- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (AP) - The Osage Nation has finalized a $ 74 million deal to purchase CNN founder Ted Turner’s ranch west of Pawhuska.

The Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/21cGmyx ) reports that the purchase of the property that covers 43,000 acres of prairie, where Turner experimented with environmentally friendly ranching methods, was finalized on Wednesday.

The transaction had been in the works since last year, when the tribe placed a winning bid for the ranch. The tribe won’t take possession of the land, which sits near the Osage Wind development, until November. The wind development is an 8, 400-acre wind farm that the tribe filed two federal lawsuits against in an effort to prevent its construction in 2015.

Officials say the tribe will continue to operate the ranch as a for-profit business, and will likely give it a name in the Osage language. The purchase is part of Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear’s effort to buy as much land as possible in Osage County. The tribe 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.

According to the chief, the tribe now controls more than 9 percent of its original landholdings.

“Land,” Standing Bear said, “is central to the culture, traditions and history of the Osage people.”

In a letter to Standing Bear, Turner said that he had hoped that the tribe would become the new owner of the property.

“It is my sincere hope that our transaction is the last time this land is ever sold,” Turner wrote, “and that the Osage Nation owns this land for all future generations.”

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

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