Cherokee Nation donates to Boy Scout troop seeking Cherokee knowledge
On Dec. 30, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., front second from left, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and Tribal Councilors Keith Austin and Janees Taylor present Boy Scout Troop 828 a check for $1,000 to help them continue a project regarding the study and creation of Cherokee historic clothing for future ceremonies within their troop on Dec. 30 in Claremore, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and Order of the Arrow Lodge Sequoyah District Chairman Terry Hancock explains to Tribal Councilors Keith Austin, middle, and Janees Taylor the reasoning behind Boy Scout Troop 828’s project to study and create historic clothes representative of the Cherokee people on Dec. 30 in Claremore. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Boy Scout William Schubert, left, and a fellow Scout dress in clothing that is representative of Cherokees in the 1700s. The regalia includes trade wool mantles with ribbon, trade shirts, breech cloths, turbans with ostrich plumes, and a headdress roach with turkey feathers. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
CLAREMORE – Cherokee Nation officials on Dec. 30 presented $1,000 to Boy Scout Troop 828 to help with a project of using historic Cherokee regalia in the troop’s ceremonies.
Under the Order of the Arrow Lodge, which is the National Honor Society for Boy Scouts, they have crossing-over ceremonies for Cub Scouts into Boy Scout troops.
CN citizen and OA Lodge Sequoyah District Chairman Terry Hancock said these ceremonies entail Scouts dressing in regalia that is supposedly representative of Native American tribes.
Since the unit is within the CN jurisdiction, Hancock said the unit has been working with the CN to learn more about how Cherokees dressed historically so they can use the appropriate clothing. He said more than half the Scouts in the Claremore area are Cherokee.
“During the ceremony, we traditionally have a Native American theme and ceremony that talks about becoming older, becoming a leader, your responsibility in your community, your responsibility to nature and being a good shepherd and things like that,” Hancock said. “In these ceremonies we used regalia or uniforms or dress that represented a certain tribe or tribes or an ethnic part of Native Americans. In the past they weren’t always true to what we wanted it to be. Some of it was mix and match.”
He said they want to concentrate on getting the correct dress that represents the Cherokee tribe of the 1700s.
Through Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, the troop has funding to continue to learn more and create the regalia needed.
“If Boy Scouts are going to honor Native Americans, they’re going to honor them correctly,” Austin said. “Claremore, Oklahoma, is taking ownership that they are in the Cherokee Nation. They’ve actually went through the process of consulting with our people. (Cherokee National Treasure) Tonia Weavel has spent a lot of time helping them with this clothing and what it signifies. This is groundbreaking what they’re doing here and it’s being led in this community.”
The regalia will debut in February during a crossing-over ceremony and consists of Scouts wearing trade wool mantles with ribbons, turbans, leggings and breech cloths, trade shirts, gorgets, ostrich plumes, a roach headdress with turkey feathers and hunting shirts, all representative of clothing worn by Cherokee people.
“I think it’s been a great opportunity to learn about a specific tribe,” Boy Scout William Schubert said. “Before we made this venture, and other than the ceremony and dressing up, there wasn’t anything to learn about. They didn’t really teach us. They’re just (like) ‘put this on. This is what Native Americans wore.’ We’ve recently been through the process of learning the stories. It was just interesting overall to learn more about it and why we’re doing this.”
Ceremony team adviser and troop leader Jason Schubert said the project coincides with others that the CN has helped with in the past.
“The past year and half we made the decision in the Order of the Arrow to change from our generic plains (dress) to Cherokee Nation that’s here in our area,” Schubert said. “We seek to represent the nations that are in our geographical area. So we decided to work with Cherokee Nation, and they’ve been such a blessing to us. They want to share information, want to share culture, want to teach. We’re so grateful for that.”
In 2017, the tribe sponsored a CN Scout award. Boy Scouts earn awards, also called square knots, for different achievements. The CN knot is awarded to Boy Scouts of Cherokee heritage who have studied the tribe’s culture and history.
“I think anytime someone makes an effort to do an authentic presentation and develop a deeper understanding of Cherokee people, that’s a great thing,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Every scout in the country could do something like this and you all are actually doing it. We admire that very much.”