The Osage name "Pawhuska," or White Hair, was first noted by Europeans in association with the Principal Chief of the Osage Nation. The Chief took the name to commemorate his snatching of a wig from the head of an officer during the battle in the Upper Louisiana Territory in 1791. This same chief was a signator of a 1792 land-grant treaty between Pierre Chouteau and the Big Osage.
In May of 1794 Chief White Hair and other Osage leaders traveled to New Orleans to meet with Spanish Governor Carondelet, who presented his guests with medals, officers' coats, and other gifts. On July 28, 1800, Spanish authorities received a surprise visit of several hundred Osage under the leadership of Chief White Hair. The Chief spoke to the Spanish of the need for peace between Spain and the Osage Nation.
In the Spring of 1804 Pierre Chouteau took a delegation of Osage headmen to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Thomas Jefferson. At this meeting White Hair stated that his primary concern was to heal the internal dissention among the Osage bands and to reunite the Osage people as a tribe. This first White Hair to gain the attention of Europeans died in 1808, as the last principal chief of the Osage Nation.
For the next one hundred years an Osage of the name Pawhuska would be prominent in Osage tribal affairs, serving as headmen of a band of the Osage people. These leaders from the White Hair lineage provided a lasting sense of pride and national spirit among their descentdents and fellow tribesmen.
For more information about Chief White Hair, contact:
The White Hair Memorial
P.O. Box 185
Ralston, OK 74650