PAWHUSKA, OK – The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) recently donated 20 acres of ancestral Osage lands in Missouri back to the Osage Nation. NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk and Director of Development Donald M. Ragona visited the Osage Reservation to sign over the deed alongside Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Redcorn, Historic Preservation Officer Dr. Andrea Hunter, Attorney General Clint Patterson, Assistant Attorney General Adam Trumbly, and former Osage Nation Chief Jim Gray.
NARF has been working with Osage Nation since 2013 with the goal of returning the land to Osage Nation. The Osage Nation origins begin in the Ohio River Valley with a slow western migration, due to forced removal, towards what is now the Osage Reservation in Northeast Oklahoma. The State of Missouri holds culturally significant areas in the Osage settlement pattern. Osage Nation Historic Preservation Officer Dr. Andrea Hunter verified that the land, known as the Nelvada Dean Trust Property in Lafayette County, is ancestral to the Osage and has identified visible mounds on the property.
“This is at the core of what we do,” said Dr. Hunter. “We are here to protect our people and protect our ancestors.”
NARF, headquartered in Boulder, CO, is a non-profit organization that focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations. “Our focus is on tribal existence, sovereignty and asserting our rights,” said NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk during the deed signing.
The donation was received the day after “Picture Cave,” a property also verified as Osage ancestral land located in Missouri, was auctioned and sold to a non-Osage bidder.