A newly created Osage Nation Museum Collection Fund is now established,
thanks to the Fifth Osage Nation Congress who established the revolving
fund to set aside money for museum gallery items, storage and maintenance
During the Tzi-Zho Session, the Congress voted to create the
fund by passing Bill ONCA 17-40 (sponsored by Congresswoman Shannon
Edwards) which establishes the museum fund in Osage law. On Sept.
29, the Congress also voted to appropriate $600,000 in tribal funds
as an initial injection for the fund.
The $600,000 funding appropriation bill (ONCA 17-43 also sponsored
by Edwards) passed unanimously after debate and after the fund amount
was reduced from an initially proposed $2.5 million. The reduction
came as the Congress faced several decisions in considering other
multimillion-dollar funding requests in the 2018 fiscal year budgets
passed during the session.
According to ONCA 17-40, the museum collection fund is established
to "consist of monies appropriated to it by an Act of Congress and
monetary donations from any person, group, corporation, government
The purpose of this bill is to establish a
fund to support the Osage Museum in its endeavor to store, maintain
and rotate gallery and collection art pieces for the benefit of
the Osage People and public at large."
In a Congressional committee meeting, Edwards said she recalled
discussions as far back as 1994 during the former Osage tribal government
years, about creating a new organization and new museum building
to house the museum collection items and artifacts. Nothing materialized
to put money toward those goals. She said the museum fund legislation
is a start to reach those goals.
During the amendment process, the Congress voted to reduce the
appropriation from $2.5 million to $600,000. Congresswoman Alice
Goodfox (formerly Buffalohead) told the committee "there are other
Congress members who may not agree this is a priority now."
The debate comes as the FY 2018 budgets faced scrutiny, as well
as other appropriation bills for direct services and to pay down
the loan for the government campus master plan with the Law Building
and Welcome Center completed in phase one. At a later date, the
Congress will also consider action on future business regarding
the Congressional Chambers building, which has mold problems due
to roof leaks and drainage issues that caused flooding and leaks
in the building. The Congress relocated and held its 2017 Tzi-Zho
Session in the former First National Bank building in downtown Pawhuska,
which the Nation purchased in 2015.
Goodfox said she was concerned that putting the original money
amount into a fund would cause future budgeting issues because the
money would not be available for other spending priorities unless
a new appropriation law was passed to authorize taking money out
of the fund. As an example, Goodfox noted the Osage Veterans Memorial
fund money sat for two years, which occurred due to a memorial commission
that had yet to be seated.
On the session's last day, the Congress passed the $600,000
appropriation for the museum fund. Congressman John Maker said he
supported the fund creation noting the ON Museum contains "all our