In less than a week we will wrap up another election. We, as a People, will choose six among us to help guide our nation’s business and governmental affairs. Those are serious responsibilities, and it is apparent that we as citizens of the Osage Nation are taking those responsibilities seriously.
Already, many have cast absentee ballots and many others have set aside the day of Monday, June 4 to show up and mark their ballots in person. It is also a good day to visit some Election Day hospitality camps and see friends and relatives.
I have spoken with several people and no one is real certain of how strong the voter turnout will be. No one seems to know for sure if we will have a large or a smaller turnout of voters than in 2010. I tend to think it will be a reasonably strong turnout because interest is normally reflected in the number of voters, and this year we seem to have a pretty strong interest.
I have heard some refer to it as an “Off Year Election.” Meaning that the offices of Chief, Assistant Chief and Judges are not on the ballot. Some who are interested think that may cause a lower turnout.
We have 34 Osages who have placed their names on the list of candidates. That means 34 of our people have placed themselves in a position of receiving public scrutiny. For that, we should applaud each of them.
The candidates have done their part in making a case for their candidacy. They have taken advantage of invitations to speak at many gatherings where voters are invited to come and listen and ask questions. Those meetings have covered a broad geographic area including several states.
Candidates have made available to the voters their professional campaign material that presents their qualifications; and candidates have spelled out some of the positive things they wish to accomplish for the people.
All of the candidates are confident they have what it takes to help lead the Nation in a positive direction; building on the amazing history we have as a Nation.
In Volume 8, dated May 2012, a Special Edition of the Osage News gave a comprehensive report on the election. That is who the candidates are, deadlines, how to get an absentee ballot, etc.
Also, remember this. It is important to be supportive of those who are elected, whether or not the candidates we support turn out to be those that are elected. That does not mean to blindly follow. It means to treat elected people with respect and to expect each elected person will treat the position with the dignity that we as Osages expect of our leaders.
We expect those who are elected to understand issues and to be able to state their positions. We expect them to have real world experience, and to know the Osage People. On the other hand, as voters it is our responsibility to make an effort to understand positions of the candidates, and to give those who are elected a fair chance to make their ideas work.
On June 4 we as a sovereign nation will also vote to accept or reject seven amendments to our constitution. My understanding of the proposed amendments are to make the Constitution work somewhat more smoothly.
One of the changes will amend the designation of membership in the Osage Nation to the designation of Citizenship in the Osage Nation.
The seventh proposed amendment will limit the number of terms a person may serve as Chief of the Osage Nation to three terms. A situation we have not faced in over a half-century.
There will be another vote on other proposed amendments to the Osage Constitution during the month of August. That vote will consider proposed amendments to the Constitution that deal with the 1906 Allotment and the Mineral Estate. It seems to me that those amendments will require much more thought and debate, and that is a good thing.