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John-in-KC

NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

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5 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Black robes... what are the other options?

One thing I heard about was solid colored shirts. each prinicpal ceremonialist would have a corresponding colored shirt that symbolizes something.

 

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That sounds better than black robes.  I think some people would misunderstand the meaning of the black robes,  regardless of the fact that they were used all those years ago on Treasure Island.  (The actual island, Treasure Island, is in New Jersey.  It is one of two islands that makes up the ex-camp, the other one of which is in Pa.  Just thought I'd mention that.)

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On 7/27/2018 at 8:33 PM, NJCubScouter said:

I am curious, how would you answer your own question?

Why is the homage to NA lore such an important distinctive? I think there are several reasons.

  • Multiculturalism. This may come as a surprise to a few of you, but a vote-swaying cluster of young adults in the USA have an Anglo-centric vision of American culture. They aren't prepared to do the work to form "out of many, one." The NA role-play allows youth to work out this tension.
  • The land. The majority of youth count on someone else to work the land for them. The harvest, famine, animal migration that may have gone on under their feet is lost to them. Reenacting how NA addressed these natural challenges inculcates a notion of taking responsibility to work with one's environment.
  • Meager rations, open sky, hard work, etc .... Those experiences come together as a coherent whole in the NA mystique.
  • Reverence. Although tribal life was immediately practical, the NA mystique is an ongoing dialogue with "the other". Young people benefit from the rough imitation of this dialogue when they go home and reflect on their own journey of faith.

Also let's not forget that the US Founding Fathers reckoned with the NA tribes as a matter of course. When role-playing NA -- not just playing "cowboys and Indians" -- youth begin to have a foil against which to gauge the forces of history. It won't be a perfect mirror, but as youth mature, they will be able to decide if what they've learned from their tribes applies to the problems of the day ... or if they will need to look for another metaphor.

Now does all this need to start at AoL and Crossover? Maybe. Maybe not. But, the one thing that should be modeled to boys this young is creative role play. So, for Packs and Lodges who think cubs do need this, I wish rather than scripts, the National Chief and advisors would have written guidelines with examples (and possibly comment sections).

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" Too many chiefs and not enough braves?

We can always use more chiefs,for

' He who serves is greatest!' the Chief, the Sakima.

 

What is a Sakina?

He is a man with feathers- the Inner Man in each if us:

  The feathered Spirit that, like an arrow,  flies straight and true.

 

What is the work of ceremonies? 

Fletching.  Fletching every one!"

Jay Dunbar ' The Drum'

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Our chapter ceremonial team performed the Call-Out Ceremony for the last week of summer camp this past Friday night. I had been the advisor for many years. I had already informed our chapter and lodge advisors that this would be it for me because of all of the changes. Our team performed a great ceremony that night. I was very proud, and I told them so.

I appropriately disposed of all of our regalia the following day, Saturday, in a private gathering at our other council camp. It all now belongs to the sky.

 

Congratulations on the OA for becoming a service group with no direction or spirit. It won't last long no matter how low your membership qualifications go.

Congratulations on the Boy Scouts for becoming Scouts, BSA, another fine family camping club.

Great memories. Wonderful fellowship. Some things don't have to change just to please the loud minority.

Oh well, I have pictures. 

sst3rd

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31 minutes ago, sst3rd said:

Our chapter ceremonial team performed the Call-Out Ceremony for the last week of summer camp this past Friday night. I had been the advisor for many years. I had already informed our chapter and lodge advisors that this would be it for me because of all of the changes. Our team performed a great ceremony that night. I was very proud, and I told them so.

I appropriately disposed of all of our regalia the following day, Saturday, in a private gathering at our other council camp. It all now belongs to the sky.

 

Congratulations on the OA for becoming a service group with no direction or spirit. It won't last long no matter how low your membership qualifications go.

Congratulations on the Boy Scouts for becoming Scouts, BSA, another fine family camping club.

Great memories. Wonderful fellowship. Some things don't have to change just to please the loud minority.

Oh well, I have pictures. 

sst3rd

From one old ceremonies advisor to another   

A scout salute, the handclasp of our Order, and a heartfelt  Thank You !  

Godspeed

 

 

Edited by Oldscout448

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I sure hope my chapter doesn't do that with the regalia they use and the drum. 1/2 the regalia is my personal stuff I am loaning to them. And while they bought the drum, My oldest and I built the stand for it. My hope was that someday he would be and Arrowman, and sit at the drum to sing. With all the changes going on, he has no interest in the OA.

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8 hours ago, sst3rd said:

Our chapter ceremonial team performed the Call-Out Ceremony for the last week of summer camp this past Friday night. I had been the advisor for many years. I had already informed our chapter and lodge advisors that this would be it for me because of all of the changes. Our team performed a great ceremony that night. I was very proud, and I told them so.

I appropriately disposed of all of our regalia the following day, Saturday, in a private gathering at our other council camp. It all now belongs to the sky.

 

Congratulations on the OA for becoming a service group with no direction or spirit. It won't last long no matter how low your membership qualifications go.

Congratulations on the Boy Scouts for becoming Scouts, BSA, another fine family camping club.

Great memories. Wonderful fellowship. Some things don't have to change just to please the loud minority.

Oh well, I have pictures. 

sst3rd

Question - did you personally own the regalia that you sacrificed to the sky or did you take it upon yourself, based on rumors and hearsay to burn costumes and equipment belonging to the chapter?  

 

And yes, I used the word costumes - not regalia - regalia has a specific meaning and is related to the ceremonial dress that is worn by monarchs and royal families.  

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3 hours ago, CalicoPenn said:

Question - did you personally own the regalia that you sacrificed to the sky or did you take it upon yourself, based on rumors and hearsay to burn costumes and equipment belonging to the chapter?  

Again, this is a discussion point at noac. Why is the sky falling, or at least filling with ashes?

3 hours ago, CalicoPenn said:

And yes, I used the word costumes - not regalia - regalia has a specific meaning and is related to the ceremonial dress that is worn by monarchs and royal families.

Have to disagree here. Regalia can also mean ceremonial clothing.

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The off topic material has been moved to the uniform forum. 

Edited by John-in-KC

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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.

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I have been reluctant to reply as I was unable to attend NOAC.   I did however have a long conversation at last weekends Vigil inductions with a friend who has been performing / advising ceremonies  for over 40 years, and has often served as a NOAC  judge as well.    It seems there was a one hour seminar devoted to this subject, that ran almost three hours.

So as best as my sleep deprived brain can recall...  National was receiving 4-6 phone calls or emails a month complaining of cultural theft.  That's 48-72 per year out of how many thousands of AoL ceremonies?  But this is National.    They seem to panic at any negative press now days.   So they decided to rework it and take it out of local hands.    The first draft was written by the two guys who rewrote the Brotherhood Ceremony a few years back.  Then it was handed off to the Cub Exec Committee.   Which is why, I guess,  it is such a " lame, corny " skit.  As well as a rather shameless plug for expensive high adventure camps.   

The attendees were assured that there is no plan to change anything else.   Callouts, Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil will remain as they are.

Of course there was " no plan to let girls into Boy Scouts " either.

Call me cynical 

Oldscout

PS.  So far, every scout on my team wants to go with a Standing Bear Productions  LLC model  

 

Edited by Oldscout448
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I don’t doubt there were complaints complaints (just go to powwows.com forums and search on Boy Scouts or Order of Arrow).  Instead of outright banning the ceremony I wish they setup some rules or guidelines along the lines of working with a tribe.  

There is very little taught about NA culture in our school systems.  OA and aspects of Boy Scouts should be used to teach accurate aspects of their culture (both past and current).  If a OA chapter doesn’t want to be part of this... no problem.  But if an OA chapter and tribe work together, it would be a powerful experience.

My limited OA experience along with several experiences in BSA exposed me to NA culture much more than any other aspect in my life.  I’m not an expert and there were probably some errors but it did make me more of a knowledgeable advocate of Indian Affairs.  My college had an Indian Mascot.   I was told by friends and college officials that the dance and “costume” were authentic.  Upon first glance of the “dance” I could see it was pure Hollywood and the costume was nothing I saw at local powwows... it was Sioux.  I marched in protest of that mascot as my BSA and OA background helped teach me respect for NA.  OA and BSA may not be perfect... but I do see the NA representation as a benefit to both youth and NAs if done correctly.  I wish and hope they find a balanced approach going forward 

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