Scout Honor Societies

Tribe of Sierra - In the late 1920’s to early 1930’s, long before the Order of the Arrow was the scout honor society for Mount Lassen Council, there was the “Tribe of Sierra”. This “tribe” honored outstanding good campers at Camp Na-Wa-Kwa. Scouts chosen to become members were notified to be at a certain place at a specified hour where they were taken in tow by members of the “tribe”. The initiation was conferred in an old trapper or hunter’s cabin near the camp. The ceremony was conducted in a room with little light and was very impressive. The first year a boy was initiated as a “Brave”. In succeeding years, when attending camp, he could become a “Warrior”, “Medicine Man”, or “Chief”.

Known memorabilia from the Tribe when it was at Na-Wa-Kwa is limited to the "Warrior" Strip and the “Medicine Man” strip. The Medicine Man strip was given to the author by an early 1930’s Tribe member who remembered strips for the other “ranks” (similar strips can be seen in 1930’s photographs). The Tribe of Sierra moved from Camp Na-Wa-Kwa to Camp Lassen in 1935 and remained an active part of the camp’s program up until at least the late 1940’s and possibly until the Order of the Arrow started in 1952.

First year campers were eligible for the Tribe. Those who were selected were blindfolded and taken to a secluded camp-fire for an induction ceremony. After the ceremony and some hazing the Scout became a “Papoose” member of the Tribe and received a blue and yellow round patch with an Indian’s head on it. Second year campers could earn a “Brave” arc; third year campers a “Warrior” arc; and, fourth year campers a “Medicine Man” arc to go around the “Papoose” segment. Finally, in the fifth year at camp, a Scout could work hard and be choosen to the “Chiefs Council”. Following his selection, a final special activity, such as a three day back pack, was required to earn the final

Tribe of Sierra “Warrior” strip, early 1930’s.
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Tribe of Sierra “Medicine Man” strip, early 1930’s.
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Memorabilia from the Tribe of Sierra at Camp Lassen which was eaned between 1945 and 1949.


From: Journal of The American Scouting Historical Society, "The Tribes of the Golden Empire Council" by Alan O’Connor, No. 7, 1999. Text and images used by permission of the author. arc.

Material found on this page is the work of David L. Eby and used USSSP, Inc. by permission. This material may not be reproduced without the express permission of David L. Eby

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