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Oldscout448

OA to end AoL ceremonies?

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Wow I’m glad I finished scouts before the adults took all the fun out of it. Reading this forum I see a ton of stuff my leaders protected us from. I hope they can continue to offer my troop the fun I experienced. But if bsa continues down this path I doubt there will be much left. 

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Over the past 20+ years I’ve come to the belief that NA culturally representation is owned by NAs.  If an OA lodge works with a local tribe and comes to some sort of agreement to honor them through ceremony I’m all in favor.  If NA tribes in the area are not in favor then it starts to feel like a blackface play... even if well intentioned.   

I will say my experience in OA and with any NA cultural experience within BSA was done with respect and we discussed NA history in full context.  I would certainly hate to lose this as it is a great opportunity to keep NA history, culture and customs alive.  At the same time, if NA groups see this as insulting then it cannot continue. Perhaps National OA can discuss this with various tribes with the goal of finding a way to use ceremonies for eduction and honoring NA traditions.  

I would look at what Florida State did with the Seminoles as a good example.

 

 

Edited by Eagle1993
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I wonder if Germans get offended at the cultural appropriation that happens every October or the Irish every March. Have yet to hear them complain or the appropriation stop. 

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I don't believe culture is something that can be "owned." It's a dangerous path, claiming that something as broad and esoteric as culture can be owned and dictated by one group of people. That's one of the primary issues challenging society today - the idea that cultural ideas, artistic expression, or symbolic representation can "belong" to somebody, or even more challenging, to a group - and who, pray tell, determines who can or cannot belong to that group? 

I am not talking about race, mind you - although some have trouble distinguishing between the two. But my parents come from two very distinct and different cultures, and I know first-hand what kind of problems can arise when people try to take possession of cultural elements in an attempt to preserve or protect cultural identity. It's possible to share in elements of a people's culture without doing so offensively, and if people do take offense, that is their choice - but that should not give them the right to legislate the first group's freedom to include those elements in their activities if that is their wish. To claim that a group "owns" such things is both unwise and unjust - and sets a dangerous precedent that can be turned against them in unexpected ways.

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Correct. German and Irish decendants are part of those parades and support them.  I’m of Irish decent and my wife is primarily German.  If NAs are part of the ceremony or if the OA works with them on a ceremony then no issue.  The issue is when a population that was nearly killed off by another race has their customs taken and performed without their permission and against their will.  

Just think if Germany scouts danced around dressed like Hasidic Jews.  Sure, it has been generations since that genocide and the German scouts could be doing that in honor, but if the Hasidic Jews stated it was disrespectful then there should be no argument.  I would also argue that I would never tell the Hasidic Jews that their offense is simply “their choice”.  

Given that we (non NAs) have taken nearly everything from NAs I do feel they get to own their cultural representations.  

I’m not sure it would qualify or even be achievable, but I think it could be an awesome Eagle Scout project for a local OA member to work with a local tribe to develop a ceremony accurate to local NA culture that could be passed down for generations.  

 

 

Edited by Eagle1993

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Given that this change from OA regalia to no OA regalia is likely a done deal, what suggestions do you all have for making an impressive AoL ceremony for the Webelos crossing over?

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10 hours ago, Back Pack said:

Wow I’m glad I finished scouts before the adults took all the fun out of it. Reading this forum I see a ton of stuff my leaders protected us from. I hope they can continue to offer my troop the fun I experienced. But if bsa continues down this path I doubt there will be much left. 

It is sad indeed. While I am not an OA member, I've seen some outstanding OA Tap outs. They were very respectful and awesome to watch. Closing campfire at our favorite summer camp was run by the OA. I'll be really sad if that changes this summer.

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11 hours ago, LeCastor said:

Given that this change from OA regalia to no OA regalia is likely a done deal, what suggestions do you all have for making an impressive AoL ceremony for the Webelos crossing over?

Damifino

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10 hours ago, LeCastor said:

Our Lodge Advisor attended an event at Philmont Training Center last fall and it was mentioned that, henceforth, OA chapters are NOT to conduct Arrow of Light ceremonies in Native American regalia.  (As a member of the ceremonies team in my youth Lodge, I was always encouraged to call it "regalia" and never a "costume."  Not knocking anyone on the Forum--just an FYI from my Chapter Advisor.)  This doesn't mean that Arrowmen cannot conduct an AoL ceremony out of regalia.  No, it wouldn't have the same effect but would still be impressive to the Webelos in that they see older Boy Scouts in uniform with bright white sashes welcoming them to Boy Scouting.

Over the years, I have kept somewhat close tabs on how the Order of the Arrow is viewed by various Native American nations.  Some support the OA and others don't.  There have been lawsuits filed against the BSA by various nations, so moving forward the OA will have to be cautious about how ceremonies in NA regalia are depicted in various media.  My understanding is that there shouldn't be any published photographs of Arrowmen in regalia whatsoever.  (In theory, no Ordeal, Brotherhood, or Vigil ceremonies should be videotaped or photographed anyway...)

Interesting since our Lodge posts pictures and videos of the dances online and has invited local media a few times. (This the dance portion and not the ceremonies).

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7 hours ago, Back Pack said:

I wonder if Germans get offended at the cultural appropriation that happens every October or the Irish every March. Have yet to hear them complain or the appropriation stop. 

My father had many Irish relatives (one was an IRA member and was banned from the house) and they WERE offended by the stereotypical drunkfest. But they got over it...just assumed folks were ignorant and jealous because they were not born Irish.

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2 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

My father had many Irish relatives (one was an IRA member and was banned from the house) and they WERE offended by the stereotypical drunkfest. But they got over it...just assumed folks were ignorant and jealous because they were not born Irish.

My point. :) They got over it and kept their indignation to themselves. My German grandparents are the same way about the appropriation Oktoberfest. 

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23 hours ago, LeCastor said:

Given that this change from OA regalia to no OA regalia is likely a done deal, what suggestions do you all have for making an impressive AoL ceremony for the Webelos crossing over?

I'm sad if this is true, but can understand it.

I was never an OA member.  So while the ceremony is impressive, I don't have an emotional attachment to it.

I think my instinct would be to capture the themes and pagentry of the current ceremony, but remove the Native American imagery.

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I am in the OA and personally, the real meanings of OA don't have to be tied to regalia and ceremonies.  There are loads of ceremony themes that could be adopted and be awesome.  The ceremonies and regalia doesn't define my heart for service and brotherhood. 

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11 hours ago, mashmaster said:

I am in the OA and personally, the real meanings of OA don't have to be tied to regalia and ceremonies.  There are loads of ceremony themes that could be adopted and be awesome.  The ceremonies and regalia doesn't define my heart for service and brotherhood. 

But who are you going to offend? That’s the question. Somebody is going to get offended about something so why bother. Unless you pick a groups that’s not going to complain about the use of their culture. 

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1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

But who are you going to offend? That’s the question. Somebody is going to get offended about something so why bother. Unless you pick a groups that’s not going to complain about the use of their culture. 

Why do we have to pretend to be anyone else?  That is the question.  Does it make the experience better if we dress up as someone else?

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