by: Price McKeon Updated:PONCA CITY, Okla. —
The Osage Nation now has a new principal chief.
Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear was sworn in Wednesday, months after the tribe’s Congress removed Chief John Red Eagle.
FOX23 attended the traditional ceremony. It lasted about 2 1/2 hours and the months leading up to this ceremony has been anything but traditional for the tribe.
The room was full with people, applause after applause, and almost everyone snapping pictures with their cellphones.
The ceremony was more than just a celebration; it was also an important step forward for the Osage tribe after a historic removal of their chief earlier this year.
“The former chief is still someone that we still consider a proud member of our community and an elder of our tribe,” said Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.
FOX23 reported in January that the Osage tribe’s Congress voted to remove their chief after their Congress found him guilty of breaking legal principals of the tribe.
“We cannot turn our back on anyone,” said Standing Bear.
FOX23 caught up with U.S. Representative Tom Cole after he spoke at the historic inauguration.
“I think it’s important for people to understand just like in every other government occasionally there are conflicts and a little bit of drama but the reality is our system works pretty well in the end,” said Cole.
“We do continue to honor him and his peoples that maybe you would think would be odd but we are a community,” said Standing Bear.
A community the new chief says is putting all that behind them and focusing on the job that need to get done.