say somebody really liked Indi ans and there was a new procedure to make you look just like an Indian. Does that make them Indian? I dont thi nk so. No, it is deeper than that for sure. (Personal communication, July 2004) Or, as another man explained, simply being Osage is more of a state of mind; it is being part of a community (Personal communication, February 4, 2005). Such articulations illustrate the complicated ways in which Osage belongi ng was understood during the 2004-2006 reform process. Very similar to the Osage histories told above, these people understood Osage identity as being part of the Osage community. However, this idea of community did not always fit conventional notions of a geographically bounded space. Many people argued throughout the reform process that a person should not have to live on the reservation in order to been seen as part of the Osage community. This debate became particularly vocal around the issue of a residency requirement, districting, and absentee ballots. One of the spaces wh ere this argument played out was on the OGRC online message board. In response to many of th e arguments in favor of local control, one person wrote: How wrong this line of thinking is! Do not th ink that because those of us who do not live in one of the districts do not see or feel the impact of the Tribal political system. Many of us have family members or close friends in the districts. We know the impact on them FROM them! Don't think because we are not THERE that we don't care. We are Osage too. Don't think that we don't care about the survival of our people because we don't live among them. For many of us, this was not a ch oice WE made. The choice was our parents'

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142 or grandparents' and our roots took hold where we were. That is not a bad thing in and of it's self. For some of us, ignorance of who we are is the problem. For the rest of us, trying to find a way to be a part of the Nation when time and distance separates us is the problem. In this age, the degree of technology availabl e to us makes it easier to be there and be active participants without ha ving to be physically present to achieve the goal. I am Osage. I am proud to be Osage. I do not live in one of the districts bu t my heart is there. My family ties are there. My bloodline ties me ever and forever there. You cannot exclude or ignore me because you don't see me. I am one of you. WE ALL are of one Nation. We ALL have voices and concerns and we must ALL be heard. You do not belong to an exclusive club. We are a race of people that will cease to exist if we exclude any one of us. [http://osagegovernmentreform.invisionzone.com: accessed November 12th 2005] Here, as in many of the viewpoints expressed throughout the reform process, we see an extremely complex set of assertions working together What is being articu lated here is a racial experience of Osage identity, but not one based on the exclusionary crite ria that are typically associated with ideas of race. Instead, these sorts of racial experiences were based on connections to a past that could not be br oken by distance or marri age outside the Osage community. This use of blood, as a metaphor of connection, a connection stronger than any geographical or cultural ties, was ultimately what won out in the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Shortly before the final vote on the 2006 Osage constitution, the Osage News a publication written and published by Chief Gray and his staff, printed a short advertisement alerting people to the upcoming vote. Nicely summarizing many of the feelings about being Osage it said, Being a member of an American Indian Tribe is something special. It is something you cannot buy, nor is it something you can trade for. You must be born with it (2006: 1). This concept of an inborn connection was ultimately articulated through lineal decent. By creating a line of connection between thos e listed on the 1906 roll and current tribal members, lineal decent also worked to connect a group of people separated by geography, culture, and racialized characteristics.

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143 Constitutionalizing Blood With only a couple of weeks left before the ab sentee ballots of the dr aft constitution had to be sent out for a final vote, the Osage Govern ment Reform Commission (OGRC) still had not decided how to define Osage citizenship w ith the 2006 Constitution. The commission had devoted a year to collecting information from the Osage population through various means, including: hosting over 40 community meetings throughout the reservation, across Oklahoma and with Osage in California and Texas; a phone survey; 2,000 questionnaire responses; and a referendum vote. However, it was still not clear how citizenship ought to be determined. While 86 percent of the voters in the 2005 November re ferendum had said that they wanted the 1906 allotment roll set as the base roll, 80 percent se lected: Membership of people on the base roll to be subject to challenge by the new government if it is proven that fraudulent measures were used to establish membership into the tribe. Both of these referendum questions had arisen from input the OGRC had received, including from seve ral vocal people who argued that the 1906 roll contained somewhere between 100-400 names of people who did not have Osage blood, but had been put on the rolls because they had been adopted into the tribe or used fraudulent means, such as bribery. The commissioners had to find a way to d eal with this disparity between the two referendum question findings. After weeks of writing and rewriti ng the constitution, the commissioners had the following debate about how they could at once establish a base roll and also have the base roll be challengeable: Commissioner 1: I want to talk about membership. I am hearing a lot of people saying they are scared of the purging of the rolls and I am afraid that this will lead to a lot of no votes on the constitution. C2: My main concern is that we need to put a time limit on how long these disputes could go on.

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144 C3: We should not frame it from the standpoint of assuming that there are fraudulent people, even though there are. C4: The fraud question on the referendum would have been tossed out, had it come up in a research design class. It was too leading. C5: The 1906 roll includes the only Osage alive at that time. They might have been considered fraudulent then, but they are memb ers now. We should leav e this up to the new government. C6: This version, which was created during the wr iting retreat, does not establish a base roll, which is what leaves room for the new Congress to force people to prove they have Osage blood. C1: We need to establish a base roll, then; it would stop a lot of misery. C6: If we establish a base roll it will be very hard to challenge t hose on the roll who do not have Osage blood. C7: We cant right this wrong; too much time has passed. C1: My worry is that we will kill the constitution based on this one issue alone. [January 23, 2006] The final constitution, ratified by Osage voters on March 11, 2006, solidified Osage citizenship in a very particular way. Section 1 of the article on membership set the base membership roll as those persons whose names appear on the final roll of the Osage tribe of Indians pursuant to the Act of June 28, 1906 (2006:2). Setting the base roll meant that even if it was proven that someone on the base roll did not have Osage blood, his or her enrollment could not be challenged. However, this does not mean that biological conceptions of being Osage were not included within the membership criteria of the constitution. Section 2 of the article on membership stated that the qualification for membership this way: all lineal descendants of those Osage listed on the 1906 roll are eligible for membership in the Osage Nation. In effect, this clause re set the biological clock, giving all those on the roll a unique connection that had to be passed down bi ologically in order for the family members to maintain membership. This need for lineal descendancy from the 1906 roll defined Osage

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145 citizenship as something uniquely biological, even if it did not trace this biology back to some sort of original Osage blood. However, Section 4 of the article on membership gave the Osage Nation Congress the ability to cr eate laws regulating the adoption of members, which left the door open for membership outside of lineal descent. Conclusion This and the previous chapter illustrate that being Osage did not mean any one thing to everybody, but was a complex mix of emotions, historical facts, ideas about biological substances, genealogical connecti ons and lived experience. While all identities are composed of varying sets of complex ideas, only occasionally is any identity subject to the open scrutiny witnessed in the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Because of the unique intersections of this particular colonial moment, the Osage reform process opened the category of Osage for public debate. It was within this debate that certain ar ticulations of colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stor ies, biological facts, emotions and personal experiences were hardened into the membership criteria included in the 2006 Osage Constitution. Rather than seeing these stories as providing some ultimate truth about Osage identity, they are intended to provide a seri es of situated perspectives from which to view some of the ways blood was being incorporated into the experien ce of being Osage. Such an approach builds upon scholars such as Joseph Dumit (1997), Sara h Franklin (1997), Donna Haraway (1997) and Bruno Latour (1993), who have resisted the notio n of the ideal witness constructed within western scientific discourse as ob jective and neutral, and thus i nvisible. Instead of trying to discover an ultimate truth, these authors create new sorts of witnesses who are situated. They use these situated perspectives to expose various boundaries around na ture, culture, objects, subjects, and science in order to open up a space from which to trace out realities-in-the-making, experiences. By looking in dept h at how various Osage talked about themselves and those

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146 around them, my goal has been to shift the focus of analysis to a more nuanced understanding of where their ideas about blood and belonging came fr om, how they were reworked in the Osage context, and what sorts of impacts these ideas had on the 2006 Osage Constitution. By looking at how blood was be ing talked about during the Os age reform process, it is possible to understand the comple x and varying ways in which colonial understandings of the Indian body have been reworked and incorporated into some peoples experience of self and community. These understandings of blood are pa rticularly important fo r Native nations today, because blood has become one of the most common boundary-making devices for citizenship in tribal Nations. It is the posse ssion or lack of this substance th at is currently being used to establish belonging, and the rights, privileges and obligations that accompany belonging. These discussions of blood help us understand how for some Osage, blood is configured as a fundamental substance, without which the Osag e will no longer exist. However, in the 2006 Constitution, blood is not configured as a finite substance, but as a connecting link for a group of people spread out over the Unite d States and even the globe. Within this dissertation I am arguing that de bates about Osage citi zenship during the 20042006 reform process were deeply intertwined wi th colonial understa ndings of the North American Indian body. When Europeans coloni zed America, they brought their biological understandings with them. Thes e racial understandings of the Indian body were not, however, directly accepted by the Osage, but were instead reworked to si gnify those who participated in tribal practices. As the colonial process continued, these Euro-A merican ideas of the racialized Indian body took on more force through the creati on of limited resources, particularly during allotment and the continue d threat of termination. Over time, the racial idea of blood took on metaphorical meaning, connecting Osage or separating them, depending on how it was used.

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147 In 2006, when the voting Osage population agreed to a constitution that defined citizenship through lineal descent, they joined a host of other indigenous groups whose membership was defined not by territory, as in the case of most nations across the globe, but through a shared biological substance. While such configurations are extremely powerful to many people for a whole host of reasons, blood-based systems of citizenship cannot be separated from the continued colonization of indigenous populations today. While colonialism can too easily be seen as all determining, this chapter has shown the colonial situation is far more complex and full of negotiation. The very act of having to create a bounded conception of citizenship illustrates the power of the current world system. Defining the Osage as something other than a citizen within a Nation has become virtually unthi nkable. However, within these constraints the Osage have found a creative soluti on, based on neither race nor land, but their own experience of relation.

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148 CHAPTER 5 THE LIFE OF OSAGE SOVEREIGNTY If our struggle is anything, it is a struggle for sovereignty, an d if sovereignty is anything, it is a way of lifeIt is a decisiona decision we m ake in our minds, in our hearts, and in our bodiesto be sovereign and to find out what that means in the process. [Warrior 1994] In the literature on North American Indian nati ons, there exists a wi de range of debates regarding the term sovereignty. Many people ask how sovereign tribal na tions can exist within settler states. What does it mean to be sovereign? How can tribes assert more sovereignty? Is sovereignty even the proper term in which to ta lk about the relationship between Indian nations and the federal government? During the 2004-20 06 reform process, the Osage people were engaged in their own external a nd internal debates about sovereignty. The Osage-authored U.S. Congressional bill that instigated the reform process, en titled An Act: To reaffirm the inherent sovereign rights of the Osage Nation to determine its membership and form of government (emphasis added, Public Law 108-431, 2004) is a perfect example of the complexities and paradoxes associated with asserti ng sovereignty within a colonial context. While the previous chapters have considered what was at stake in determining Osage membership and the form of government, this chapter will investigate the con cepts of sovereignty that surrounded the reform process. The meanings and practices of soverei gnty are always under negotiation. Because sovereignty is fundamentally tied with questions of power and authority, it is a central frame in which to explore the current colonial situati on among American Indians. This chapter will discuss the period from 2004-2007, focusing on the sp eeches delivered by tribal officials, the articles written in local newspapers, and th e debates over the meani ng of sovereignty among various Osage. Looking at sovereignty in the cont ext of Osage experience, it is clear that current definitions of sovereignty as an all-encompassing domination over a territory are not sufficient to

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149 understand what sovereignty means and how it is working within the lives of indigenous people today. Within the colonial context of the United States the Osage are forced to operate within a nation-state system, which does not have a clear pl ace for them. Calls to sovereignty within this context therefore work in particularly inte resting and unexpected ways. In writing about negotiating the nation-state system among the Ka hnawake Mohawk reserve in Canada, Audra Simpson states, These are more than imposed structures of dom ination, or structural traces of colonialism that Mohawks must somehow battle within, or articulate through whether that is creatively (as in resisting, s ubverting or signifying) or passive ly (as in being assimilated). These are homegrown cultural expressions that engage with the state but are in no means defined entirely by that state [2003: 41]. She goes on to say, the people of Kahnawake do not resist, they are And the way in which they are can be at times vexing, de manding, resistant, acquiescent and in all ways complex (2003: 53). While the Osage are certainly located in the middle of a large colonial nation-state structure, their experience is also too complicat ed to be summed up as either assimilation or resistance. This chapter will explore these co mplexities and how they are articulated through conceptions of sovereignty during and imme diately following the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. Histories of Sovereignty The m ost common origin story currently in ci rculation about sovereignty begins with the 16th century French jurist and political philosoph er Jean Bodin. As Alexander Murphy (1996) argues, Concerned with promoting peace by valida ting the power of the French king against rival claimants, Bodin championed the idea that a states ruler had absolute authority within his own realm, subject only to the divi nely inspired laws of nature ( 85). Central to this story of sovereignty is the idea of an absolute author ity within a territory. However Murphys story never strays far from its own Eurocentric origi n. Murphy continues his story about sovereignty

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150 by following it through its European trajectory, br inging in other populations only when they encounter the European nation-state system. Furthermore, many of the definitions of sovere ignty insist on the im portance of statehood. For example, Hurst Hannum (1990) argues, One principle upon which there seems to be universal agreement is that sovereignty is an attribute of statehood, and that only states can be sovereign (15). The state too, we are told by Stuart Hall (1984) has a Eur opean origin. Out of clans and tribes of early Greek civilization emerged a surprisingly advanced form of state the city-state or polis (2). After Greece came Rome, then France, Spain and England. Here and elsewhere the state becomes fundame ntally juxtaposed with clans or tribes. As Hall says, Clans and kinship groups in pre-history semi-nomadic peoples today or even settled tribes with a very simple form of social organization, have all consti tuted what we would now call society, without possessing a state (emphasis adde d, Hall 1984: 1). While the goals of such stories are to understand sovereignty and the state as historical constructs, ra ther than innate or natural structures, such Eurocentric histories also work in powerful ways. These narratives of sovereignty create a hierarchy be tween those with history and t hose without, between the simple and the complex, and ultimately between the primitive and the modern. In writing a history of primitive governments Lucy Mair (1977) argues that the primary difference between these and western nations is their use of technology. The development of more complicated and efficient ways of doing things is a matter of discoveries and inventions which simply cannot be credited to the superiority of certain to tal populations over others. But the possession of a complex technology is what enables the state to control, and to a large extent organize, the lives of populations of many millions (emphasis added, 10). Even as Mair argues against the assumed inferiority inherent in th ese models of governments, she reinforces non-

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151 European governing structures as simple, ine fficient and rudimentary. As Mair rightly illustrates, much of this political theory is de rived more or less directly from early European thought: The seventeenth-century philosopher Hobbes contra sted the state of nature, in which every mans hand was against his neighbor, with ci vil society, in which authority had been surrendered to a sovereign ruler This was a logical rather th an a historical argument; it followed from Hobbes assumptions about hum an nature that if there were [sic] no supreme authority there could only be a war of ea ch against all. But he did refer to savage people in many places of America whose c ondition did support this. [1977: 11-12] This focus on the difference between the state of society (Europeans) and the state of nature (everyone else), while no longer so openly connect ed within the histories of sovereignty and the state, is still an underlying current of much of this scholarship. By continually juxtaposing the European sovereign state with the rest of the wo rlds lack thereof, even the best intentioned authors fall into the trap of defini ng Europe as authentically modern. In his treatise on modernity, Bruno Latour ( 1993) discusses these very divisions. He argues that modernity necessitate s having a pre-modern to juxta pose against itself. Western thought, Latour argues, does not claim merely that they differ from others as the Sioux differ from the Algonquians, or the Baoules from the Lapps, but that they differ radically absolutely to the extent that Westerners can be lined up on one side and all the cu ltures on the other.., (emphasis added, 1993: 97). For Latour, a central aspect of this European thought is the separation of nature and society into opposite poles, with Europe representing all th at is society. To understand how these sorts of divides unfold within discussion of Os age sovereignty, it is now important to turn to the Osage history. Situating Osage Sovereignty According to Louis F. Burns (2005), at the tim e of European contact in 1673, the Osage lived in permanent villages and controlled the territory in much of what is now Missouri,

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152 Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. As Burns describes, Osage land title was held by occupation, conquest, and the ability to enforce ones own cl aimEnforcement of Osag e territorial claims were violent, graphic and effec tive (2005: 89). Gilbert C. Din and A. P. Nasatir (1983) describe Osage governance during this and later periods through sources su ch as Washington Irvine, who traveled through the West in the 1830s. Din and Nasatir write, Osage society was complex and consisted of many subgroups. The Osage divided their people into two halves or moietie s, each of which was further divided into phratries, clans, and sub-clansThe real governing body of the tribe was the council of elders, which in mock humility the Osage called the Little Old Men. These men were the top social, political, and religious lead ers of the tribe. [12] If sovereignty is defined as supreme legitimate authority within a territ ory (Philpott 1995), then there can be little doubt that th e Osage were a sovereign body at the time of contact. For many Osage, sovereignty is seen as something existin g outside of and prior to the formation of the United States. The Declaration of Sovereignty and Independence by the Osage Nation which was signed by the Osage Tribal Council on February 4th 2005, states, We declare further that our inherent rights as a soverei gn nation predate the [United Stat es] Constitution. Frequently various Osage would talk about th eir sovereign rights as existing ev en earlier. In an interview I conducted during the Osage Sovereignty Day Celebra tion one woman told me, I believe that we Osage have been sovereigns over our dominion fr om our first forefathers. Our right we hold from God and nobody has the right to take that aw ay from us. And anybody that wants to argue our sovereignty, I say, go to God (Personal Communication: February 4, 2005). In Chief Grays speech given during the Osage Sove reignty Day celebration, he emphasized the importance of sovereignty: We gather today to celebrate an important time in Osage history and to consider what our future will be. Over 100 years ago, a man name d Wa-Ti-a-kah, my forefather was sent to this land, and he said, There is something in the land that will ensure that our children will never starve. Many of us thought that to be oil. Today, I know what he meantthe sovereignty of the Osage Nation, and that is what will sustain us. Only recently, our

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153 inherent sovereign rights that form the co re of who we are as a nation, the rights to determine our citizenship and form of governme nt have been reaffirmed by Congress. We celebrate that freedom that le gislation gives us today Exerci sing our tribal sovereignty in the areas of self-governance will make us more accountable to our people and make us more informed to make better decisions as a nation. That is why this moment must be acknowledged. For after today the Osage themselves must move back and take their sovereignty. (Gray 2005:1) Within this speech it is clear that for Chief Gray asserting sovereignty means emphasizing that the Osage have the right to determine their ow n affairs. For Gray and many other Osage, sovereignty is thus about accountability, self-gov ernance, and ultimately, about the process of regaining control. This sovereignty, however, is far from straight forward. Because the Osage exist within the middle of the United States, which claims ultimate sovereignty over its entire territory, Osage sovereignty must also be underst ood as a statement of dissonance. For the Osage to assert their own pre-existing sovereignty is, at least in part, a challenge to the very coherence that is said to constitute the United States. In order to better understand how the Osage were using the concept of sovereignty, the rest of this chapter will ma p out its patterns of diffraction (Haraway 1997). By looking at the colonial policie s and their supporting arguments as well as the ways in which various Osage talked about sovereignty during the 2004-2006 reform process it is possible to map out what is really at stake with in assertions of Osage sovereignty. The disjuncture between U.S. and Osage claims to sovereignty is perhaps best illustrated by the doctrine of discovery, which was one of the fundamental elements used to establish U.S. sovereignty. According to Newcomb (1992) the doc trine of discovery originated from the Papal Order of 1451. In this Order, the Pope declared war on all non-Christians and sanctioned their conquest. [I]n the bull [Papal Order] of 1452 Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and othe r enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take all their posse ssions and property (New comb 1992: 18). Later,

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154 Alexander VI issued a papal document, the Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, which gave Spain the right to conquer the lands dis covered by Columbus and any fu ture lands. Central to the document was the assertion that all discovered peoples woul d need to be "subjugated and brought to the faith itself" leading to the prom ulgation of the Christian Empire (Newcomb 1992: 18). Thus began the doctrin e of discovery. So long as other Christians did not already inhabit the land, it was the Europ ean duty to take it over and civ ilize its inhabitants. In Johnson v. Mcintosh (1823) a unanimous Un ited States Supreme Court ruling cited this doctrine of discovery as its cen tral justification for extingu ishing Native title to land. [D]iscovery gave an exclusiv e right to extinguish the Indi an title of occupancy Although we do not mean to engage in the defense of those principles which Europeans have applied to Indian title, they may, we think, find some excuse, if not justific ation, in the character and habits of the people whose rights have b een wrested from themthe Tribes inhabiting this country were fierce savages whose occ upation was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest. To leave them in possession of their country, was to leave the country a wilderness[Johnson and Grah ams Lease v. William McIntosh 21 U.S. 543, 5 L.Ed. 681] Such generalizations about the wild and savag e nature of the Indian populations inhabiting America can be found throughout fede ral policy. In this case, as in many others, the Indians apparent lack of government structure is seen as ample excuse for European, and thus U.S., pilfering of Indian lands. Bu ilding on Hobbs, and other European philosophers, Euro-Americans were able to ignore the existing political structures of native p opulations and claim the land and all its inhabitants as wilderness. The consequence of continuing to create the separation between these sovereign structures derived from Europe and those existing in the rest of the world is that it becomes impossible to sustain any argument for non-European sovere ignty. Because the Osage tiered governance structure does not come out of the European tradition of sovereign st ates, these historical narratives of European sovereignty work to deny the possibility of preexisting Osage sovereign

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155 authority. If Euro-Americans had to admit that the Osage were a settled group of people who used agriculture and who had a highly sophis ticated governing system, the U.S. government would be left with little justification for their rendering of all Indians as domestic dependents. In the frequently cited case of the Cher okee Nation v. Georgia (1831), Chief Justice Marshall rendered the majority opinion for the cour t, arguing that the Ch erokee Nation was not a foreign nation, but instead a domestic dependent nation. He went on to support his ruling by stating, They occupy a territory to which we assert a title inde pendent of their willMeanwhile they are in a state of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward of his guardian (30 U.S. 1). This ra tionale later led to the Court de cision Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903), which declared that Congress has plena ry authority over tribes, which includes the ability to abrogate the provision s of Indian treaty (187 U.S. 553). From this conception of plenary power came the current environment in which the U.S. Congress is seen as having the right to create any sort of Indi an policy it pleases, in cluding termination, without input from the people or nations being affected. However, even within these early court cas es, and certainly within the treaties that preceded them, American Indian sovereignty could not be denied. Central to the act of creating a treaty is the acknowledgment that both parties involved are sovereign. As Burns (2005) writes, One indisputable fact stands out in the relationship between the American Indians and the nations of Western Civilizati on. The American Indians had owned, occupied, and exercised sovereignty over land for at leas t ten thousand years before Columbus stood on American soil (147). In making treaties with Indian nations the European colonizers were acknowledging this sovereignty.

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156 Because of their geographical location and c ontrol over their territory, the Osage did not enter into any treaties until 1808. Shortly after the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, a delegation of Osage we re sent to Washington D.C. to meet with President Jefferson and Secretary of War Henry Dearborn. At the meeting Dearborn promised, among other things, All lands belonging to you, lying within the territory of the United States, shall be and remain the property of your nation, unless you shall voluntarily relinquish or dispose of the same. And all persons citizens of the Unite d States are hereby strict ly forbidden to disturb you or your nation in the quiet possession of said lands (quoted in Wolferman 1997: 57). While this promise, like many promises, was quick ly ignored, it does illustrate that in the beginning, the U.S. government re cognized Osage sovereignty. The seven treaties from 1808-1839 at once ac knowledgde and whittle away at Osage sovereignty and land. It was within these treaties, as well as within BIA attempts to dismantle the Osage governing structure, that sovereig nty was being negotiated. While the federal government attempted to erode Indian sovereignty through treaties, legislation, policy, and court decisions, the Osage tried various ta ctics to maintain their control. When it became apparent that neither the treaties nor the BIA agents were going to acknowledge Osage rights to selfgovernance, the Osage went directly to Washi ngton D.C. and even formed a governmental structure more recognizable to the U.S. government1. The U.S. Supreme Court members were not un iform in their opinions about the exact nature of Indian nations s overeignty. Following their 1831 ruling on domestic dependents, the U.S. Supreme Court held a year later that the Cherokees were a nation existing outside the 1 In 1881, after successfully negotiating for their annuity payments to be paid directly in cash, the Osage decided to form a democratically elected three-part government modeled directly from the Cherokee, who had created the model based on the United States governance structure.

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157 jurisdiction of the State of Georgia. Chief Justice Marsha ll wrote, The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil, from time immemorial (Worcester v. Georgia 31 U.S. [6Pet.] 515, at 559 [1832]). After the treaty-making period, however, the federal government switched to a policy of assi milation and then termination. Hoping to do away with the Indian problem by turning Indi ans into lower-class American citizens, the federal government forced education, farmi ng, private landownership, and Christianity on indigenous peoples. When these efforts were no t successful, the federal government decided that the tribal organizations were keeping Indians from full assimilation, so at the end of the 19th century they began terminating th eir relationship with these organi zations altogether. The Osage narrowly escaped termination by agreeing to pay their ow n BIA operation costs. In the 1960s federal policy started moving away from termination toward selfdetermination. The largest part of these ch anges was the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance act of 1975 and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976. These Congressional bills began the proc ess whereby Indian nations coul d take over aspects of federal programs, including delivering th eir own health services and organizing their own schools. However, many Indian leaders we re wary of the federal govern ment, suspecting that it had simply found a new name for termination. The b ill was well short of Nixons original plan for a full Indian takeover of services and instead allo wed the tribes to make contracts to control various aspects of their program s. According to Prucha, The twofold policy of the government was assert ed in the preamble to the law: the United States recognizes its obligati on to respect the strong expression of the Indian people for self-determination by assuring maximum Indi an participation in the direction of educational as well as other federal services to Indian communities so as to render such services more responsive to the needs and desires of those communities; and Congress declared its commitment to the maintena nce of the federal governments unique and

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158 continuing relationship with and responsibil ity to the Indian people through a selfdetermination policy that woul d provide an orderly transiti on from federal domination to effective Indian participation in planni ng and administering programs. [1984: 380] Indian self-determination thus became someth ing different from traditionally understood sovereignty. Because of the promises made in previous treaties, few Indian tribes saw any benefit in doing away with their relationship to the federal government. This, then, is the complicated nature of Indian sovereignty today. Rather than the exclusive or even supreme authority to control everything within a territory, Osage and other American Indians are now fighting for what can better be under stood as layered sovereignties. Layered Sovereignties In 2007, the State of Oklahom a observed its cente nnial and asked the Osage to join in the celebration. In response, Chief Ji m Gray issued a statement that spoke of the last hundred years of statehood and the suffering experienced by the Osage people, including the erosion of their language, culture, land and sovereignty. He concluded, however, by saying that, We Osage are mindful that we share this great land with others and it always has been our wish to live in harmony with our neighborsbot h on the reservation and in the state. We hope that the government-to-government rela tionship between the Osage Nation and the State of Oklahoma will be mutually beneficial and will be based on mutual respectThe Osage Nation is prepared to commemorate the last 100 years of history, but we look forward to a bicentennial of Oklahomas stateho od that we can truly join in celebration of progress for the Osage Nation, the State, and our mutual developmen t (Gray 2007: 18) While the traditional definition of sovereignty do es not include ideas of mutual respect, for Osage leaders this is the foundation of their understanding of sovereignty today. Instead of desires for exclusive jurisdiction within a territory, what is most frequently articulated is a government-to-government relationship based on overlapping authorities. Many other authors dealing with indigenous politics have talked about this layere d characteristic as being a

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159 fundamental aspect of tribal sovereignty (B iolsi 2005; Wilkins and Lomawaima 2001; Cattelino 2004; Lambert 2007). As Lambert explains, [T]ribal sovereignty operates in a land scape populated by multiple, overlapping, and competing sovereigntiesWhen tribes, states and the federal government spar over who has control over certain resources, a process of moves and counter moves is set in motion. For a good many conflicts in Indian countr y, these moves and countermoves cardinally define tribal sovereignty as a process of negotia tion. [2007: 211] This emphasis on layered sovereignties is hardly unique to Indian trib es, but occurs throughout the United States as well as internationally. In th e United States, most land is subject to the laws of the federal and state. When tribal lands are present this merely adds another level of sovereignty onto the territory. In the case of the Osage, as well as many other tribes, the tribal government was the first authority over the territory, with the federa l, state, county and municipal governments layered on top. Ideally, each co-exists simultaneously and exercises its respective governmental powers independently, but in conversation with one another. Central to the Osage Nations call for layered sovereignties is the existence of the Osage reservation. Unlike all other tribes in Oklahom a, the Osage still have a federally recognized reservation territory, which means they can control any area they own within that territory, rather than only the land still held in trust2. Control here can mean the ab ility to disregard state taxes, to have a smoke shop or casino, or as Chief Gray has recently done to deny state inspectors the right to enter a grocery store owned by the tribe. For 100 year s the Osage reservation has gone 2 Shortly after the end of the treaty making period in the 1870s the U.S. Congress began the creation of reservations. Central to the creation of these areas wa s the federal governments paternal belief that it needed to take care of the land for the Indian people, fearing that they would otherwise lose the land. These reservations were thus owned by the federal gove rnment and held in trust for an Indian tribe or individual. Trust land today is most frequently land that has been held in trust since the allotment of the reservations. As was discussed in chapter three, Indians with half or more blood were not seen as competent of managing their own affairs and so their land was held in trust by the federal government. Most land within the Osage reservation is no longer held in trust, but is owned by individuals. While it is possible to reenter lands into trust, the BIA has made it a cumbersome process. Thus, all other tribes in Oklahoma are limited in their authority to lands that have remained in trust or have gone through the reentry process.

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160 relatively unacknowledged. Until re cently, the Osage did not have the infrastructure necessary, or the finances available, to act on much of its jurisdictional au thority within the reservation. With the rise of Osage taxation and gaming, as well as the 2004-2006 reform process, the status of the Osage reservation has become a central aspect of the debate over Osage sovereignty. Because the Osage have not acted on all of their reservation prerogatives until recently, many people (particularly the non-Osage residing on the reservation) not only do not understand the authority with which the tribe is empowered, but deny the existence of the reservation. For example, the Oklahoma Tax Commission refuses to recognize its own lack of jurisdiction on the reservation. In 2001, the Osage Nation filed a suit against the Oklahoma Tax Commission and individual tax commissioners, seeking an injunction restraini ng the State of Oklahoma from levying and collecting income taxes upon the income of the Nations members who are employed, earn income and reside within the Na tions reservation (Pitchlyn 2004a: 3). The case went to the Northern Dist rict Court of Oklahoma where the State of Oklahoma brought a motion requesting dismissal, arguing that such ac tions could not be brought against the State in federal court. The judge sided with the Osage Nation, but the case was i mmediately appealed to the Tenth Circuit court of appeals where it still awaits decision on whether or not the case can be heard. If the State of Oklahoma fails in its stalling tactic and is forced to try the case in federal court it will likely be forced to acknowledge not only the stat us of the reservation, but its inability to tax those who work and reside within that territory. There are two recent opinions that support the status of the Osage reservation. The first is a 2005 opinion rendered by the National Indian Ga ming Commission (NIGC). Before opening a casino in North Tulsa, the NIGC had to agree that the area wa s still part of a recognized

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161 reservation.3 In their opinion of the Osage reserva tions status, the NIGC cited previous Department of the Interior documents to prove the continued recognition of the Osage reservation. Among the documents supporting their case were the Act of June 5, 1872, ch. 310, 17 Stat. 228 (An Act to Confirm to the Great and L ittle Osage Indians a rese rvation in the Indian Territory), the 1906 Act, which allotted the reservation, and a 2004 lease agreement approved by the BIA. For many tribes, allotment was in tended for the purposes of eradicating the reservations, but the Osage case is recognized as different. In addi tion to purchasing the reservation in Oklahoma with money from the sale of their Kansas lands, the Osage also negotiated to keep the mineral estate under the reservati on held in trust.4 One of the documents cited in the NIGC opinion is a report of the Solicitor General Nathan R. Margold written to the Commission of I ndian affairs on December 17, 1935. Concerning this document the NIGC says, The Solicitor determined that the lands are Tribal lands within the reservation boundaries and further noted that [s]o far as I am advi sed no act of Congress has severed these lands from the reservation. In the absence of such Congressional action they not only remain within the reservation but also qualify as Indian count ry under the rule that Indian country remains such until the In dian title is extinguished unless other wise [sic] provided by Congress. [Coleman 2005: 5] Other documents include a 1997 Oklahoma Gubern atorial Proclamation which stated that [w]hereas, the Osage reservati on covering all of Osage County is the only federally recognized reservation remaining in Oklahoma(quotes in Coleman 2005: 6), as well as a 1992 map of Indian Land published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Thus, the NIGC letter concludes, Based on the above documents, we understand that at least some offices within the Department 3 The NIGC was founded in 1988 by the federal Congress under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq ). The act set out to provide standards by which tribes could be held accountable when conducting gaming on Indian Lands. The purpose of the NIGC is to enforce those standards. 4 See chapter two for a description of this period.

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162 of the Interior have concluded that the Osag e Nation reservation has not been disestablished Please advise us immediately if your office di sagrees with our understandings of the status of the tribes reservation (Coleman 2005: 7). The Department of the Interior did not issue a response and the casino opened in Nort h Tulsa on non-trus t reservation land. Another recent opinion on the Osag e reservation status was issued in Quarles vs. U.S.A. et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern Di strict of Oklahoma, wh ere Chief Judge Eagan determined that Osage County is Indian country, as defined by 18 U.S.C 115 (CV-0913-CVEPJC 2005). Notably, neither the BIA, as a party, nor the U.S. Department of Justice, as counsel for the BIA, made any objection to this determination by the Court. However, as was evident in the case of the Oklahoma Tax co mmission, just because the Osag e reservation is acknowledged does not guarantee that the state of Oklahoma is always going recognize th e sovereign authorities of the Osage Nation, or even uphold its agreemen ts with the Osage Nation. While there are many different areas that could be used as exam ples in exploring the tr ibal-state relationship, from cross deputization of the Osage Nation po lice force to Osage Child Support Services to debates about who has authority to make enviro nmental laws over the territory, I will examine the case of the tobacco compact s to illustrate the complex nature of this relationship. Tobacco Compacting Com pacting between states and Indian tribes is a relatively recent practice, originally created to control gaming on Indian territories.5 Compacting allowed a compromise between the sovereignty of the state, which did not want to have unregulated gaming within its territories, and the sovereignty of the tribe, who wanted to incr ease their revenues and be further recognized as a 5 When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, it created three different classes of gaming. To enter into Class III gaming, which w as considered the traditional casino-style gambling, tribes had to create a compact with the state.

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163 legitimate governing authority within their terr itories. According to Bays (2002), tobacco compacts developed out of the gaming preceden t. Once gaming exposed the geopolitical barrierand the comparative tax a dvantageshielding Indi an country from st ate civil-regulatory authority, Indian entrepreneurs began opening smoke shops (Bays 2002: 189). The resulting loss of tax revenue prompted the state to attemp t to regulate the wholesalers, forcing smoke-shop owners to purchase from out-of state wholes alers. The problem remained, however, that sovereign immunity prevented the state from enfo rcing its tax collection in Indian country, no matter who made the purchase (498 U.S. 505). The state, which was losing millions of dollars in tax revenue, turned to compacting as a possible model for regaining some of these funds To support this process and protect its own interests and the interests of non-tribal smoke shops, the Oklahoma legislature in 1992 passed a tax law that stopped the taxation of retailers and instead placed the burden on wholesalers. Any untaxed cigarettes coming from wholesalers we re now labeled as contraband and subject to seizure. This law also recognized the ability of Indian country smoke shops to import tobacco from out of state and gave the smoke shops a 75 percent break from th e state tax rate (Bays 2002). Pressure to sign these compacts came prim arily from smoke shop owners, who were growing weary of acting outside state law and we re eager to take advantage of the new tax break.6 However, tribes also benefited from th ese agreements through taxation of the shops, which created a new financial base. Through these compacts, the tribes were able to establish more authority over their territory and gain furthe r recognition from the st ate. In response to 6 As Bays explains, state legislation created incen tive for smoke shop operators to lobby their tribal governments to sign tobacco compactsPrior to 1992 smoke shops were essentially unregulated, untaxed, and unduly harassed. After 1992, smoke shops began to gain legitimacy, and many grew and expanded (Bays 2002: 191).

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164 criticism that the tribes were selling out to the state, Bill Anoatubby, the Governor of the Chickasaw, replied this government-to-government compact is the most reasonable method of settling disputes. This is a true exercise of Tribal sovereignt y (Associated Press 1992: 10B). For many tribal leaders, compacting became a way to assert sovereignty, not as exclusive power, but in terms of collaborative control. Wilma Mankiller, Principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, argued for compacting in just these terms. Some may say the Indians would be giving up something, but I say we are dealing from a position of strength. I think it would be a nice legacy to lead the first step toward collaboration (quoted in Bays 2002: 191). In 2003, however, these compacts began to expire. Chief Grey worked with other tribes to negotiate a single new compact with the State and all tribes. Oklahomas Director of Finance, Scott Meacham, ignored these requests and refused to meet with tribes (Osage News 2006a). The tribes were outraged. Not only were State offi cials refusing to meet with tribes as a whole, but they were also supplanting the negotiated co mpact process with a single take-it-or-leave-it offer. After the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations negotiated their own compacts, other tribes, including the Osage, began to vi e for the best position. The Os age were able to extend the exception rule for tribes living near the border to fit 12 of their 15 smoke shops.7 This meant that these shops were only paying the Stat e at a rate of 6 cents per pack of cigarettes compared to the 86-cent non-exemption rate. Complicating thes e agreements was State Question 713, which raised tobacco taxes to $1.03 a pack but also eliminated sales tax fr om all tobacco sales. This not only cut the margin of the Indian smoke shops, but was also a breach of tribal contracts. Meanwhile, Meacham was unable to live up to his promise to the weary Republican Oklahoma Congress that the tobacco tax would lead to a large financial in crease for the state. 7 Because the States bordering Oklahoma had lower tax rates, those smoke shops near the border were able to negotiate a lesser rate to stay competitive.

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165 Feeling the pressure to do away with the retail-to-retail sa les, the Oklahoma Tax Commission adopted emergency rules late in 2005 that requi red wholesalers to sell the same number of cigarettes to smoke shops as they did in 2004, with only an additional 10 percent. While there were some exceptions made for expanding busin esses, the procedure was cumbersome. The result was that many tribal smoke shops lost busin ess or had to shut down (Hinton 2006a). Early in 2006, 26 tribal leaders from the Osage, Muscogee Creek and Cherokee Nations met and attempted to build cohesion in order to stand up to the state. Chief Gray made a presentation on the failure of the compacting process where he referred to it as Meachams Mess in reference to the State Treasurer. This has created a full-f ledged political mess, Gray said. Its a clear indicator that this isnt about cigarettes; its about compact s and sovereignty (quoted in Ruckman 2006a: 8). In several letters to Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, Chief Gray requested to not sign the emergency tax laws because they violated the existing compact and imposed unilateral legislation (Gray 2006). When this request was denied, the Osage took the Oklahoma Tax Commission to federal court on charges that th e new rules broke the compact as well as the United States constitution through the restriction of the commerce, and breaking of the contracts clause of the Constitution (Osage News 2006d: 4). While several State judges sided with the tribes and Tobacco retailers, suspending their app lication in those situations, the U.S. district court ruled that Gov. Henry needed to engage in arbitration with th e Osage to settle the dispute. From this condensed history of tobacco comp acting in Oklahoma, it is possible to get a sense of the complex relationships between the s overeignty of the state and the sovereignty of the tribal nations. While the tribes are worki ng for a relationship built on compromise, the State of Oklahomas most recent ac tions reveal a determined resistance to abiding to their own

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166 agreements. Playing to the interests of groups su ch as the Quick Trip Corporation, the State has shown complete disregard for the sovereignty of the tribal nations. As a result, by 2007 the tribal stores have gained almost half of the cigarette market, but ac cording to state records are only paying 12 percent of the taxes coll ected. Until the state decides to work with the tribes, rather than against them, the tribes are going to continue to find creative ways to utilize the states lack of jurisdiction. Delineating Sovereignty From Within During the sam e period that the Osage were i nvolved in these external negotiations with the State, they were also enga ged in their own internal debate s about what sovereignty ought to mean. While the 2004-2006 reform process began w ith a call to reform membership, it quickly became clear that larger reforms were need ed. Throughout the Osage population, there were widespread calls for more accountability, sust ainable economic development, and cultural revitalization. Central to the 2004-2006 reform process then, wa s not just the assertion of sovereignty, but the act of defining what exactly this soverei gnty would mean. Shortly after the Osage Government Refo rm Commission (OGRC) had been appointed, Leonard Maker, the head of planning for the tribe, addressed them, speaking on the commissions job in educati ng the public about sovereignt y. Most of our people dont understand sovereignty; its not part of their daily life. They say, its a nice phrase but what does it mean to meI think thats one of the ta sks of the commission, to make sure that people are aware of what sovereignt y is and why its important ( OGRC Business Meeting March 21, 2005). Maker then went on to describe the tangible results of sovereignty, su ch as the tribe being the largest employer on the reservation, the openi ng of the new casino, and tribal programs in areas such as education and housing. In an interview I conducted with him a year earlier, Maker also emphasized the lack of knowledge about th e meaning of sovereignty and he concluded by

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167 saying, All these things are part of sovereignty, the ability of our tribe to meet the needs of our own people, in a way that is special to us (Personal Communication July, 20 2004). In the first round of community meetings, Make r explained to the publ ic what sovereignty meant to the Osage: Congress hereby reaffirms the inherent sovereig n right of the Osage Tribe to determine its own form of government, which is as broad a statement as you can make in terms of federal law as to what this tribes right is. That means we can do whatever we want. We dont need the Secretary to appr ove it; we dont need the President to approve it; its ours; its yours to determine what your government wants to be It is also an idea that this is an expression of Osage sovereignty. Its up to us to not have other people telling us what to do. [Tulsa May 05, 2005] This opinion that sovereignty was, at its most ba sic, the right for Osage to decide Osage fate, was frequently mentioned throughout the reform process. One young Osage said in another community meeting that the recent law, basically takes all the handcuffs and all the shackles off us as a tribeWere creating a government; a new one We get to pick it; we get to decide what it is. It is our decision, nobody elses (Skiatook, May 12, 2005). This desire to take control was not limited simply to the creation of a new government. During an interview I conducted with Osage Tribal Councilman Mark Freeman about the government reform, he said, We need to get star ted working on that and get a determination of our sovereignty in that water on the Osage reservation. We need to step up to the plate on our reservation status. By not fighting for it in the past weve allowed the state to take over some things; were going to have to take them back (Personal Communication May 23, 2005). Some Osage, however, were afraid that the tribe might not yet be ready to take over all aspects of their sovereignty, especially when the issue of comp acting the minerals was brought to the table. These Osage argued that the tribe was losing money in many of their enterprises, most notably the Palace Grocery store, and thus was not yet pr epared to take over full control of the mineral estate.

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168 At an Osage Shareholders Association (OSA) meeting where Chief Gray was presenting on compacting the mineral estate in order to pr ovide better monitoring of the wells, one woman argued, According to the article that came out in the Tulsa paper, the Osage Tribe is not really in compliance with [the National Indian Gami ng Commission] on some things they havent done. If theyre not capable of handling this and getting all thei r ducks in a row, why should we trust the council now to manage the minera ls? (August 29, 2005). While the Chief responded that the negotiations with the NIGC were just part of the process of negotiation, many fears about Osage readiness for full self-government continued. Mixed with these fears were the deeper anxieties about the loss of the minerals protected status if the tribe wrested control from the BIA. As another woman explained in the sa me meeting, If you take the contract from the BIA, what protection do we still have and is it st ill in restricted funds? Because once you take it out of the BIA, it loses all restrictions (August 29, 2005). Chief Gray responded by saying, The law of self-governance has been on the books since the 1970s. Over the years tribes who have engaged in taking over these BIA program s, part of the critical elements of this bill ever getting passed to begin with and a significant issue for all the tribes who have compacted over half of the BIA budget now, is th e trust relationship has not changed. This is a negotiated management agreement betw een the tribe and the federal government The benefits of self-governance are not fear, but hope. You have to have faith in yourself and faith in your other tribal members to assu me that we can bring the tools and resources together. The Osage Tribal Council decision not to comp act minerals did not abate these anxieties. Instead, with the passage of the 2006 Osage Na tion Constitution and th e assertion of fuller autonomy, these fears continued to manifest. Because of the long history of threatened Osage termination, many Osage continued to worry th at the federal government was using selfdetermination as a means to get out of the Indian business for good. Thus efforts by Chief Gray to establish more authority were frequently met with concerns that the federal government would soon cease to recognize the need for the trust relationship.

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169 A parallel desire intertwined with the concep t of sovereignty was cultural revitalization. For many Osage, asserting sovereignty meant re vitalizing the culture an d saving the language. At a business meeting in June, Osage Reform Co mmissioners discussed the role of sovereignty and the reform process in revita lizing culture. C1 was discussing how he felt that few people he knew, particularly the younger pe ople, really cared anything a bout the reform. C2 responded that he had had the opposite experience. His daughter had pinned him to the wall about getting this done right and his son had also expressed the importance of the reform. For them it was not just about the vote, but also about being a part of the Osage Nation th rough the practice of various cultural activities. He went on to say, I t is more than a vote, it will revitalize culture and give all Osage a place to come home to, so mething to belong to. C2 then spoke on how much a sense of community could help by giving people a sense of belonging. C3 agreed and said, Group identity helps pe ople to their core (OGRC Busi ness Meeting July 11, 2005). 2006 Osage Constitution and the Community Backlash Since f ederal legislation has limited the abilitie s of the Osage to determine their form of government and membership criteria for almost a hundred years, the very act writing of the 2006 Osage Constitution was an act of sovereignty. Furthermore, the contents of the constitution speak to understandings of what this sovere ignty means. The primary section in which sovereignty is discussed is Arti cle II, which lays out the territory and jurisdiction of the Osage Nation. Territory is defined as the Os age reservation and all other la nds under federally-restricted status title to which is held by the Nation or the People, or by the United States in trust on behalf of the Nation or the People, and any such additional lands as are hereafter acquired and similarly held by the Nation or the People or by the United States on behalf of the Nation or the People. Territory is defined as, but is not limited to, air, water, surface, subsurface, natural resources and any interest therein, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent or right of way in fee or otherwise, by the governments of the United States or the Osage Nation, existing and/or in the futu re. [Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2]

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170 The Constitution then goes on to describe the Osage Nations jurisdiction as extending over all persons, subjects, property, and ove r all activities that occur with in the territory of the Osage Nation and over all Osage citizens, subjects, property and activities outside such territory affecting the rights and laws of the Osage Natio n (Osage Nation Consti tution 2006: 2). This section concludes by saying that N othing in this Article shall be construed to limit or impair the ability of the Osage Nation to exercise its juri sdiction within or without its territory based upon its inherent sovereign authority as a nation of Osage People (emphasis added, Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 2). Article IV, the Declaration of Rights, outlines Popular Sovereignty as, All political power is vested in and derived from the Osage People. All government of right originates with the Osage People, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 3). This se ction continues the statement concerning sovereignty by saying that, The Osage People have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and indepe ndent nation as done from time immemorial. (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 3). From these excerpts it is clear that the Osage Constitution is taking a strong stand as to the strength and breadth of it own sovereignty. The strength of these statements did not go unnoticed wi thin the surrounding community. Shortly after the passage of the 2006 Osage Constitution, a group of ranchers and Osage Country landowners began expressing their disp leasure with the Osage Nations jurisdictional claims within the constitution. In a meeting with Representative Frank Lucas, one resident of the area said, I understand all politics are local. Here in Osage County we have a unique situation. This is the Osage mineral rese rvation underground. Were worried about possible conflict of interest with the Osage constituti on asserting sovereignty over the area of the reservation. Wed

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171 like to know exactly where the re servation is or isn t (February 21, 2006). Lucas responded that the bill that granted the Osage sovereignty only gave the Osag e what the other tribes in Oklahoma had, but that he was not su re about the rese rvation question. For a little over a year these complaints remained quelled, but in late May 2006 the Osage Nation Congress began reviewing a Natural Resour ce bill, quickly prompting controversy among some Osage Country residents. The News Examiner-Enterprise reported that Dick Surber, representing the Osage County Catt lemens Association, saw the bill as an attempt by the Osage Nation to take over the entire reservation. Surber was quoted as saying, We look upon this as an opportunity to state our position once and for al l: that we are not under the jurisdiction or supervision or control of the Osage tribe (quoted in 2007: News 431). While the bill was quickly tabled, it had already unl eashed vitriolic and deafen ing objections throughout Osage County (Bigheart Times 2007b: 1). In addition to fears about harsh environmental laws, there were a whole host of concerns ranging from land loss to taxation to complete lawlessness. Much of this was based on misunderstandings about what it would mean for Osage Country to be officially treated like a reservation. These misunderstand ings quickly swelled and affect ed many interactions between the Osage Nation and non-Osage residents, including denying the Osage Nation polices authority in issuing state tickets even though cross-deputization had been in place for 11 years. When Chief Gray declared that state inspectors no longer had authority with the Osage-owned grocery store, many people worried that the tribe would soon allow no state representatives within the reservation boundary altogether. One of the more interesting places to follo w this debate was the Osage Shareholders Association webpage. Because th e recent assertions of Osage sovereignty had stirred some

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172 shareholders to fear that their headright would not be protected, there was a strange bond created between this minority Osage view point and the non-Osage community backlash to sovereignty. In July of 2007 one Osage, who actively argued against the current admi nistrations policy of exerting sovereignty, posted the following edito rial from the Daily Oklahoman by a non-Osage landowner: Jim Gray, principal chief of the Osage Tribe, continues to make it clear that he wants Osage County to be considered off limits to the state government because he contends the entire county is a tribal reservation. Gray backed a bill in the tribe's legislature that would have allowed the Osage to create and re gulate environmental st andards throughout the county. The bill, which got derailed, would have applied to anyone who lives or does business in Osage County and would have given tribal court final say in settling disputes. More recently, Gray told state consumer protect ion inspectors to stay away from a tribeowned store in Fairfax because the store is located within th e Osage reservation. He wrote to the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to say th at unless federal or Osage laws dictate otherwise, no state agency is allowed to enter the store "or any other tribally licensed business located within the Osage reservation for th e purpose of enforcing state law and regulations." Guess that means Gray won't mind if the Highway Patrol stops enforcing the speed limits on the winding hi ghways that run through Osage County. Or if the Department of Transportation removes from its maintenance list any roads and bridges in the county that need repair. Or that he won't be calling his county commissioner or any other county office seeking assistance if a wa ter pipe bursts or another other public works project needs attention. Gray wants the tribe to stand alone. It seems to us he ought to be careful what he wishes for. [ www.osageshareholders.org 2007] In response to this posting, several people on the f orum expressed outrage that any Osage would take the side of the backwar d and superstitious whites. Th ey argued it was instead time to civilize the white populat ion and educate them as to what Osage sovereignty would really mean. To these and other accusations another poster argued, What's being ignored, by our leadership and thos e that follow, is that we are a little bitty fish in a big pond and we don't yet know if we even have any teeth. I don't think anyone here is saying that we shouldn't strive for sovereignty, inasmuch as the Yankee government in Washington will let us exercise it. What is being questioned is the hap-hazard, bull(calf) in the China-shop-way this administration is going about it. It seems that the reality of our situation has been lost in the fervor of what we know to be right. [ www.osageshareholders.org 2007]

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173 This and other posts illustrate the sorts of lim itations that the colonial situation has created among the Osage. For some Osage, fears about possible ramifications have become more important than what we know to be right. Even while Osage sovereignty is accepted as a fundamental truth, the possibility that the federal or state gove rnments will actually recognize this seemed unlikely to some. In a similar vein, the original poster attemp ted to clarify his ow n fears by saying that, But it [sovereignty] also comes with a price, that being that we have special rights and privileges that can be put in je opardy when mistakes are made ( www.osageshareholders.org 2007). This response echoes m any of the concer ns expressed during the reform process, particularly during discussions a bout compacting. Perhaps even more powerfully than the above fear that Osage sovereignty will not be recognized, this fear shows the power of continued colonialism among the Osage. In addition to do ubting Osage competence, this posting illustrates the priorities among some Osage to put special rights and privileges, which here most likely refers to Osage Mineral Estate proceeds, above concerns for greater Osage autonomy. These people frequently argue that the current Os age administration is not competent enough to actually pull off sovereignty and thus it is better to leave th ings alone for now. However, not all Osage posting on the Osage Shareholders Association webpage agreed with taking such a conservative approach. To the above postings one person responded, How sad it is that you perceive yourself, and all Osage, in such a sad pathetic light! Seriously, I really feel bad for you. It can't be comfortable to liv e such a diminished, marginalized existence. Did you go to a gove rnment boarding school? Did they, the U.S. government, do this to you? It doesn't have to be this way. God isn't white and the whites aren't gods. Theyre no better than we Osage. They aren't 100 feet tall and they do eventually die just as everything else in this world does. Formerly oppressed native peoples can and do move beyond the mental artif acts which make them prisoners in their own skins. You can as well. Kick that hateful little white-man ri ght out of your head! [ www.osageshareholders.org 2007]

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174 Fears about Osage sovereignty cl aims were further brought into question a month later when Senator Coburn held a community meeting. Ne ws Channel 8 ran a story on the meeting, which included quotes from interviews taken before and after the meeting. The story began with a quote from rancher Dick Surber, For the last hundred years this has been Osage County, Oklahoma Private property is the most sacred right we have (Kinny 2007: www.ktul.com ). After a few less confrontational excerpts from the actual meeting, the story concluded by saying, Senator Coburn says sovereignty is determined by the U.S. Congress, not the treaty, but the tribe should not apply pressure. T he thing is, if they press the sovereignty i ssue the risk is they lose sovereignty because the Congress will change it, so they are walking a tight line (Kinny 2007: www.ktul.com ). Many Osage who attended the m eeting expressed concern by the representation of the meeting in the news broadcast. As one young Os age wrote, I was at this meeting. Tom Coburn was asked repeatedly about this issue during the mee ting and clearly stated he did not know enough about the issue to comment on it. Then he obviously marched outside to talk to the cameras about the subject. After I saw that story on TV I wondered whether or not Channel 8 attended the same meeting as I did ( www.osageshareholders.org 2007). One of the central statem ents made by Coburn during the community meeting was that the federal government did have to uphold the treaties. Another Osage who attended the meeti ng said that he disagreed with both the coverage and the fears it reinforced. If Mr. Coburn is talking "holding up the treat ies then he is somewhat recognizing our sovereignty, albeit to a conser vative (to which he is very co nservative) extent. Also, I agree and understand all too well that the US government has a lot to do with determining our issues. So, any hint from a very conserva tive senator acknowledging our sovereignty to some extent is some gain for the Osage. [ www.osageshareholders.org 2007]

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175 The meeting, its news coverage, and the concerns it raised among the Osage, are typical of the complex ways in which debates about sovereignty are currently taking place within the colonial context. Conclusion Rather than understanding sovere ignty as som e sort of fixed power, it must instead be seen as a series of articulations that are neither straig htforward nor consistent across space or time. In defining sovereignty strictly in terms of its connection to the European state system, political theorists have reinforced the subjugation of i ndigenous people. By in sisting that indigenous governments were less complex, these theo rists provided the foundational groundwork for justifying colonialism in America. In looking at sovereignty not as a fact that does or does not exist within a space, but instead as a knowledge sy stem used to reinforce or argue for authority, it is possible to begin to unders tand the use of the term sovereignty across the globe today. Understanding the meaning of Osage sovere ignty today means following it through the speeches, court cases, arbitrations, community meetings, news representations, and online message boards. It means seeing sovereignty not as one bounded objec t, but a series of negotiations that are taking place among various Osage and their surrounding communities. Sovereignty for the Osage Nation has come to me an the act of taking control over Osage affairs in as many ways as they are allowed given their current colonial situation. This control is not the sort of absolute power that th eorists typically associate with sovereignty, but a layered and interconnected relationship with the state of Oklahoma and th e federal government. While finding compromises has certainly become an in tricate part of this sovereignty, creative avoidance has also become necessary, especially when dealing with a state government which not willing to keep its promises. As Chief Gr ay and the Osage Nation continue to act on the sovereign authority outlined in the 2006 Osag e Constitution, they will encounter those

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176 attempting to deny their sovereignty or limit it s meaning to particular situations. These limitations, like its layered nature are central to sovereignty acro ss the globe. It is only through continuous articulations and negotia tions of sovereignty that it takes on the appearance of being a concrete fact.

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177 CHAPTER 6 OBSTACLES TO COMMUNITY BASED REFORM The Harvard Project on American Indian Econo mic Development has argued that a central element of creating a successful economy within Indi an country is to directly involve the citizens in any government reform effort. As St ephen Cornell et. al. (2004) outlines: [G]overning institutions must be viewed as legitimate by the First Nations citizens if they are to be effective. This means institutions have to match citizens ideas of how authority should be organized and exercised; otherwise, citizens are unlikely to view the institutions as their own and are unlikely to support them. This suggests further that the process of institution building has to find ways to directly involve First Nations citizens [emphasis added: 19] This ideal of community involvement was certainly integral to the official information circulated during the 2004-2006 Osage reform process. As the Osage News reported shortly after the Osage Tribal Council formed the Osage Government Reform Commission, The goal of the Commission is to provide a means through which a government will be established that reflects the will of the Osage People (2005c: 2). The or dinance that created the commission also used similar wording and listed a series of activ ities including the development of informative materials, a website, news articles, community meetings, workshops, symposia, and surveys as a way to solicit the desires of the greater Osage community. Such simply stated ideals, however, overlook the complexities inherent within communitybased reform. Few populations, American Indian or otherwise, have much practical knowledge about the intricate details invol ved in governing structures, much less the time and interest to invest in creating a governing document. Comm unity meetings are frequently long meandering affairs that must negotiate be tween informing the public and tr ying to collect their conflicting opinions. Information about the reform process must compete with rumors, which result from legitimate confusion, fear, as well as competing political goals. Because government reform is inherently political, any change in the structure of power is bound to cause malcontent. The

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178 writing of any document, particularly an important legal one, becomes challenging when attempted in a group. The 2004-2006 Osage reform process provides valuable insights into some of the central problems that de velop within community-based reform, particularly when it is completed in a short period. Despite the difficulties of the reform proce ss, the Osage were successful in passing a constitution by a two-thirds margin. However, th e road to reform was not as smooth as that margin might suggest. From informal conversa tions, public statements, and online blogs, it is possible to see that there were legitimate complaints as well as unfounded rumors circulating during the reform period, complicating the proc ess of drafting a constitution. There were moments during the reform that most of the people active in th e reform, including myself, were convinced that the process would not succeed. There are, in fact those who still argue that it did not. My goal here is not to determine th e ultimate success or failure of the 2006 Osage Constitution; this can only be known with time. Instead, I will focus on the main obstacles that the reform process encountered, so that future reformers, Osage or otherwise, might better understand their potent ial challenges. Constitutional Convention vs. Reform Commission In 2004, Leonard Maker, the Head of Planni ng for the Osage Tribal Council (OTC), was put in charg e of developing a plan for govern ment reform. The OTC had recently written legislation to enable a reform process and was lobbying the federal Congress in order to get this legislation passed. In an interview I conducted with Maker during the summer of 2004, he talked at length about his plans for the reform pro cess: The best solution is obvious, it is a constitutional convention, where you have delegates who come representing the various groups of Osage on the reservation. Traditionalists, non-traditionalists, people who dont live on the reservation, shareholders, non-shar eholders, young people, old people, all have the opportunity

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179 to participate (Personal Communi cation July 20, 2004). However, by the time I talked with him again in December, shortly after the passage of th e reform legislation, the official plan did not include a constitutional convention. Instead, it ca lled for the creation of the Osage Government Reform Commission (OGRC) whose ten members we re to be appointed by and accountable to the Osage Tribal Council. When I asked Maker about this change, he expl ained that some of the tribal council were afraid that a constitutional c onvention would not get the job d one within the short timeframe. Because the OTCs four-year elections were co ming up the following June, many people felt that the reform process had to happen before there was another election by th e shareholders. The primary fear was that if the shareholders want ed to prevent the government reform, they could simply vote in people who would not fund the re form process and the necessary elections. Whether or not this fear was le gitimate, it was strong enough to mandate that there would be a very short 16-month period for the reform process to be completed. Maker claimed that in addition to worrying about the timing of the reform, some on the tribal council expressed doubt that a random selection of Osage would be knowledgeable enough to write a constitution. Furthermore, they also fe lt the need to maintain some control over the reform process. As Maker told me in an in terview: Through the plan, they were delegating substantial authority to these members of the commission. And then the commission itself had to be people that the council ha d to be comfortable with (Personal Communication, May 12, 2005). They eventually decided to adopt a process whereby they each nominated two Osage, briefly discussed their capabilities, and then held a vote. From this process, the top ten were appointed to the commission. At least one memb er of the tribal council, however, expressed frustration with the process, sa ying that they had not taken enough time to make their selections.

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180 This complaint, that there was insufficient time during various parts of the pr ocess, continued to be a central area of contention thro ughout the reform proceedings. However, this decision by the OTC did not entirely quell the push for a constitutional convention. In many of their early meetings and informal discu ssions, the reform commissioners debated the possibility of hosti ng a convention. At one of th ese meetings, Maker responded: Thats why I laid out some guidelines in th e plan so whoever got on the commission would be guided in a sense. Down the road, its already there; the mileston es are already there. Were not going to argue about whether or not we are going to have a constitutional convention. Those decisions were already ma de by the council when they decided to go down this road [May 23, 2005]. Others outside the reform process also called fo r a constitutional convention. This issue came up during an OGRC meeting with all the Osage Na tion program directors. In addition to community meetings, the OGRC occasionally held meetings with the employees of the Osage Tribe, many of whom were Osage, since they w ould be the most affected by any change in the governing structure. In November, the OGRC sc heduled a referendum vote, which would let the Osage voters decide on a few of the key issues within the constitution, such as membership. During a meeting discussing the referendum questi ons, one of the program directors said that these questions should have been created within a constitutional convention rather than by the commission themselves. To this, one of th e commissioners responded, We are having this referendum vote in lieu of a cons titutional convention because of th e deadline we were given to get this process done. Our alterna tives have been to give people surveys, public forums, and this referendum. And then in February, there will be a vote on the ratifi cation of the constitution that will contain these elements, although maybe not exactly as written here (November 07, 2005).

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181 Even after the passage of the constitution, th ere were those who continued to call for a constitutional convention, particularly among a group of mostly shareholding1 Osage, who used the Osage Shareholders Associati on (OSA) as their primary forum. Members of this group had a range of problems with the reform process, including low voter turnout2, critiques concerning the distribution of absentee ballots and other election materials and, of central importance, a fundamental disagreement with the way in which the mineral estate was incorporated into the Osage constitution3. While some of these concerns were related to genuine problems arising during the reform process, the reactions within the OSA were magnified by several factors. Perhaps above all, it must be understood that th e Osage shareholders had spent the last hundred years with a complete monopoly over Osage politics. In 1994, they had lost this monopoly through a court ruling, but regained it through an appeal. Thus, the OSAs reaction to the government reform process cannot be separated from their political motivations of wishing to 1 Osage shareholders are all Osage who have a share in the Osage mineral estate. In 1906 when the reservation was allotted, the mineral estate was kept in tact. The proceeds from the sale of oil and gas were divided evenly among all 2,229 people listed on the 1906 Osage roll. Current law requires that this share in the mineral estate can not be given away until one dies and then it can only be given to other Osage. It is possible for non-Osage to have a share in the mineral estate (a headright) for their lifetime, but af terwards the headright has to return to a lineal descendent of the 2,229 people listed on the 1906 Osage roll. Many people today only have partial shares in the mineral estate because their parents or grandparents shares were usually divided among multiple siblings. Additionally of all headrights left the tribe before laws were in place forbidding non-Osage to pass the headright on to other non-Osage. 2 The November 2005 referendum vote had 1,670 voters and the March 2006 ratification of the constitution had 2,182. While the total number of people who were eligible for an Osage membership is estimated to be between 12 and 16 thousand, in February of 2006 there were only 5,755 people with Osage membership cards, many under the voting age (Osage News 2006b). Part of the reason for the low number of membership cards was that it was new process, most people only having Certificate Degree of Indian Blood cards from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Another reason was that many people of Osage decent had moved away fr om the reservation and lost all contact with the tribe. In comparison, 55.3 percent of the voting-age population turned out for the 2004 American federal election and 37 percent for the 2002 election (Federal Election Comm ission 2007). 3 In February of 2006, shortly before the passage of the 2006 Constitution, the Osage Shareholders Association sent out a mailing to all Osage Shareholders. In the letter they listed seven reasons why people should Vote No For A Better Future including insufficient protection of Trib al membership, insufficient protection of the Osage Mineral Estate, more power to the government at the expense of the people, more power to the chief, more power to the tribal courts, less power to the National Congress, and lack of popular participation in the reform process. Under each of these they included a short explan ation. On the first of March the OGRC responded with their own mailer with the same seven categories and their response. See appendix 1 and 2.

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182 maintain control of the Osage government. Howe ver, these political motivations were also complicated by colonial based fear In addition to fighting to maintain their control over Osage politics, this group also had to fight the federal government to maintain the OTCs status as a federally recognized tribe. In 1906, when the OTC was set up, the federal government thought that it was creating an end to the Indian problem. In 25 years, it imagined that the Osage people would be incorporated into American cu lture and would no longe r need to have a tr ibal governing body to manage Osage affairs. Even while Osage shareh olders fought this inco rporation through various extensions of their trust relati onship, more and more Osage fell outside the shareholding system. By the time the federal Congress was persuaded in 2004 to give the Osage the same rights as other tribes to determine their own membership and form of government, they had created a complex problem for the Osage in terms of how the system of headright shares would be preserved while allowing for a government that me t the current needs of all Osage people. This impasse illustrates the continuing colonial impact s on the Osage people today. Fear of change, in particular, threatened to stagnate all reform ef forts, letting few conversations stray far from the protection of the mineral estate. The colonial pr ocess had created circum stances that made many Osage people fear any government reform as a path toward termination. On the Osage Shareholders online forum, these fears led some Osage to call for a constitutional convention, argui ng that merely amending the 2006 Constitution would not be enough to fix the perceived problems. Furthermore, some of these people worried that the bar for creating amendments to the constitution was se t too high. As the constitution states, Every petition shall include the full text of the pr oposed amendment, and be signed by qualified electors of the Osage Nation equal in number to at least twenty-five (25%) percent of the

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183 electorate. However, since the electorate consists of every person with a membership card in the Osage Nation, which in 2007 had exceeded 10,000 card carrying members, only 2,182 of whom had voted in the last election, many people found the possibility of an amendment by petition unlikely. Thus, some members argued fo r a constitutional conven tion. As one observer on the shareholders website wrote: [T]he United States was governed under the Arti cles of Confederation first. It wasn't working so it was scrapped for something be tter. The question is then do we have an Articles of Confederation on our hands. In my opinion, we have a poorly written document that first serves the executive office, puts the people second with a weak legislative branch and finally puts the head right holders at the very end. Relegating management of their mineral estate to people appointed by an executive that is elected at large [sic]. Why try and fix something so dys functional? Why not scrap it and sit down and think through something new, something more empowering to the people and more protective of the interests of the headright hol ders, with regard to the management of the resources they rely on. [ Osagehareholders.org 2007] In addition to arguing for a constitutional conven tion, this quote illustra tes som e of the other concerns that developed around the 2006 Osage C onstitution, particularly within the OSA. Because the constitution was writte n in a large group with a tight time deadline, its wording was occasionally awkward. As one Osage wrote in a le tter to Chief Jim Gray and the Osage tribal council: I write to you as an Osage citizen and a vo ting member of the Mineral Estate. I have recently acquired a copy of the proposed Constitution for our new government. I am very concerned about lack of skill and word craf t exhibited by this document. A Constitution should be a very carefully worded blueprin t for how we want our government to be organized and administeredThi s Document is so long and poorly worded that I have been studying it for nearly a week and am still very unsure as to what it says, and even less sure, what it means. I don't know how anyone c ould be expected to read it in a voting booth and make an intelligent j udgment as to its worth. I fear its only salvation would be to start after the flowery preamble and examine ev ery Article with an ey e toward discovering the basic concept trying to be expressed. Then having a competent person rewrite it in a simple, legally correct way that will stand the test of time and the Court system. [February 8, 2006] Since most of the people responsible for wr iting the 2006 constitution had no legal training the document did not fit some understandings of what a constitution should look like. Another

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184 central point discussed frequently within the OSA was the authority given to the executive branch. As the above letter continues, As a me mber of the Mineral Estate I am very concerned with how the Mineral Council is intertwined with and subjugated by the new Tribal government in the Proposed Constitution (February 8, 2006). Because the mineral estate was placed within the larger Osage Nation, the Chief was given the authority to veto any law passed by the mineral estate that violated Osage Law. Furthermor e, the Congress could pass laws concerning the environment or other areas that would affect the mineral estate so long as it did not violate the Constitution. The relevant section of the constitution reads, The right to income from mineral royalties shall be respected and protected by the Osage Natio n through the Osage Minerals Council formerly known as the Osage Tribal Council and composed of eight (8) members elected by the mineral royalty interest holde rs (Osage Nation Constitution 2006: 16). If shareholders felt that their royalties were not be ing respected, they could go to the Osage court; however, the executive department appointed th e judges, which lead some shareholders to reamin suspect that their perspe ctive would be heard. Thus, rath er than trying to address their issues with the Constitution, this group of Osage continued to call for a constitutional convention, even after the ratifi cation of the constitution. While it is certainly true that the 2006 Osage constitution was not perfect, the fears articulated by the OSA were more complicated than simple grievances with how the reform process was conducted. Colonial-bas ed fear played a large role in bringing various elements of the constitution into question. Because the Osage shareholders had been fighting to maintain their control against both the federal governme nt and the growing group of non-shareholding Osage for almost a hundred years, some shareholders saw the 2006 Osage Constitution as just the latest attempt to destroy the mineral estate. Because some shareholders felt that both their

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185 wealth and their power were threatened, any problem with the 2006 Constitution was seen as fatal. These shareholders wanted, above all, to protect the mineral estate. Thus we can understand the potency of their reaction against the 2006 Constitution; they wanted ensure that nothing would change with the mineral estate. Any problem with the reform process was used by the Shareholders Association as evidence that either the Osage were not competent enough to control their own affairs or that someone non-Shareholders, the federal government, Chief Gray was trying to break apart the Osage minera l estate. These fears manifested in powerful ways throughout this reform process, as the rest of this chapter will explore. Community Meetings Instead of a constitutional convention, the commission was given the task of hosting a series of community m eetings across Oklahoma, Texas, and California to solicit information from various Osage. These community meetings were intended to serve the dual purpose of informing the public about the reform process a nd also gathering opinions about what Osage wanted from government reform. The commissioners described these co mmunity meetings as both the most challenging and rewarding part of the reform process: It was rewarding really getting a feel for what people wantedWhen you think about it, the most challenging was the parts that were the most rewarding. It was really challenging to sit through some of those town meetings and just be hit up side of the head every once in a while with criticism and with negative statements. I hadnt dealt with that much criticism before (Personal Communication July 11, 2006). These meetings provided a forum for Osage to discuss government reform, but they were also the main venue to challenge what was seen as wrong with the reform process. The government reform commission attended over forty community meetings, each of which lasted approximately two hours. Occasio nally their job was easy, such as when people had prepared their comments and even researched solutions to the issues the reform was trying to

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186 address. More frequently, those in attendan ce had not yet had the time or motivation to investigate the what they wanted and what options were available Frustr ated with the progress of one community meeting, a man complained: M1: I get tired of hearing all these people talk about losing their headrights or blood quantum. I want to see something happen. Im 33 years old and weve been talking about this as long as I can remember. Commissioner 1 : What do you want to happen? M1 : I want this to hurry up. C2 : Talk to us. Tell us what you want. We dont know if you dont talk. M1 : Youre talking about this government. No t all of us are unde rstanding the various governments that youve got listed on this one sheet, the constitution versus what youve got now? C3 : Resolution. M1 : Right. So how can we tell you what we wa nt when we dont know what it is? I dont have anything to say. I know a constitutional government is made up of three branches, but thats pretty much all I know about it. So how can I talk to you about something if I dont even know about? [Skiat ook Community Meeting, May 12, 2005] The gap between what is needed from the community and what the community actually has to offer is perhaps the biggest prob lem that must be addressed in any community reform effort. While the general Osage population is certainly well educated and informed about many issues, few community members came into the reform process with much information about the intricacies of governmental theory. General populations rarely have such background knowledge and thus a central goal of any refo rm effort must be education. The OGRC realized early on that this would be one of their la rgest challenges and set to work circulating an information packet. However, they were not able to mail out this packet about the reform process until September 20054. In the meantime, the community did not step 4 There were many reasons for the delay in the distribution of the packet. As will be discussed later, the primary problem involved the Osage Government Reform Commission taking ownership for the reform process. They

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187 up to educate itself about govern ing structures. The OGRCs frustration was expressed at the same Skiatook community meeting when a Commissioner addressed another community member who had said that they did not have enough information: Commissioner: And I would like to ask, A1, do you vote in the state, county, or presidential elections? Audience: Are you talking to me? Yes. C: Yes? Ok, how did you learn about this? A: Tonight? C: No, about voting and your right to vote. A: Well, (laughs) C: How do you decide how you are going to vote? A: Well, information I collected. C: Right. Come on, you need to get some information for yourself. A: Right, right. C: It is sort of like the same standard s. [Skiatook Community Meeting, May 12, 2005] While the OGRC did eventually succeed in ci rculating much information about governing structures and possibilities for government reform, many peopl e felt that not enough options were made available within this literature. One example of this can be seen in the questionnaire circulated in October 2005. Question number two asked: Are you in favor of a representative democracy with a 3 (Executive, Legislative, Judi cial) branch form of government? This was followed by question three: If you answered NO to question 2, what form of government do you prefer? Within this wordi ng, the three-branch form of gove rnment was the only real option waited to receive materials and guidance from elsewher e rather than overseeing the writing of the material themselves. They also ran into problems because originally they en visioned that the packet would be mailed out as a brochure, but then learned that the Osage Tribal Council wanted the mate rial to go out as part of their monthly/quarterly newspaper. Making the information part of the newspaper also greatly slowed down the process because it required layout and oversight from the OTCs staff.

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188 provided. Suggesting multiple options would have increased the involvement of the public, but it would have also risked that possibility th at the public would b ecome divided about the structure of the government, greatly slowing down the reform proce ss. With this question, they received an 82.8 percent majority in favor of a three-branch syst em with only 7 percent offering another possible solution. Another challenge of hosting community meetings is fortitude. The opinions expressed during community meetings are often presented within long speeches. While the government reform commission tried to address this prob lem by creating a time limit, it was not always easily enforced or desired. An Osage elder said the following within a 15-minute speech during the last round of community meetings, right before the ratification of the constitution: This started with membership and voting, now to day it exploded. It reminds me of the old Osage. The same thing they did back then, youre doing it today. I have calls from California and Texas. Theyre confused about th is. They asked me questions how to vote. I said if you dont know, vote no. I understand you met in California and Dallas and Houston. A lot of them are Osage. I was on the council 20 years. What this book [the draft of the constitution] talk s about is the same thing as back thenThat was before your time cause you dont remember the old days in the 50s and the 40s. They brought it up to the council and they voted it down. These Osage in different places are confused about this, what you propose. You got down here p ropose. That can be changed in 30 days. We dont have 30 days. We had the voting right back then. I waited 45 years to get on the council. At that time I had my votes. Toda y youre changing it. Everybody wants to be Osage, but dont participate in our traditions and culture and language. They think you can learn the language in two days. You cant do that. I can understand Osage better than I can speak it This proposal you got today ha s them all confused. I told them if you get confused vote no. I cant see thats going help us any better. It will make conflict among the people. All these young ones see a new thing coming along, but they dont know a thing about it. You say the mineral estate is prot ected; its true; its going be here. Theres a lot of history about how it got here. You pe ople dont know. None of them in here dont know; some of them do. My cousin over here, he knows a little bit. So does his dad and grandfather. This is getting out of hand. You confuse people. Its confusing to all those Osage out in California. Theres a lot of hi story about Osage. 3,700 Osage are full-blood. By the time of 1906 there was thousands. Wh en that Allotment Act came in the Osage didnt want it but they got outvoted by mixed-blood. The 2,229 are all gone. I met some of them over time. They wanted to leave it as is. They asked me how I felt and I said I want to leave it as is with the tribal council a nd give it back to them. I understand that the elected chief wants sole authority; we voted him down. Thats ok. We went on. This here

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189 you get people confused when you change thin gs. When the time co mes hopefully theyll vote down the constitution. In Bill Martins day they voted it down. You people werent even around back then. Everybody want s to be an Osage. You get 1/16th, half, a quarter. Osage have been blessed. When they came in from Kansas there was more. You talk about the trail of tears. Cherokees had come up from Georgia and Tennessee. At that time a lot of people were the same way. A lot of good stories back then. I think all the elders ought to get together at one time and talk about what they know about it; about their families, what they told them back then. I think it would be good with the young ones coming on; they want to know. When that time comes you got this proposed program and you get them confused. I understand all of that legislature, executive and judiciary. Ive been to school. I have experience. I was 35 years in the world. I came back and was on the tribal council for 20 years. We went a ll over to campaign. My nephew talking over here, hes got a good subject. My niece over here, related in some way. All of us in here from the Hominy area, were related. Billy -Sam hes related too [Hominy Community Meeting, February 28, 2006] Speeches of this length were common in community meetings, especially when a time frame was not enforced. However, the simple solution of enforcing a time limit can create further problems, particularly when it is customary within a community to speak in interrelated stories rather than in short sound bytes. In addition to illustrating the manner in which some Osage communicated their information, this quote is also tell ing because of its conclusions. This elder argues that the old form of government was effective and that this new government has people confused. While, as I will later show, some of the referendum questio ns and the constitution itself could have been clearer, this issue of confusion was a tool being used by this speaker. As this speaker says, you get people confused when you change things While this quote represented the view of only a small minority of Osage, the central message is one that will always be present within any reform effort. This elder was, above all, arguing that the status quo needed to be maintained, the old structure should not be changed. As a former tribal counc ilperson, this elders authority and prestige were tied up with the tribal council struct ure of government. Because he did not want to see any change, he used the inevitable confus ion resulting from change as a reason that no

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190 changes should be made. Change is no doubt always confusing, but it is al so a fundamental part of community-based reform. Non-Shareholders Another central issue that developed ear ly in the refor m process pertained to the makeup of the Osage government reform commission. The original ordinance provided that Four of the appointees shall not be owners of Osage headrights or hold any interest in Osage headrights (emphasis added, Maker 2005: 2). However, th e ordinance was amended and the final ten commissioners were all Osage head right holders. This change in law was a classic example of OTC governance. Laws were frequently made one week only to be completely changed the next week. This made doing business on the reservation or planning for the future very difficult and was a leading reason cited for changing the governance structure. This move to include only Osage sharehol ders was likely an attempt by the OTC to appease its constituents. Since the Osage sharehol ders had elected the OTC, some of the council people felt that ultimately their responsibility was to the shareholder and not the Osage population as a whole. Putting all shareholders in charge of the reform process was likely their attempt to satisfy their electorate, showing that it was still shareholders who had ultimate control over the process. As is clear from the OSA, this effort was not enough to convince all the shareholders that the process had been in their be st interest. At least one Osage shareholder went as far as to argue that the reform elections we re not valid because the Osage shareholders had never voted for the reform process themselves. On the Osage Shareholders website he wrote: I bet a lot of you remember the time when in or der to vote in US, St ate and Local elections you had to be 21 years old. Then the 26th amendment was passed making it legal for those 18-20 yrs old to vote. Do you remember who voted for that amendment? It was voted for only by those 21 and older. Why? Because they were the only legal voters until they voted to allow the 18-20 yr. olds to vote. Can you see what has taken place in our elections. The only legal voters of the Osage Tribe are th e shareholders. Now I ask you do you remember a vote that only shareholders, being the legal voters of the Osage Tribe, voted in to give

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191 voting rights to those that are not shareholders? It never happened. So how did this take place? Some will say H.R. 2912, but that simply is not true. The vote for the constitution was not a valid vote either. A ll votes and elections since the election for the 31st Tribal Council have been bogus. Am I against nonshareholders voting? Am I against a constitution? No, not if there is a properly held election where the legal voters have the opportunity to freely make a choice. So far th is has not happened. Does anyone think it is about time it does? [September 28, 2007] In this and other postings, it is clear that for so me shareholders the efforts by the OTC to appease its constituency were not successful. The Congr essional law (H.R. 2912) that began the reform process spoke clearly as it related to membership: Congress hereby clarifies that the term `legal membership' in section 1 of the Act entitled, `An Act For the division of lands and funds of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma Territory, and for other purposes, approved June 28, 1906 (34 Stat. 539), means the persons eligible for allotments of Osage Reservation lands and a pro rata share of the Osage mineral estate as provided in that Act, not membership in the Osage Tribe for all purposes. Congress hereby reaffirms the inherent sovereign righ t of the Osage Tribe to determine its own membership, provided that the ri ghts of any person to Osage mi neral estate shares are not diminished thereby. While this makes it clear that the legal membersh ip of the Osage Tribe does not have to be the Osage shareholders, it leaves membership up to the Osage Tribe to decide. However, it was not clear who the members of the Osage Tribe we re that would have the authority to decide membership standards. While the OGRC debated this for many meetings, they ultimately asked the OTC to make the decision, and the OTC voted to allow all the desce ndents of the 1906 Act to vote in the intial elections, cas ting the widest net possible. In most other ways, the OGRC represented a r easonable sampling of Oklahoma Osage. As Maker told the commissioners during an early business meeting, You had different diverse backgrounds and I thought that was important You all represent different groups. Unintentionally, thats how this commission cam e about, we have younger persons; older people; elders; men; women; people who worked in government; outside of government. It was a good mix as it turned out (May 23, 2005). These differe nces, however, led to some initial problems

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192 with the group dynamics of the reform commi ssion. Debates over large issues such as who could vote in the initial elections were further complicated by a group of ten people who had vastly different ideas of who it was that should c onstitute an Osage. Coming from such different backgrounds, they also had different ways of ma king their arguments, and multiple ideas about how their job should be completed. Some felt th at they needed to co mplete all the tasks personally; others felt that they should leave most of the work to the staff; and still others argued passionately that other Osage s hould be brought in where needed. It was only through getting to know one another and by building up their trus t of each other that they began to find compromises. While the commission learned to work together its lack of non-shareholders proved an area of much contention, particularly as younger people became active in the reform process. In an attempt to involve non-shareholders, the OG RC held a special community meeting. However, more shareholders than non-shareholders turn ed out at the meeting, curious what the nonshareholders would have to say. Because non-shareholders were frequently young adults who had not yet inherited a headrigh t, they were generally living away from Osage communities because of school or employment. Furthermore, when they were around they were far more likely to have young children or other commitment s that did not allow them to attend community meetings. Perhaps most importantly, these non-shar eholders had been told for years that they needed to wait their turn to participate in tribal politics. Because the Osage system h