Frank Phillips and the New Osage Chief


           Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

 Welcome back.  It is an honor and a privilege to be a witness to history in the making and last Wednesday was one of those times when I was invited by his family to attend the inauguration of Geoffrey Standing Bear as Principal Chief of the Osage Tribe. The ceremony was held in the new Osage Casino and Hotel in Ponca City and when I arrived the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness of the facility. It is obvious that the Osage tribe takes great pride in their operations and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. During my brief tour I found that with just 48 rooms this is not a giant place which intentionally or not gives the hotel a cozy feeling. The layout of the pool and spa area is very inviting and well situated at the center of the building. The pool is climate controlled and features underwater speakers with piped in music. If I ever have the money I’d like to use this pool designer myself. The restaurants in the Osage casinos are earning a great reputation in the area for their delicious food and if the grub they served after the inauguration is any indication they deserve a five star rating.

Tim Tall Chief was the emcee for the inauguration ceremony itself which began with the presentation of colors by the American Legion and the Lord’s Prayer. Representative Tom Cole gave the Keynote Address which was followed by a stirring musical performance. The oaths of office for the Principal Chief and other officials of the tribe were administered by Osage Supreme Court justice Meredith Drent and Trial Judge Marvin Stepson. Principal Chief Standing Bear gave his inaugural address and then several key members of the tribe were recognized for their service, The ceremony ended with a prayer spoken in both English and Osage and then there was lots of hand shaking and congratulations all around. It was a rare opportunity for a non-tribal member to see the working of the Osage tribe’s government up close and also to meet so many important Osage leaders. I felt lucky to be there.

I had the opportunity to speak with the new chief before the event started and he was, of course, quite up to date on the history of the tribe, even giving me a quick lesson on Frank Phillips’ relationship with the Osage. After doing a little research on my own I discovered that of all the honors and awards he received in his lifetime, Frank Phillips was most proud of being adopted as an honorary member of the Osage tribe. The tribe called him “Hulah Kihe-kah” which translates as “Eagle Chief” and Frank Phillips was the only white man to ever receive this tribute. A big party was held a Woolaroc to mark the occasion and Zack Miller from the 101 Ranch presented Frank with an inscribed buffalo hide that still hangs in the museum.

Since 1925 after Frank Phillips had completed the lodge, Woolaroc has been hosting a lot of great parties like this. Businessmen from New York City and friends of the Phillips from around the world came to experience life in the west and see the fabulous collection of art, animals and archaeological artifacts in the special place that Frank called Woolaroc.

Nowadays Frank would be happy to know that his ranch is hosting more guests than ever with big parties like the annual Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion, weddings, family gatherings and regular daily visitors. The beautiful backdrop of Clyde Lake is also the setting for special events such as OK Mozart’s popular outdoor concert every June. This same Clyde Lake is going to be the place to be on September 12th when a new event will be held where so much history has taken place. Music? you may ask. Yes, three bands. Food? Yes, a big spread starting with appetizers and drinks. There will be prizes and more, all benefiting a worthy not-for-profit. I think you will all be happy to say you were there for the very first one. So mark September 12th on your calendar and I will be giving you more information as the date draws closer.

Next week it’s on the highway for three days and then on location in New York City for something you may find interesting. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…..





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