The Osage Nation hosted the Skiatook Chamber of Commerce at the Osage Casino in Skiatook for their monthly luncheon.
CEO Byron Bighorse said that the tribe will be focusing on Osage County for the next three to five years and plans several expansions and improvements to their properties in Skiatook, Tulsa, Pawhuska and Bartlesville.
Congresswoman Angela Pratt spoke about some of the upcoming roads projects. The highway 20 project is nearing the final phases. The last step has been approved and the project is fully funded. The Letha Louise neighborhood should expect to see construction begin in just a few weeks to improve drainage in the neighborhood.
Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear addressed where the Osage Nation hopes to grow. “Our priority with with the children,” he said. “That is how you have the most impact today and in 50 years. That is what helps us preserve the Osage language and culture.”
The Osage Nation has the Wah-Zha-Zhi Learning Academy and Head Start, which educate around 130 students. The tribe is planning a private school in Pawhuska. “We have a commitment to the future and it starts with the children,” Standing Bear said.
Standing Bear also addresses the tribe’s desire to put the Osage Ranch into federal trust so the tribe has more control over oil and gas production and can hopefully begin to repair damage done to the environment through previous practices used.
The tribe is also looking to expand into 5G broadband service. “Cities used to be built on rivers, then railroads, the highways and now it is the internet highway,” Standing Bear said. He said the citizens of Osage County can have the same services that other, larger cities have and is working to make that happen.
The Skiatook Chamber of Commerce holds their monthly luncheon the second Wednesday of every month at First Baptist Church, 940 W. Oak Street, at noon.
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E-mail lindsey.chastain @skiatookjournal.com