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PAWHUSKA – February 3, 2015. It’s a date she repeats in a flat voice. February 3, 2015. It’s the day everything crashed down. The day everything was lost.

“Asbestos rained down into our store and ruined everything – all of our textiles. All of our clothing, our ribbon work, our beadwork. Everything.” Danette Daniels says.

A roof repair gone wrong had just destroyed her entire inventory. The Cedar Chest, her store specializing in all things Osage, was effectively shut down.

“It was a horrible, horrible event,” she says.

Daniels, along with a partner, opened the Cedar Chest in 2009 with the assistance of the Osage County business incubator program. Business incubators are licensed through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and designed to generate economic development. The program offers customized training, consultations and start-up information.

“I was working at the Osage language program and found I had additional time to start a business. So it was something I tried out and it was something I fell in love with,” she says.

She had been a passionate collector of Osage items for years and says she decided to go “full blast with it” and open a store.

“People have always liked my jewelry and my Indian clothing,” Daniels says.

The Cedar Chest was where she designed and employed a sewing team to create traditional and modern, custom designed, Osage clothing. She specialized in Osage wedding dress and dance regalia.

February 3, 2015, could have been the end of it.

But a new venture was born of the catastrophe – Waterbird Art Gallery.

“I was approached by a collector with thousands of thousands of dollars worth of high-end Native American, especially Osage, clothing and goods. So there began Waterbird Gallery,” Daniels says.

She rallied with this new inventory and found a new location to open shop.

“Collectors will come in and we’ll put things on consignment. We have vintage beaded skirts, vintage ribbon work belts, and some very high-end museum quality type things and artwork,” she says.

Over time, Daniels has circled back to her business roots and has re-established the Cedar Chest Shop inside the Waterbird Art Gallery. The Cedar Chest once again employs a seamstress and Daniels creates new designs. Customers can shop for shawls, jewelry, beadwork and all things Osage, old and new.

“This place here is like an Indian Center. We have a table over there and we have coffee and people come in all the time to visit,” she says.

Indeed, the centerpiece of the store is a seating area defined by a patterned rug. Over-stuffed leather furniture is arranged around a low coffee table. It’s a comfortable space to sit and shoot the breeze while surrounded by Daniels’ collection of Osage treasures.

“So, we rallied, and it turned out great. Other collectors came forward to put items up for consignment,” Daniels says.

The store is known for Pendleton blanket purses, finger woven belts, brooch style earrings and necklaces, ties, aprons and embroidered towels. Daniels also sells items for the home, including solid wood furnishings and of course, cedar chests.

The Waterbird Art Gallery and Cedar Chest Shop is located at 134 E. 6th Street in Pawhuska. For more information, call 918-287-9129 or find them on Facebook, or

For a list of small business incubator certification programs available in Oklahoma, visit

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