PAWHUSKANS PREPARE FOR PIPELINE: Tribe, community business and education interests join forces
June 27, 2013

By: Kathryn Swan, republished with permission of the Pawhuska Journal-Capital Newspaper

The Osage Nation, Enbridge Pipeline, Pawhuska Business Development Center, and The Strategy Center have joined forces to provide a myriad of training opportunities for pipeline-related jobs.

Enbridge is a Canadian corporation that has become a major contributor to the development of North America’s energy infrastructure and operates the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system in Canada and the U.S. The company is currently involved with the Flanagan South Pipeline Project.

Completion of the Flanagan Project will have a significant impact on Osage County. The nearly 600-mile crude oil pipeline originated in Flanagan, Ill., and will cross Kansas and Oklahoma, ending in Cushing. Construction of the final 150-mile stretch will begin in September and provide more than 200 part-time Osage County jobs. Once the 8-9 month project is completed, the pipeline will be able to transport 600,000 barrels of liquid per day.

“When this pipeline project ends, trained workers will have endless opportunities to expand their careers,” said Cindy Helmer, PDBC Coordinator. “Trans Canada is scheduled to bring another pipeline behind the Flanagan project. Although the Osage Nation is sponsoring this training, we wish to emphasize that training applications are available for all interested parties. A third round of classes is being developed for mid- to late July.”

Training for these positions began earlier this month and is being coordinated through the Osage Nation.

According to Osage Nation Education Director Ida Doyle, “A variety of job opportunities are available — oilers, welding helpers, operators, CDL drivers, and general laborers.”

Cooks and laundry helpers will also be needed. Candidates can attend one or all classes being offered at the PBDC.

Training mimics a typical workday on a pipeline job site. The more training candidates receive, the greater their chances of being hired.

For the first time in history, union representatives from the Laborers, Teamsters, Operators and Welders are working together to create jobs for the Enbridge project.

Last Monday trainees were provided information about the individual union programs which included health benefits and retirement plans as well as their available scholarship programs.

Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle, who has been the driving force behind this program, announced all four unions have agreed to waive their initial fees to join the unions. The Welders Union even offered to sponsor training for welding helpers to be certified once the Flanagan project has been completed.

“Partnering with the PBDC and The Strategy Center is providing an opportunity for young people to explore careers,” said Chief Red Eagle.

PBDC held an informal open house May 23 where Enbridge could discuss construction plans and answer questions from the public, particularly for landowners who may be affected for right-of-ways.

“We are extremely pleased to be a part of the exciting opportunities for economic development in Osage County that the collaboration between The Osage Nation, Enbridge Pipeline and The Strategy Center offers,” Strategy Center President Larry Thrash said. “It continues to be a source of pride to see all facets of this huge project working together for a singular purpose. Creating jobs and promoting economic growth is one of the core objectives of the Pawhuska Business Development Center and The Strategy Center.”

For information on the Flanagan South Pipeline Project, visit



Chadwick Toehay

“I moved to Pawhuska eleven months ago. This program could not have come at a better time and is a tremendous boost to my family. I am a certified welder and received my training through the Osage scholarship program. My ultimate goal is to become a full-fledged welder with my own rig.

“I am honored to participate in this program and can already feel the affect it is having on my life. I would like to publicly thank the Chief and the Education Department for this wonderful opportunity. The Chief’s actions reflect the love he has for our people and makes me very proud to be Osage. I’ve visited with other several tribes and they recognize we are the first tribe to do something of this magnitude. We are becoming a part of history.”

Matthew Gray

“This program is a good testament as to how Chief Red Eagle supports the Education Department in providing tools for us to basically pull ourselves up by our boot straps and putting us on a good path that will enable us to succeed. It is a great opportunity to provide for my family and has given me a sense of self-worth.

“Like Chadwick said, we are the first tribe to be awarded this opportunity. It is a very great honor. Months of preparation by the Chief, the Educational Department and all those involved in developing this program are a true testament to how much faith they have in our lives. Economically, they are giving us a chance to build careers.

Gray also expressed gratitude to the ON Education Department for their scholarship program. That, coupled with scholastic scholarships from Oklahoma State, enabled him to obtain a degree in Business Management. However, like so many recent graduates, he has been unable to find employment.

Hanna Brave

“As a woman and a first time user of the Nation’s educational resources, this training gives me hope for my future. I’m 21 and having this opportunity fall into my lap is awesome. Right now I am looking at the oiler training. The information I am receiving has given me hope in what I can be doing and that it’s an open field.

“My family is so proud. My elders are looking up to me. I anticipate my family will be talking about this for a long time. I am one of seven women participating in this inaugural program. We are setting the bar high with good standards for other women to come.”

Anyone interested in learning more about this program and the next round of training may contact Louise Cheshewalla at the Osage Nation Education Department, Jana Scimeca or Delary Walters in the Osage Nation Human Resources at 918-287-5555.

story created on Tuesday 6/25/2013 at 9:14:00 am by Chris Rush
story modified on Tuesday 6/25/2013 at 8:59:55 pm by Deanna Evans


Delary Walters

“About a year ago Principal Chief Red Eagle and Pipeline Consultant Rod Hartness visited with Enbridge and the four unions about providing job opportunity and the skill sets needed for Osages during the final stages of the Flanagan pipeline project. These discussions resulted in PBDC hosting a day-long brainstorming meeting in mid-April where the Chief, Assistant Chief Scott Bighorse, and myself could determine the training needed for this massive history-making project.”

Walters addressed her comments to the three students: “We are getting you prepared. You are the first of many to come. You are representing your tribe, your Chief, and your state. What an awesome experience. Not only will this opportunity change your lives, it will alter the future of your unborn children. You are setting a standard for achieving your dreams. When you are the elders, this will be the new standard.”

Ida Doyle

“We are currently in the midst of our first three-week phase. Two sessions concentrate on Welding and CFL. Additional training will focus on CDL, Defensive driving, and ten hours of OSHA approved safety training. This training will insure we have skilled employees who qualify for career-building jobs with good benefits. Students can attend can attend one or all four training sessions. Ultimately, each trainee will have to determine which module best fits their career path.

“I personally know Hanna, Chadwick and Matthew. All three are exceptional individuals. We are blessed to have them as part of our training. I believe they will represent the Osage Nation as outstanding employees. One of Chief Red Eagle’s goals is to educate Osage people and give them training opportunities to increase their quality of life.” 

Jana Scimeca

“Everyone involved agrees Chief Red Eagle is touching people’s lives, their family’s lives and the lives and future of their children by getting these young men and women trained. This is a huge undertaking and the first ever undertaken by an Indian tribe. We are truly making history.”

Anyone interested in learning more about this program and the next round of training may contact Louise Cheshewalla at the Osage Nation Education Department, Jana Scimeca or Delary Walters in the Osage Nation Human Resources at 918-287-5555.