VANN BIGHORSE | Cabinet Secretary of Language/Culture/Education
Vann Bighorse is a member of the Osage and Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. His Osage name is 𐓷𐓘𐓤𐓘͘ 𐓪𐓤𐓣𐓟. He belongs to the 𐓲𐓣𐓻𐓪 𐓷𐓘𐓯𐓰𐓘𐓤𐓟 Clan and comes from 𐓷𐓘𐓸𐓘𐓪𐓧𐓣͘, also referred to as the “Pawhuska” District. He currently resides in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Vann started as a student of the Osage language in 2003 at Wakon Iron Hall in Pawhuska, along with four other students, under the guidance of respected tribal elder and Master Language Teacher Dr. Mongrain Lookout. From there he continued his work and dedication to the revitalization of the Osage Language and in 2020, he received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Kansas State University.
Vann works alongside the Language Department’s teachers and staff on many linguistic research and development projects, collaborating frequently with the Osage Nation Cultural Center and other Osage Nation departments and members on the creation of podcasts, apps, artistic designs, and more that serve to expand access and bring awareness to the Osage language and its orthography.
As the Cabinet Secretary of Language/Culture/Education, Vann enjoys leading the Osage Nation's mission of revitalizing and sustaining the Osage language and culture, one of Chief Standing Bear’s main priorities and goals.
Language Department Staff
BRAXTON REDEAGLE | Director, Osage Nation Language Department
𐓷𐓘𐓤𐓪͘𐓺𐓟 Redeagle is a certified teacher through the Osage Nation Language Department and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. He teaches Osage I and Osage II for a world language credit in Skiatook and Hominy High Schools. He grew up in Pawhuska, where he currently resides with his wife and children and is a member of the 𐓷𐓘𐓸𐓘𐓤𐓪𐓧𐓣͘ committee for the 𐓣͘𐓧𐓪͘𐓯𐓤𐓘 dances. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he was an active member of the Society of Native American Gentlemen and various other organizations that promote academics, health, culture, and fellowship for students.
JANIS CARPENTER | Principal Teacher, Osage Nation Language Department
Janis Carpenter is from the 𐓒𐓘͘𐓺𐓪𐓧𐓣͘ District and is the granddaughter of Original Allottees Walter and Helen Pratt Matin. A University of Tulsa alum, she spent several years teaching in the Sand Springs Public School system before coming to work at Osage Nation, continuing her teaching career as a Principal Teacher in the Language Department.
Janis is a former member of the Oklahoma State Department of Education Certification Committee, which establishes certification rules for Native American Languages. She has taught Osage Language classes in Pawhuska, Skiatook and Hominy High Schools, considering it an honor and a privilege to bring 𐓏𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟𐓣𐓟 to young people.
Janis currently lives in Tulsa with her husband Jox. They have three children, four granddaughters, and two great-grandsons.
CHRISTOPHER COTE | Language Teacher (non-certified), Osage Nation Language Department
Christopher Cote 𐓷𐓘𐓤𐓘͘𐓰𐓣𐓟 is a member of the 𐓲𐓣𐓻𐓪𐓷𐓘𐓯𐓰𐓘𐓤𐓟 (Gentle Sky People) Clan from the 𐓷𐓘𐓸𐓘𐓤𐓪𐓧𐓣͘ (Pawhuska District) and was raised between Skiatook and Pawhuska, Oklahoma on the Osage Nation Reservation.
Starting at a young age, Christopher attended the Community Osage Language program taught by Billy Procter in the early 2000s. He has been deeply influenced in his acquisition of the Osage Language by his Grandmother Kathrine Red Corn, as well as his Uncles Mongrain Lookout and Talee Redcorn. Intergenerational Osage knowledge has always been part of the Redcorn family heritage and inspired his decision to learn and teach the Language of his grandfathers.
In 2017, Christopher began working with the Osage Language Department as a language teacher. Since joining the department, he has made significant contributions to Osage Language initiatives such as the Sunny Goes to School Osage Language app and the Unicode for use of Osage orthography in keyboards, as well as helping with the transliteration of the Osage language for key publications and media projects.
Christopher currently teaches advanced levels of Osage language to enrolled community members across all districts of the Osage Nation in an effort to sustain and revitalize the language for past, present, and future generations.
DANA DAYLIGHT | Curriculum Specialist, Osage Nation Language Department
𐓰𐓘𐓡𐓟 𐓬𐓘𐓯𐓟, 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓨𐓣͘𐓲𐓟𐓸𐓣 𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓘𐓜𐓣𐓟. 𐓰𐓘 𐓩𐓣𐓤𐓘𐓯𐓣𐓟, 𐓷𐓘𐓸𐓘𐓤𐓪𐓧𐓣͘ 𐓪𐓡𐓪͘ 𐓯𐓤𐓣. 𐓻𐓣͘𐓤𐓘𐓻𐓣 𐓘𐓜𐓣𐓟: 𐓯𐓣͘𐓰𐓪𐓻𐓣͘ 𐓷𐓣͘, 𐓯𐓣͘𐓨𐓣͘𐓻𐓣͘ 𐓵𐓪͘𐓬𐓘 𐓯𐓤𐓣: 𐓷𐓘𐓤𐓪͘𐓲𐓣𐓟, 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓨𐓣͘𐓲𐓟𐓸𐓣, 𐓡𐓪͘𐓬𐓟𐓰𐓪𐓤𐓘 𐓯𐓤𐓣. 𐓷𐓣͘𐓝𐓪𐓯𐓬𐓘 𐓯𐓣͘𐓨𐓣͘𐓻𐓣͘ 𐓷𐓣͘.
Dana Daylight, I am of the Deer Clan and I am a Pawhuska District cook. I have one son and two daughters: John, Robynn, and Dava. I also have one granddaughter, Mary Yellowhorse Shaw.
Dana Daylight is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation, Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Quapaw Nation. She was raised in a traditional Osage family and home and has brought her family up in those traditional ways, teaching her children the importance of learning and sharing the Osage culture with others. Dana has taught the Osage culture and language for over 30 years as a way to preserve Osage Nation sovereignty.
As an Osage Nation employee for the past 20 years, Dana has worked in the Environmental & Natural Resources Department, Child Support, Wahzhazhe Early Learning Academy (WELA), and the Osage Nation Immersion School. In 2019, she joined the Osage Nation Language Department as a State Certified World Language Teacher, entering the public school system to teach the Osage Language.
Dana received her Associates Degree in Native American Studies with a Leadership focus at Bacone College in 2014, going on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with a business focus at Rogers State University in 2016 and Masters of Science in Educational Leadership at Kansas State University in 2018.
OLIVER LITTLECOOK, JR. | Language Teacher (non-certified), Osage Nation Language Department
Oliver Littlecook Jr. currently resides in Ponca City, Oklahoma and is a member of the Osage and Ponca Nations of Oklahoma. He comes from the 𐓒𐒰͘ 𐓒𐓂𐒿𐒻 (Hominy) District and is part of the 𐓈𐒰 𐓁𐒻𐒼𐒰𐓇𐒻 𐓈𐒰𐓏𐒰𐒿𐒰 (Deer) Clan.
Oliver started as a Language Student, under the guidance of his teacher Jackie Delong, in 2012 while he was working at Central for the Osage Casino. He is currently working towards his Bachelors in American Indian Studies at Bacone College.
As a language teacher with the Osage Nation Language Department, Oliver leads the Osage Language Beginners 1A community class and teaches in the WahZhaZhe Early Learning Academy (WELA) centers in Skiatook and Hominy.
HERMAN MONGRAIN LOOKOUT | Master Teacher, Osage Nation Language Department
Born to full-blood Osage parents and with Osage as his first language, Dr. Herman Mongrain “Mogri” Lookout is regarded as an authority on Osage culture and traditions. He has studied the language for almost 50 years, working tirelessly with linguists and Osage Nation members to preserve and revitalize the Osage language. He is a teacher, a mentor, and encourages all those who have a desire to learn.
Dr. Lookout was Director of the Osage Nation Language Department from its inception by the Osage Tribal Council in 2004 until 2016. In 2006, Dr. Lookout created an Osage Orthography as a way to create visual sovereignty from the English conventions that confused language learners who had English as a first language. The orthography was submitted to Unicode and the representation of Osage sounds was refined in 2012. In 2014, Dr. Lookout and the Osage Nation Language Department held a conference with a USC (Universal Coded Character Set) expert wherein previous reforms to the Osage Orthography were standardized. The Osage Orthography was accepted into the Osage Block of Unicode version 9.0 in 2016.
Dr. Lookout received an honorary Doctorate from Kansas State University for his outstanding work on the revitalization of the Osage language. He currently serves the Language Department as its only Master Language Teacher and his goals for the language program include a book about the Osage language.
Aside from his work on language, Dr. Lookout is Roadman of the Lookout Church and is currently Advisor on the 𐒻𐓧𐓪͘𐓯𐓤𐓘. He and his wife Judi have been married 56 years.
TRACEY ANN MOORE | Facility Manager/Lead Teacher, Osage Nation Language Department
Tracey Ann Moore is an enrolled tribal member of the Otoe-Missouria tribe and descends from the Osage, Pawnee, and Sauk and Fox from Kansas. She makes her home in the Grayhorse District, located in Fairfax, and comes from the Mary Osage Green family. Her Osage name is” Ene oppe”, the same name as her grandmother Mary Osage Green, and her clan is the “Tsi sho wa sta ki”, Golden Eagle Clan. Of the Osage tribe, her Great Grandfather was named “He se moie”, also known as See Haw, and was of the Governor Joe Band. Tracey is proud of all of the tribes she represents and is thankful to be able to serve her communities through the cultural work of language preservation and revitalization.
Tracey joined the Osage Nation Language Program in 2007, overseeing and promoting the Osage language within the Grayhorse-Fairfax community. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in May 2009 and completed a Masters of Science Native American Leadership, with an Emphasis in Education, from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2021. From 2017 to present, Tracey has held her Native Language Teaching Certification from the Oklahoma State Department of Education which enables her to teach the Osage language as a foreign credit requirement within the Woodland Public School system in Fairfax, where she oversees teaching at both Woodland Grade School and Woodland Middle School.
Outside of the public school system, Tracey teaches community classes from beginner to advanced, including a Zoom option for students outside of the Grayhorse area to attend. In 2018 and 2019, her District hosted summer camps for the Grayhorse youth, collaborating with other Osage Nation departments and local artists to bring the language and culture together in dynamic ways.
Tracey assisted with the implementation of the Osage language within the first Osage Nation Immersion School, created in 2014, and has since taught educators how to implement the language with daycare age children within the WahZhaZhe Early Learning Academy (WELA) in Fairfax. Utilizing her passion for audiovisual work, Tracey also records and produces CDs and other audio resources with which students can learn the language.
Tracey represents the Osage Nation in the Standing Bear Native American Foundation, located in Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is on the steering committee for the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair held in Norman, Oklahoma. Tracey is also a board member of the Dhegiha Preservation Society. In 2011 and under the direction of Dr. Herman “Mogri” Lookout, she helped organize the first Dhegiha Gathering, which brought all of the Dhegiha language group tribes together for the first time in over 500 years.
Tracey owes much gratitude to her teachers, Herman “Mogri” Lookout, Stephanie Rapp, Talee Redcorn, as well as the various Dhegiha relatives she has had the privilege to document, work with, and learn from to advance her studies in the Osage Language. She is very proud to work for her community in Grayhorse - Fairfax and extremely proud and thankful for this opportunity to serve her people.
CELENA C. WHITE | Language Teacher (non-certified), Osage Nation Language Department
Celena C. White is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation, Shawnee Tribe, and Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma. Her Osage name is 𐓐𐓎𐒷𐓈𐓫 “Looking at the Eagle” and she is a part of the 𐓊𐒻𐓓𐓂 𐓏𐒰𐓇𐓈𐒰𐒼𐒻 clan. Her District is 𐓏𐒰𐓐𐒰𐒼𐓂𐒿𐒻͘ also called the “Pawhuska” District.
Celena began working for the Osage Nation before she even finished high school, working full-time for the Boys & Girls Club in 2008 and graduating high school a year later. Since then, she has worked for and across several of the Nation’s departments, including Head Start, CDIB and Membership, Historic Preservation, Congress, the Health Authority Board, Immersion School, and the Language Department.
Since she was a teen Celena has also served the Osage Nation as a cook, one of the most respected and crucial cultural roles in the Nation, helping to provide nourishment during numerous Osage Nation funerals, naming ceremonies, and other important cultural activities. She served as a cook for the 𐓏𐒰𐓐𐒰𐒼𐓂𐒿𐒻͘ District over the course of 9 years for drumkeepers George Stabler Jr. and Berbon K. Hamilton. Celena also enjoys singing around the big drum and has been singing for 15 years. She is a member of the drum group Southern Thunder.
Celena is the daughter of Chris C. White and Jeanna Red Eagle. She has three younger sisters: Michaela, Rachel, and Madalyn White. Her grandparents are Cornelius White, Edward Red Eagle Jr., Fern White, and Mattie Red Eagle. She is proud to continue the legacy of her great grandfather Ed Red Eagle Sr. through the teaching of the Osage language and culture.
As a Language Teacher for the Osage Nation, Celena leads Reading and Writing classes that teach orthography to adult learners as well as Beginner B classes which focus on introducing Osage sentence structure and verb conjugation. Celena understands the level of compassion and dedication it takes to learn a language and encourages all Osage Nation members to give their best effort in the revitalization of the Osage language. “Our sovereignty and culture depend upon it!”
DONNA BARRONE | Language Teacher (non-certified), Osage Nation Language Department
Donna M. Barrone comes from Fairfax and is of the 𐓬𐓘𐓮𐓶𐓪𐓧𐓣 District and 𐓲𐓟𐓻𐓪 𐓷𐓘𐓯𐓰𐓘𐓤𐓟 Clan. Her 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 is 𐓨𐓘𐓮𐓣 𐓲𐓟𐓸𐓟 and was given to her by Uncle Harry Redeagle Jr. She is a descendant of the Osage Nation, Pawnee Nation, Sioux Nation-Ogalala, and the Shawnee Nation-Absentee.
Donna has studied the Osage language for over two decades, learning first under the teaching of Uncle Harry Redeagle Jr. and Uncle Kenny Bighorse Sr. at the Whitehair Memorial. She has worked with the Osage Nation Language Department for over eleven years, helping teach children and staff in 𐓰𐓘𐓬𐓪𐓮𐓤𐓘 𐓣𐓤𐓪𐓰𐓘𐓬𐓣 (The Immersion School) and Osage Nation Headstart, as well as taking the language into the public school systems at Woodland Elementary School and Junior High.
Currently, Donna teaches Osage I and II students, Elders, WahZhaZhe Early Learning Academy (WELA) staff in the Grayhorse District, Fairfax, OK, and leads a Facebook live class on the language once a week. She expresses that working with the Osage language is a great privilege for her and that in her time with the Osage Nation Language Department she has seen an increased interest in individuals who are wanting to learn a language which was once taken from Osages, which makes her work all the more gratifying. She is happy to help them reconnect with their culture, in the form of 𐓷𐓘𐓻𐓘𐓻𐓟 𐓣𐓟.