The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the Osage Nation an $800,000 grant through the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program. The funds will be used to construct a new Wellness Center in Hominy, Oklahoma.
The new Wellness Center will include space for weights and exercise equipment, and an area for fitness activities such as aerobics and yoga. It will feature restrooms and showers for men and women, and will also include space for wellness visits with Osage Nation Diabetes, Community Health Representative, and other Osage Nation health related programs.
Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw sponsored ONCA 15-35, a bill to appropriate $250,000 to be used as matching funds for the Hominy Wellness Center in the event the grant was awarded, which was passed by the Osage Congress in April of 2015.
Improving the current Osage Nation Fitness Center in Hominy is a project that Supernaw has been working on for two years. Former Osage Tribal Council Member Harry Roy RedEagle contacted Supernaw about the need to improve the small gym and Supernaw visited the gym and confirmed the need to build a bigger and better fitness center.
“We made a request that the Nation apply for a grant to enlarge the facility. The first year the grant was denied, as previous [Osage Nation] ICDBG applications had been. We encouraged them to try again and Chief Standing Bear set it as a top priority,” said Supernaw.
Supernaw also expressed his appreciation for the Osage Nation Office of Self-Governance, Planning and Grants Management department staff whose hard work successfully secured the funding for the Nation.
The last time the Osage Nation received the competitive award was in 2005.
“This is more than a fitness center. All of our health programs, including those involved in diabetes prevention, will be involved. I would like for the community to keep working with us to keep expanding and upgrading the Wellness Center. I would like to see us consider adding an exercise pool in the future,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.