As always there was something beautiful about the early morning rain. Then the sun came out. It was a good day.
There were candidate camps on the agency grounds on the hill, and the camps were serving great food. There were Singers around a drum and there were gourd dancers, and at least one dressed Osage straight dancer. Young ladies dressed Osage, and I saw people I have not seen in a while, and there were cars parked around the agency grounds. We held conversations that were good. Some of the conversations were about voting for candidates for Congress, while some were completely social, among old friends as some people say.
We had 34 candidates to choose from, and we elected six to serve four year terms as members of the Third Osage Nation Congress.
There were some problems with the process, but we did it, and we are now in a position to move forward. That was our Constitution working.
At the same time we elected those six Osages, we also voted to not approve seven amendments to the Constitution.
During the latter part of May, before the voting, it seemed the amendments may very well be approved. However, when it came time to actually mark ballots, several voters expressed a feeling that they did not know enough about the questions to make an informed decision, so the People voted to not approve any of the questions.
Our Constitution requires a Super Majority to approve an amendment. In our case Super Majority means that 65 percent of the voters must vote “Yes” in order to approve an amendment.
When the Osage Nation Constitution was being written and when it was approved by vote of the Osage People, it was agreed that amending the Constitution should not be easy.
It also may be that on Election Day the voters were primarily focusing on electing six members to serve in congress, and we accomplished that. We were not focusing on evaluating the seven proposed amendments.
Remember, we have a complicated tribal structure, so we have many good reasons to be cautious when asked to approve changes to our Constitution.
On one side of our Nation’s structure we have a three-branch form of government. Those three branches are Executive, Legislative and Judicial. On the other side of our Nation’s structure we have an ancient tribal council structure. In addition, we retain cultural and social activities from the ancient social order. All things considered, it is a unique and complicated tribal structure. Few Tribes have developed into a Nation as complicated as Osages.
Many of our People recognize similarities of the Nation we have today to the two part concept of the ancient Hun Ka and Tzi Zhu concept of the Wah Zha Zhi.
We, as a People, are an intelligent People, and we understand those complex ancient structures. Much like those ancient Osages, we know it is important to remain together, as one.