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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Osages - Mae Rusk


Mae Rusk is the girl on the left and Metza on the rightMae Rusk is the girl on the left. Her allotment number is Ten. She has roll number ll. This woman's full name was Mae Rusk, Red Eagle, Freemont. She was born September 6, 1903, and she died August 18, 1953. She was Bertha's half sister. Bertha's father was Harry Big Eagle. Mae's father was Rusk. Their mother was Elsie Loho, Big Eagle, Rusk. Because of land holdings, oil royalties, financial matters, and the listing of genealogy according to their own language, searching for records, becomes a genealogical nightmare. One has to understand the many precarious circumstances these people, on an individual basis and as a tribe, have had to endure. Despite these stumbling blocks some knowledge has been gleaned.

On the right sits Metza (Osage name meaning first daughter) Bertha Big Eagle Jones, Mrs. Dennis Homer Flynn Jones. These sisters were of the Osage tribe. This picture may have been taken while the girls were still in school. Their girlish beauty was picked up here by the photographer.

These people grew up in the healthiest of circumstances. Many spent most of their time outside or in the tepees camped around the lowland wooded area close to Ralston, Oklahoma. They knew the foods growing wild and it was used. Wild game made up a part of their diet. Dietary laws were strictly obeyed according to a person's needs at the time. These diets varied according to the needs of the person as to their age, health, or maternal condition. For instance, women were advised to eat the organ meats while limiting the muscle meats, such as steaks. There is a difference within the tribe as to body stature, going to tall or petite, heavy or thin. Some people are very tall and stately. Others are short and petite. The thought was presented as to the possibility of the tribe practicing genetic engineering years before science knew of these things.

They understood the uses of medicinal herbs, leaves and roots. All this contributed to the health and beauty of the people. The wild plants they ate were: Yonka Pins, (water lily roots) wild plums, persimmons, pecans, wild grapes, and mushrooms. There was every wild game, plentiful and easily caught. The Osage had recipes for cooking the food and the recipes were passed down from mother to daughter. One recipe is for wild grape dumplings. Fried mushrooms were considered to be a delicacy. Yonka Pins are high in B vitamins and protein. These roots taste a little like our beans. They are about the size of a potato. A sliced wedge has holes that look like Swiss cheese. A part of the plant was to treat malaria.

To fry a wild rabbit, they first boiled it done and dipped the cut up pieces into a batter. The pieces are deep fried. The meat is delicious cooked in this manner. *

*See references at back of book