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Colonial Entanglement

Colonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty-First-Century Osage Nation

Jean Dennison
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  • Book Info
    Colonial Entanglement
    Book Description:

    From 2004 to 2006 the Osage Nation conducted a contentious governmental reform process in which sharply differing visions arose over the new government's goals, the Nation's own history, and what it means to be Osage. The primary debates were focused on biology, culture, natural resources, and sovereignty. Osage anthropologist Jean Dennison documents the reform process in order to reveal the lasting effects of colonialism and to illuminate the possibilities for indigenous sovereignty. In doing so, she brings to light the many complexities of defining indigenous citizenship and governance in the twenty-first century.By situating the 2004-6 Osage Nation reform process within its historical and current contexts, Dennison illustrates how the Osage have creatively responded to continuing assaults on their nationhood. A fascinating account of a nation in the midst of its own remaking,Colonial Entanglementpresents a sharp analysis of how legacies of European invasion and settlement in North America continue to affect indigenous people's views of selfhood and nationhood.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0155-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acronym Guide
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    Late one night in March 2004, I received a call from my father. He told me that he had been “up on the hill,” the area in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where the Osage Tribal Council (otc) chambers and other offices of the Osage Nation are located. He explained that there had been a lot of discussion about reforming the requirements for voting. I laughed and told him that people had been talking about reforming Osage citizenship my whole life and most of his. He replied that this time was different, that the otc had introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress...

  6. Chapter 1 Reform
    (pp. 16-46)

    One of the first people I met when I began my research in the summer of 2004 was Leonard Maker, the head of the Planning Department at the Osage Nation. A small, middle-aged man with long Osage lineages on both sides of his family, Maker quickly impressed me with his grasp of Osage history, both ancient and recent, as well as his willingness to talk openly about Osage politics. Walking into his office for our first meeting, I was struck by the transient state of the room. There were boxes piled everywhere and books stacked up on each shelf of...

  7. Chapter 2 Blood
    (pp. 47-74)

    On July 1, 2005, I arrived, as usual, at the Osage Tribal Council chambers just before 9:00 A.M. The over-air-conditioned wood-paneled room where the otc’s meetings were held had a domed ceiling with a skylight, a state-of-the-art recording system, and murals covering the walls. The murals were intended to tell the history of the Osage from past to present. They started on the left with the children of the sky coming from the stars and joining the people of the land, water, and earth in a move to a new territory. They ended with Osage of various phenotypes and dress...

  8. Chapter 3 Culture
    (pp. 75-100)

    On a pleasant afternoon during my time at the University of Florida, I joined several graduate students and professors for lunch. We sat outside, enjoying the mild weather and hoping that the afternoon showers would hold off long enough for us to eat a leisurely meal. After discussing some current departmental politics, the conversation turned to my upcoming research in Oklahoma. As I was discussing the grants I was currently writing, a woman at the table, whom I knew only in passing, asked ironically, “But what bubble do you really check?” I was at first unsure what she meant, until...

  9. Chapter 4 Minerals
    (pp. 101-128)

    We were all apprehensive as several of the reform commissioners, their lawyer, and I made the trek out to Grayhorse, the most remote Osage community. The Grayhorse Indian camp has always been known not just for its isolation but also for its inhabitants’ fierce independence and skepticism, especially concerning issues of Osage governance. They were the last of the three Osage districts to settle on the Osage reservation, making the migration from the Kansas lands only with great trepidation.¹ Additionally, this was the first community meeting to be held after the 2005 referendum vote, where all but one issue was...

  10. Chapter 5 Sovereignty
    (pp. 129-156)

    Early in the morning on an unseasonably warm February day in 2005, I made the forty-minute drive northwest from Skiatook to Pawhuska, the capital of the Osage Nation. While this drive would later become routine with my almost daily travel, for now its scenery still captured my attention. The wildflowers that would cover the rolling prairie were not yet sprouts in the hard earth, leaving only the tall brown grass and scrub oaks to mark the rolling hills. Given the recent spike in the cost of gasoline, almost all the rusty oil wells lining the horizon were once again slowly...

  11. Appendix 1 1861 Constitution of the Osage Nation
    (pp. 157-160)
    Luis Choctaw and Joseph Swift
  12. Appendix 2 1881 Constitution of the Osage Nation
    (pp. 161-169)
    JAMES BIGHEART, Paul Akin and E. M. Matthews
  13. Appendix 3 1994 Constitution of the Osage Nation
    (pp. 170-186)
  14. Appendix 4 BIA Letter on Osage Citizenship
    (pp. 187-188)
  15. Appendix 5 Public Law 108-431
    (pp. 189-190)
  16. Appendix 6 2005 Osage Government Reform Referendum Results
    (pp. 191-196)
  17. Appendix 7 2006 Constitution of the Osage Nation
    (pp. 197-220)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 221-234)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 235-244)
  20. Index
    (pp. 245-256)