CONSTlTUTlON OF THE OSAGE NATlON
Source: The Oklahoma Red Book By Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Seth K Corden, William B Richards
Compiled by Seth K Corden, Published by s.n., 1912
Submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer
Art. l. Boundaries Indefeasible Rights.
Art. ll. Distribution of Power.
Art. lll. Legislative Department.
Art. lV. Executive Department.
Art. V. Judicial Department.
Art. Vl. Miscellaneous Division.
The Constitution of the Osage Nation, prepared by the authorized committee and adopted by
the National Council. The Great and Little Osage having united and become one body politic, under the style and
title of the Osage Nation; therefore, We, the people of the Osage Nation, in National Council assembled, in order
to establish justice, insure tranquility, promote the common welfare, and to secure to ourselves and our posterity
the blessing of freedom; acknowledging with humility and gratitude the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe
in permitting us so to do, and imploring His aid and guidance in its accomplishment do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the government of the Osage Nation.
Section 2. The boundary of the Osage Nation shall be that described in the treaty of 1876
between the United States and the Great and Little Osages, except that portion purchased by the Kaw.
Sec. 2. The lands of the Osage Nation shall remain common property, until the National Council shall request an
allotment of the same, but the improvements made thereon and in possession of the citizens of this Nation are the
exclusive and indefeasible property of the citizens respectively who made or may rightfully be in possession of
them. Provided: That the citizens of this Nation possessing exclusive and indefeasible right to their improvements,
as expressed in this article shall possess no right or power to dispose of their improvements, in any manner whatever,
to the United States, individual states, or to individual citizens thereof; and that, whenever any citizen shall
remove with his effects out of the limits of this Nation, and become a citizen of any other government, all his
rights and privileges as a citizen of this Nation shall cease; Provided, nevertheless. That the National Council
shall have power to readmit by law, to all the rights of citizenship any such persons who may at any time desire
to return to the Nation, on memorializing the National Council for such re-admission. Moreover, the National Council
shall have power to adopt such laws and regulations as it may deem expedient and proper to prevent citizens from
monopolizing improvements with the view of speculation.
Section 1. The power of this government shall be divided into three distinct departments,
the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial.
Sec. 2. No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging
to either of the others, except in the cases herein after expressly directed or permitted.
Section 1. The Legislative power shall be vested in a national Council and the style of their
acts shall be be: Be it Enacted by the National Council.
Sec. 2. The National Council shall make provisions by law, for laying off the Osage Nation into five districts,
and, if subsequently it should be deemed expedient, one or two may be added thereto.
Sec. 3. The National Council shall consist of three members from each district, to be chosen by the qualified electors
in their respective district, for two years, the elections to be held in the respective districts every two years
at such times and places as may be directed by law. The National Council shall, after the present year, be held
annually to be convened on the first Monday in November, at such place as may be designated by the National Council,
or, in case of emergency, by the Principal Chief.
Sec. 4. Before the districts shall be laid off, any election which may take place, shall be by general vote of
the electors throughout the Nation, for all officers to be elected. The first election for all officers of the
government Chiefs, Executive Council, members of the National Council, Judges and Sheriffs shall be held at Pawhuska,
before the rising of this council; and the term of service of all officers elected previous to the first Monday
in November, 1882. shall be extended to embrace, in addition to the regular constitutional term, the time intervening
from their election to the first Monday in November, 1882.
Sec. 5. No person shall be eligible to a seat in the National Council, but an Osage male citizen, who shall have
attained to the age of twenty-five years.
Sec. 6. The members of the National Council shall in all cases, except those of felony or breach of the peace,
be privileged from arrest, during their attendance at the National Council. in going to, and returning.
Sec. 7. In all elections by the people the electors shall vote viva voice. All male citizens, who shall have attained
to the age of eighteen years, shall be equally entitled to vote at all public elections.
Sec. 8. The national Council shall judge of the qualifications and returns of its own members, determine the rules
of its proceedings, punish a member for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two- thirds, expel a member;
but not a second time for the same offense.
Sec. 9. The National Council, when assembled, shall choose its own officers; a majority shall constitute a quorum
to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members, in
such manner, and under such penalty as the council may prescribe.
Sec. 10. The members of the National Council shall receive a compensation for their services, which shall be one
hundred dollars per annum; Provided, That the same may be increased or diminished by law; but no alteration shall
take effect during the period of services of the members of the National Council by whom such alteration may have
Sec. 11. The National Council shall regulate by law, by whom, and in what manner, writs of elections
shall be issued to fill the vacancies which may happen in the council thereof.
Sec. 12. Each member of the National Council, before he takes his seat, shall take the following oath or affirmation:
l, A. B., do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that l have not obtained my election by bribery treat,
or any undue and unlawful means, used by myself, or other, by my desire or approbation for that purpose; that l
consider myself - constitutionally qualified as a member of and that on all questions and measures which may come
before me, l will so give my vote, and so conduct myself, as, in my judgment, shall appear most conducive to the
interest and prosperity of this Nation, and that l will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to the
utmost of my ability and power, observe, conform to, support and defend the constitution thereof."
Sec. 13. No person who may be convicted of felony shall be eligible to any office or appointment of honor, profit
or trust, within this Nation.
Sec. 14. The National Council shall have power to make all laws and regulations which they shall deem necessary
and proper for the good of the Nation, which shall not be contrary to this constitution.
Sec. 15. It shall be the duty of the National Council to pass such laws as may be necessary and proper to decide
differences by arbitration, to be appointed by the parties who may choose that summary mode of adjustment.
Sec. 16. No power of suspending the laws of this Nation shall be exercised, unless by the National Council or its
Sec. 17. No retrospective laws, nor any law infringing the obligation of contracts, shall be passed.
Sec. 18. The National Council shall have power to make laws for levying and collecting taxes for the purpose of
Sec. 19. All acknowledged treaties shall be the supreme law of the land, and the National Council shall have the
sole power of deciding on the constructions of all treaty stipulations.
Sec. 20. The Council shall have the sole power of impeaching. All impeachments shall be tried by the National Council,
when sitting for that purpose; the members shall be upon oath or affirmation, and no person shall be convicted
without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
Sec. 21. The Principal Chief, Assistant Principal Chief, and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment
for misdemeanor in office; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification
to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit under the government of this Nation. The party, whether convicted
or acquitted, shall nevertheless, be liable to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.
Section 1. The supreme executive power of this Nation shall be vested in a Principal Chief, who shall be styled
"The Principal Chief of the Osage Nation." The Principal Chief shall hold his office for the term of
two years, and shall be elected by the qualified electors on the same day; and at the place where they shall respectively
vote for members to the National Council. The returns of the elections for Principal Chief shall be sealed up and
directed to the President of the National Council, who shall open and publish them in the presence of the Council
assembled. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Principal Chief, but if two or more shall be
equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen by vote of the National Council; the manner of determining
contested elections shall be directed by law.
Sec. 2. No person, except a natural born citizen, shall be eligible to the office of Principal Chief; neither shall
any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years.
Sec. 3. There shall also be chosen, at the same time by the qualified electors, in the same manner for two years,
an Assistant Principal Chief, who shall have attained to the age of thirty-five years.
Sec. 4. in case of the removal of the Principal Chief from office, or of his death, or resignation, or inability
to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Assistant Principal Chief.
Sec. 5. The National Council may, by law, provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or disability of
both the Principal and Assistant Principal Chief, declaring what officer shall then act as Principal Chief until
the disability be removed or a Principal Chief shall be elected.
Sec. 6. The Principal Chief and the Assistant Principal Chief shall, at stated times, receive for their services
a compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which they shall have been
elected, and they shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the Osage Nation or any other government.
Sec. 7. Before the Principal Chief enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:
"l do solemnly swear (or affirm) that l will faithfully execute the duties of Principal Chief of the Osage
Nation, and will, to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Osage Nation.
Sec. 8. He may, on extraordinary occasions convene the National Council at the seat of government.
Sec. 9. He shall, from time to time, give to the council information of the state of the government and recommend
to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.
Sec. 10. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Sec. 11. It shall be his duty to visit the different districts at least once in two years, to inform himself of
the general condition of the country.
Sec. 12. The Assistant Principal Chief, shall, by virtue of his office, and advise the Principal Chief in the administration
of the government at all times during his continuance in office.
Sec. l3." Vacancies that may occur in offices, the appointment of which is vested in the National Council
shall be filled by the Principal Chief during the recess of the National Council, by granting commissions which
may expire at the end of the next session thereof.
Sec. 14. Every bill, which shall pass the National Council, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the
Principal Chief; if he approves he shall sign it. but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the Council,
who shall enter the objections at large on their journals, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such consideration,
two-thirds of the council shall agree to pass the bill. it becomes a law, if any bill shall not be returned by
the Principal Chief within five days (Sunday excepted) after the same has been presented to him. it shall become
law, in like manner as if he had signed; unless the National Council, by their adjournment, prevent its return,
in which case it shall be a law, unless sent back within three days after their next meeting.
Sec. 15. Members of the National Council and all officers, executive and judicial, shall be bound by oath, to support
the constitution of their Nation; and to perform the duties of their respective offices with fidelity.
Sec. 16. The Principal Chief shall, during the session of the National Council, attend at the seat of government.
Sec. 17. The Principal Chief shall recommend three persons, to be appointed by the National Council, whom the Principal
Chief shall have fun power at his discretion to assemble; he. together with the Assistant Principal Chief and the
Councilors, or a majority of them. may. from time to time, hold and keep a council from ordering and directing
the affairs of the Nation according to law. The members of the Executive Council shall be chosen for the term of
Sec. 19. The Treasurer of the Osage Nation shall be chosen by the National Council for the term of two years.
Sec. 20. The Treasurer shall, before entering on the duties of his office, give bond to the Nation with sureties
to the satisfaction of the National Council, for the faithful discharge of his trust.
Sec. 21. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but by warrant from the Principal Chief, and in consequence
of appropriations made by law.
Sec. 22. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all public moneys, and to make a regular statement and
account of the receipts and expenditures of all public moneys at the annual session of the National Council.
Sec. 23. The "fiscal year" of the Osage Nation shall begin on the first day of October, and close on
the 30th day of September of each year; and all books and accounts of the treasurer, shall be kept and duties of
his office performed in regard to the beginning and ending of the fiscal year. The National Treasurer shall receive
for his indices's ten (10) per cent of all money that may pass through his hands as provided by law.
Section 1. The judicial powers shall be vested in a Supreme Court, and such Circuit and Inferior Courts as the
National Council may from time to time, ordain and establish.
Sec. 2. The Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts shall hold their commission for the term of two years, but
any of them may be removed from office on the address of two-thirds of the National Council to the Principal Chief,
for that purpose.
Sec. 3. The Judges of the Supreme Court and the Circuit Court, shall at stated times receive a compensation which
shall not be diminished during their continuance in office, but they shall receive no fees or perquisites of office,
nor hold any other office of profit or trust under the government of this Nation or any other power.
Sec. 4. No person shall be appointed a judge of any of the Courts, until he shall have attained the age of thirty
Sec. 5. The Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Court shall be elected by the National Council.
Sec. 6. The Judges of the Supreme Court and of the Circuit Court shall have complete criminal jurisdiction in such
cases and in such manner as may be pointed out by law.
Sec. 7. No judge shall sit on trial of any case when the parties are connected (with him) by affinity or consanguinity
except by consent of the parties. In case all of the Judges of the Supreme Court shall be interested in the issue
of any court or related to all or either of the parties, the National Council shall provide by law for the selection
of a suitable number of "persons of good character and knowledge for this determination thereof, and who shall
be specially commissioned for the adjudication of such case by the Principal Chief.
Sec. 8. All writs and other process shall run "in the name of the Osage Nation" and bear test and be
signed by the respective clerks.
Sec. 9. indictments shall conclude against the peace and dignity '.f the Osage Nation.
Sec. 10. The Supreme Court shall, after the present year, hold its session three times a year at the seat of government,
to be convened on the first Monday in October, February and June of each year.
Sec. 11. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the light of being heard; of demanding the nature
of accusation; of meeting the witness face to face; of having compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
or their favor, and in prosecutions by indictment or information: a speedy public trial; nor shall the accused
be compelled to give evidence against himself. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient securities, unless for
capital offenses when the proof is' evident or presumption great.
Section 1. No person who denies the being of a God or a future state of reward and punishment,
shall hold any office of the civil department in this Nation.
Sec. 2. When the National Council shall determine the expediency of appointing delegates or other public agents
for the purpose of transacting business with the government of the United States, the Principal Chief shall recommend,
and by the advice and consent of the National Council appoint and commission such delegates or public agents accordingly
on all matters of interest touching the rights of the citizens of this Nation which may require
the attention of the United States Government. -
Sec. 3. All commissions shall be in the name and by authority of the Osage Nation, and signed by the Principal
Chief. The Principal Chief shall make use of his private seal until a National one shall be provided.
Sec. 4. A. Sheriff shall be elected in each district by the qualified electors thereof, who shall hold his office
two years unless sooner removed. Should a vacancy occur subsequent to election, it shall be filled by the Principal
Chief as in other cases, and the person so appointed shall continue in office until the next regular election.
Sec. 5. The appointment of all officers not otherwise directed by this Constitution shall be elected by the National
Sec. 6. The National Council may propose such amendments to this Constitution as two- thirds of the council may
deem expedient, and the Principal Chief shall issue a proclamation directing all officers of the several districts
to promulgate the same as extensively as possible within their respective districts at least six months previous
to the next general election, and if, at the first session of the council, after such general election, two-thirds
of the council shall by the ayes and nays ratify such proposed amendments, they shall be valid to all extent and
purpose as part of this constitution, Provided, That such proposed amendments shall be read on three several days
in council, as well as when the same are proposed as when they are ratified.
Done in convention at Pawhuska, Osage Nation, this 31st day of December. A. D. 1881.
President of the National Convention.
Ne kah ke pon ah
Wah tl an kah
Tah wah che he
Sa tah ke ah
Thomas Big Chief
No kah wah she ton kah
PAUL AKlN. lnterpreter. E. M.