The Osage Minerals Council is under new leadership.
At a 15-minute special meeting on Oct. 12, the council voted 5-3 to name Everett Waller as its new chair. Waller previously served as chairman of the Third Osage Minerals Council.
The move came after Councilwoman Marsha Harlan tendered her resignation as chairwoman earlier in the week, citing an ongoing personality conflict with another council member.
“When I ran for this office, I didn’t run to be the chair,” Harlan said. “I ran to represent the shareholders and I promised that I would serve on this council with integrity, that I would be transparent in everything I did, and I believe I’ve been that way and I believe I’ve acted that way. I’m not interested in any type of stepping stone to a further career or anything of that nature, I’ve got a pretty successful career already.
“I got into this to help the shareholders and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to serve my four years. I don’t need to be the chair to be a good leader. I believe this council has the right to choose who it wants to be a chair.”
Councilman Talee Redcorn motioned to accept Harlan’s resignation as chairwoman. Councilwoman Susan Forman seconded. Voting “yes” for her resignation were Forman, Harlan, Redcorn, Myron Red Eagle, Paul Revard and Waller. Voting “no” were Margo Gray and Andrew Yates.
Yates opened up the floor for nominations for chair and Gray nominated Yates. Harlan seconded. Voting “yes” for Yates were Gray, Harlan, Red Eagle and Yates. Voting “no” were Redcorn, Revard, Waller and Forman. The nomination failed because under minerals council rules a tie vote fails.
The floor was still open for nominations and Forman nominated Waller for chair. Revard seconded. Voting “yes” for Waller were Redcorn, Red Eagle, Revard, Waller and Forman. Voting “no” were Harlan, Yates and Gray.
According to Harlan, her relationship with Councilwoman Susan Forman has deteriorated over the last two months to the point that the Osage Nation Police Department had to be called to the council chambers on Oct. 2 after a confrontation between the two.
The Osage Nation Police Department confirmed that it did respond to the call and the Osage Nation Attorney General’s office acknowledged that it received reports from Councilwomen Harlan, Forman and Margo Gray regarding the incident.
As of 2 p.m. Oct. 12, the police report and statements from the three councilwomen have not been released by the Osage Nation Attorney General’s office, citing an on-going investigation.
After the meeting, Councilwoman Forman emailed a statement to Osage News.
“The will of the Osage Minerals Council to elect a new chairman is accomplished,” she wrote. “I hope to move forward with the cooperation of my fellow council members in a positive and productive manner to fulfill our joint responsibilities to protect and develop for long-term profitability the mineral estate for the benefit of all Osage headright owners.”
An elder speaks
Before the meeting could adjourn, Cecelia Tallchief took the chamber floors to address the council and air her frustration with the situation. There were about 20 meeting attendees.
“I came here because I heard about the division within this mineral council,” she said. “You all paid money to ask us to vote for you. I don’t know how this fiasco got started and only those who were involved with it know. What you’re here for it is to represent the shareholders and show strong leadership to work with the Bureau (of Indian Affairs).
“Right now, you’ve shown that you’ve split apart. Over what, I don’t know. Every one of you asked us to vote for you. I voted for many of you.
“Who caused this? I’d like to know. It’s not going to be public record, I’m sure. But those of you who are involved and caused this to come to this point need to take a good look at yourselves … and see if you’re capable of sitting on this board. If you’re not and you’re causing problems, resign. They’ll take your resignation.”
Editor's Note: This article was updated on Oct. 12 to reflect the vote count for the Minerals Council chair.