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     The Boy Scouts of America is an offshoot of the British Boy Scout Association, founded in 1908 by Lord Robert S. S. Baden-Powell (1857-1941). First Baron of Gilwell, and British general. Known as "the Hero of Mafeking,"

     Baden-Opwell became famous for his participation in the Boer War, where he first witnessed African military scouts engaged in outdoor skills. Upon returning to England, he founded Scouting, soon to become the largest international youth organization.

     At the turn of the twentieth century a number of youth organizations also flourished in the United States, all of which employed "Indian lore" as the focal point to their program. Of particular importance was the Sons of Daniel Boone, founded in 1900 by Daniel Beard (1850-1941) of Cincinnati, an artist, outdoorsman, author of children's books, and close friend of Mark Twain.

     Equally significant was the woodcraft League of America, established in 1902 by Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946), a Canadian naturalist, author, and illustrator. Seton (who had changed his name from Earnest Seton Thompson in 1901) was married twice, his second wife being Julia M. Buttree, who wrote The Rhythm of the Red Man (1930), one of the earliest books on American Indian music and dance to be adopted by the Scouts.

     The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 by James E. West, a prominent Washington, D.C., attorney, at which point the organization established by Beard and Seton merged with the BSA. West was named first chief Scout execute, and Beard and Seton were elected to Scouting's national council.

     The outdoor skills originally inspired by African scouts easily became transformed into a camping program much of which was based on a romantic study of American Indian cultures.

     One year after the BSA's founding, the Indian Lore merit badge was created and proved to be one of Scouting's most sought-after awards. The establishment of this merit badge was perhaps the first straightforward attempt in the United States to teach young boys about the native history of their own regions, as well as something about native material culture, songs and dances, and languages.

     In their formative years, Scouting and America's information with Indian cultures grew hand in hand. According to Scouting officials, Indians became a major "hire" to recruit boys into the movement.

     In 1927, the first official Handbook for Boys, second in popularity in the United States only to the Bible, contained a section called "American Indian Craft," which instructed readers on how to make a tipi, moccasins, tom-toms, and bows and arrows.

     This chapter was written by Dr. Ralph Hubbard, son of Elbert Hubbard ("Message to Garcia"), who forsook a career in biology to create one in Indian lore. Part Cherokee himself, Hubbard began teaching Indian dancing in 1913 on his ranch at Ten Sleep, near Boulder, Colorado.

     In 1920, he organized the American Indian activities at the first World Scout Jamboree in England. These were considered one of the most dramatic elements in the program and were included each year thereafter. He also organized the Indian program at the first American Boy Scout Jamboree.

     Hubbard later built two Indian museums: one at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, which was destroyed during the occupation of 1973; and a second at Medora, North Dakota, a community he was identified with until he died.

     Although Indian lore is taught in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, by far the most influential Scouting program has been the Order of the Arrow, founded in 1915 by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edison at Treasure Island Scout Camp, near Philadelphia.

     The "Arrow," comprising older Boy Scouts who are elected to this national camping fraternity by their nonmember colors, continues to focus on Indian themes at biennial conferences, where local lodges compete against each other during an Indian pageant.

     Initiation into the Arrows is secret and is usually done at summer camp, where boys physically trapped out by an Indian runner are required to stay in the woods alone as part of their initiation.

     Exploring, the program for older boys and girls, also has had an impact on the study of Indian lore, some parts specializing in Indians of their region. The most famous example of such focus was the Koshare Indian Dancers of LaJunta, Colorado, organized by Buck Burshears, a Scout Leader.

     Although Indian Lore was popular among tens of millions of youth and adults, several Scout leaders stand out as major figures.

     The most sophisticated book on Indian crafts, The Book of Indian Crafts and Indian lore (1928), was written by a Scout executive, Julian H. Salomon. Walter "Whittlin'" Ben Hunt wrote Indiancraft (1942) as well as numerous articles in Boys' Life, the official Scout magazine, a position he shared with other prominent authors such as the ethnologist George Bird Grinnell and the Dakota physician Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa) Bernard S. Morison, whose Camp Fairchild because the center of Indian activities for Wisconsin Scouts, wrote the influential Dancers and Scouts of the American Indian (1944) and The Book of Indian Crafts and Costumes (1946).

     For over forty years during the early twentieth century another Scouter, Carl Parlasca, directed an Indian pageant, based on Longfellow's poem "The Song of Hiawatha," at Elgin, Illinois.

     In the 1930s and 1940s, many Scouts became disenchanted with the limitations Scout officials had placed on the "authentic" study of Indian lore and formed their own organizations, soon to be called "hobbyist" groups.

     A number of new publications appeared, beginning with The American Indian Hobbyist (1954), established by Norman Feder; American Indian Tradition (1960), under the editorship of Richard R. McAllister, followed, as did Powwow Trails (1964), founded by William K. and Marla N. Powers; American Indian Crafts and Culture (1967), edited by Thomas H. Stewart; and finally, Whispering Wind (1967), edited by Jack Heriard and still in circulation. ALl were founded by former Scouts.

     In the 1970s, many Scout and hobbyist organizations were criticized by American Indians for the performance of religious dances by whites, leading to a reevaluation of the Indian lore program and a new emphasis on contemporary Indian powwow singing and dancing.

     During this same decade, the Boy Scouts of America also placed some emphasis on employing American Indian para-professionals to Scouting on Indian reservations and communities.

    A national council on Scouting continues to promote Scouting for Indians.

     Among these prominent American Indian leaders serving on the National Committee on Scouting for American Indians in the past have been the Honorable Brantley Blue (Lumbee), commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission; Louis Bruce (Lakota-Mohawk), the first American Indian to serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs; and the Honorable Ben Reifel (Lakota), the first American Indian to serve as a U.S. congressman.

     Scouting continues to flourish among American Indian youth, and at least some Indian reservations the program is well attended.

Rugters University

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