There is a saying that “great things come in small packages” and that can definitely be applied to Pawhuska Indian Village, a small tribal village located within the Osage Nation in northeast Oklahoma.
The Village is a cultural hub of the Osage Nation, drawing Osage from around the United States to the In-Lon-Schka dances and other cultural events that take place annually within the community.
Because of its cultural importance, Village leaders have dreamed about improving their community for current and future generations but recognized they couldn't achieve their vision without outside resources and assistance.
Community development efforts take shape
In 2014, MHP learned about Pawhuska Indian Village’s hopes for improving their community and submitted an application for HUD Rural Capacity Building (RCB) funds to assist them in their efforts. The funds were awarded and MHP staff began working with Village leaders in 2015 to actively address their community development goals.
The Village’s first goal is the creation of a community wide master plan that includes a land survey identifying utility and well locations, flood zones, and easements. The survey has to be completed first because most of the infrastructure information available for the Village has not been updated in more than 50 years and current data is critical for development to occur. In addition, with funding support from MHP, Native-owned Blue Star Studios was hired to lead the master planning work with assistance from the University of Oklahoma Regional and City Planning Department.
But, the work doesn’t end with the completion of the master plan. MHP is already planning for the next stage of development including the creation of single family homeownership opportunities and fostering economic development opportunities in the community. MHP is currently assisting the Pawhuska Indian Village Five-Man Board to find funding and partners for these activities to occur.
Collaboration is key
Community collaboration has played a key role in turning dreams into reality for the residents of Pawhuska Indian Village and it has happened because of the dedication and hard work of the Pawhuska Indian Village Five-Man Board, a citizenry committed to improving their community, the support of Osage Nation leaders, the expertise of planning and development professionals, and the funding and technical assistance provided by MHP.
With so many elements coming together at one time, this project has been particularly exciting. The community has moved from vision, to planning, and will soon begin implementation. There is a lot of work still to be done, but with the support of so many agencies and individuals, changes are already taking place.
Stay tuned for more updates in coming months!
Photo by Blue Star Studios