Fred Lookout was the longest-serving elected Chief in the history of the Osage Nation. Prior to serving as Principal Chief he was elected as Assistant Principal Chief in 1908, but did not run for reelection in 1910. His first term as Principal Chief was in 1913 when he was appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Walter L. Fisher, after the 1912 election results were recalled. Lookout finished out the term but did not win his reelection bid in 1914. His second term as Principal Chief came two years later, from 1916 to 1918. Lookout’s third and final term in office was a 25-year stretch that ran from 1924 until his passing in 1949. He was Principal Chief of the Osage Tribe for a total of 28 years.
Chief Lookout is considered by many to be one of the most loved and important figures in modern Osage history for his many contributions to the Osage Tribe while serving as Principal Chief. He was a crucial part of the effort to change the election laws to allow for quadrennial (occurring every four years) elections as opposed to the biennual (occurring every two years) elections that were used prior to 1929.
Lookout was instrumental in the donation of the Naval Reserve to the U.S. Navy; and, helping to persuade the United States Congress to amend the 1906 Osage Allotment Act to protect Osage headright holders from actions by non-Osages, like those committed during the Reign of Terror. But, arguably, Chief Lookout’s most important contribution to the Osage people was his commitment to make a better place for all Osages.
“If you let your white man tongues say what is in your Indian heart you will do great things for your people.” Chief Fred Lookout