FBI Oklahoma City on Panel Discussing Osage Murders Case

The special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office joined local Native American leaders and the author of a best-selling book about murder on the Osage Nation a century ago for a panel discussion about crime, greed, justice, and the relationship today between the Bureau and Oklahoma’s many Indigenous tribes.

Video Transcript

Announcer: Well, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to Oklahoma Christian University. Welcome to the most popular panel we have ever had in the history of the university.

Edward Gray, special agent in charge, FBI Oklahoma City: But I'll just say this. When you think about the FBI and the mission that we have, you really don't think about us working murders and crimes on kidnappings and those type of things. You probably think about us being involved in joint terrorism task forces and financial crimes and all those type of things.

But our mission goes back to to the 1920s, 1923, when J. Edgar Hoover, then a deputy assistant director, sent agents to Osage territory to work this investigation. And a lot of the, in fact, a lot of the jurisdiction that we have now wasn't even, weren't even laws back then, right? But one law that was there was the Major Crimes Act. And these go back even to prior to the FBI being formed in 1908. So we have a long history of working crimes on Indian reservations. We work very well with the tribes, with our state, local, and federal partners, and do all we can to ensure justice is being achieved.

Moderator: But my guess is when an FBI agent is ... so a federal agent comes into ... a reservation or onto the land of a tribe, my guess is they're going to be treated with suspect because, I mean, quite honestly, they're associated with, are they not ... I mean, a government that has also not treated our ...

Geoffrey Standing Bear, principal chief, Osage Nation: Let me answer that ... for the Osage.

Moderator: Help me out here.

Geoffrey Standing Bear: Things have changed. Thank God. On a practical level, we have a working relationship with the FBI and our police. Osage Nation Police works on cases of joint investigations, works with the FBI. So we share the responsibilities. We're all ... Today, in fact, they had a ... All the agencies are working on ... 80 people were enrolled yesterday on human trafficking. And so we're, it's a different world now. We're all over this stuff as best we can within our resources.

So short story is we've come a long way and we have a ways to go. But we have a good relationship with the, not only the FBI. But in today's world, you have to have a good relationship, right governor, with all our local governments in law enforcement. And I know Chickasaw Nation does as well.

Bill Anoatubby, governor, Chickasaw Nation: Yes. And I'd like to follow up on that, if you don't mind. You know, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, their officers, before we really had our own, and the FBI, were there to support us and to investigate crimes in our Indian Country U.S. Attorney’s Office.

So we were, have been, and still are comfortable and have respect. And it's a mutual respect. They're there to help us. So we're not at all ... we don't fear them. We don't think badly of them. We need them. So it's important to have them around. And they've helped us over the years of many, many cases.

Video Download

Video Source