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Donna's Journal
Last Leg of Osage Tour, Journal, 3-12-05


      Pawhuska is an Osage word meaning Pawhu-hair, Ska-White, or literally White Hair. The name came from a legendary tale of an Osage warrior getting close enough to an army officer to jerk his white wig off.  The Chief-warrior then was given the name,  Pawhuska, White Hair.

     This town we were entering from the back, or east side was Pawhuska. I drove slowly through the fashionable, elegant,  large brick homes so my friend could enjoy them. I pointed to a large, older brick home owned by a descendant of an older Osage family. The house was large, and was the same sharp, hard, clean brick as that in the bunkhouse. It was older and of a different style than the newer homes but, nevertheless, attractive. I mentioned this to my friend because the old house we had left up on the prairie was built for Bertha (Metza-He, First Daughter) Big Eagle. The man living in this older brick home had owned all this land. His grandmother, Papasonsa's last husband was a Big Eagle. The book of the Osages written by John Mathews speaks of the chief, Bloody Hands and this is in reference to Big Eagle. This is a description of an eagle who kills its prey with its talons.

     On the right side of the road was a gathering at one of the homes. There was the traditional tee-pee outside the house. There were cars entering through the drive way and it was obvious some sort of event was in progress.

     “Wonder what is going on there?”  My friend asked.

      “It is a gathering of the Native American Church people. You can recognize that because of the tee-pee. It is only put up at this time. They have been up all night, praying, drinking their Mon-Kahn (medicine) tea which allows them to see visions. I've never seen the ceremonies first hand but I've been told by some who have been there about the ritual. Also, the book of The Osages goes into it in quite some detail.

     “Oh for Heaven's Sake!  I would have never known that!” This was the day for my friend to learn new things.

     I felt obligated to go to the place where the volunteer at the bunk house had directed me. When the offices were closed I was relieved.

      When we were driving  up and around the tall hill in order to get to the Osage museum was the only time my friend was squeamish about my driving.

      “Oh my, this is a scary drive.”  She was nervous.

      “It is very short and we will be there in one second.”  This was indeed the truth because already we were parking outside the heavy stone museum. “This museum was built by the Osages sixty years ago. You will enjoy it.”

        Sure enough when we entered a woman was sitting to one side giving a lecture to a small group of people. While I went to the guest shop to ask for a girl I knew my friend sat down to listen to the lecture.

      “Anytime you want to go.”  She told me. “I have enjoyed this.”

      “I think we need to start home because we do need to eat yet.

      “That was interesting, the things she was telling.” My friend had enjoyed the lecture. I didn't open my mouth. The curator  mentioned the Native American meeting at her home and that she had to leave early. I knew the strong Christian teaching of my friend would not have approved if she knew the total concept of it so I kept quiet.  The woman giving the lecture I remembered from an earlier time when she wore double knit slacks, had brown, curled short hair and looked totally different from this person who wore a soft Native American  dress style, had long, straight,  dark hair streaked with gray and spoke like a full blood Osage woman. But then, why should I burst the bubble of creative tourism. It was getting late and we both were tired.

     “Where do you want to eat?”  I asked my friend.

     “Where else but Bad Brads!” We both giggled like girls at the thought that no one who had ever eaten there could drive past without pulling into the drive.

      I for one was through with my trip through the Osage Highlands but kept quiet so as not to spoil my friends joy at having had such a great time.

     “I've seen places I've never been before!  I've had such a wonderfully great time.”  She was bubbly with her conversation while we enjoyed the tender beef, great bar-b-q sauce, salad with whole, big, chunks of blue cheese scattered over it and french fries cut by hand so that they were nothing like the skimpy strings served at fast food restaurants.

     “We'll worry about our diet tomorrow!” She said and we both laughed the giddy laugh of the damned who are destined to suffer the consequences of their sins.


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