The Osage Nation Gift Shop is closed and all merchandise that once lined the shelves is gone. For Osages wondering where they can buy supplies for Osage regalia, or where they can get Pendleton blankets, three Osage-owned businesses are providing these items and providing a place for Osage artists to sell their wares.
The Cedar Chest, Supernaw’s Oklahoma Indian Supply and Sistergirl each specialize in different areas but all offer supplies to make Osage clothes and all offer to dress Osages from head-to-toe if needed.
“The name Cedar Chest was like when you go into your grandma’s cedar chest and there are wonderful things in there,” said Julie O’Keefe, the store’s owner. “We are a one-stop shop. We have everything to buy to make your own regalia or if you need to be dressed head-to-toe or if you live outside of the [reservation]. We want to be a shop for all Osages and [our new] Web site is for all Natives.”
The Web site O’Keefe is developing, and plans to launch next month, will be an Ebay of sorts for Native items and she plans on the site being a household name when searching for Native artwork, regalia, books, Native films etc. O’Keefe is also in the process of becoming a Pendleton distributor.
“Artists can advertise on the site for a minimal fee and load the images of their artwork onto the site,” O’Keefe said. “Even for collectors of Native artwork they can go to the site and find things they need and allow us to market it.”
The store, located in downtown Pawhuska at 519 Kihekah Avenue, is lined with brightly colored shirts, beads, completed Osage women necklaces, ribbonwork, yarnwork, dishes, artwork, quilts etc. There are first-edition books by the late famed Osage writer John Joseph Matthews and imported, beaded custom-made shawls.
O’Keefe, and her creative adviser Danette Daniels, describe the store as a “specialty, high-end, Osage custom clothing store.” They will be hosting an open house Saturday, Nov. 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call (703) 887-2437.
Supernaw’s Oklahoma Indian Supply
A long-time staple of the town of Skiatook is Supernaw’s Oklahoma Indian Supply. Owned by Osage Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw, his store is probably most known for its silverwork, men’s fancy dance hackles and bead supply.
The store offers Osage men’s and women’s regalia from head-to-toe, they sell Pendleton blankets, Osage women’s broaches and pins, princess crowns, Native American Church jewelry and men’s shirts. Supernaw, who might not admit it, does most of the sewing, silverwork and roach making himself.
“We sell mostly supplies, seed beads from the smallest size of 16 to size 8, which is the biggest bead still considered a seed bead,” said Supernaw, whose store is known all over the country among Natives. “We’ve got the largest inventory we’ve ever had and I’ve been in business for 40 years.”
His son William works in the store full-time and does silverwork as well. A family business, Supernaw’s three sons have all worked in the store at one point in their lives, he said.
“We kind of joke about it, but Supernaw’s was built with child labor,” he deadpans. “Everyone of those kids worked there growing up . . . one of them was working in there as soon as they were old enough to count.”
Supernaw built his store’s clientele by traveling to powwows, art shows and Native festivals all over the country selling his work.
“Most of our customers are out of state, we used to do shows all over the country,” Supernaw said. “At one time we had four stores in Oklahoma back in the 70’s, but we’ve been trying to confine to just one and that’s enough right there.”
The store is located at 109 N. Broadway in downtown Skiatook. For more information call 1-888-720-1967.
Need repairs to a special shawl and no one in the area has a clue how to address it? Need a quick alteration to an Osage shirt before that contest powwow? Sistergirl is your store.
Owned and operated by Deda Lookout, she can fringe a shawl in a matter of hours, repair ribbonwork on a men’s suit or woman’s broadcloth skirt in days and can whip out men’s/ women’s Osage shirts in the same day ordered. She also offers leggings and moccasins upon order and “just about anything needed for Osage clothes.”
“I can make a men’s shirt in an hour-and-a-half, a woman’s shirt in less than 45 minutes,” Lookout said. “I’ve been doing it for so long it just comes natural . . . I timed myself once for a men’s shirt and it took 45 minutes.”
Lookout, 50, has been sewing and making Osage regalia for others since she was 16-years-old. Having always worked out of her home, her workload forced her to expand to a studio which she maintains at 147 E. Main in Pawhuska, located west of Midway Café.
Her store hours are based on “Indian time” she jokes, and her busy life of helping take care of her three small grandchildren. Her normal sewing hours are from 2 p.m. to about 9 p.m. “I’ve always sewn during those hours, all my life.” She said if anyone needs work done they can always call and make an order.
Have a hankering for a meatpie? Lookout sells them for $3. For more information about Sistergirl or want to make an order, call (918) 287-7755.