Osage Nation celebrates purchase of Ted Turner’s ranch

August 25, 2016 GMT

HOMINY, Okla. (AP) — Members of the Osage Nation have celebrated the $74 million purchase of CNN founder Ted Turner’s ranch north of Tulsa.

More than 300 Osage citizens attended a handover ceremony on Wednesday, the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2bS3yQ6 ) reports. A spokesman says Turner wasn’t able to attend.

The deal was finalized in June.

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Turner experimented with environmentally friendly ranching methods on the 43,000 acres of prairie. The tribe placed a winning bid for the ranch, and the deal was financed with casino profits.

Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear has received several proposals about what could be done with the land, including raising bison and renting out parts of the land to cattle operations.

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Standing Bear has rejected a proposal to puts thousands of wild mustangs on the property. He said it would bring in a lot of revenue, “But it would take a heavy toll on the land. It’s our responsibility to preserve this land for the future.”

The tribe has begun the process of putting the land in trust with the federal government, which would give the Osage Nation sovereignty over the land.

The Osage Nation once owned nearly 1.5 million acres before the land was divided and distributed among individual tribe members in the early 1990s. Tribal holdings had decreased to less than 5 percent of the original Osage Reservation by the time Standing Bear took office in 2014.

The chief has said the tribe now controls more than 9 percent of its original landholdings.

“We had one home left, and this was it,” said Osage Minerals Council chairman Everett Waller. “Our ancestors walked on this land. Our warriors died for this land. And today, this land is ours again.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com