Published October 28, 2015
CUBA, MISSOURI — The largest monument recognizing Osage people will stand 35 feet tall, roughly as tall as a telephone poll, 20 feet wide and 80 feet long. It is currently under construction at the intersection of I-44 and highway 19 in Cuba, MO, or good old Route 66. The famous cross-country super highway makes its way through Missouri on the same path Osage people used long ago. Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is excited about supporting the one-of-a-kind project. He’s heading to Cuba Oct. 28 to Oct. 30 as a special guest to support the initiative.
“This visit will allow the Chief an opportunity to meet with several government officials,” said Executive Advisor Johnny Williams who has been in contact with the monument developers.
Construction of the monument is in full swing and planners say the finished product will be ready next summer. Funds are still being raised to complete the monument.
Organizer, Dennis Rodemeier said the majority of the $500,000 has already been raised and the project is just $75,000 shy from being fully funded. He added that he anticipates raising the difference before the Chief arrives due to the overwhelming support the project has received from several generous donors.
The Osage Nation Executive Office recently heard of the project when developers contacted the Nation to verify historical accuracy of presentation of the sculpture itself.
The Nation was contacted by Dennis Rodemeier who is the President of the Cuba Development Group and Dr. Sean Siebert who is the grant writer for the project. Together they have developed several successful rural economic development projects for the City of Cuba and the State of Missouri.
Monument sculptor and visionary, Glen Tutterrow, is a local artist in Cuba. He is working on the massive all steel sculpture with his son Curtis Tutterrow. Tutterrow envisioned the monument as a symbol of the importance of the Trail of the Osage and how it continues to be a pathway for progress.
“This corridor that runs right through Cuba was used for [Osage] travel and trade. The Osage Trail is one of the most important trails to the south that goes across our state. It has always fascinated me because of its historical significance,” he said. “We are here because of the trail that the Osage blazed for us way back when.”
Principal Chief Standing Bear will be accompanied by his Executive Advisor Johnny Williams on this tour of Cuba and learn more about the project from the Osage Trail Legacy Project Leadership Team.The Chief will be afforded the opportunity to meet with community members and Missouri elected officials for a formal meal. The entire project’s outreach efforts and fundraising initiatives will conclude with a speech by Chief Standing Bear on the last night of the visit.
Williams added, “There will be two U.S. Congressmen present along with two U.S. Senators. There will also be the Missouri Governor and several state officials present. They will have discussions on potential economic opportunities for the Nation. Establishing a working relationship with these officials will be extremely beneficial to the Osage Nation.”