Charles Red Corn Obituary

Charles Red Corn was born June 21, 1936, and died peacefully at his home, surrounded by family on Sunday, July 23, 2017.

He was a member of the Tzi-zhu-wash-ta-ghi, Gentle Sky Clan and his Osage name was Wah-ni-un-tah which is Giver of Life.

Charles was also a name giver for his Tzi-zhu-wash-ta-ghi clan which was passed down to him by his Uncle Wakon Iron. 

Charles was a life-long participant in the I’Lon’schka dances where Charles belonged to the Pawhuska, Wah xa xo li District and served as the Whip-man and treasurer in the 1960’s and 70’s.  

Charles was a veteran of the United States Army where he completed training at the Adjutant General’s School and served as a Law Clerk during his tenure.

Charles wrote a novel, “A Pipe for February” where it was widely acclaimed for its true tale of the Osage culture in the 1920s, told against a backdrop of murders from an Osage viewpoint. It was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2004 and “A Pipe for February” is used in Native American Studies in many Universities across the United States. 

Charles also won a national award for his short story “The Dam,” from Stanford University. He has many other publications including a monthly column for Osage News, written about Osage culture as well as vignettes of Native American life in various magazines.

Charles was chosen by the Ivy League Dartmouth College as the First Dartmouth Tribal Fellow Scholar where he spent his time at Dartmouth College writing and lecturing. 

The University of Illinois selected Charles as Indian Elder in Residence and he also served as the University of North Carolina Indian Elder in Residence.  

Charles received a fellowship at the prestigious Newberry Library in Chicago where he was a Rockefeller Fellow, where he studied and lectured.  

All of his adult life Charles was a mediator between the tribal governments and communities and the Federal and State governments. He was always working for the grass-root tribal people and he had many successes.

In the 1960s and 70s, in his capacity with the State Indian Affairs Commission, he organized many of the first Indian Parent Education Committees for schools across Oklahoma. A major groundbreaking action for local tribal communities, these committees gave parents the power to effectively participate in dispensing monies set aside for their children and empowered them to make policy change to better serve their tribal communities. 

In the 1980s Charles was Director of the Oklahoma Indian Association located in Norman, Okla., where he continued to advocate for education for Indian students. He was also the Director of the Indian Oil and Gas Association.


Charles was one of ten Osage leaders who sat on the Osage Government Reform Commission in writing of the Osage Nation Constitution that was ratified in 2006 and was awarded for excellence in government reform by Harvard University.


He also served on the Tribal Cultural Advisors committee for the Osage Nation.


Charles was also one of the founders of the Jacobson Foundation Oscar Jacobson in Norman, Oklahoma. 


Charles was a fine athlete and was known for his quickness and speed in his younger days and held many football rushing records where he led the team in rushing three years in a row from 1953-55 at Pawhuska High School.

He was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Louise Gray Red Corn, brothers James and Andrew “Buddy” Red Corn. His paternal grandparents were Raymond and Bertha Hudson Red Corn. His maternal grandparents were Clarence and Jenny Garfield Gray. His paternal grandfather was Wyeglanke and his maternal grandfather was Wahahake.

Charles held a M.Ed from Penn State University and a B.S. in Psychology from the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. He graduated from Indian Camp Elementary School and High School in Pawhuska.

He is survived by his wife Jereldine “Jeri” Red Corn of 55 years, his son Yancey Red Corn, daughter Dr. Moira RedCorn and husband Bill Nunez, grandson Miles Red Corn, brother C.R. Redcorn, sister Kathryn RedCorn and many loving nephews, nieces, cousins and many friends.

Charles will be missed by his many followers of his monthly column in the Osage News.

Funeral arrangements are with Kendrick McCartney Johnson Funeral Home in Pawhuska, Okla.

He will lie in state at the Wakon Iron Chapel in Indian Camp, Pawhuska, starting Monday evening July 24, 2017 at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday July 26th at 7 p.m. there will be a memorial service at the Wakon Iron Chapel in Indian Camp, Pawhuska.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the First Baptist Church in Pawhuska. Immediately following burial there will be a dinner at Wakon Iron Community Center in Indian Camp, Pawhuska.