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Change in Vigil Honor Totem

At the 1931 Grand Lodge Meeting the delegates unanimously passed a motion to change the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) symbol from a triangle to an arrowhead with arrow superimposed on it, upon which was placed the totem of the local lodge. There is no evidence that the new Vigil Honor totem was ever used or produced and this action was reversed at the next Grand Lodge Meeting in 1933. Nine years later this design concept became the basis of the design of the Distinguished Service Award.

Tribe Reverts back to "Lodge"

By early March 1936 after scarcely 14 months, the BSA decided that they no longer wanted the term “tribe” to be used by the Order of the Arrow. The reason cited was conflict with use of the same term by the Lone Scout program.

Second Degree Questionnaire Required

In 1927, the 31 questions were recommended and accepted. The need for these questions, to assure knowledge of Second Degree members was first brought to the Grand Lodge's attention in 1923. However, the formal requirement for knowing the content of the 31 questions did not become a requirement for the Second Degree until 1936.

In 1936, the Brotherhood (Second) Honor was printed in a booklet format. The cover was in green ink. A section entitled “Question List for Examination of Members on the First Honor” was placed in the front of the book. These 31 questions were asked of the Brotherhood candidates before they could be inducted into the Brotherhood (Second) Honor (Degree).

Lawrence Branch

Lawrence Branch was an early African American leader at camp and in the Order of the Arrow in Chicago. He served at Camp Belnap, Chicago’s segregated camp and as a chapter chief for many years in the 1930s for Takodah Chapter of Owasippe Lodge. In the 1930s, the chapters in Owasippe Lodge were typically larger than most lodges. Lawrence Branch was one of the Chicago Councils leaders for Camp Promotion. He was one of seven Arrowmen that were “Wagon Bosses” for the Gold Rush camp promotion for Owasippe Scout Reservation in 1936.

Ceremonial Rituals are Changed

In 1933, the Grand Lodge was making the preparations necessary to become an official BSA program. In August of that year, a document entitled: A Statement of Principles Applying in the Case of National Approval of the Order of the Arrow, was produced to give guidance to the transition needed within the Order of the Arrow (OA).

One of the sections made reference to the Rituals of the Order of the Arrow and stated the following:

A competent committee will review the Ritual in its entirety with a view to assuring that it is free from:

1. Any words or phrases, which may cause offense to religious bodies
2. Any performance or expressions, which may be interpreted as acts of religious worship
3. Any employment of the element of secrecy as in obligation, which may prove inconsistent with the policies of Scouting.

Between 1933 and early 1935 the OA’s rituals underwent strong examination and rewrites to ascertain that the rituals were in compliance with the guidelines set forth in 1933 necessary for National Council BSA approval.

George Lower

George Lower was inducted into the Order of the Arrow (OA) at Treasure Island during the second summer of Wimachtendienk in 1916. He was one of the two major contributors to the writing of the rituals used by the Grand Lodge from 1921 until 1936. Prior to 1921, Lower was one of the quiet adult forces within the Wimachtendienk. In a newspaper article in August 1921, he is pictured in a sash and black robe and identified as one of two Medicine Men along with Dr. William M. Hinkle.

Second Degree Questionnaire Required

The seventh annual session of the Grand Lodge opened at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 1927, at Camp Ranachqua, New York. A large portion of the meeting minutes were concerned with ritual changes. It was noted back in 1923 that Brotherhood candidates needed more knowledge of the Order. Four years later a series of 31 questions was provided as a recommendation to increase knowledge of Arrowmen. The recommendation was approved. Below are the recommended original questions.

First Regional Meetings

Following the decision in 1927 to only hold Grand Lodge meetings every other year, Regions 2 (New Jersey, New York) and 3 (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland) held the first Regional Meetings of the Grand Lodge.

One of the purposes for these meetings was fellowship. They were also intended to find ways to improve the Order, local lodges, ceremonies and to exchange ideas. Regional Grand Lodge meetings were seen as a way to get lodges to participate on a multi-lodge level that had not attended Grand Lodge Meetings in the past. One hope was that the attendees would be encouraged to send delegates to the next Grand Lodge Meeting.

Ceremonies Principal Characters Change

Dateline: ---- Grand Lodge Bulletin, January 1, 1931.

Important! Attached to this bulletin is a very important list, which should receive consideration not only of the Supreme Chief of the Fire, but other members of the local lodge who may be interested. This is a sheet headed ‘Suggested Terminology for ORDER OF THE ARROW Officers.’ Please give this your earnest attention and write this office your opinion on it. The advantage of this list lies in the fact that all Indian names used are genuine, being taken from the LENNI-LENAPE dictionary. The term “Olomypees” and “Pow-Wow” are dropped because neither are Indian terms and are not found in the Delaware language.

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