𐓲𐓟𐓤𐓘𐓩𐓪͘ 𐓷𐓘𐓧𐓟𐓺𐓟 𐓯𐓤𐓣 𐓬𐓣𐓪͘ 𐓘͘𐓩𐓪͘𐓵𐓘𐓧𐓘 𐓘͘𐓤𐓪͘𐓵𐓘𐓬𐓣
The Osage Nation Summer Youth Program (ONSYP) services Native American Youth (ages 15-20) that reside in Osage County. The program is designed to prepare Native American Youth to enter the workforce by providing experience and training. The program is housed within the ON Financial Assistance Department under the direction of Jennifer Oberly. Tim Lookout has served as the program coordinator for five years.
Lookout recalls working in this program when he was in High School. “Through the Osage Nation Summer Youth Program, youth have an opportunity to explore potential careers, develop relationships with adult mentors, gain work experience, learn soft skills, and self-sufficiency. I have seen the positive impact that the program (ONYSP) has had on our youth, communities, and the Osage Nation.”
Over the past several years, many young people have developed the necessary skills to go on to higher education or enter careers that further serve their community and the Osage Nation (ON). Currently, the ONSYP has 90 employees pursuing occupations in 21 ON departments, four public school systems, a golf course, a newspaper, and nine other businesses and organizations. The program locality branches out to Pawhuska, Fairfax, Hominy, McCord, and Burbank.
Two young Osages are phasing out of the Summer Youth Program as of Fall 2020. Sitting down for an interview, Carter Rogers and Noah Shadlow reflected on their summers with the Osage Nation and how participating in the program has fueled their futures. The two young men also voiced their platforms on the surrounding circumstances involving COVID-19.
Shadlow has participated in the program for the past four years. “The first year that I was in the program, I was placed in the Hominy Indian Village and assisted the 5-man board with upkeep in the village. That was very enjoyable because we were an integral part of keeping the old Hominy arbor in excellent condition for the dances that year.” In the summer of 2017, Shadlow was placed with the ON Language Department. “That is when I began to really appreciate and study our 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓣𐓟 along with the gifted and talented people employed by the Language Department. I hope to one day return there and help teach our language to those who wish to learn it. This program was invaluable in providing me the opportunity to both foster relationships with the Language Department staff, and gain the additional knowledge of 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓣𐓟 that I now have.”
Rogers has participated in the program for the past three years working for the ON Information Technology Department. “Osage Nation youth are blessed with the opportunities given to us through programs like Summer Youth. Not only does it give youth a chance at self-sufficiency, but it also helps build and create a community that bridges the ON youth and adults together. I’m very grateful to have been able to participate in the Summer Youth program over the years, and will value the skills I’ve acquired and connections I’ve made.”
When asked how COVID-19 has impacted him, Shadlow said, “The Corona-virus pandemic has changed our lives, but throughout these tumultuous times, we are still taking care of our fellow Osages. Tim Lookout, Michael Kidder, and all of the amazing staff that they have employed at the financial assistance department have been going above and beyond to help our Osage people in these times. Something that has been great to see is how eager we are as a people to help each other. Online movements, such as Osage Unity, are amazing because it’s a manifestation of that love and respect that we all have for each other. We as Osages call that feeling of love and respect 𐓷𐓘𐓡𐓫, and that word plays a major part in our Osage lives. The elders told us, “𐓵𐓟 𐓷𐓘𐓡𐓫 𐓬𐓘𐓡𐓛͘𐓧𐓟 𐓤𐓘𐓸𐓘 𐓬𐓣” and that translates into “put this respect first in life.” And when we see our community come together like that, it is a manifestation of that 𐓷𐓘𐓡𐓫.
Rogers added, “If you were to ask me on January 1st, 2020, about where we would be as a tribe in the next five months, I would not have told you that we would have all been affected one way or another by a global health pandemic. As we now know, that’s exactly where we are. I’d like to, on behalf of ON youth, thank our Kihekah and other tribal leaders. Without the leadership we have in our Kihekah, we may have been far worse as a people today than we are. As far as my fellow ON youth, I’d like to offer a few words. It may seem to you like you are powerless during this pandemic, you are not. While the current situation is difficult, we should not let it break our spirits. Leadership is defined by how you react during your own and other’s difficult times. My advice is to go be a leader. Don’t wait for change, BE the change. Care for your fellow tribal members and persist to get the changes you want. It is a scary time in our lives, but I believe together, we will have our rendezvous with destiny, and our tribe will be stronger than ever.”
For more information about the Osage Nation Summer Youth Program or Financial Assistance, please visit the Financial Assistance webpage.
For more information about COVID-19 updates visit our Coronavirus Information page
For more information, contact:
ON Digital Services Program