This weekend will be a celebration of the coming-together of the Osage Nation and the Cuba community. The Osage Ballet will hold a special, one-evening performance of “Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet” this Friday at the Leach Theatre in Rolla, and on Saturday morning, there will be formal dedications of both the Osage mural and monument project in Cuba.
“Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet” shares of the story of the Osage people through the artistic medium of ballet in the tradition of the late Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief and her sister, ballerina Marjorie Tallchief.
The ballet derives its name from the actual name of the Osage people in their language: Wahzhazhe. French explorers befriended the Osage, and when writing about them in their language, “w” is written as “ou.” However, when the English read French texts, they mispronounced Wahzhazhe as Osage.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear and a large delegation from the Osage Nation will be returning to Cuba. On that day, the Osage Nation will place a blessing upon the Osage Monument and the Osage Mural. It will be a day to honor both Osage projects and to celebrate the meaningful relationships that have been built between the citizens of Cuba and the Osage.
At 9:30 a.m., the ceremony for the blessing of the Osage Monument will begin on-site at the Cuba Visitor’s Center. During this ceremony, Chief Standing Bear will speak with the audience. The ceremony is to include a smoke blessing and native Osage prayers.
The sculpture, a project of the City of Cuba, celebrates the history and legacy of the Osage Nation. The project was overseen by Cuba artist Glen Tutterrow, and features an Osage warrior in period-speciﬁc dress, followed on the trail by his family. The sculpture is the first monument to the Osage people in the state of Missouri, depicting an Osage family traveling westward along the Osage Trail.
After numerous removals, the Osage people purchased land in Northeast Oklahoma, where many Osage still reside, known as the Osage Reservation, sharing the same geographical boundaries as Osage County.
The bronze sculpture will stand 35 feet tall, 20 feet wide, and 80 feet in length. The sculpture is designed to work with the contours of the site. There are plans to include working water features, native plant landscaping and lighting for evening viewing opportunities. The 35-foot height will allow interstate drivers to see the sculpture from the city limit boundaries, from both east and west directions.
Beginning at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, the ceremony for the blessing of the Osage Mural will begin at the Osage mural, located on Buchanan Street in the Historic Business District. During this ceremony, members of the Osage delegation will offer a few brief words and members of the Osage delegation will also perform native song and dance.
Immediately following the blessing of the Osage mural, there will be a reception held at Recklein Auditorium, located on N. Smith Street. During this time, members of the public will be able to visit with members of the Osage Nation in honor and celebration of the day. Light refreshments will be served.
The ceremonies and reception are free, open to the public, and all are welcome to attend. This will be a morning full of blessings, celebration, culture, and community.