Fred Lookout was the longest serving elected chief in the history of the Osage Nation. Prior to serving as chief he was elected as the Assistant Principle Chief in 1908 but did not run for re-elections in 1910. His first term as chief was in 1913 when he was appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Walter L. Fisher, after the 1912 election results were recalled. Lookout finished out the term but did not win his re-election bid 1914. His second stint as chief came two years later and ran from 1916-1918. Lookout’s third and final period in office was a 25 year stretch that ran from 1924 until his passing in 1949. He was Principal Chief of the Osage Tribe for a total of 28 years.
Chief Lookout is considered by many to be one of the most loved and important figures in modern Osage history for his many contributions to the Osage Tribe while serving as Principal Chief. He was a crucial part of the effort to change the election laws to allow for quadra-annual elections as opposed to the biannual elections that were used prior to 1929. Lookout was also instrumental in the donation of the Naval Reserve to the U.S. Navy; as well as, helping to persuade the United States Congress to amend the 1906 Osage Allotment Act to protect Osage headright holders from actions by non-Osages like the one committed during the Reign of Terror. But, arguably, Chief Lookout’s most important contribution to the Osage people was his commitment to make a better place for all Osages.
“If you let your white man tongues say what is in your Indian heart you will do great things for your people.” Chief Fred Lookout