Jump to content

Recommended Posts

A highly respected brother in our lodge passed away recently after 6 decades of continuous service mentoring ceremony teams.  There is talk of honouring his memory with a broken arrow ceremony,  but I have zero experience with such.

Anyone here ever done/ seen one?

What was it like?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a part of a Broken Arrow ceremony a few years back in my old Council.  It was a very unique and meaningful experience.  The brother who passed was a former Lodge Adviser and Camp Ranger.  Our Lodge at the time did not have a very strong ceremonies program, so our Scout Executive asked myself and another "youthful" adult to conduct the ceremony.  While an actual youth would have been preferred, we didn't want to have one of the youth try to stumble through it given the solemn nature of the occasion.  The only regalia we donned were headdresses.  It was unlike any ceremony experience I had before or since.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Several years ago, we did one for my father-in-law who had almost 80 years in Scouting and almost as much in the OA. We had a great Ceremonies Team, but we'd never done such a ceremony. Went more or less "by the book" and were able to get a quick practice in - did the two lines of Arrowmen with linked arms, but in one spot, one Arrowman was holding one end of the Arrow and another Arrowman the other so as to create an "empty spot" for the deceased brother. His sash was draped over the arrow. The same arrow was later broken, so...if you do something like that, the arrow is typically 'notched' about half way down so it breaks easily. Need to be careful so as not to break it before it's actually supposed to be broken. Very intense ceremony and we had a lot of good comments. If you can manage a bit of practice beforehand, it's a ceremony that will be remembered by many. It's a very unique experience. Regalia was worn sans headdress.  

Edited by MikeS
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the ceremony from our chapter. Since the ceremony is performed in public, I see no need to post in the safeguarded area. 

I hope this helps:



Broken Arrow Ceremony



This ceremony is a final tribute to a deceased Arrowman who served others cheerfully and embodied the Scout Oath and Scout Law in his daily life. At the request, or with the consent, of the deceased’s family,

it is performed at the wake or funeral home. The Lodge and/or Chapter Advisor, Chief, and acting Allowat Sakima and Meteu should offer appropriate condolences to the family at the ceremony’s  conclusion.

All Order of the Arrow members attending the Ceremony should be in full uniform and wearing OA sashes.



Arrow that has been painted red with notch in center of shaft

Scouting history of the deceased



The Lodge Brothers file into the parlor forming two equal lines extending from each end of the casket.

One line is led by Allowat Sakima while the other line is led by Meteu. Once in position, the Brothers shall cross arms, right over left, and join hands with the Brothers on each side. An arrow (which has been painted red) will be carried by the second Brother in Meteu’s line. Once in position, the arrow is held between the second and third Brother in Meteu’s line. Each of these Brothers shall hold the opposite arrow ends, leaving a space in the line bridged by the arrow, to indicate the spirit of the departed brother. Allowat Sakima and Meteu will be in full Scout or Explorer uniform with OA sash and may wear appropriate Indian head dress. Allowat Sakima and Meteu step out in front of the casket about three feet and face the mourners.


Meteu: We are members of (INSERT LODGE HERE) Order of the Arrow.

The Order of the Arrow is a society of Scouts and Scouters who have been recognized by their fellow Scouts for their outstanding devotion to the high ideals of the Scout Oath and Law – a Brotherhood

of Cheerful Service – whose foundation is modeled after the legends of the Delaware Indians.

We have come here tonight to pay our final tribute to our departed Brother, INSERT NAME OF DECEASED HERE.

Our mighty Chief shall now present a brief review of our Brother DECEASED personal Scouting history.

(Nods and turns to Allowat Sakima)


Allowat Sakima:


(Gives a brief Scouting history of the departed Brother.

  Information may be obtained from personal  history, forms, family, or close Scouting friends).



(Allowat Sakima nods and turns to Meteu)


Meteu:  Peace my Brothers of the Arrow

Of this Lodge and humble tribe,

Bear with me this obligation

To our Brother gone before us

On the trail of fulfillment.


He who camped and served among us,

He who always stood beside us

Now has left his earthly trail

For the trail of his Maker.


Let us in our hearts and minds

Remember he who was our brother

On the Earth . . . but now forever

Brother Deceased in spirit with us.


Meteu gets the arrow which has been held between the second and third Brothers in his line.

These Brothers will not join hands when the arrow is taken by Meteu. The space in the line is to remain as an indication of the position formally held by the departed brother. The arrow should be taken and given with both hands on the arrow at all times during transfers. Meteu then passes the arrow to Allowat Sakima.  

Allowat Sakima takes the arrow with both hands.


Allowat Sakima: As a symbol of our Order,

                             The arrow has been fitly chosen.

 It must be straight, its point keen.

 Aimed high, its course undeviating.

 Its direction onward and upward.

 It is, therefore, a symbol of leadership.


 The breaking of the arrow (break arrow) is symbolic of the end of strife

 Leadership given, service accomplished, and the beginning of peace.


(Give the arrow to the widow or family member

 or place the arrow on the deceased with the point of the arrow over the right shoulder.  

 or an OA sash can be placed across the deceased’s chest or over the casket by Meteu).


 Meteu, will you strengthen our spirits with a prayer?


Meteu:  Oh, Great Spirit,

Hear us in our prayer this evening,

A final tribute to our Brother.


He who loved the haunts of nature,

Loved the moonlight on the water,

Loved the sunshine on the meadow,

Loved the shadow of the forest,

Loved the wind among the pine trees,

Loved the rushing of great rivers,

Loved the thunder of the mountains,

Loved all nature in its splendor,

Found in nature duty to Man,

Pledged himself to cheerful service,

Serving his fellows and his Master

Pondering that which is our purpose.


Rest Brother, . . .

We’ve known you well indeed

And now in peace you’ll sleep.

You’ve done your work and done it well

So none of us need weep.  (pause for 10 to 15 seconds)


So be it.


Allowat Sakima then leads his line past the casket and files out of the parlor.

Meteu then follows by leading his line past the casket and also files out of the parlor.

  • Thanks 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

In addition to the ceremony, a few of us decided to keep a fire burning throughout the night in memory of all the brothers of the Vigil honor we lost in the last year.  I sat and  kept watch from 1:00-3:00am. Many of my brothers walked past and placed a stick or two into the flames. There was some flute playing by one brother. Another drummed and sang.  Some talked softly to each other, remembering those they had loved and lost.  Just before dawn we used a flame from the  watch fire to light the "other" one.  My Vigil brothers will understand.

Probably the most moving  "ceremony " I have ever seen

it was a privilege and an honor to be a part of it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...