Osage Nation charters Bacone with UKB
BY MINDI KEE
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
MUSKOGEE- The Osage Nation Congress voted unanimously to charter Bacone College on June 25, 2019. Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear executed the resolution on July 2 at 10 a.m. at the Osage Nation Tribal Headquarters in Pawhuska where he formally announced the tribe’s decision to charter Bacone College as it applies for tribal college status.
“We are proud to forge this partnership that will provide higher educational opportunities for our students, “ said Chief Standing Bear.
“Whenever you can do something for all Indian people then you are doing a great thing. This is one of those, we are not just helping our Osage people, but we are helping all Indian people,” said Osage Congressman, John Maker, who sponsored the bill to charter Bacone College.
“We are thankful that the Osage Nation has joined us in our goal to form a consortium of Oklahoma tribes to transition Bacone College into a Tribal College,” said Dr. Ferlin Clark, Bacone College President. “This movement of becoming a public tribal college allows tribes ownership in the education of our students while building our capacity to gain stable funding from the federal government in fulfillment of its trust responsibility to educate American Indian students.”
“Tribal college status will provide the college with a stable base of federal funds into the future,” said W. Richard West, Jr., President of the Bacone College Board of Trustees. “Along with support from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, the DAR, friends, and alumni of the college, this revenue will supplement revenue from student tuition, room and board.”
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians were the first tribe to agree to charter Bacone College after a unanimous and historic vote on April 6 at its regular monthly council meeting in Tahlequah. The decision was announced on April 18 at Benjamin Wacoche Hall.
UKB Chief Joe Bunch said the tribe had been made aware of the decision and welcomed the Osage as partners in helping push Bacone forward.
“It’s an all tribes collaboration and we welcome them. In fact, the more tribes we can get, the better structure and sounder base we will have for the university,” he said. “There are no worries about this change to my knowledge that threatens the work we have already put in. We’re looking at this as only a positive step forward for all involved.”
If approved, Bacone College will cement its place as the 38th tribal college in the United States.