Re: BSA & Native American Culture.
Michael Rogero Brown (michaelb@SUNRISE.CSE.FAU.EDU)
Wed, 12 Oct 1994 10:32:39 -0400
> The concept of "How" being an indian greeting got me thinking about
> this topic.
> The number of Native American Lanuages where "How" is a greeting is
> pretty small. I don't know how it first used in popular culture for
> a stereotypical Indian greeting, though.
> BSA originally adopted various parts of the Delaware "nation" culture
> into its program in the 1910s & 1920s, does anyone know if there is
> any part of that that has changed due to objection of the members
> of the "nation"? Are the OA name formation syllables the Delaware
By 'name formation' I assume you are referring to OA Vigil names? There is
no rule that says you must use the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) language. In my
Lodge (Osceola #564 of Southwest Florida), many of the Vigil names that have
been given out in the last 10 years or so have been taken from the Seminole
languages. For all I know, other lodge might do the same. I think other
Florida lodges also give out Vigil names taken from local Indian languages.
> Given the change in status of Native American Culture between the
> 1920's and the 1990's I'd like to find out if BSA
> a) was very much ahead of its time in treatment of the Native American
> culture in the 1920's
> b) has changed its treatment of Native American Culture over the years
> (Any significant changes would be interesting)
> c) is dealing with objections to its treatment of Native American Culture
> d) Other.
Things have changed. I recall at a recent NOAC, that a rule came down that
OA Dance teams were NOT to use wigs or makeup to make them look like an
One thing that has changed over the years is that National has encourged
lodges for some time to base their ceremonies costumes on local Indians as
apposed to a sort of 'generic Indian' look based on Hollywood movies. In my
own lodge, we've adapted the clothing of the early 1800s Seminoles, and many
of our members also participate in Second Seminole War re-enactments with
our outfits. Because we've taken the time to research our outfits, we've
gotten a positive response from local Indians for respecting their history
and culture. This is also true of some of the other lodges in Florida.
The lodge based in Miami has a dance team that does Seminole dances in
accurate Seminole outfits (they were national dance team champions at the
1990 NOAC). Also at our Section Seminars (our Section has 2 yearly events:
a Conference and Seminars/Council of Chiefs) we've had a whole set of
seminars on Southeast Indian Culture.
Of course, this is how it is in Florida. Other areas may be different.
Michael R. Brown
Southwest Florida Council
Osceola Lodge #564, WWW
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