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About MikeS

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  1. MikeS

    Who is headed to NOAC 2018?

    @HelpfulTracks I asked about it at our Fall Ordeal weekend this past weekend and apparently many seem to think it was actually the four Principals in robes - could have sworn it was the audience, but maybe not.
  2. MikeS

    Who is headed to NOAC 2018?

    It was my understanding that the black robes were worn by the Arrowmen spectators, not the four Principals; they were in regalia. Is that not correct?? The work-around, as discussed in other threads on this subject (q.v.) is what I term "Standing Bear Productions, LLC" - no official affiliation with the OA or even BSA.
  3. The only two caveats I would have for going an "alternative route" would be to have a serious review of your Crossover/AOL ceremony to ensure that it is appropriate and does not use or promote stereotyping of N/A culture; and, make sure that any regalia is as spot on as possible for your local area. The ubiquitous 'ribbon shirt' is certainly okay in a pinch or where the local custom (due to climate, etc.) is to go bare-chested and wear a just a breachclout - use your judgement and common sense. Some of the worst offenders I've seen on things like YouTube is when all four Principals appear in full blown double trailer war bonnets - just because they may be cool to wear, doesn't mean you should. Again, research, research, research! Something like that would constitute a legitimate complaint by a N/A tribe/group. If you can't quite come up with appropriate headgear for various reasons (cost, availability of supplies, etc.), better not to wear anything than the glaringly wrong thing. OK - Off my soapbox :)
  4. Thanks Oldscout448 for the 'recap' of what was discussed at NOAC. I'm pretty sure National gets a few e-mails monthly with respect to "cultural appropriation" - I suspect, given how some Lodges approach AIA/Ceremonies, etc., some of the complaints are legit, but I also suspect that some are from people just trying to make a point, as it were. As some have stated, it should have been more of a development of a set of rules and guidelines rather than entirely eliminating what in most cases can be a powerful experience. Our Chapter is currently on 'summer hiatus', but once things get rolling again in September, I'm hoping we can come up with a "Standing Bear Productions, LLC" solution without upsetting that applecart known as the Lodge. I suspect they'll have no issue with it - our Lodge Advisor was quite enthusiastic about wanting to get more AIA in the Lodge, so I don't anticipate an issue. It might be more convincing the Packs it's still okay to use our "splinter business entity" for their ceremonies
  5. I have to agree with most on this subject. To say that the new scripts form National are ‘rather lame’ would indeed be a kindness. Any Scouts can perform these as written; there is absolutely no need for the OA to do these. The Crossover is essentially an infomercial/promo on high adventure camps that are so cost-prohibitive, most Scouts will never be able to afford to go. There are plenty of AOL/Crossover scripts out there on the internet that incorporate Native American themes. A Pack may choose to do any one of these. Most OA Crossover/AOL ceremonies, however, are written by the Chapters. We have/had a combined Crossover/AOL ceremony that was based on many of the local American Indian traditions including traditional songs, storytelling, honoring the parents, and a give-away. Our regalia was carefully researched and we even used a few words and phrases from our state’s original language in the ceremony. When a Pack requested our Chapter to do their Crossover/AOL, they got our ceremony – i.e. we essentially only do our ceremony, but if there are particular elements they’d like incorporated, we were usually able to work it in. Our Lodge has even been involved with sponsoring a pow-wow at which we would teach Native crafts to kids all morning while adults were preparing themselves for the Grand Entry. As many have said, if carefully researched and done correctly, it can provide for a very impressive experience for the Webelos (and observing Pack). That said, it just takes a few ‘bad apples’ to ruin it for the rest. I would be very curious to know exactly what the complaints were that they got from American Indian groups/Nations/Tribes(?) which prompted the drastic change in policy. I suspect that will never become “public information”. As to inconsistencies, see above – there are hundreds of such ceremonies; it is a rare thing to see any two Packs having the same ceremony (at least in my neck of the woods). I don’t see the issue here. It was always my understanding that, as far as the black robes are concerned, those were worn by attending spectators (Arrowmen) at the ceremonies whilst the Principals wore regalia. As a note – if native dress has been handmade, or even bought (providing it’s properly made and bought from a reputable establishment), it is never referred to as a ‘costume’; it’s either ‘native dress’ or ‘regalia’. To refer to it as such is considered insulting. I have to wonder if this is just a one-time thing, i.e. complaints with Crossover/AOL ceremonies from a particular American Indian group targeted at a specific Lodge/Chapter, and as a result Crossover/AOL ceremonies got revamped for everyone, or is this the beginning of phasing out the American Indian element of the OA? That’s a phenomenal amount of symbolism that will need to be reworked into new ceremonies and traditions (WWW, admonition, vigil names, lodge names, induction ceremonies, just to name a few). Someone had mentioned Chapters starting a “hire-out” type group as a sort of loophole around the rule. A group of youth who do Crossover/AOL ceremonies using American Indian symbolism, etc. Pretty much business as usual but “sans sash”. These groups would wear regalia and would not have or make any references to the OA, i.e. “Standing Bear Productions, LLC” as an official name of such an entity. Interesting idea, but not sure it would fly if the same mistakes are made that initiated the initial complaints in the first place. It also begs the question of whether Packs will be permitted to make any reference to American Indians in any of their ceremonies. As having A/I ancestry, I don’t have any issues with Chapters using regalia, etc. so long as it’s done correctly and with respect to the culture and people being emulated. That said, I have seen ceremonies plastered on YouTube that are just cringeworthy. I did not attend NOAC but would be interested to hear if this recent change was addressed and to what extent.
  6. MikeS


    Yes, we use hand drums and flute as the Candidates proceed to the ceremony ring - it's a long path through the woods so plenty of places to situate oneself unseen by the Candidates, but the music heard by all who are in the area. It works quite nice if players are familiar with the instruments and are actually playing a piece and not just making 'sound'. We have a huge hand drum that is used for some ceremonies which, on a quiet night on a lakefront, can be heard for quite some distance.
  7. Guess I don't really see what the big concern is with coed rules and the like - there has been co-ed Scouting in the US since the 50's; the Polish and Ukrainian Scouts (ZHP and Plast, respectively) have been coed in this country since they "moved" here in the 1950's - not sure why we just don't confer with them to see how they've been dealing with these issues for the past several decades in the US. I'm sure they've figured out most of the 'bugs' by now. Ukrainian "Plastunka" - female member of 'Plast' Polish ZHP (Hufiec/Council "Warmia" I'm sure they could offer a ton of info - Just sayin'
  8. MikeS

    OA and the aboriginal cultures

    If it is done correctly, I don't see it as an issue. Many regalia pieces are based on historic pieces and are meticulously researched. Some are even more "authentic" and historically correct (in not only appearance but construction) than what many actual tribal members will wear to a typical Pow Wow. If done correctly and respectfully, complaints are pretty rare around my neck of the woods. That entails actually learning the culture and learning what is appropriate and what is not. That said, you do see the "Chief Wannabe" types as well, which unfortunately give the Order a bad name.
  9. MikeS

    A Lënape Carol

    Here's a popular Christmas Carol translated into the Northern Unami dialect of Lenape (the dialect the OA borrowed from). Enjoy! Lënape Carol.pdf
  10. MikeS

    Integration and Ceremonies

    Obviously, the names of the Principals may need reconsideration - 'Guide' would still be okay for either male or female, all other "positions" though were typically male. You could, of course, have a female Medicine Woman, but you couldn't keep the Lenape name as it refers strictly to a male.
  11. Considering most Scouting in the world is co-ed, I think it's about time we jumped into the current century. Why would it not be possible to see how other countries that have had co-ed Scouting for years and years deal with it. In fact Polish Scouts and Ukraine Scouts are actively established right here in the US (a fall out from WWII, I believe) - 'ZHP' and 'Plast' are both co-ed, and right here in the US - why not learn from them??
  12. MikeS

    Proud of our ceremonies team

    As Teams become more "well known" in their district (and even out of district), it's not at all uncommon to get multiple requests in the same day. Kudos for your Team handling the scheduling snafu so well (but get used to it - it does indeed happen). Our guys have a tradition this time of year - when we have two 'back to back' ceremonies, they do not change out of regalia, rather they proceed to a local McDonalds, walk in (a la full regalia) and order Shamrock shakes. Funds are generally in one of their many pouches. I can just imagine the look behind the counter:) Whatever works!
  13. MikeS

    Ordeal Ceremony Sequence

    Night time seems to be the general consensus with which I totally agree; the Ceremonies as written (particularly Ordeal) are really not written for a "daylight" performance.
  14. MikeS

    Ordeal Ceremony Sequence

    CalicoPenn and Oldscout448, Yeah, oftentimes I suspect it's the kitchen crew who actually determines when the ceremonies are held! Typically, they have an idea of when dinner will be ready and it's almost up to the adult ceremonies advisor to then determine when the ceremonies will be held. It's totally ridiculous. With the change, the kitchen crew could do dinner whenever they wanted to since the ceremonies would not happen until later in the evening. Totally agree - some of Meteu's lines sound ludicrous at 5:00 pm in bright daylight and even worse at our past Fall Lodge Conference (they decided to offer an Ordeal Weekend as well) this past weekend when the ceremony was at about 2:30! Just kills it completely!
  15. MikeS

    Ordeal Ceremony Sequence

    Thanks Calico Penn - that's kind of what I suspected, i.e. not policy, but rather guideline only. Hope we can get it changed in our Lodge. The issue would be logistics I suspect and I'm sure we'll get flack from someone, but at least it's something that is not etched in stone and can't be changed - really good to know.