Oklahoma Museum Exhibit Honors Native American Veterans
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma - The Osage Nation Museum in Pawhuska is hosting a special exhibit honoring Native Americans who have served in the military.
In the past three years the museum has seen a more than 200% increase in visitors, thanks in part to the traffic the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile brings to town. But the new exhibit at the museum is sure to draw in crowds as well.
As you walk up to the Osage Nation Museum you pass by a bronze statue of one of the tribe's great warriors, Chief Claremore.
Addie Roanhorse, the acting director of the Osage Nation Museum, says, "It gives us the platform to tell our own story."
And on display inside right now an exhibit to honor the many Native Americans from tribes nationwide, who have served in the armed forces.
"It's a traveling exhibit, so it's been actually reaching out to a lot of smaller museums that maybe don't have as many objects in their museum," Roanhorse said.
Roanhorse says the panels are on loan from the Smithsonian. But the artifacts on display belong to the Osage Nation and some of its tribal members.
"This is actually one of the few battle axes that's also a peace pipe," said Talon Ray Satepauhoodle, Osage Nation Museum Guest Representative.
"This one was actually a donation from John Joseph Matthews because he served in World War I."
Satepauhoodle says early on Native Americans went to war as a right of passage for a boy to become a man. And while the reasons for enlisting now are different -- the decorated soldiers of today still feel that connection to the brave warriors who came before them.
"It's just a part of who we are and we're proud of it," said Roanhorse.
The Osage Nation Museum is the oldest tribal museum in the nation. You can see the exhibit through June.