The Osage Nation Congress voted to charter Bacone College on June 25, 2019.  representatives will convene April 18 at 3 p.m. at Benjamin Wacoche Hall in a historic meeting to formally announce the tribe’s decision to charter the educational institution as it applies for tribal college status.

 “Whenever you can do something for all Indian people then you are doing a great thing. This is one of those, we are not just helping our Osage people, but we are helping all Indian people”, said Congressman John Maker who sponsored the bill to charter Bacone College. “We are pleased and honored that the Osage Nation has agreed to partner with us in this important step for the future of Bacone College,” said Dr. Ferlin Clark, Bacone College President. “We are optimistic about the ways in which the Osage Nation and Bacone College can work together to move the tribe and the college into the future.”

The charter form the Osage Nation will be in addition to a charter from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB). On April 6, 2018, the UKB Tribal Councilors made a unanimous decision to charter Bacone College. Both of these charters will provide the institution’s first step in applying for approval as a public, Title I Tribal College with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.


These decisions come at a pivotal time for Bacone College, which nearly closed in May 2018 after financial concerns forced the removal of past administration. Chartering with UKB and the Osage Nation means Bacone College and its new staff will have the support of a consortium of federally recognized tribes while the college moves towards different funding sources when tribal college status is granted.


“Tribal college status will provide the college with a stable base of federal income into the future,” said Jerome Steele, chief financial officer. “Along with support from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, the DAR, friends and alumni of the college, this revenue will supplement income from student tuition, room and board.”


About Bacone College

Bacone College was founded in 1880 as Indian University with a mission to educate American Indians in a nurturing Christian environment. It is currently a private, four-year institution located in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It is the oldest continuously operated institution of higher education in the state. The college has historic ties to various tribal nations and American Baptist Home Mission Society. Its current president is Dr. Ferlin Clark of the Navajo (DÍne) Nation.

About the Osage Nation

The Osage Nation of Oklahoma are a sovereign nation headquartered in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The nation consists of three districts, Gray Horse, Hominy, and Pawhuska. The Osage Nation has around 20,000 enrolled members and 6,780 whom reside in the tribe’s jurisdictional area.