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".Be proficent in merit badge subject matter by vocation,avocation, or special training."



Dressing up like Hollywood Indians, making cheap imitation costumes and making a mockery of the sacred dances of Native Americans is in no way qualifications for teaching ANYTHING about Indian culture, and is in fact defaming and insulting to these cultures. So say what you want these 14-16 or even 18 year old OA members have no business counseling anyone about Indian lore. Insult me all you want but it still will not change the facts or meet the criteria mentioned above. OA youth are NOT ELIGIBLE and CAN NOT be Indian Lore MBC's per BSA criteria no matter how you want to twist it.

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Fellow Arrowmen,




It seems that there is a disagreement over semantics.


emb021 never said that youth members were counseling or signing completions. But that they were assisting "running" the Indian Lore program.


BadenP is correct. Membership in the OA alone does not qualify that member to be an Indian Lore counselor.


Where is the disagreement?


Semantics again, but I don't recall anyone on this forum or during this thread stating that OA Membership does automatically qualify that individual to be an Indian Lore Merit Badge Counselor.


I would hope that anyone counseling any Merit Badge American Business thru Woodwork would have the subject matter knowledge by means of a vocation, avocation or specialized training.


It appears that youth members of the BSA may instruct Merit Badge sessions, but they may not counsel or sign the Merit Badge Application as completed. I believe there are more definitive statements in the National Camping School literature. But this is from the Scouting.org webpage, regarding camp staff members under the age of 18.


Summer Camp Merit Badge Counselors

The same qualifications and rules for merit badge counselors apply to council summer camp merit badge programs. All merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years of age. Camp staff members under age 18 may assist with instruction but cannot serve in the role of the merit badge counselor.


Now, I'm interested in what the total duties are, for youth chosen by the National OA Staff leaders and Staff Advisor as part of the OA Dance Team at National Jamboree. After all, this thread was start by kahits to discuss the Arrowmen in the Indian Village at Merit Badge Midway, National Jamboree 2010. This thread wasnt started to discuss a youth Arrowmans knowledge of authentic Indian Lore. Nor any specific Lodge Dance team or Arrowman attending their local summer camp.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


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"OA youth are NOT ELIGIBLE and CAN NOT be Indian Lore MBC's per BSA criteria no matter how you want to twist it."


**This doesn't sound like semantics to me.

(and, by the way, 14 & 15 year olds are not staffers)


That being said, I agree with crew21. We many times lose sight of the original poster's intent. The OA just recently sent out a letter inviting youth members to apply for positions on the staff. Whoever served as a youth staffer in 2005 is no longer eligible to serve in that same role again. They need a whole new batch of youth, and it can't hurt to apply and see where it goes. Answers here make it sound very exclusive. Probably is, but if the youth you're considering have knowledge and talent, go for it.


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A few points.


1) Not trying to insult, but rather educate. 18-21 yos do have KSAs that DO make them experts in some fields. I gave myself as example when I was teaching Swimming, Lifesaving, Rowing, and Canoeing MBs. At the age of 15, I did my first 50 miler via canoe in the Canadian wilderness. At the age of 16, I became a YMCA certified lifeguard and swimming instructor. And at age 18 I became a YMCA Lifeguard instructor and a BSA Lifeguard. Per the MBC standards I was qualified to teach these MBs b/c it was both VOCATION, i.e. I taught Lifeguarding and swimming year round and SPECIAL TRAINING, ie. getting certified to teach swimming, to be a lifeguard, and a lifeguard instructor. If memory serves, back in the day once I turned 21 I could have signed up to be a BSA Lifeguard Instructor since I was already a YMCA Lifeguard Instructor with a skills check off and test.


2)You are correct that some folks in the OA do dress up as Hollywood Indians, and it has caused a lot of problems for the OA. Heck I've seen it myself and have tried to change that problem. But I also know of OA folks who have gotten really involved in NA culture, and are respected int he NA communuty. A few current and former OA names off the top of my head include Scott Evans, Jack Heriad, and Darry Woods. Evans wrote the Northern Traditional book, Heriad publishes Whispering Wind and has been very helpful with the Houma petition for federal recognition, and Woods is a member of the Ponca Hethuska. All three got started via the OA.


Right now I know of two youth who have an interest in singing. Just so happened that they met one of the local singing groups, have been practicing with them, and are now part of the group. They go to powwows and may be on the group's next album.


And in referecne to regalia, most folks who are serious DO put serious time and money into getting it right. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent sewing, doing beadwork, doing featherwork, etc or how much money I've spent buying those things I couldn't do myself, ie. fingerweaving, and ribbonwork, or correct supplies, i.e. multistriped tradecloth, feathers, etc. They are respectful and do participate in powwows. Heck I even placed at one local powwow (don't ask me how, I just paid my fee to support the powwow committe and for the feed. Since I was there just to have funn and meet old friends, I donated the prize money to the drums as they earned it).


And please remember a youth in the OA can be in the 18-20 bracket, so they do meet the age requirements.And Thinking about it, MBCs are a DISTRICT COMMITTEE position, so to be registered they must use an adult form. That inlcudes 18-20 yo Venturers who want to be MBCs; they fill out the adult form and are part of the DC. So I guess the entire "youth" discussion is moot since as MBCs are registered adults on a DC. ;)


Now I want to hear more about the job description that goes along with the OAIV staff.




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  • 4 weeks later...

I am not aware how difficult it is to be selected for the OA Indian Village. I served on AIA staff at a couple of NOACs and probably had an easier path since I knew the National Committee member that was responsible. I was definitely qualified and knowledgeable to serve as well. I can state without any doubt that Arrowmen selected to serve will be knowledgeable and skilled.


I find BadenP's comment,


"Dressing up like Hollywood Indians, making cheap imitation costumes and making a mockery of the sacred dances of Native Americans is in no way qualifications for teaching ANYTHING about Indian culture, and is in fact defaming and insulting to these cultures."


insulting and a blanket statement without any backing. Sometimes people that are new and learning make mistakes and might do things disrespectful of American Indian culture. I doubt that it's intentional. I personal trained/taught/drilled our sing team and when we went to South Dakota (we're all Florida people), and sang at Lakota dances, the elders tape recorded our boys. The elders would talk to them and tell them how nice it was that some kids took the time to learn the language when their own youth wouldn't. Who do you think taught them?


Whitewashing the Order's desire to have Scouts learn American Indian culture as resulting in "hollywood" and a "mockery" is disrespectful to those people, and there are many, that educate themselves about the dances, clothes, traditions, and people.


Back on topic concerning Jamboree, I know that they are still looking for staff younger than 26 for the Service Corps. Arrowmen aged 16-26 get in for half price.

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You are so right. One of my lodge's dancers/singers was able to get aboard on OAIV staff. He was able to get a recommendation for staff from another one of our lodge members who I believe is on OA staff. Very knowledgeable and sings with one of the local drums on the powwow circuit. Heck there is youtube vids of him at powwows with the drum, and he may be on their next album.

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I have to agree with Tokala (we're from the same section, but don't know who he is).


YES, there are many in the OA whose knowledge of indian lore is sadly lacking. We've all seen those people. But to slander the people involved with the AIA staff at NOAC & Jambo is a bit much.


I'm not sure about other Sections, but I think in my Section, the people teaching the AIA courses at our Conferences & Seminars are all top notch people. The people they select for AIA staff at NOAC & Jambo are amoung the best of the best in this area. Several are in fact native americans. And most have been involved in this activity for years if not decades.

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OT: S-4 rocks. Tokala is the Adviser for the upcoming FourCorps 2010 section event (and was the 2009 Section Conference Adviser...now that was an awesome event). He's also going to be my Wood Badge SM next month.


Wish I had time to get more involved in OA again, but 2 small children make it hard on my wife to give up too many weekends. That's one reason I'm a commissioner... doesn't require weekends.


Back on topic.... I don't know much about the American Indian side of OA, but I do know from listening in at some of the seminars that at least our section strives to be as respectful as possible.

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