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Regalia and the Image of the Order

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  • Regalia and the Image of the Order

    The last thread brought up a pretty heated discussion about the use of native american modeling in their ceremonies. I know it wasnt always like that. I have heard that before that, there was the use of black robes as ceremonial regalia. There isnt much about that out there that I have found. If anyone has any information on what went into making that regalia and what that regalia consisted of i would love to hear about it.

    But the big question of this thread is this: Does the Order of the Arrow need to find some new form of regalia in our ceremonies, anf if so, what would you recomend. Should we go back to what was used in the past, should we try somthing totally different or should things stay the same?

  • #2
    I've seen OA groups doing ceremonies for Cub Scout Packs on a number of occasions. I've never noticed much interest or understanding of the ceremonies even among Cub Scouts.

    If you can't work up much enthusiasm among Cub Scouts, I'd say you are on the wrong track.


    • #3
      SP is right.

      The further we move away from the 1800's, Native American culture is much less in the thoughts of most Americans. While it is quite important to individual tribes, and parts of the OA, it just doesn't register with most younger folks.

      I attribute this to the decline of Westerns in the movie theater. The old cowboy movies didn't always portray Native Americans in a respectful or accurate manner, but some did, and as long as Westerns were popular, I think Indian Lore resonnated with many scouts. Not so any more.

      What to replace it with? I don't think we need to retire Indian Lore entirely. I think the principles are sound and time honored. I would put strict requirements on costuming for ceremonies, memorization and delivery of lines, and dance teams. Better to conduct the ceremony with everyone in scout uniform than have a half-baked attempt at Native American culture.


      • #4
        Just to throw out an idea:

        Suppose you had an OA crossover ceremony that used Scout skills in a mock rescue?

        Have Arrow of Light Scouts in their den, with the OA Scouts in uniform and equipped with packs for backpacking and a climbing rope slung over their shoulders.

        The Webelos Den Leader stops the Boy Scouts and asks for their help in bringing the Cub Scouts into Scouting.

        The boys Scouts get out their climbing rope and tie a bowline into the rope, throwing the rope to the Arrow of Light Scouts, who put the loop over their shoulder and get pulled into Boy Scouts one by one, receiving whatever tokens of Scouting when they have been received among the Boy Scouts.

        That kind of thing would be richly redolent of the images and promises of Boy Scouts, illustrating Scout skills and teaching what to do if someone tosses you a rope in an emergency.

        Generally, Cub Scouts LOVE any opportunity to be pulled around by someone else, is my experience.

        I can imagine Arrow of Light Scouts finding that fun, and exciting the interest of younger Cub Scouts to be pulled into Boy Scouts that way one day.

        Just an idea...(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


        • #5
          I think the reputation of OA differs greatly across regions and lodges. Around here, it is barely noticeable unless you are in it (and even then...). Since membership is not open to cub scouts and typically not to cub leaders either, my experience has been that cub packs and parents of cub scouts around here wouldn't know what to make of an OA ceremony or dance team if it landed in their laps. I don't even think our local lodge has a dance team team. And my son who is in OA (but not very active - his take, right or wrong, is that it's just another place for big-ego'd adults to spout off) has mentioned on several occasions that he finds it embarrassing to see OA call-out ceremonies at summer camp where half the kids hardly even know their lines, let alone try to present an accurate portrayal of the people they're pretending to be.

          Again though, I'm willing to believe there are lodges out there who do a good job of this, and so it is all really about local experience isn't it.


          • #6

            If you PM me, I'll forward your contact info to some one who knows about the black robes of the early OA. He's one of the founders of OA Trail Crew at Philmont, a really big OA historian buff ( bigger than me if you can imagine) and if I remember correctly, he's the one who came up with the ceremony and ceremonial regalia the OA uses at Philmont for OA Trail Crew.

            Sorry I can't help any more than that. My chapter had, stressing had, black robes for Brotherhood Ceremonies between when I left the area and came back. They got the idea from one of the members who did Trail Crew, and he helped out with the info.

            BUT you may get some "challenges." There was one adult member who viewed the robes as quote "Satanic," and would not allow any of the scouts from his troop, and tried discourage scouts from his chapter, attend one of my chapter's Brotherhood Ceremonies.

            While that is funny, this next one is not. I was told that there was some scouts or leaders who saw the black robes, and somehow equated them the KKK. I think it was then that the chapter stopped using them.

            Now in regards to Cub Scouts not liking ceremonies, I've seen some ceremonies that kept them spell bound. Other, not so much. The key is how much practice the ceremony team has had. A good ceremony team will get, and keep their attention.

            While not ceremonies, it did involve the OA dancers. My den chief was a dancer, and as I still had some contacts with the dancers as well. So when we did the Indian Life electives as wolves, I had some dancers come out and perform at the den meeting.

            The other dens were so upset they missed it, that I had to schedule the dancers to come back and perform for the pack.