Ceremonies Team


  • Membership is open to all troop members, not just OA members.


  • The group meets Mondays at 6:30pm (before the troop meeting) during two seasons
    • Winter/Spring season is from January until after the OA Spring Conclave and pack crossovers
    • Summer/Fall season starts after summer camp and goes until the OA Fall Reunion


The purpose of the Troop 760 Ceremonies Team is four-fold:

  • To provide an on-going merit badge opportunity with fun and educational activities
  • To greatly improve our troop's ability to offer impressive crossover ceremonies
  • To provide troop-owned regalia that could be used for crossovers and OA ceremonies
  • To work towards having our own functioning OA ceremony team if that's what the boys want to do

What we do

  • Work on requirements for Indian Lore Merit badge
  • Make regalia for ceremonies (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Make Indian crafts that the boys can keep (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Learn Indian signs and signals (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Learn words from an Indian language (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Learn and plan Indian games (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Learn and sing Indian songs (counts towards the merit badge)
  • Learn or practice an Indian dance (could be used at family camp, Webelos crossover, or in OA competitions)
  • Practice ceremonies
    • Four Winds ceremony (good for Webelos crossovers)
    • OA members practice the Ordeal ceremony
  • Plan and promote special troop field trips to museums, historic locations such as Cahokia Mounds, or Indian Pow Wows

Guiding Principles

  • We strive to make the ceremonies impressive and meaningful for the participants and all present.
  • All cultures, including American Indians, should be portrayed in a positive manner, showing proper respect for religious beliefs, avoiding stereotypes, and reflecting authenticity in dress.
  • It is inappropriate to mix other kinds of religious symbols or hymns into a ceremony built around Native American culture and beliefs.
  • Ceremonialists are taught not to confuse their ceremonies with real Native American ceremonies, but to view themselves as actors in a play. Whatever the character in the play may say, the actor is merely delivering his lines. To become a real Medicine Man, for example, requires a person to live among native peoples and study for years.


  • Use of stereotyped broken English and grunts to simulate Indian speech is both inappropriate and inaccurate.
  • We cannot avoid all possible criticism if people are determined to find things to point out. For example, standing with crossed arms has been pointed out as a stereotype.


  • There is a difference between regalia and costumes. One definition of regalia is "the decorations, insignia, or ceremonial clothes of any office or order". By contrast, a costume may be defined as "An outfit or a disguise worn on Mardi Gras, Halloween, or similar occasions." At an OA ceremonial seminar, one person put it this way, "A costume is something cheap you buy off-the-shelf at a place like Walmart and throw away when you are done with it. Regalia is hand-made, historically researched, and constantly changing." He went on to say that during a ceremony, all the ceremonialists should be dressed in regalia modeled after the same tribe and historical period.
  • Regalia for competition dance teams tends to be much more fancy than for crossover ceremonies or OA ceremonies.
  • Ceremonialists should dress modestly even if that means some clothing items are not as historically authentic. If they are wearing a breechcloth, they must wear shorts under it and should also wear pants or leggings. If the boys wear a breechcloth, it is not because we have the stereotyped belief that modern Indian people dress this way; even when dancing at Pow Wow modern American Indian men would usually wear shorts, not a breechcloth. (Some Pow Wow dancers wear an apron, some do not.) Going shirtless is acceptable in some cases; it does not imply that Indians of today commonly dress in this way or were at any time too poor to own a shirt.

Coup and War Bonnets

Before Europeans came to America, it was a tradition among some tribes that the eagle feathers worn in the hair or in a "war bonnet" were only earned as recognition for acts of bravery called coup (pronounced "koo") during battle. The Eagle is considered sacred by some tribes. Seton's Woodcraft Indians, an early scouting organization, had a coup-based recognition system which awarded feathers as the BSA gives out merit badges today.

In the BSA, war bonnets are worn for a couple of reasons. They are sometimes worn on special occasions by a person in recognition of their office such as a Cubmaster or an OA Chapter Chief. They may also be used in ceremonies as part of the regalia representing a certain character. The feathers used are always turkey feathers rather than eagle feathers as eagles are now a federally protected endangered species.

Performance Schedule

  • TBD



Order of the Arrow


Ceremony Links

Lenape Language

Lakota Language

Craft Suppliers

  • Noc Bay Trading Company - Recommended by Native American experts. Look for bulk and classroom specials on small craft items. Does not sell war bonnets. "2009 marks the 31th year we have been in business selling craft supplies. We have always believed that well made, good looking outfits start with quality materials. It is that idea which spurs us each year to offer the best supplies we can find at great prices. Seeing photographs or your outfits at regional powwows we attend has made us feel very honored to have been a helpful part of your accomplishments."
  • Crazy Crow Trading Post - Recommended at OA ceremonial team seminar. Among other things, this company has republished a classic book, Indian Crafts & Lore by W. Ben Hunt. "Crazy Crow Trading Post is the largest supplier of Native American Indian and American Mountain Man crafts, craft supplies and craft kits in the world! Since 1970, Crazy Crow has grown from a single table at a powwow, to a modern 31,000 sq. ft. office and warehouse complex."
  • Grey Owl Indian Crafts - Not recommended unless you can't find what you're looking for anyplace else. Some of their stuff does make its way into the Scout Shop merchandise and they advertise in Boy's Life. However, they have a poor reputation when it comes to quality and authenticity.
  • CRAFTKITS - Seems to cater two YMCA Adventure Guides and Scouts. Prices seem high.

General Information

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