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
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.
Tribe of Sierra “Medicine
Man” strip, early 1930’s.
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.
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