Re: BSA and Native Americans
Don Izard (IZARD@UBVM.BITNET)
Thu, 14 May 1992 09:31:37 EDT
Bob and others:
The OA and BSA has been very conerned about OA cermonies and any other
cermony that may offend Native Americans. The OS has worked very
closly with various Native American groups to insure that no violation
of "sacred items, legends or ceremoies" should be performed by any
member of the OA. The are Native American members of BSA and the OA.
The Koshari (sp?) Indian Dance teams from New Mexico (or maybe Arizona)
are in fact affiliated with BSA, and has a significant number of
Eagle Scouts on the Dance teams. At the National OA conference, there
is a Dance competetion, that is normaly reviewed by Native Americans.
While it is true that the OA in the past has used sacred totems in
ways that offended some Native Americans, much has been done in more
recent years to correct any such problems. The OA has changed TAP out
and other ceremonies in the updated ceremony guides to remove or change
parts that were found to offend Native Americans or any others. While
the ceremonies STILL call UPON the "Great Spirit", I think most people
can accept that to mean "GOD" in the universal sense.
No matter what the BSA or the OA try to adjust, it seems that they just
keep everyone happy! I guess we must, in the end, accept that BSA is just
not a perfect universal organization for everyone! It is important to
retain some history and tradition, and to stand up for the fundamental
principals on which the organization was founded. I guess we just we
have to accept that some people will not agree with those principles
or the way that the program is delivered. OA is unique to BSA, as far
as I know. NO other of the world scouting organization has anything
quit like it, in either purpose or operation. I am not sure how a
Scout in Europe or Asia would react to ceremonies based on Native
American Legends anyway. BUT, be aware that the Lenni Lenape indians
were Real Native Americans, not just a ficticious story.
A History of the OA was published arround the time of the 75th anniversary
of the OA. You should be able to find it at your local council, or it
can be ordered from National BSA supply.
DOn Izard, still scouting since '57
OA since '61 (I think)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City