| This year, the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center took over 80 people
to the Oklahoma/ Kansas border for the annual Cultural Walk, which
is a tribute to those Osages who made the long journey into present-day
Oklahoma in the late 1800s.
Cultural Walk participants arrive at their campsite on Oct.
16 for an overnight camping trip at the Oklahoma/ Kansas border.
The Cultural Walk, now in its sixth year, is an overnight camping
trip and invites Osages and their families to take a three-mile
hike from the present-day state border, south into Oklahoma where
the Mullendore Ranch sits near the northern edge of Osage County.
The 2015 Cultural Walk started Oct. 16 with the attendees gathering
at the Cultural Center in Pawhuska. Participants were bussed to
the border where they would hike to the campsite and set up tents
for their stay.
Cultural Center Director Vann Bighorse said the trip is intended
to give Osages a glimpse and an opportunity to visit the trail and
area where their ancestors traveled when they relocated into Oklahoma
from Kansas. In 1871, the Osages' move into Oklahoma took place
and a simple "1871" stone marker sits at the border where the path
Cultural Walk group, of all ages, set up camp and enjoyed visiting
and several women helped cook the evening meal of chicken and dumplings,
steam fried meat and frybread. Bighorse and other Cultural Center
staff coordinated the trip. Attendees included Osage Nation Congressman
Otto Hamilton and his family and Assistant Principal Chief Raymond
Red Corn who came for Saturday's activities and helped people set
up their tents and prepare lunch.
Timber Sampson White and her two daughters attended the trip,
which she enjoyed. "I will be attending next year and will bring
more family so that they might have the same enjoyment. As for being
an Osage on the walk, I felt closer to everyone that was there and
thought back on how the Osages back in the day leaned on each other
to make it though too," she said.
Hamilton said he and wife Geneva Horsechief-Hamilton considered
taking their children on the walk for years and made this year's
a priority. "My family and I enjoy camping, so the camping
part was fun for us. We really looked forward to camping with other
Osages and retracing the steps of our ancestors who made the initial
walk. We enjoyed ourselves the whole weekend, the fellowship, putting
up camp, the food and visiting with everyone. Vann Bighorse, Harrison
Hudgins (of the Cultural Center) and Paula Stabler (who coordinated
the meal cooking efforts) really did a good job and kept everything
going. We look forward to attending next year."
Bighorse, also a participant, also spoke of her walk experience
on Facebook stating: "This is an experience you as an Osage will
feel why it's important to be there. Our people were made to leave
their homes and settle somewhere we never been before. So many couldn't
make it now we share stories of our Grandmas telling us our people
crying all the way staying together, the sorrow they had makes me
tear up thinking about it. We come to the Cultural Walk because
we honor them. They made it for us."
The following day, the group set out on a three-mile hike through
the prairie to the Mullendore Ranch. At the ranch, Kathleen Mecom
Fogerty, daughter of Katsy Mullendore who sits on the ON Foundation
Board, greeted the participants. Fogerty received a Pendleton blanket
from Bighorse as an expression of gratitude for helping make the
annual Cultural Walk possible. The Mullendore family provided the
attendees a catered barbecue lunch at the house and the group departed
The Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center provides year-round activities,
including classes, in addition to the annual Cultural Walk. For
more information on the center, visit its website at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/cultural-center
See more Osage News photos of the 2015 Cultural Walk on its Flickr
page at: www.flickr.com/photos/osagenews/albums/72157657828607144