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Osage Nation makes decision to cut the Osage Nation Head Start Program

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The Osage News is reporting that after 41 years, parents in Osage County will no longer have the choice to enroll their child in an Osage Nation Head Start.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear says that after the Osage Casinos closed for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget for the Nation is grim. That’s when the decision was made to cut the Head Start program. The Nation is looking to invest in the Wahzhazhe Early Learning Academies and Daposka Ahnkodapi, the Nation’s school.

Standing Bear said they are going to invite Osage families to join WELA and Daposka Ahnkodapi for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. There is a minimal cost to attend both programs and the ON Child Care department will offer scholarships for students to attend. They anticipate around 40 to 50 additional children for the Nation’s WELA and Daposka Ahnkodapi.

The current Head Start building in Pawhuska will be renovated and used for Daposka Ahnkodapi, which currently serves Osage students ages pre-K through 3rd grade, according to the Nation’s website. The Head Start building in Skiatook will house the new WELA, which serves children ages six weeks to 4 years that meet Osage preference and Native American preference, according to the WELA handbook.