Improved Order of
Red Men - IORM
A silk ribbon fob with carved
bone ornamentation, a pair of century old officer jewels, some well-worn
fobs and pins. Oldies but goodies.
The far right column: Honor
Badges. There are at least four varieties of these and quite possibly more.
The piece marked "INDIANA" suggests that some grand lodges may have authorized
their own designs. These are among the rarer of the Redmen pieces with the top
one being especially hard to find.
My name is Rick Terry. I am
a Brother Mason with Ansantawae Lodge #89 Milford, CT. My Grandfather August von
Hausen was a member of the
Improved Order of Red Men, Hammonasset
No. 1, New Haven, CT and a Mason with
Wooster Lodge #79 New Haven, CT. In 1920 he was presented the above
Commemorative medal from
the Improved Order of Red Men.
A Nation of Red Men
by Kathleen O’Connor
Improved Order of Red Men (IORM) traces it’s origin from the Sons of Liberty
patriots who were active before the American Revolutionary War and are well
known for their participation in the “Boston Tea Party.” The Sons of Liberty—and
in turn the IORM—emulated in their organization, philosophy, and regalia the
League of the Iroquois or “Six Nations.” “The crowning feature of the League [of
the Iroquois], as a political structure, was the perfect independent
individuality of the national sovereignties, in the midst of a central and
embracing government, adequate to deal with all internal affairs and powerful
enough to conquer all other Indian nations with which it came in contact.”
Hospitality was extremely important. The Iroquois “would surrender his dinner to
feed the hungry, vacate his bed to refresh the weary, and give up his apparel to
clothe the naked.”
Their eventual decline, however, was due primarily to the introduction of
“fire-water” through the European traders.
early colonists, although chartered by the English king or other lords, were yet
at first independent. Living among and being befriended by the Native American
tribes, “the colonists saw that, although they (the Indians) were governed by a
Chief or Sachem, this government was one in which all warriors had
representation, and each was allowed a voice in the councils at which measures
of government were decided.”
However, as England
came to realize the value of the products produced in the American Colonies, she
declared all possessions held by the colonists to be held by them for the crown.
Disenfranchised from the fruits of their own labor, they felt it a form of
slavery unknown even in their former persecuted condition in the “Old World.”
The Navigation Act, passed in 1660, required all raw goods to be shipped only to
England, on only English ships. All finished goods had to be purchased only from
England. This effectively cut off all formerly known free trade with the rest of
the world, putting them at the mercy of the system they had sought to escape in
the “New World.” Moreover, it had strong suppressive effects on the thriving
American shipbuilding industry.
enforce the Navigation Act, England created customs officers, giving them
unlimited search and seizure authority—without probable cause. To this she added
the Stamp Act in 1765 as funding for the French and Indian War. All documents
required the purchase and affixation of an official stamp to make them legal. To
this she added the Quartering Act, placing a standing army in the colonists’
homes—at their expense. These actions were odious to the colonists, as they
contravened the liberty they sought to achieve in America—more so because those
remaining in the motherland were apparently not assessed in the same manner.
Obviously, it was dangerous to speak openly of grievances against these acts.
Nevertheless, the colonists took secret council and formed themselves into the
secret society known as the “Sons of Liberty,” claiming as their patron Saint
Tamina, a genuine Delaware chieftain of the Lenni Lenape confederacy. Tamina may
well have met with William Penn at the first introductory meeting before the
land treaty was signed. He was “one of the most distinguished Red Men who ever
lived” and lived to great old age, known for his Herculean feats and traveling
widely across the continent.
Although the precise date of formation is not clear, as early as 1761, Colonel
Isaac Barrè, who in Parliament opposed the Stamp Act, gave a speech on February
6, 1765, in which he refers to the opposition party in the colonies as “the Sons
On August 14, 1765, a
party of Boston mechanics, members of the Sons of Liberty, hung Andrew Oliver,
brother-in-law of Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson, in effigy from the Liberty
Tree in Boston. On March 17, 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed and, on May 19,
1766, the Sons of Liberty publicly demonstrated their joy. Then came Thursday,
December 16, 1773. Ships loaded with tea were moored at the wharf in Boston
Harbor, carrying imported products whose tax the colonists had refused to pay.
The Old South church was packed with dissenters when the announcement was given
that an appeal to the governor was unsuccessful.
“‘Instantly a shout was heard at the port; the war-whoop resounded and a band of
forty or fifty men, disguised as Indians, rushed by the door, and hurried down
toward the harbor, followed by a throng of people; guards were carefully posted
according to previous arrangements around Griffin’s Wharf to prevent the
intrusion of spies. The ‘Mohawks,’ and some others accompanying them sprang
aboard the three tea-ships and emptied the contents of the three hundred and
forty-two chests of tea into the bay, ‘without the least injury to the vessels
or any other property.’”
the Sons of Liberty made use of the forms and customs of the Indians to disguise
their patriotic work. Evidence of code talk and other Indian tea-party incidents
show that the Sons of Liberty societies in the various colonies were united by
secret modes of communication and coordinated their efforts. Charles Litchman,
editor of the IORM history of 1897, notes that Paul Revere was one such courier
from the Boston committee to those of New York and Philadelphia.
1771, the society of Sons of Liberty changed its name to Sons of Saint Tamina or
Saint Tamina Society, celebrating May 1 as its anniversary. The festivities
included decorating a May-pole with flowers and, ringing hand-in-hand around it,
performing a war-dance and wearing a piece of bucktail in their hats. At the
evening celebrations, a group of men of the Saint Tamina Society, costumed as
Indians, would suddenly rush the room, whooping and dancing.
the revolutionaries had achieved separation from England and establishment of an
American government, these societies were less prominent. However, during the
war, education of youth had lapsed and irreligion increased through the
influence of French Revolution and the philosophies of Goodwin, Rousseau, and
Voltaire. Many people were either still sympathetic to England or yet longing
for an American monarchy.
Although the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, the
proposal to elect a president for life and the formation of the Society of
Cincinnati in 1786, gave warning to the ordinary citizen and the self-appointed
Sons of Liberty. Although the society in question chose as its patron the Roman
Senate Consul, Cincinatus, whose life reflected that of President Washington
(also its first president), other factors detracted from it. The society was
committed to the union of the states; it was an officer’s club only; and its
membership was hereditary. The latter tasted of royalty and raised the military
over the people—they did not want to find a general elevated to king over one
kingdom of amalgamated states. They had already seen that process take place in
Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.”
May 12, 1789, about two weeks after General George Washington took the oath of
office as the first President of the United States, the old Sons of Saint Tamina
Society was revived by American-born William Mooney in New York City under the
name of the Tammany Society or Columbian Order. Each member was required to vow
to “‘sustain the State institutions, and resist the consolidation of power in
the general government.’”
Annual May 12 festivals on the banks of the Hudson River included a wigwam
encampment, smoking the calumet of peace, burying the tomahawk, and performing
various Indian dances. William Mooney was the first Grand Sachem. They adopted
Indian forms, costumes, ceremonies, and time reckoning, calculating the year
from its founding date, the date of American independence, and Columbus’
discovery of America. Dividing themselves into 13 tribes, corresponding to the
then 13 states, each was given a tribal name, e.g., New York, Eagle Tribe;
Maryland, Fox Tribe. As the Saint Tamina motto had been Freedom, the
Tammany Society added Friendship. Later the IORM would add Charity.
Two events are worthy of note.
Besides the reason of disguise in the Revolutionary War, the Tammany Society
offered the adoption of American Indian customs as a means of conciliating the
Native Americans (red men) in the West. In fact, in 1789-90, a bloody war with
the Creek Indians was averted substantially through the reception given the
Creek chiefs by the Tammany Society of New York City when Colonel Marinus
Willett escorted them through the city on a visit to the “Great Father” General
Washington. “‘We landed about noon, near the coffee-house, and were received
with great splendor by the Tammany Society in the dress of the order; conducted
up Wall Street past the Federal Hall where Congress was in session, and with
great pomp and parade escorted to see the President.”
Litchman reports that, as the Creek chiefs entered the Wigwam of the Tammany
Society, “they were so surprised at the preparations made to receive them and at
the number (as they supposed) of their own race present, that they ‘uttered a
whoop,’ which almost terrified the people, including the mock Indians. They
seemed overjoyed by the manner in which they were treated, so much so that they
performed a dance and sang the ‘Et-hoh’ song, and Indian ode sung only on great
They smoked the Calumet of Peace with William Pitt Smith, the Grand Sachem, and
were so pleased with his long talk about the great chiefs Tamina and Columbus
still walking in the wigwam, that they dubbed him Chief of the White Town. Thus,
a dread war between one of the most powerful American Indian nations and the
nascent United States was avoided through the truly American patriotism of the
Tammany Society [IORM take a bow].
During the Revolutionary War, 11,500 American prisoners of war (POWs) died on
British prison ships moored at Wallabout and their bones had been allowed to
bleach on the shores, as the effort and expense of burying so many bodies could
not be achieved through appeals to Congress to perform it at public expense. At
last, the Tammany Society agreed to bury and honor the dead, laying the
cornerstone of the tomb on April 13, 1808, with military processions and
orations, calling it “the tomb of the Patriots.”
The construction of the tomb was finished on May 25 and the remains of the
patriots interred on May 26 with “one of the largest and most magnificent
funeral pageants which this city has ever witnessed…” The leading trumpeter,
mounted on a black horse, carried a black flag that read, “‘Mortals, avaunt!
11,500 Spirits of the Martyred Braves! Approach the tomb of Honor, of Glory, of
Virtuous Patriotism!’” [Oh, that we today should give such honor to our fallen
Although at first, the Tammany Society was purely patriotic, republican, and
benevolent, involving representatives of both Federal and Jeffersonian parties
and performed patriotic duties during the War of 1812, it afterward became
purely political and social, as its meetings occurred in taverns.
Although there is no direct organizational connection between the Tammany
Society of New York and the IORM, yet, from the Sons of Liberty to the IORM, the
organizations that continued to emulate each other and to build on the original
imitation of the League of Iroquois continued also to draw from the same
citizens, generation after generation, i.e., those who desired as patriots to
preserve American liberty and the Constitution that enshrined it. Therefore,
although the orders may have been uniquely established, the membership was
continuous from one to the other. For example, Colonel Barker was named General
of the Saint Tammany Society in 1808 while stationed at Ft. Mifflin on the
Delaware River near Philadelphia during the same time that his son, Captain
James N. Barker was an army officer there, after which in 1813 the Society of
Red Men, precursor to the IORM, was organized there—i.e., an unbroken father to
son organizational line.
the Saint Tammany Society organized in Baltimore, MD, in 1805,
one significant improvement on the New York branch was the prohibition in their
bylaws against admitting any drink strong than water into the wigwam. Although
this organization gradually faded out, the St. Tamina Society of Baltimore
survived until at least 1810.
Tammany Societies existed only in the states of New York, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, and Maryland, for that was the original territory of the Lenni Lenape
of whom Tamina was chief. In New England, the society retained the name of Sons
of Liberty. Nevertheless, they all shared the same adopted Indian customs and
Because the Tammany Societies had lost their original social and benevolent
purposes, in reviving and continuing the customs and purposes of the founding
patriots, it was necessary to assume a new name that more clearly reflected the
initial purpose in emulating the civic principles of the Iroquois. Moreover, the
claim of dual concurrent membership is corroborated through Society of Red Men
documents extant at Litchman’s writing, quoted in the volume, and most likely
extant in the IORM archives today. Two of these documents are the Preamble of
the Constitution of the Red Men’s Society of Pennsylvania and the written copy
of a talk delivered to this organization on February 22, 1825, specifically
stating that the Society of Red Men was founded at Ft. Mifflin in 1813 during
the second war of independence by volunteer “warriors” from Philadelphia. The
assertion is that the Society of Red Men in Philadelphia drew members from the
Saint Tammany Society in Philadelphia. After the war, when the garrison was
disbanded, the Society of Red Men reorganized in 1816 with 76 members.
1818, an epidemic broke out that afflicted Philadelphia area. Two of the tribe
members died and others “scattered all over the wilderness, taking with them
their squaws and papooses,” so it seems the tribe was disbanded in Pennsylvania.
From then until 1821, tribes were begun in other states and as far away as New
Orleans. The Reading Tribe of Red Men continued long after the Improved Order
was established, which eventually gave in 1851 notice of the new order’s
jurisdiction over them, for it claimed jurisdiction over “‘all Red Men wherever
their Tribes existed.’”
At the writing of the history of the Improved Order in 1897, Litchman was in
possession of the Minute Book of the Society of Red Men in Philadelphia. From
this he learned that, on August 24, 1824, when American Revolutionary General
Lafayette of France visited the United States, the Society of Red Men held a
procession with a Red Men’s Rifle Corps to honor the illustrious visiting
factors may have led to the decline of the Society of Red Men before its
reorganization as the IORM. First, the last Grand Recording Scribe, Thomas J.
Loudenslager, related in 1866, that some members had been admitted “‘who were so
clannish and offensively aggressive that they disgusted the better class of
members, who withdrew from the Society, and it finally ceased to exist.’”
This was around 1832-33. In 1832, the Asiatic cholera entered the country; its
virulence made it difficult to maintain any organizational group.
this time, in 1833, some Red Men were still meeting in a garret over a tavern on
Bond Street near Fells Point in Baltimore, MD. Although the meeting was held in
good order, after it was adjourned, the rest of the evening was consumed in
drinking and singing in the tavern below. “‘The object of the society appeared
to be only convivial entertainment,’” John F. Weishampel, Sr., reported
in a long talk on Saint Tammany’s Day, May 12, 1837.
Two members who had joined the group, George A. Peter and William T. Jones,
enjoyed the traditional Indian ceremonies, but disliked the rowdy drinking.
Gathering a few members of the old society with similar preferences, they met on
March 12, 1834, to form the Logan Tribe, No. 1, Order of Red Men, which was
later changed to Logan Tribe, No. 1, Improved Order of Red Men. It was then that
they added the third motto in the series from the Sons of Liberty Freedom,
to the Saint Tammany Society Friendship, to the IORM Charity.
Sachem presided at the far end of the wigwam at the stump with the first and
second Sannaps to his right and left. Four warriors sat in front of him as a
guard. The Chief of Records sat in the far left-hand corner of the wigwam and
the Collector of Wampum and Keeper of Wampum in the right-hand corner. Against
the right wall sat the Junior Sagamore with the stake in front of him. Against
the left wall sat the Prophet with two scouts in front of him. The near wall,
close to the entrance, held the seats for the Senior Sagamore and four braves
before him. In the center of the wigwam was the place of council brand where the
council fire was kindled, during which time strict order was maintained.
were computed using the Jewish method as the great sun of the world,
until changed in 1865 to the Columbus’ discovery of America, the great sun of
discovery. Months were calculated by Indian names using the term moon.
Remembering the reason they had reformed the order, “The first act of the Logan
Tribe after its organization was to pass a law that no council fire should be
kindled in any wigwam where ‘Fire Water’ (liquor) was sold.”
also inscribed Bylaw No. 300 that states “No person shall be adopted into a
Tribe of the Order except a free white male, of good moral character and
standing, of the full age of twenty-one great suns, who believes in the
existence of a Great Sprit, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and who
is possessed of some known reputable means of support. – Constitution G.C.U.S.”
However, the bylaws were amended in 1887 to include a women’s degree of the
order: “Any member of the Improved Order of Red Men who has been exalted to the
Chief’s degree and is in good standing in his Tribe, and any woman over eighteen
years of age and of good moral character, shall be eligible to membership in any
Council of the Degree of Pocahontas.”
addition, “At the very time when the South was closing its collective mind on
the slavery issue, the Charleston, South Carolina Order of Red Men stated that
no person owning or holding a slave could be admitted into their organization.
This restriction appears to have been the only restriction on membership, which
was apparently open to all those ‘who would present themselves sincerely.’(12)
Official History, 355, 388”
Although this action debarred the slave holder, it perhaps could not also admit
slaves, as one of the founding Iroquois principles was the ability to enter and
leave the wigwam a free person; if a slave could not enter free, he could not
leave a free member. Concerning the contest over this issue at the outset of the
American Civil War, on the 9th run of the 10th sun of the
Corn moon, G.S. 5621 [September 10, 1861], W.G. Incohonee Richard Marley gave a
longtalk in which he discussed the condition of the country, stating that “the
spirit of fraternity rose above sectional strife, and that, though divided
politically…, the hearts of all true Red Men were united without regard to
This indicated perhaps a predisposition among the Red Men toward
emancipation—North and South—in alignment with the original virtues of the
The bylaws also state, “310. North American
Indians are not eligible to membership.—IV, 36,34. 311. Descendants of the
Indian race are eligible to membership.—IV, 326.”
Two such members were re-admitted in 1874 to the Opekasset Tribe, No. 122, of
Pennsylvania after appeal to the Grand Council of the United States. Their
original rejection was probably an error in the interpretation of the two
bylaws, as it is likely that the IORM did not wish to accept Native Americans
into their order because they already belonged to real tribes that the
palefaces, now Red Men, emulated, and they may not have wished to supplant the
authority of those real tribes. Nevertheless, the Robeson County, NC, Red Man’s
Lodge around 1920 was composed of American Lumbee Indians who had the unique
position of participating in the anachronistic IORM while preserving their own
real tribe—“Looking back while walking forward.” “The Red Men’s Lodges were
fraternal orders that developed in Robeson County’s Indian communities in the
early 1900s. Prominent Indians in each community were members, and meetings were
held monthly in private homes, schools, or (in Pembroke) in separate buildings.
The lodges had secret ceremonies and rituals. The members marched in parades and
participated in funerals, but ‘one of their main functions was to maintain
social order in the tribe.’ By 1914 the communities of Pembroke, Prospect,
Saddletree, Oxendine, Magnolia, and Union Chapel all had lodges.”
By 1835, the Metamora
Tribe, No. 2, was established, at about which time the order applied to the
Maryland Legislature for a charter, which was apparently given to the two tribes
jointly, forming the Great Council of Maryland. The regalia were collars and
aprons of various colors and trimming, depending on the degree, officers being
scarlet trimmed in gold or silver. The Chippewa Tribe, No. 19, in Frederick, MD,
was begun on the 3rd sun of the Flower Moon in grand sun 5610 (May 3,
1850). Finally, the Catoctin Tribe, No. 139, was instituted on the 2nd
sun of the Hot Moon, in the Grand Sun of Discovery 411 (June 2, 1902).
FOR THE FULL
ARTICLE WITH FOOTNOTES ON THE FREDERICK AND WOLFSVILLE, MD, MEMBERS IN THE EARLY
YEARS, PLEASE CONTACT PUBLISHER AT THE ADDRESSS BELOW FOR THE FULL JULY 2007
ISSUE OF The
studio above Harne’s Store in Wolfsville, MD, was built as a Red Men’s Hall. The
Harnes have kept its décor in the maroon colors of the order, for all the
woodwork is painted so. The Odd Fellows used it concurrently, for their
documents from 1851-1901 have come to my hand.
My door still has the peeky hole used for secret meetings.
Considering the long and illustrious history of this patriotic organization,
will those of you who are descendents of the leaders of Catoctin Tribe, No. 139,
honor the memory of your ancestors by relighting the council fire of this once
become a member of the Improved Order of Red Men, contact the national office at
www.redmen.org for a tribe in your hunting
I would like to
sincerely thank those who helped me gather materials for this article, including
David Lintz, Director of the Red Men Museum and Library in Waco, TX; Mary Mannix
of the Maryland Room of the Frederick County Public Library, Frederick, MD;
Stanley Knick, Director of the Native American Resource Center and Interim Chair
of the American Studies Department at the University of North Carolina,
Pembroke; David Lettelier, P.M., Curator of the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum in
Havana, FL; Kenneth Reffeitt, Special Collections, Morrow Library, Marshall
University, Huntington, WV, and most especially Nancy Elliott of the Chippewa
Tribe, No. 19, Frederick, MD, for her personal service in locating the local
records and making the necessary research copies. She most truly represents the
three principles of the Order!
The Mountain Voice newsletter
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advertisement about it and advertisers will be posted there. I hope you will
take the time to look for The Mountain
Voice at the following locations. If you enjoy the publication, I
encourage you to patronize the stores that carry it. Thank you.
Harne’s General Store
12487 Wolfsville Road,
Route 17 in Middlepoint, MD
13194 Monterey Lane, Blue
Ridge Summit, PA
14323 McAfee Hill Road,
The Dixie Eatery
4 North Main Street,
Catoctin Mountain Park
Visitor’s Center, Foxville
Road, Thurmont, MD
Mountain Voice: Newsletter of the Catoctins
Kathleen O’Connor, Editor and Publisher
12487 Wolfsville Road, Myersville, MD 21773
Ibid, p. 155 [Litchman may here be quoting from
Annals of Annapolis,
David Ridgely (Ed.) (Maryland State
Librarian 1827 – 1842, Ridgely, David (Ed.) (Maryland State Librarian
1827-1842), Cushing & Brother, Baltimore, 1841.
What they looked like!
Here are a couple
of early Red Men wearing the sash, badge and ceremonial pouches.
A special "Thank You" to Margaret
Krausse of Mechanicsburg, PA for donating to our museum the group
photo of the Red Men tribe (shown above).
Improved Order of Red
Kindling the Council Fire
Instructions: The council fire must be kindled in the Chiefs degree for the
transaction of all Tribal business, except for the conferring of the Adoption
and Warriors’ degrees, care being taken that only qualified brothers are
Promptly at the time stated for kindling the council fire, if a quorum be
present, the Sachem shall assume his station and give one rap with the tomahawk,
at the sound of which there shall be silence, and say:
Brothers, come to order and invest yourselves with the regalia of your rank.
Chiefs, assume your stations. Guards, secure the wickets and return to and
remain in the council chamber until further directed. Sannap, ascertain if the
wickets are properly secured and the chieftaincies filled, and report.
The First Sannap inspects the wickets. If they are not guarded he so reports to
the Sachem, who shall immediately appoint a guard or guards therefor. If they
are not closed he so reports to the Sachem, who shall order the guards to close
them. He then notes and reports any vacancies there may be in the various
chieftaincies, which the Sachem shall immediately fill by appointment. These
requirements having been fulfilled, the Sannap proceeds to the council brand,
and, after saluting the Sachem with the sign of respect, reports:
Sachem, your commands have been obeyed. The wickets are secure from intrusion,
the chieftaincies are filled, and the Guards are at the inner wicket awaiting
The Sachem then continues:
Sannap, you will take up the universal password and explanation and the password
of the Chiefs’ Degree, and send to me all brothers not in possession thereof, or
who may give the same inaccurately.
The Sannap does as directed. If the attendance warrants it, the Sachem may
detail the Second Sannap and other Chiefs to assist. A brother not in possession
of the words, or who gives them incorrectly, will be kindly directed to approach
the Sachem for instruction. All being found correct, the Sannap (with assistant
if one has been detailed) proceeds to place at the council brand, salutes the
Sachem with the sign of respect, and reports:
Sachem, the words have been given correctly by all not sent to you for
instruction, and all present are clothed in appropriate regalia and entitled to
To which the Sachem responds:
Sannap, resume your station.
The Sannap returns to his station. The Sachem then says:
Guards of the Wickets, approach the council brand.
The Guards then proceed to the place at the council brand, where they remain
standing until the Sachem concludes his charge, as follows:
Guard of the Forest, you will see that the outer wicket is securely closed
during the burning of the council fire so that no paleface may enter or pry into
our secrets. You will permit no member of another Tribe to pass your wicket
without giving the Proper signal and the universal password of the current term.
Guard of the Wigwam, you will allow no one to pass your wicket without first
giving the proper signal, the explanation of the universal password, and the
password of the degree in which the council fire maybe burning. You will permit
no one to enter or retire during the kindling or quenching of the council fire,
or during the ceremonies attending the conferring of the degrees, or otherwise
when it will disturb the solemnity of our deliberations.
These commands you will both strictly observe unless otherwise directed by the
Sachem. Guards, retire to your stations.
The Guards salute the Sachem with the sign of respect and return to their
The Sachem then gives two raps with the tomahawk, at which all the elected and
appointed Chiefs rise. He then says:
Sagamores, it is your duty to observe and require that each brother enters the
council chamber clothed in appropriate regalia, gives the signs correctly, and
demeans himself properly, thus assisting me in preserving order and decorum in
The primitive Red Men ever recognized a Supreme Being controlling the destiny of
their Tribes. No important matter was ever undertaken without an invocation for
His guidance and protection. We, as Improved Red Men, wisely follow their
example and imitate their reverence. Therefore, brothers, you will now arise
while the Prophet invokes the Great Spirit in our behalf.
The Sachem calls up the Tribe with the usual raps.
The Prophet takes a position at the place of the council brand, facing the
Sachem, and repeats the following:
O, Thou Great Spirit of the Universe, good and powerful as Thou art, whose power
is displayed in the splendor of the sun, the glories of the night, the foliage
of the forest, the roaring of the rivers and great waters of the deep, look down
from Thy majestic throne of grace and shed Thy bounties upon all true Red Men.
Do Thou, Great Spirit, inspire each Red Man’s breast with that holy courage
which will teach him to paddle his canoe safely to “that undiscovered country
from whose bourne no traveler returns.” Teach him truth, wisdom, and brotherly
love toward his brother Red Men. Grant that our walks be upright and pleasing in
Thy sight. Banish all discord from our Councils, that our council fires may
forever burn to Thy glory. Bless us with plenty, and reward our labors two-fold.
May the Red Man and paleface be friends. Enable us to prove by our good works
that we are brothers, and show the stranger that with us virtue, charity, love,
peace, freedom and friendship dwell. Inspire our Great Councils with wisdom that
they may guide their respective Tribes in the right path, that they go not
astray and follow the path of the evil spirit. Preserve our homes from danger,
and make us wise and virtuous. Teach us the trail we must follow while we remain
in the forest of life, and when it is Thy will that we shall cross the river of
death, take us to Thyself, where Thy council fire of love and glory burneth
forever in righteousness.
O, Thou Great Spirit, hear us!
O, Thou Great Spirit, hear us!
The Prophet then returns to his station, after which the opening ode may be
sung, the Sachem saying:
Brothers, we will now sing the opening ode.
Come, brothers, let us one and all,
In peace and friendship sing,
That every Red Man’s path may be
Free as the eagle’s wing.
Supported by our warriors now,
Our Sachem ready stands,
To hear what may be said, and do
Whate’er the Tribe commands.
Then let each brother stand prepared
His efforts now to aid,
And when the council fire is lit,
Let none the Tribe degrade.
While the Sachem, at his discretion, may omit the singing, it is expected this
discretion will he used only on rare occasions, as music adds dignity and
interest to the ceremonies. The ode having been sung, the Sachem then says:
Chiefs and brothers, the laws of the Order make it obligatory on the Sachem to
preside at this council fire of the Tribe, to preserve harmony among the
members, and to see that the brothers act courteously toward each other. In
obedience, therefore, to the power entrusted to my keeping, and with the
assistance of the Sagamores, the council fire will now be kindled. First
warrior, light the council brand.
The First Warrior lights the council brand.
Our Sachem is wise. Junior Sagamore, let our swiftest runners proclaim it to the
Guards of the Wickets.
Three raps by the Senior Sagamore.
It shall be done. Guard of the Wigwam, at the proper time you will notify the
brothers in waiting. The council brand is lighted. Let silence prevail.
Two raps by the Junior Sagamore.
Such is my will and pleasure. The council fire is kindled in ample form.
The Sachem gives one rap, at which all will be seated. The Guard of the Wigwam
opens his wicket and informs those in waiting that the council fire is kindled,
and that they may enter in the proper manner, a brief time therefore being
allowed by the Sachem before calling for the first number of the Order of
Order of Business
After the council fire has been kindled, the Sachem shall proceed accordance
with the following Order of Business:
The Chief of Records will call the roll of Chiefs, note absentees, and then read
the records of the last council.
As the Chief of Records calls the names, the Sannap responds ‘present” or
“absent,” as the case may be, for each regular Chief. The records of all
councils held since the latest approval of the records are then read. Errors or
omissions may then be noted and corrected. The Sachem then says:
Unless objection is made thereto, I will declare the records approved.
Pauses a moment.
I so declare.
Is any brother in distress or unable to follow the hunt?
At this time it is proper to report upon the distress or illness of a member not
already under the care of the Relief Chiefs, and to refer each case to the
appropriate committee for attention and subsequent action.
We will now hear and act upon reports of Relief Chiefs.
Usage varies as to the manner of receiving reports from the Visiting Committee
or Relief Chiefs. In most Tribes, however, the excellent custom prevails of
assigning a sleep to each member of the committee, and then to require from him
a report of the condition in which he found all brothers visited unable to be in
the forest. Brothers unable to follow the hunt, but able to be in the forest are
required to report their own condition, under such regulation as the Tribe may
adopt. Appropriations to carry out the recommendations of the Visiting
Committee, or of the Relief Chiefs, may be made now or under the head of “New
Business.” Permit no neglect of our benevolent obligations.
Collection of Wampum. Brothers now have an opportunity to pay their dues to the
proper Chief. Kindly remember that upon prompt payment of your dues depends your
right to receive, and the power of the Tribe to pay benefits as set forth in our
Time is given for collection of wampum, according to the custom adopted by the
Tribe; after which the Chief of Records (or Collector of Wampum) will call off
the names of the members who have paid since last report, and will name the
amount of wampum received from each.
The Order of Business thus far given shall not be varied or suspended. The
remaining portion may be changed in its order as the Tribe may decide, or the
Sachem, if there be no objection, may direct.
Chief of Records, have you any report upon applications for membership to
All reports of committees on applications for admission must be properly signed
by at least a majority of said committees and left with the Chief of Records,
who now reads the reports. The applicants are then twigged for.
First Warrior, you will scout the forest and ascertain if there is a paleface
awaiting adoption,~ or a brother claiming advancement.
The First Warrior retires after giving sign of respect, secures the desired
information, and reports accordingly.
Conferring of Degrees
Brothers, we will now proceed to confer the ... degree.
When the Chiefs’ Degree is to be conferred this form is not to he used. When the
Adoption, or Warriors’ Degree is to be conferred, the council fire is
temporarily quenched in the Chiefs’ Degree, and rekindled in the degree to be
conferred, according to the following form. At the proper time the Sachem gives
one rap with his tomahawk, and says:
In order that we may confer the ... degree upon the paleface (or brother) in
waiting, it is my Command that the council fire be quenched for a time in the
Chiefs’ degree and kindled in the ... degree, without form. Senior Sagamore, you
will make the necessary proclamation.
By direction of the Sachem, I now declare the council brand quenched in the
Chiefs’ degree and kindled in the ... degree, without form, and during the will
of the Sachem.
The Guard of the Wigwam opens his wicket and informs the Guard of the Forest and
the brothers in waiting. If there are any in waiting who have only the degree
about to be conferred, then they arc admitted by communicating to the Guards the
password of said degree, and proving themselves in good standing.
The ceremonies then proceed as arranged for the degree to be conferred.
Chief of Records, are there any propositions for membership?
The Chief of Records replies, and the same are disposed of according to the
We will now receive and act upon reports of select or standing committees.
If more than one committee shall report, the Tribe may decide the order in which
reports shall be presented. It will be in order to take such action at this time
upon said reports as the nature thereof may require.
We will now consider deferred business. Chief of Records, is there any business
from a previous council, or specially assigned, awaiting our attention?
Under this number shall be considered only such matters as remained undecided at
a previous council, or which were postponed or specially assigned to this
council by vote of the Tribe. It is the duty of the Chief of Records to keep a
record of such unfinished business or special assignments, so as to be able to
immediately inform the Sachem thereof upon inquiry.
We will now consider new business.
At this time it is proper to introduce and act upon any business that may
lawfully come before the Tribe.
Has any brother of the Tribe, or any visiting brother, anything to offer for the
benefit of the Order?
The “Benefit of the Order” is intended to be, and should be, made a leading
feature of the Order of Business. The Sachem should notice the presence of Past
Chiefs and prominent brothers of the Tribe, as well as visiting Chiefs or
brothers, by a courteous invitation to give a short talk for the benefit of the
members. Members who are able to entertain by song or story should not be
overlooked. In most Tribes the very excellent practice prevails of appointing an
Entertainment Committee, which arranges a short program of entertainment, from
time to time, to be presented under this number. It is improper to present at
this time any proposition calling for the expenditure of wampum, except to be
acted upon at a succeeding council. At the proper time the Sachem says:
If the Chiefs or brothers have nothing further to offer, we will proceed to
quench the council fire.
There being nothing further offered, the Sachem says:
Chief of Records (or Collector of Wampum), you will give the total receipts of
the sleep, and the names of brothers who have paid since Rule 4 was passed, and
the amounts paid by each.
Report having been made, the Sachem continues:
Keeper of Wampum, have you received and receipted for said amount?
Proper reports being made, and errors or omissions corrected, the Sachem
proceeds to quench the council fire according to the regular ceremony.
A paleface being in waiting for adoption, the Sachem directs the Chief of
Records (or Collector of Wampum) to retire and propound the following questions,
and record the answers thereto in the Question Book, provided for the purpose.
They must be answered satisfactorily and signed by the paleface before entering
the council chamber.
These questions must also be answered satisfactorily and signed by brothers
applying for admission by card or dismissal certificate, before the applicants
shall be admitted to the council chamber. Suspended brothers, when reinstated,
are not again required to sign the Question Book:
1. What is your name?
2. How old are you?
3. Are you an American citizen, or, if not, have you declared your intention of
4. What is your occupation?
5. Are you free from all constitutional or local diseases?
6. Do you believe in the existence of a Great Spirit, in Whose hands all power
7. Do you hold membership in any Order of Red Men, or have you been rejected
within the past six moons; or suspended or expelled by or from any Tribe of the
Improved Order of Red Men?
8. Do you promise not to bring suit in any Civil Court of your State against the
Tribe, for the redress of any grievance, the adjudication of which is provided
for within the Order by the laws thereof?
9. Do you pledge your most sacred honor to keep secret everything you may see
and hear in the council chamber?
10. Are you willing to subscribe your name to the truth of these declarations?
.............. Signature of Candidate.
.............. C. of R. or C. of W. [With date]
The candidate at the same time also signs the Constitution.
The Chief will collect the proper fee from the paleface (or brother) return to
the council chamber, salute the Sachem with the sign of respect, and report:
The candidate has answered the questions satisfactorily, and signed the
In case of the admission of a brother by card, dismissal certificate or
reinstatement, the Chief will report:
Brother has complied with all the requirements of our laws and now desires
The Sachem will then say: Sannap,
you will retire to the forest and escort Brother ... to the council chamber.
The Sannap salutes the Sachem with the sign of respect, retires to the forest,
escorts the brother through the inner wicket to the place of the council brand
(members to be called up by the Sachem as they enter), where both salute the
Sachem, after which the Sannap will say:
Brothers of ... Tribe, I have the pleasure to introduce to you Brother ..., who
has complied with all the requirements of our laws necessary to become a member
of this Tribe, and I hope you will extend to him a brother’s greeting.
After an intermission of a few breaths, the Sachem seats the brothers with the
usual rap, and the Sannap conducts the brother to a seat.
When more than one candidate is to receive the degrees it is sometimes necessary
or more convenient to confer them in entirety on but one, and by observation on
the others. On such occasions it shall be the imperative duty of the First
Sannap, before the ceremonies begin, to conduct all, except the one who is to
receive the full work, into the council chamber, and arrange them in front of
the Prophet’s station. They shall be required then and there to assume the
Pledge of Honor. The Pledge of Honor shall be administered by such chief as the
Presiding Chief shall designate. It shall be the duty of the First Sannap to
note that each and every individual candidate shall assume the proper position
and take the Pledge. When this ceremony shall have ended, the First Sannap shall
conduct the candidates to seats together in the council chamber, where they will
remain in care of a competent chief, and have clear view of all the ceremonies,
and be able to hear all the charges and instructions by the officiating chiefs.
The Sachem is permitted to give aloud the several degree passwords, but the
universal password must be given in a whisper to each candidate individually. At
tribal institutions the Sachem may call to his assistance in giving the
universal password such competent chiefs as he may select. He may also call for
similar assistance in exemplifying the grip.
When the Sannaps examine those present in any degree except the Chiefs’, it
shall be their duty to require all members of other tribes to prove themselves
in good standing in the Order. This proof may be by showing a receipt for dues
for the current term, or by giving the universal password for the current term.
If the brother is a newly admitted member, he may show his receipt for degree
fee. Any visitor announcing himself at the wicket shall be required to give the
Guard of the Wigwam similar proof.
The degree ceremonies illustrate several ancient customs of the Aborigines. The
introduction to the Adoption and Warriors’ Degrees are outlines and explanations
of the purposes and scenes that are exemplified by the ritual, and if studied
and used by the officiating chiefs as a basis on which to work, will not only
add to the beauties of the ceremonies, but will make such impression on the
minds of the candidates as time cannot efface.
The illustrations are not of imaginary scenes and incidents, but are from true
conceptions of the customs, traditions and history of the North American
That the work of the Adoption Degree may be comprehended, and to secure
uniformity in the same, the attention of the Order is called to the following,
which is to be accepted as the theory of the lesson taught in the Adoption
Degree. A party consisting of the Warriors, Braves and Scouts, in charge of the
Junior Sagamore, is out on the hunt. The shades of night falling upon them while
distant from their camp, they rest for the sleep. Weary from long trailing and
unsuccessful, till are soon lost in slumber. A paleface, wandering through the
forest, is discovered, captured, tried and condemned. His captors conduct him
through the forest to the encampment of the Tribe (this distance being
represented by trailing twice around the council chamber prior to exit), where
they arrive about twilight on the following sun. After passing the wickets the
captive is confronted by the Senior Sagamore, who again apprises him of his
fate. Tied to the stake and about to be subjected to the fiery ordeal, he is
rescued by the Prophet, and given a token which insures his welcome by the
Sachem. The ceremony typifies the custom of “Adoption” or “Naturalization” among
primitive Red Men.
After the Report of the Chief of Records (or Collector of Wampum) that the
questions have been answered and the fee paid, the ceremony of Adoption
proceeds, as follows:
Sachem, one rap:
Brothers, we are now about to teach a paleface the mysteries of Redmanship.
During the conferring of the Degree of Adoption, every member, except the Chiefs
in the performance of their duties, will keep his seat and observe strict
decorum and silence.
The Sachem gives two taps, which call up those Chiefs who are to lake part in
the ceremony. Prior to this he designates a qualified brother to fill his
station. He then advances three paces to the front, the Chiefs doing likewise,
except Warriors, Braves and Scouts. Preceded by the First Sannap, the Sachem
trails down and around the council chamber, followed by the Second Sannap,
Prophet, Senior Sagamore, Junior Sagamore, Warriors, Braves and Scouts, in this
order. When all are in place, the line must cross the council chamber diagonally
to paraphernalia room, where all will clothe themselves in appropriate costume.
Council chamber must be darkened, no council brand lighted, the tepees partly
dismantled to represent a deserted camp. Candidate is brought in and seated near
the inner wicket, under charge of the Guard of the Wigwam, so he can observe
this part of the ceremony. The floor movements and tableaux referred to in the
diagram are optional.
Scene First – Night - The rumbling of distant thunder, followed at intervals by
a dull flash of lightning. Two Indian scouts enter (they being in advance of a
party of Hunters, who, seeing the rapid approach of a storm, are seeking for a
suitable place to encamp for the sleep); as the scouts are trailing they
discover an Indian camp, and they proceed to see if it is deserted, Cautiously
approaching the tepee of the Senior, and being satisfied from its partially
ruined condition that no one is within, they trail by imaginary paths to the
tepee of the Prophet, then to that of the Sachem, exhibiting the usual Indian
caution. During these movements the storm is rapidly approaching, when a vivid
flash of lightning illuminates the camp, and they perceive the remains of a fire
and being satisfied that the camp is deserted, they decide to report to the
Junior. They then trail toward the inner wicket by the same paths, and
immediately after their exit a signal is heard, which locates the Hunters
(represented by the Warriors and Braves). They enter and trail around the camp,
examining everything suspiciously. The Junior being satisfied as to the
surroundings, orders his party to prepare for rest and sleep, and while this is
being done the First Scout lights the council brand, the Second Scout having
stolen away and placed himself near the candidate at the inner wicket. The
Junior Sagamore, having lighted his calumet, draws a few breaths, and then
reclines near the fire, the Hunters being close together around the burning
The storm at this time is at its height, vivid flashes of lightning, accompanied
by loud peals of thunder, then followed by the sound of rain. The entire party
creep close together, and as the storm passes over all are apparently in
slumber. (The Guard of the Wigwam will now have candidate standing). The Second
Scout takes charge of candidate, instructs him to follow him (the Scout) around
the outskirts. As they pass around, the First Scout, being alarmed, trails
around in like manner. When nearing the Junior Sagamore, the Scout discovers
strangers and immediately awakens the Junior Sagamore and informs him by signs
that strangers are near. They both trail after the Second Scout and candidate,
when a vivid flash of lightning reveals the strangers, and the Junior Sagamore
exclaims in a loud tone of voice:
Spies! traitors in our camp!
This awakens the Hunters, who hurriedly arise, exclaiming:
Seize them! seize them!
The Braves will firmly seize the candidate, the Second Scout escaping, the
Junior Sagamore advancing toward the captive, saying:
Hunters, this paleface has trespassed on our hunting grounds, the penalty for
which you will now determine. Assemble at once in council and let us upon his
The Hunters will then gather around the fire and deliberate, the Second and
Third Braves standing, and in charge of candidate.
Hunters, what say you?
The charges herein designated for the First Brave may be divided among the four
This paleface is of a hated nation; let us put him to the torture!
But he is a squaw and cannot bear the torture.
He fears a warrior’s death!
Let us burn him at the stake!
Shall the penalty for the trespass be death at the stake?
The stake! Torture at the stake!
We will now conduct him to the camp of our Tribe, where he will undergo the
penalty decreed. Hunters, let us onward to our camp.
The Second and Third Braves having charge of the candidate, and with the Scouts
(the Second Scout having stolen back unobserved) in the lead, followed by the
Junior Sagamore, Braves with paleface, and the Warriors, trail around the
council chamber twice, making exit to paraphernalia room. If desirable, the
Second and Third Braves, with candidate, will halt at the inner wicket and
remain there until after the dialogue, in first part of Scene Second, between
the Sachem, Prophet and Senior Sagamore, when they retire.
Scene Second – Twilight - The council chamber must now be partially lighted, the
stake in position, the tepees properly placed, and the council fire
The Sachem accompanied by the Sannaps, now enters, followed by the Prophet and
Senior Sagamore. All will slowly trail around the camp toward the tepees, while
the following charges are delivered.
The sun, with lengthened trail, has sunk beneath the distant hills, and its last
rays, still lingering, salute the coming night!
And ere tomorrow’s sun o’er yon mountain rises, our hunters will return.
Then let us to our tepees go, and there repose until the Scouts announce their
coming. We leave you, Senior Sagamore, now in charge. You, with the Sannaps, our
faithful runners, will allow no strangers to intrude upon our camp!
The Sachem and Prophet will now enter and close the flaps of their tepees and
First Sannap, trail toward yon rocky bluff which hides the distant vale. Some
tidings of our hunters you may bring. Second Sannap, you our Sachem’s tepee will
The First Sannap will trail slowly through the camp toward the inner wicket. The
Second Sannap will guard the Sachem’s tepee. The Senior Sagamore will seat
himself in front of his tepee, light a calumet and smoke.
During this interval the Junior Sagamore has divested the candidate of his coat
and clad his feet in moccasins. The Warriors substitute clubs for bows and
arrows, the Braves have their knives. When all is ready the Junior Sagamore
advances to inner wicket and gives the usual signal.
Guard of the Wigwam:
Who comes there?
The Junior Sagamore with a pales face whom the hunters have captured in the
It is suggested that the Guard of the Wigwam should also be clothed in costume.
The Guard advances in direction of Senior Sagamore and says:
Senior Sagamore, the Junior reports the capture of a paleface found trespassing
on our hunting grounds.
The Senior Sagamore advances a Few paces toward the wicket, and says:
Enter Junior with Braves, Warriors, paleface and Scouts. The Scouts drop out of
line of march and stand near the tepee of the Senior Sagamore. The First Sannap
leaves his position and watches every movement of the Chiefs. The others trail
once around the council chamber, halting a short distance in front of the
Senior’s tepee, who, beholding the captive, rushes toward him with uplifted
knife, but is intercepted by the Junior, who says:
Hold, Senior! It has been in council decreed that the captive shall be tortured
at the stake!
At the stake! Then let us proceed. Paleface, you have been captured by the
Braves in our hunting grounds. The penalty for your trespass is death at the
slake, unless some chief interposes. Why have you tempted your fate? Or, is it
your wish to become a Red Man?
The paleface must answer affirmatively or he cannot proceed.
Know, then, that Red Men are men without fear, and none but such can be adopted
by our Tribe. Are you a man of courage?
Then before you can be admitted you must prove yourself such. Honest and brave
men meet death with a smile—the coward trembles at the very thought.
Warriors, seize your prisoner! bind him to the stake.
The warriors will lay down their war clubs, seize the paleface, and bind him to
the stake with thongs.
Too often have we been deceived by those who professed friendship, but who
repaid our hospitality with ingratitude and treachery. What they have been, I
fear he is—a spy! Therefore, prepare your keenest scalping knives and your
weightiest war clubs. Our brave Junior Sagamore will superintend the execution.
The Senior Sagamore retires to his tepee; the Junior turns towards the Warriors
and Braves and says:
Warriors, prepare for the execution ! Braves, make ready and pile high the
fagots. He has declared he is a man without fear. The flames will test his
boasted courage. Proceed!
The Warriors will secure their war clubs, the Braves will gather the fagots and
place them at the feet of the paleface and around the stake; cones of red fire
will be placed behind the stake. The action here must be rapid, so that proper
dramatic effect may be produced. When this is done the Junior says:
Braves, light the fagots!
The Braves will right the cones, and at a signal from the Junior, the Warriors
and Braves, led by the Junior, will perform a scalp dance around the paleface.
While it is expected that the dance will be given in a realistic manner, any
loud yelling, uncouth noise, or, in fact, anything that may be heard outside the
council chamber, is absolutely prohibited.
The First Sannap, having observed what was taking place, hurries to the
Prophet’s tepee and explains by signs the situation to him. The Prophet, leaving
his tepee and coming nearer to the scene, perceives the danger of the paleface,
He rushes into the group, and up to the captive, scatters the fagots, and
seizing a knife from the Junior Sagamore cuts the thongs that bind the paleface,
and looking at the Warriors and Braves, says:
Is it fit that you should execute on suspicion alone? Is it not more becoming of
Red Men to show mercy to the stranger who has been found astray in the forest?
The tomahawk has been buried, and the innocence of his intent has been proved by
his courage. I pronounce him a man without fear. Retire!
There should be no demonstration on the part of the Warriors or Braves after
the Prophet has directed them to retire. His word should at all times be
heeded. The Warriors then recline in front of the Sachem’s tepee. Braves in
front of Senior’s tepee. The Prophet turns to the captive.
Paleface, Kishe Manitou saw fit to create the red skin and the white, therefore
they should be brothers; but the speaking books of the palefaces teach them
their wisdom, which makes them mistrustful and covetous; with the children of
the forest it is otherwise. All their wealth and stock belong to the Tribe in
common. Honor is given to whom honor is due, and they hold it to be their duty,
in every case of difficulty and danger, to assist a brother.
Paleface, I understand you have expressed a wish to be numbered with our Tribe;
if so, I would advise our well-tried Junior Sagamore to refer your case to our
Sachem, and, if accepted by him, he will impart to you that which will make the
forest as free to you as the air is to the eagle, and every Red Man you meet
will know you as a brother.
Paleface, I have done.
Prophet now retires to his tepee and the Junior Sagamore advances to paleface.
At the recommendation of our Prophet, I will refer your case to our Sachem. What
says our Senior Sagamore?
The Senior Sagamore advances toward the Junior, and says:
What the Prophet says is good. To your care, caution and bravery I commit the
The Senior then retires to his tepee.
Know, then, that no paleface may approach the presence of our Sachem, until he
shall have pledged himself to lock in the inmost recess of his bosom, all he may
hear and see in the council chamber; which is to be kept secret from all persons
not members of the Improved Order of Red Men. Are you willing to take this
pledge of honor?
The paleface must answer affirmatively.
Braves, conduct the paleface to our Prophet.
Braves conduct the paleface to Prophet.
Having arrived in front of the Prophets tepee, the Junior Sagamore says:
Prophet, this is the paleface whose life you have caused to be spared. He wishes
to take the pledge of honor.
Paleface, it is a duty incumbent upon me, before you can be introduced to our
Sachem, to administer to you a sacred pledge of honor. One which I assure you
will not conflict with your civil or religious liberty. Let your thoughts be
seriously upon the pledge while you repeat it after me.
Therefore, place your left hand over your heart, in token of sincerity, extend
your right hand toward heaven, in token of appeal to the Great Spirit, say “I,”
pronounce your name aloud, and repeat:
The Junior Sagamore will see that the proper position is taken by the candidate.
All being in position, the Prophet will continue.
Pledge of Honor
Being desirous of becoming acquainted with the mysteries of the Improved Order
of Red Men, do hereby solemnly promise and declare, that I will keep secret from
all persons, except such as I shall prove to be entitled thereto, all signs,
ceremonies and passwords, now or hereafter communicated to me.
I further promise, that I will never kindle a council fire of a Tribe unless
legally authorized so to do, nor participate in any not kindled and working
under authority of the Great Council of the United States.
I do further promise, that I will obey the law of this Order, and exhaust the
remedies thereof, before applying to the civil courts for relief or redress of
any grievance I may have against any branch of the Order.
I do further promise, that I will not knowingly violate the sanctity of the home
circle of a brother, and will protect and defend him from wrongdoers, to the
full extent of my power, and in and out of the council chamber extend to him the
loyal and fraternal friendship due from one true Red Man to another.
All this I promise and pledge my sacred honor to maintain, even should I cease
to be a member of the Order.
So help me the Great Spirit.
The candidate assumes a natural attitude and the Prophet continues:
Your pledge of honor having been given, which we in good faith accept, you will
now be conducted to our Sachem, by our Junior Sagamore and his Braves. But a
token of my favor you must bear to him as proof that you have taken the pledge
of honor, and are entitled to receive the signs and other mysteries of this
degree. It is the Eagle’s Plume, fit emblem of my protection, and will obtain
for you the knowledge you crave.
Gives an Eagle’s Plume to candidate.
May the Great Spirit bless and safely guide you.
Retires within his tepee, and the Junior Sagamore steps in front of the
candidate and gives the command:
Braves, conduct the paleface to our Sachem.
The trail is then taken, the Junior Sagamore leading, the candidate with a Brave
on either side following, then the other two Braves. Sufficient distance should
be taken from the Sachem’s tepee to permit proper action by the Warriors and the
Sachem. The Junior Sagamore should be in front, then the candidate, and then
behind, the Braves; the Braves going to this position after the others are
properly placed. During this time the Warriors in assumed slumber have
been inclining in front of the Sachem’s tepee. All being in position the
First Warrior, warned by their approach, arouses the other Warriors, who all
seize their clubs and rush toward the candidate, forming the tableau, so that
the Junior Sagamore stands in front of, and protecting the candidate from the
uplifted clubs, while the following dialogue ensues, in which the part taken by
the First Warrior may be divided among the four Warriors.
Who dare disturb our Sachem?
The Junior Sagamore, with a paleface, who is desirous of being adopted by our
Is he a man without fear?
He has proven himself such.
Has he taken the pledge of honor?
He has, and brings in witness thereof the Prophet’s peaceful sign.
Then we will report him to our Sachem.
The Junior Sagamore then returns to his tepee, the Warriors will assemble at the
right of the Sachem, facing the side of the paleface. The Second Sannap,
satisfying himself in regard to the stranger near the Sachem’s tepee, arouses
the Sachem from his slumber by saying in a loud voice:
Sachem! Sachem! A paleface stands before you!
The Sachem is reclining within his tepee, and hearing the Sannap report the
arrival of a paleface, he arises, throws aside the flap of the tepee, gazes
therefrom, perceives the paleface, takes a few steps toward the Warriors, and in
an angry tone, says:
Ugh! Do Red Men sleep that a paleface should thus gain admission into our camp?
There being no response from the Warriors, the Sachem grasps his tomahawk,
raises it as if to throw at the paleface, when the First Sannap interposes and
seizes the arm of the Sachem. The Sannap says:
No! Sachem, no! Thy children when on duty never sleep! This paleface was found
astray in the forest, and taken captive by the Hunters. He expressed a wish to
join our Tribe. After due trial he passed the ordeal, and came out as a man
should who knows no fear. He has also taken the pledge of honor, and, in witness
thereof, brings this token from our beloved Prophet.
Sachem lakes Prophets token, examines it, shows it to the Warriors, and then
From our beloved Prophet?
Yes! From our beloved Prophet.
The Sachem places tomahawk in his belt, turns to the paleface, grasps him by the
hand, and says:
Then, indeed, are you welcome.
Warriors will retire to positions in front of Sachems tepee, Braves retire to
their positions. Sannaps will remain standing, on either side of Sachem. The
Man of the sea, you have left your accustomed walks in life to range the forest
with Red Men. if you deem it pleasurable, and can appreciate true happiness, you
have decided rightly; for no enjoyment can equal that which springs from the
conscious performance of a good action.
We feel it our duty as Red Men to watch over and supply the wants of the
afflicted of our Tribe, and to shield them from danger as the eagle shields her
young and tender brood.
We shall expect you to enter warmly into our principles, for only by so doing
can you attain an honorable name among Red Men.
My friend, as you are unacquainted with our mysteries, I will now proceed to
give you the key, by which the secrets of this Degree will be revealed to you.
In all properly arranged council chambers there are two doors, which we term
wickets—an inner and an outer wicket. At the outer wicket is stationed the Guard
of the Forest, and at the inner wicket the Guard of the Wigwam. When you
approach the outer wicket you wvill give this alarm ... When the Guard responds
you will communicate to him the password of this degree, which is ... Having
received this he will permit you to pass the outer wicket. You will then clothe
yourself in regalia, which for this degree is a green sash.
You will then advance to the inner wicket and give this alarm ... This will call
the attention of the Guard of the Wigwam, to whom you will announce your name
and the name and number of the Tribe to which you are attached, which is Tribe
... No: ...
The Guard will report the same to the Senior Sagamore, who, if there be no
objection, will direct him to admit you if correct. The Tribe shall be the judge
of the validity of any objection.
You will then again communicate the password of this degree. Having received
this, the Guard will permit you to pass the inner wicket.
You should observe that all alarms and words are to be given so low that none
but the Guards for whom they are intended may hear them.
Having entered the council chamber, you will advance to the place of the council
brand, and, facing the Sachem, salute him thus ... He will recognize your
salutation thus ... This will insure you a welcome. You will then be seated.
Should you wish to leave the council chamber before the council fire has been
quenched, you will advance to the place of the council brand and salute the
Sachem with the same sign as on entering. Being recognized, you are at liberty
You have now been duly instructed in the unwritten work of the Adoption Degree.
Turning to Sannaps, he continues:
Sannaps, conduct the brother to our Prophet, to receive his final charge, and
then to me again.
The Sannaps, with the brother between them, proceed to the right, around the
council chamber, until they arrive in front of the Prophet’s tepee. The First
Prophet, the brother comes from the Sachem’s tepee to hear your words of wisdom.
My brother, the mysteries of this degree being now in your keeping, it yet
remains for me to speak these my parting words:
Let Freedom, Friendship, Charity, and Truth,
In future be your motto and your guide;
Good will to one and all alike extend,
And hail each worthy brother as a friend;
Let Freedom sever all the servile bands
That now unjustly rob man of his rights,
And let not selfish motives e ‘er restrain
The generous impulse of a noble deed;
And when through life serenely you have passed,
And landed your frail bark beyond life’s sea,
May your eternal lot be cast with those
Who know no sorrow, and can feel no pain.
I now have done.
Chiefs, arise and hail your brother!
At this command the officiating Chiefs only will arise. The brother being led
around the council chamber under escort of the same Chiefs who brought him from
the Sachem to the Prophet, followed by the Chiefs, all singing the following
Brother, welcome, hear our greeting,
You are made a Red Man now;
Hand to hand with brothers meeting.
Welcome here while time is fleeting,
At the wigwams shrine to bow.
From the Red Man’s heart is flowing
Virtue, harmony and peace;
Is your mind with friendship glowing,
Freedom in your pathway showing?
Brothers’ love shall never cease.
At the conclusion of the ode, the Chiefs in costume will assemble as in council,
the Warriors and Braves forming a circle, and the Chiefs located so that the
Sachem is supposed to be in the East, the Senior in the West, the Prophet in the
North, and the Junior in the South. All seated on the floor. The Sannaps in
charge will enter circle, seat the brother on a robe, and seat them. selves in
the circle. The Sachem, arising, will proceed as follows:
You are now regularly adopted a Red Man according to the usages of our Order.
You have passed through certain ceremonies that may have seemed strange and
startling, but which have a meaning and significance you will more fully
understand as you advance through the various degrees.
Among primitive Red Men the custom of adoption into their Tribes prevailed from
the earliest times. The captive was obliged to run the gauntlet, which was a far
more trying ordeal than that through which you have just passed. A regular
ceremony of adoption was performed in every case, and all were required to
undergo this test of their sincerity, truthfulness and power of endurance. Those
who faltered or proved false were immediately dispatched; but those who passed
successfully through the ordeal were adopted into the Tribe and treated with the
utmost affection and kindness. By these means all recollection of their distant
kindred was gradually effaced, and they were bound by the ties of gratitude to
the Tribe which had adopted them.
We have adopted you, and expect you to faithfully fulfil your duty to the Tribe
and the Order, with that zeal and fidelity which have characterized the the Red
Man of the forest. You are bound in duty and in honor to aid your brethren in
adversity, and they are equally bound to assist you.
The Sachem will advance to candidate, grasp him by the hand, assist him to
arise, and will say:
In conclusion, my brother, I bid you welcome to the friendship and hospitality
that have ever characterized the true Red Man, and which I trust will continue
to distinguish and adorn this noble Order. I hope we may never have cause to
regret your admission among us, but that by your exemplary conduct you may prove
an ornament to the Tribe.
In due season you will receive higher instructions and greater knowledge as a
Warrior and Chief. After proper probation you will be entitled to seek these
exalted ranks, and we trust you will be found worthy of the distinguished honor
The Sachem gives two raps with tomahawk, the officiating Chiefs will arise, and,
with the Sannaps in the lead, will trail once around the council chamber, form
two lines leading to the inner wicket diagonally across the council chamber, and
the candidate in charge of a brother not in costume is conducted between lines
quietly out of the council chamber. (An ode may be sung.) When the wicket is
closed the Chiefs will trail around the council chamber to paraphernalia room
and divest themselves of their costumes. After the room has been restored to its
usual appearance, the council brand is lighted, the Chiefs will enter and trail
in the same manner as on retiring, and resume their stations. The Sachem will
give one rap with tomahawk and say:
It is my will that the council fire be quenched in the Degree of Adoption. All
those not entitled to remain will retire beyond the wickets. First Sannap, you
will satisfy yourself that all present are entitled by their rank to sit with
our chiefs in council.
At this time the new members, also all others not qualified to remain, retire;
no salute to the Sachem being required. The Sannap makes an examination, and
having satisfied himself, reports, giving the sign of respect.
Sachem, I have found all present entitled to sit with our chiefs in council.
Senior Sagamore, you will make the necessary proclamation.
By direction of the Sachem I now declare the council fire quenched in the
Adoption Degree and rekindled in the Chiefs’ Degree for the transaction of
The Sachem gives one rap, the Guard of the Wigwam opens his wicket and notifies
the Guard of the Forest. The regular order of business is then resumed.
Quenching the Council Fire.
The time for quenching the council fire having arrived, the Sachem gives one
rap, arises and says:
Brethren, I thank you for your attendance during the council fire. We are now
about to quench it and return to our families and friends. As its embers are
smoldered so may all heart burning and discord disappear from among us and our
Totemic bond remain unbroken. As we separate, let us carry away with us the
precepts taught around our council fire and let them rule our intercourse in the
forest of life. Then by our deportment we will deserve and retain the love of
our families, the respect of each other, and the approval of the paleface
nation, to the honor and glory of the Improved Order of Red Men. In quenching
our council fire it is proper we should ask the protection of Kishe Manitou
until we meet again. Therefore, you will arise while our Prophet invokes the
The Sachem gives the usual raps. At the sound of the tomahawk all arise. The
Prophet proceeds to the place of the council brand, facing the Sachem, and
repeats the following:
O, Thou Great Spirit! we acknowledge Thy wisdom and goodness toward the Red Men
of our Tribe. We ask Thee to watch over us during the slumbers of the night and
while following the hunt. Guard us from all harm, succor the distressed, feed
the hungry, and clothe the poor. Do Thou, Great Spirit! impress upon each Red
Man’s heart to bear patiently the lot assigned him on earth, so that when he is
called from the hunting grounds of his fathers he may meet the shaft ol death
with unwavering courage, and feel assured that Thou wilt sustain him through the
“dark valley of the shadow of death.” Hear us, O, Great Spirit!
Response by the brothers:
Hear us, O, Great Spirit!
The Prophet returns to his station, and the Sachem then says:
Brothers, we will now sing the closing ode.
My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim’s pride.
From ev’ry mountain side
Let freedom ring.
Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.
The ode having been sung, the Sachem then says:
Brothers, in quenching this council fire, it is incumbent on me to caution you
against making known any of the proceedings of the Tribe to palelaces. Let the
secrecy we here profess, and the pledge of honor we have taken, ever remind us
of our duty to the Tribe, to the Order, and to ourselves, lest condemnation and
reproach cross our path, and we be no longer worthy of the endearing title of
The members will respond:
Our Sachem is wise.
Junior Sagamore, we are about to quench the council fire, and you will give the
proper instructions to the Guards.
Guard of the Wigwam, invite the Guard of the Forest to open his wicket and enter
the council chamber.
The Guard of the Wigwam opens the inner wicket and says:
Wigwam, Guard of the Forest, you are directed by the Junior Sagamore to open
your wicket and enter the council chamber.
The Guard of the Forest complies, enters the inner wicket, which is then closed
by the Guard of the Wigwam, who says:
Junior Sagamore, the Guard of the Forest is present.
The Junior Sagamore reports to the Sachem.
Sachem, your commands have been obeyed. The outer wicket is open, and the Guard
of the Forest is present.
Brothers, the council fire now to be quenched will be rekindled on the sleep of
the ... sun, ... moon, at the ... run, ... breath.
First Warrior, collect the books and odes and extinguish the council brand.
The First Warrior collects the books and odes, extinguishes the council brand,
and returns to his station. At this time the Sachem shall see that all rituals
and odes are returned to him, and shall so report.
Senior Sagamore, make the proper proclamation to the Guard.
Guard of the Wigwam, at the sound of the Sachem’s tomahawk you will throw open
your wicket and permit the brothers to retire.
The council fire is quenched.
The Sachem gives one rap with the tomahawk, when the Guard of the Wigwam opens
the wicket and the brothers retire.
Sachem gives one rap with tomahawk, and says:
Brothers, we are about to raise a worthy and well-tried Red Man to the rank and
title of our Degree. Therefore, let that dignity which ever characterized the
councils of the primitive Red Man mark our conduct on this occasion, so that the
candidate may be properly impressed with the importance of the lessons he is
about to receive. Chiefs, assume your stations. Guards, secure the wickets.
Sannap, ascertain whether all present are qualified to remain.
The First Sannap performs this duty, requiring the Warriors Degree password from
all those not known to him to be of the Chiefs’ Degree, then advances to place
of council brand, gives the sign of respect, and says:
Sachem, in obedience to your commands, I have ascertained that all the brothers
are entitled to remain.
Senior Sagamore, you will make the necessary proclamation.
Pursuant to the command of our Sachem, I now declare the council fire of ...
Tribe duly kindled in the Warriors’ Degree.
Such is my will and command.
Gives one rap with tomahawk, and then proceeds as laid down in the
ceremony of the Degree.
By the way of illustration, the following must be observed: The First Sannap and
candidate having passed over the hunting grounds of the Tribe, appear upon the
trail leading to the Warriors’ Council, and while picking their way over a rough
and uneven path, the Junior Sagamore is seen rapidly approaching by another
trail, he having discovered the Sannap and candidate, whom he takes for
intruders, while descending a distant mountain, previous to the setting of the
sun. He reaches foot-log over stream in advance of the others, and in
concealment awaits their coming. Owing to the darkness of the night he is unable
to satisfy himself as to whether they are friends or foes, and it is only when
the challenge is made at the foot-log that a recognition takes place.
The trail is again taken up; the Junior reaching the council in advance of the
Sannap and candidate, heralds their approach. The Warriors being in council, the
candidate upon his arrival is instructed as a Hunter, and then given the
Warrior’s Test of Courage.
At the proper, time provided in the Order of Business, the council fire having
been kindled in the Warriors’ Degree, the Sachem
gives one rap with the tomahawk, commanding silence, and says:
Brothers, we are about to advance an adopted brother to the rank and title of
our Degree. During the performance of the solemn rites through which he is to
pass, you will preserve silence and decorum, so the lessons he may here receive
will make a deep and lasting impression upon his memory. Sannap, at the proper
time you will proceed to the forest and prepare the candidate.
Sachem gives two raps with tomahawk, when all chiefs will arise and proceed to
the ante-room by floor movement similar to that used in the Degree of Adoption.
The Guard of the Wigwam will arrange council chamber with all properties used in
the Degree, extinguish the council brand, and report to Sachem when all is
First Sannap will now proceed to the forest and address candidate as follows:
Brother, your application for advancement has been received, and our chiefs in
council have sent me here. Are you prepared to risk the dangers of the trail?
Then let me prepare you.
Sannap will divest candidate of outer garment, blindfold him, and place a bow in
his left hand and arrows in right, lead him through the inner wicket and over a
rough and uneven path, arranged to represent, as nearly as may be, a journey
over a forest pathway; brambles and undergrowth may be arranged to strike his
body and limbs, but nothing to cause indignity to the candidate. They trail
twice around the council chamber. As they pass on second round, both must cross
on foot-log over imaginary stream, and as they step from log the Junior Sagamore,
having previously entered and by a series of evolutions arrived at the stream,
will approach suddenly, and say:
Stand! bold intruders, stand! You cannot pass this way but at peril of your
lives; then, stand!
Wherefore, Brother, speak?
Why, knew you not the ancient
Customs of our race, which to every Tribe
A tract assigns, on which they alone may hunt?
Not for myself alone do I now speak.
I am of the “Totem of the Eagle,”
And well do know its wide protecting power;
But my brother, here, whose guide I am, is
Yet unskilled in Medicine’s deep art,
And cannot claim this great advantage.
He comes on an errand
To the Council of the Hunters;
Of which I will not further speak.
This is our object here, and not
To trespass on your hunting grounds.
Such are my truthful words.
You say you are
Of the Totem of the Eagle.
Then should these grounds for hunting
Be as free to you as us;
For, by the device of that noble bird—
The freest in all our land—
Which heavenward soars,
And proudly looks upon the dazzling sun,
A deed which he alone
Of all the feathered tribe can do—
Our Totem, too, is known.
Now, therefore, brothers,
And such our hearts are proud
To hail all of the Eagle,
For the seeming wrong I’ve done,
Let me quickly make amends,
And safely guide you to your journey’s end;
They advance. The action should suit the words of the dialogue.
But ere we further
Toward the Council go, let’s to my wigwam
Bend our wearied steps, and there partake
Of what corn and vension may yet remain.
Thanks, brother, but as yet
We are not much fatigued, and time with us
Is very precious, so with your good will,
We’d rather journey to our destined end.
So shall it be. Lo!
Yonder through the waving pines,
Behold! the council house in view.
I did not think we were so close upon it.
I’ll now precede you and herald your approach.
’Tis well, brother.
Sannap and candidate will stop near inner wicket; blindfold will be removed from
candidate’s eyes, how and arrows will be laid aside, and both will remain there
until Scene II is ended, when they will approach the Senior Sagamore.
Enter two runners with firebrands, who will proceed to council brand and light
same, followed by Sachem, Second Sannap, Prophet and two Mystery Men. As they
assemble around council brand, Senior Sagamore enters, and, advancing to council
Sachem, a runner comes this way in haste. His pace foretells a message. He is at
Let him be admitted at once.
Enter Junior Sagamore, who, advancing to council brand and saluting with sign of
respect, will say:
Sachem, while descending the trail leading to the glen, from the summit of yon
divide, in the dim distance I beheld two strangers advancing with faces toward
the setting sun. Thinking they were intruders upon our hunting grounds, I
hastened my steps; but the shades of night had long since cast their gloom ere I
reached the stream, which, after passing the gorge, meets the wood beyond. ‘T
was here I o’ertook them. My challenge was answered by “One of the Totem of the
Eagle,” under whose guidance a brother seeking advancement was trailing to this
council. I thus herald their approach.
Well do you fill your station, Junior. Senior Sagamore, if you find them
qualified bring them to me Prophet, it is my desire that the customs of our
prototypes be observed.
All Chiefs will assume stations in front of tepees. Prophet will advance to
council brand, facing Senior Sagamore, and stamp his right foot twice, which
will summon two Mystery Men to his side. After making gestures suggestive of his
desire for the Buffalo dance, he retires to station, and Mystery Men summon both
Runners by stamping their feet once. When Runners are apprised of their orders
by signs and gestures, they rapidly retire to the Forest, and when the Mystery
Men with their Tom-Toms are seated at council brand, the First Runner enters,
followed by the Four Warriors armed with spears, bows and arrows, who proceed to
council brand and engage in a short dance around the same. When they stop
dancing the Second Runner enters, followed by the Four Braves, bearing with them
Buffalo tails and robe. After inspection by Senior Sagamore all will be seated
around council brand. The Second Sannap, bearing with him a dried stalk of corn,
will advance to Prophet, showing him same. Both will proceed to council brand
and by signs and gestures call attention of the Mystery Men to the condition of
the cornstalk. Several motions and gestures are passed between Mystery Men as
Prophet and Sannap retire to stations. The First Mystery Man arranges his brand
to burn sage, as the second Mystery Man gazes skyward for floating clouds. The
assembled Chiefs hum an incantation. The Second Mystery Man seeing an
approaching dark cloud, seizes a bow and arrow, climbs to top of tepee and
shoots. No indication of rain results, and he descends, apparently in disgrace,
amid low murmurs of sorrow and despair by the Chiefs. The First Mystery Man
repeats the trial. After the lapse of a few seconds a flash of lightning is
seen, followed by thunder, wind and rain, during which the First Mystery Man
descends, and on being escorted to the council brand by the Junior Sagamore is
exalted by the Prophet.
The above must be done in pantomime, and not a sound uttered except the humming
of the incantation.
At the close of the pantomime the Chiefs will assume their proper stations and
the Sannap will conduct the candidate to the Senior Sagamore.
Senior Sagamore, this brother, having advanced to the honors of a Hunter, now
seeks the rank and title of a Warrior.
Senior steps down and makes a pretence of examining the candidate, and then
But I see no scalps upon his robe in witness of his prowess. What deeds of noble
daring may this brother boast on which to base his claim to wear the Warrior’s
emblem? That badge he first must win before he can gain admission to the
The tongue of good report bears witness to his-prowess; our brothers with one
accord proclaim him stout of heart against oppression, wrong, and human
suffering. To aid his fellow man in virtue’s cause, he left the habitation of
the paleface and became engrafted on the Red Man’s Tribe; since then he has his
plighted word most sacred kept. Of such deeds as these he proudly boasts, and is
prepared to stand the Warriors’ test of courage.
Then the brother surely may advance. Sannap, to our Sachem we will go, and for
our brother his advancement seek.
The Senior Sagamore leading, the Sannap following with the candidate, the trail
is taken to a position a short distance in front of the Sachem’s tepee. Arriving
there the Senior Sagamore says:
Sachem, your Sannap has brought to me this Hunter, who claims the rank and title
of a Warrior. I find him worthy of the honor he seeks, and now present him for
Confiding in your wisdom, Senior Saga-more, we consent, with our best wishes, to
his enlistment as a Warrior.
The Senior Sagamore returns to his tepee. The Sachem then continues:
Brother, among the primitive Red Men a member of the Tribe could not enlist as a
Warrior until by deeds of bravery and endurance he had proved his courage. As a
Hunter, you are entitled to seek admission to the Warriors’ Council. The trial
will test to the utmost your courage and fortitude. In order that you may find a
friend in time of need, receive from me this token, which will gain you friends
and protection even in the moment of the greatest danger.
Sachem fastens totem on left breast of candidate, under coat.
To our Sannap I now give you in charge, and with him as your faithful guide you
will safely reach the trail you seek. Sannap, conduct this Hunter to the Forest,
prepare him for the war-path, and then escort him to the Warriors’ Council.
Sannap takes the candidate by the arm and conducts him to the Forest, remaining
with him until signal is given to return.
A short recess may be taken, during which the council chamber will be properly
arranged for the fourth scene of the Warriors’ Degree.
Introductory to Scene IV
The proper manner of giving correct dramatic effect to that portion of Scene
Fourth of the Warriors’ Degree, illustrating the protecting power of the Totem,
may be gathered from Cooper’s description of a similar event in which one of his
characters figured. After vividly portraying the circumstances leading up to the
condemnation to torture, Cooper continues as follows:
“Throughout the whole of these trying moments Uncas had alone preserved his
serenity. He looked at the preparations with a steady eye, and when the
tormentors came to seize him he met them with a firm and upright attitude. One
among them, if possible, more fierce and savage than his fellows, seized the
hunting shirt of the young warrior, and at a single effort tore it from his
body. Then with a yell of frantic pleasure, he leaped toward his unresisting
victim and prepared to lead him to the stake. But at that moment, when he
appeared most a stranger to the feelings of humanity, the purpose of the savage
was arrested as suddenly as if a supernatural agency had interposed in behalf of
Uncas. The eyes of the Delaware seemed to start from their sockets; his mouth
opened, and his whole form became frozen in an attitude of amazement. Raising
his hand with a slow and regulated motion, he pointed with a finger to the bosom
of the captive. His companions crowded about him in wonder, and every eye was,
like his own, fastened intently on the figure of a small tortoise beautifully
tattooed on the breast of the prisoner in a bright blue tint.”
By carefully following the action thus described, the full intent and meaning of
that portion of the ceremony will be dramatically conveyed.
Everything being in readiness, the Sachem gives one rap with the tomahawk, and
We are about to raise a well-tried Hunter to the rank and title of our Degree.
You will at once assemble in council.
The Chiefs who are to engage in the dance will assemble around council brand,
forming a complete circle.
The Sannap in the Forest will address candidate as follows:
Brother, our trail lies toward the Warriors’ Council. Are you prepared to risk
the dangers of the path? Think before you speak!
The Sannap will then divest him of his coat and clothe him in a hunting shirt
over his other garments. The hunting shirt should be so fastened that it may he
easily torn from him at the proper time to expose the Totem. The Sannap, when
signal is given by Guard of the Wigwam, will then lead him into the council
chamber. As soon as they enter and the wicket is closed behind them, the Senior
Sagamore will step quickly forward, seize the candidate firmly, but not roughly,
by the shoulders, and in a stern voice exclaim:
Stand! bold, presumptuous mortal, stand!
Know ye not that the truly brave alone
Have e’er had fortitude to pass this way?
Senior, this Brother is a Brave,
And from the Council of the Hunters comes
To boldly join your Warriors in the dance.
His stout heart eagerly doth pant
To deck his robes with scalps, the noblest
Trophies your daring Warriors wear.
Then let him at once proceed to taunt the foe.
The Senior Sagamore presents the war club.
From me receive this blood-stained club,
And quickly bear it to their camp
In token of our Tribe’s intent. But mark!
Should they in turn present the arrows closely tied
With the envenomed serpent’s skin,
Retain them not, but boldly
Hurl them at their feet, in contempt.
If you do this, and escape the vengeance which
The act invokes, it will gain for you an
Audience with our faithful chief, who will then
Confer the boon you crave.
Will you proceed?
The candidate must assent.
The Sannap will conduct the brother around the council chamber, and while they
are passing around, the Mystery Men and Prophet will seat themselves in the
centre of the council chamber and the Mystery Men beat time upon the war drums,
while the Junior Sagamore, Warriors and Braves engage in the war dance. Any loud
noise, yelling, or the like, is prohibited. The officiating chiefs should time
their dance to an Indian chant. Warriors and Braves start first, finally all
joining in concert, so timing their dance that it will end just as the Sannap
and candidate have completed their second time around the council chamber. The
Sannap calls the attention of the candidate to the dance just as all the chiefs
join therein, and says:
The chance we seek! They are warriors enlisting for the war-path. We will join
With the candidate he forces his way within the circle of dancers, and exclaims
in a loud voice:
Warriors! behold the red-stained club My brother bears with greetings from his
You know its meaning.
The Junior takes the club and hands it to the Prophet.
Words bravely spoken!
And in proof that we well do understand
The sanguinary import of that gory club,
From us, in turn, receive these arrows,
Securely with the serpent’s skin tied up;
For ere tomorrow’s sun reclines behind
Yon jutting knoll, your Tribe may need them.
The Junior Sagamore hands the brother the arrows tied together with a serpent’s
skin. The Sannap directs him to cast them at their feet, which he does.
Warriors, behold! he hurls them from him
In contempt! Seize him, and with
Your clubs beat out his forfeit life.
First bind him fast, and my faithful knife shall
Let forth the purple current from his veins
And we will drink it up. Seize him, I say,
And let the unpitying torture rack his limbs.
The whole effect of the work will depend upon the action, which must be timed by
the spoken words. No roughness, buffoonery, or indignity to the candidate is
permissible. The Warriors seize the candidate and secure his arms at the elbows.
A tableau is formed of the Warriors and Braves with clubs uplifted in the act of
striking. As the Junior Sagamore draws back his arm to plunge the knife into the
bosom of the candidate, he tears off the hunting shirt and discovers the Totem
of the Sachem pinned on the breast. His knife drops from his hand and he points
in amazement to the Totem, while at the same instant the Prophet springs briskly
forward, interposing the red club, exclaiming:
Warriors, forbear! Behold! the red-stained club
Bears the device of our Totem.
See! Upon his breast the same device,
The token of our Sachem’s protection! Truly
He is of the Totem of the Eagle,
Therefore our relation. Warriors, retire,
Nor harm a hair upon this brother’s head.
The Warriors retire and the Chiefs assume their proper stations.
Sannap, conduct him to our Senior,
And in proof of my regard,
Let oar brother bear this arrow,
Its crimsoned barb pointing to the earth
The brother receives the arrow, and the Sannap conducts him to the Senior
Behold the Brother’s safe return,
And to prove that he has braved the torture
With nerve and courage, he brings
With him our Prophet’s peaceful sign.
It is the Prophet’s sign, indeed;
Now from my willing hands again receive the emblem
And learn well its deep symbolic power;
Which, speaking ever through the Red Man’s eye,
Will penetrate his heart, and gain for you
A brother’s watchful care; and when you have
To our Prophet shown it,
Present it to our Sachem, whose
Favor you will gain, and with it the secret
You have nobly won. So have I spoken.
The Sannap conducts him to the Prophet.
Prophet, I present this brother, bearing the white-feathered arrow. He wishes to
be received into our Totemic Bond and sit with our Warriors in council.
Sannap, conduct the brother to our Sachem and request that the Warriors be
assembled to receive him into the Totemic Bond. Bear with you the token of peace
in proof of my friendship.
The Sannap conducts the candidate to a position in front of the Sac hem, and
Sachem, by direction of our Prophet, I report that this brother has successfully
passed the ordeal, and proved by his courage his right to be raised to the
Warriors’ Council. Our Prophet requests that you assemble our Warriors in
council to admit the brother into the Totemic Bond. As evidence of the
confidence reposed in him, he brings the Prophet’s peaceful sign.
Hands arrow to the Sachem.
We receive the emblem from your hand in token of your good intent. Our brothers
have consented to raise you to the Warriors’ Council, and they trust that your
future conduct will justify the confidence thus reposed in you.
Chiefs, you will now form the Totemic Bond.
The Sachem calls up the officiating chiefs. The chiefs form a complete circle
around council brand, with backs to same, clasping hands. Sachem, Sannaps,
Senior and Junior Sagamores, Prophet and candidate within circle. All being in
position, the Sachem will say:
My brother, cast your eyes around you; behold yourself encircled by a band of
Warriors. This symbolizes the Totemic Bond of our Order, which has never been
broken. Be faithful to them, and they will be faithful to you. Aid them in their
distress, and they will aid you. The unbroken circle which surrounds you
typifies that strength which comes from FRIENDSHIP, the motto of the Warriors’
Degree. Attack from without cannot break it. Only by discord and dissension
within can danger come.
Sachem gives one rap with tomahawk, and all chiefs will assume sitting position
in circle, facing inward. The Sannap places the brother facing the Sachem, and
takes a position in the circle. The Sachem says:
Brother, I will now impart to you the unwritten language of this Degree, and
teach you to work your way into and out of the Warriors’ Council.
When you desire to enter the Warriors’ Council you will give the same alarm at
the outer wicket as in the Degree of Adoption. When the Guard responds, you will
communicate to him the password of this Degree, which is ... Having received
this, he will permit you to pass the outer wicket. You will then clothe yourself
in regalia, which for this Degree is a blue sash. You will then advance to the
inner wicket and give this alarm ... This will call the attention of the Guard
of the Wigwam, to whom you will announce your name and the name and number of
the Tribe to which you are attached. The Guard will report the same to the
Senior Sagamore, who, if there be no objection, will direct him to admit you if
correct. The Tribe shall be the judge of the validity of any objection. You will
then again communicate the password of this Degree. Having received this, he
will permit you to pass the inner wicket.
Having entered the council chamber, you will advance to the place of the council
brand, and, facing the Sachem, salute him thus ... He will recognize your
salutation thus ... This will insure you a welcome.
You will then be seated.
Should you wish to leave the council chamber before the council fire has been
quenched, you will advance to the place of the council brand and salute the
Sachem with the same sign as on entering. Being recognized, you are at liberty
The brother is now seated upon a stump covered with skins or a buffalo robe. The
Sachem then continues:
Brother, the Degrees of our Order, like those in the schools of the palefaces;
have wise and salutary purposes. Knowledge is gained only by degrees, and as you
advance step by step, you will attain a knowledge of the workings and mysterious
beauties of our organization. Be attentive, therefore, to their teachings, and
let their precepts be indelibly stamped upon your mind.
All the ceremonies of our Order are historical of that wonderful race the
paleface supplanted. The ceremony communicated to you may be briefly explained
On your admission you were given the bow and arrows, because hunting was a most
essential calling; the bow and arrows being its chief implements, and emblems of
industry and utility.
You were blindfolded and conducted over a rough and uneven path, to give you a
faint illustration of the suffering frequently endured by primitive hunters.
From this, we, as Red Men, should learn to bear the various trials and reverses
in life with firmness and becoming resignation.
Your path was rudely crossed by a hunter, to illustrate an ancient custom by
which a clearly defined tract of country was assigned to each Tribe, intrusion
upon which was sure to result in war.
When the buffalo had forsaken their hunting grounds and their corn was suffering
for want of rain, the Mystery Men sent out their runners to call together their
young men, who assembled masked and robed, with buffalo horns on their heads,
and armed with bows, arrows and spears. They engaged in a dance, for the purpose
of inducing the buffalo to return; or they assembled in a wigwam and spent the
day in incantation and prayer, burning aromatic herbs as an incense, and
invoking the Great Spirit for rain. One of their number, with bow and arrows,
was sometimes sent to the roof of a wigwam to watch for an approaching cloud,
and shoot at it to let out its watery contents. If it failed to rain, he
descended at the setting of the sun in disgrace. On the following sun another
was in like manner sent out; and thus they continued to try their skill until
rain fell, when he whose propitious arrow was supposed to have penetrated the
watery cloud and set free its contents, was exalted as deserving of the highest
arcana of their sacred mysteries.
On your admission to the Warriors’ Council you were given a Red Club as a
hostile symbol to another Tribe. The arrows tied with a serpent’s skin, with
which you were presented, were considered a fit answer to the challenge intended
by the red-stained club. Upon casting the arrows from you, you were condemned to
death, to illustrate the custom of slaying a victim and drinking his blood,
previous to entering battle, with the belief that so doing would inspire the
warriors with more enduring courage.
Just as the Sagamore was about to plunge his knife into your heart, having torn
aside your hunting shirt to make more sure his stroke, he beheld upon your
breast the protecting Totem which the Sachem had previously placed there to
shield you. At the same instant, while the Sagamore drew back in amazement to
find you were of his Tribe and people, the Prophet also discovered the device of
the Eagle on the Red Club, and rushed to your rescue. This illustrates the
protective power and influence of the Totemic Bond, an heraldic institution
maintained among various Tribes, the sign manual or emblem of which was a sure
protection against injury, even amidst battle. The Totems were distinguished by
various devices, usually by a bird or animal, and in our Order, we are known as
of the “Totem of the Eagle.”
The white-feathered arrow was then given you by the Prophet, as a token and
messenger of peace.
My brother, you are now advanced and raised to a knowledge of the arts and
mysteries of the Warriors’ Degree. Be jealous of the privileges it implies; be
faithful to its precepts, and there will be no bar to your future progress in
The Sachem will call up the officiating Chiefs, and continue:
Brother, I now invest you with the sash of the Warriors’ Degree. Let the
unfading blue of which it is composed, the color of heaven’s firmament, the
symbol of sincerity among men, ever keep fresh in your memory the pledge you
took on being accepted in this Order. Believe not each singing bird which
whispers rumors in your ear of a brother’s mistakes, but spread the mantle of
Charity over his indiscretions.
Be faithful to the undying FRIENDSHIP of our Totemic Bond, and the power and
influence of our beloved Order will never pass from the land.
And now, by the authority invested in me as Chief of this Council, I greet you
as a Warrior, and bid you welcome to your rank and honors.
The Chiefs will respond.
Welcome to the Warrior!
The Sachem, presenting a red tomahawk, says:
But hold! There is yet another duty to be performed. This emblem I wish
delivered to the Chiefs in Council. Brother, you are the last among us; to you I
confide this sacred trust. Will you fulfill it?
Then our task is done.
The Senior and Junior Sagamores will advance within the circle to positions
between Second and Third Warriors, and heading respective columns, as it were,
will make a complete circle around council brand; Senior Sagamore advancing to
right, followed by Second Warrior, First Warrior, Fourth Brave, Third Brave;
Junior Sagamore advancing to left, followed by Third Warrior, Fourth Warrior,
First Brave, Second Brave. Runners or Mystery Men will stand by candidate, backs
to council brand, Sannaps, Sachem and Prophet will stand facing council brand,
until Senior and Junior Sagamores, leading columns, reach them, when, with
San-naps in lead, they will form double line to forest, passing with Mystery Men
or Runners and candidate between them. All will retire to forest and disrobe.
The following ode will be sung during the march:
Come, Red Men all of this Degree,
And let your voices hail
The brother who, with courage bold,
Has crossed the Warrior’s trail.
May Charity and Friendship joined,
His efforts ever bless;
And when life’s o’er may he be crowned
With endless happiness.
After the Chiefs have disrobed they will return to council chamber by same floor
movement as in retiring, and the council fire must be quenched in the Warriors’
Degree and rekindled in the Chiefs’, for the further transaction of Tribal
When a Warrior has applied for exaltation to the Chiefs’ Degree, the officiating
Chief will say:
Brothers of the Totemic Bond, we are about to exalt a true and well-tried
Warrior, and teach him the higher duties and greater knowledge in the Chiefs’
Council. I trust that during the rendition of the ceremonies all will preserve
decorum and silence.
The officiating Chief calls up with the usual raps those who are to take part,
and they leave the council chamber as in the Degree of Adoption and assume their
costumes. The property Chief will make ready the council chamber for the floor
work. The Chiefs then assume their stations.
The Sachem will direct the First Sannap to retire to the forest, where, finding
the candidate for exaltation, he will present him with the Red Tomahawk. All the
lights in the council chamber must be extinguished except the council brand.
After a few breaths the Sachem will say:
Guard of the Wigwam, let the warning be given.
The Guard will give one loud rap. The Sannap will reply by giving one rap.
Guard of the Wigwam, who alarms our council?
Guard of the Wigwam:
The Sannap and a runner from the Warriors’ Council bearing a message to the
Let them be admitted.
As soon as they have entered the council chamber, the two Mystery Men will
advance and receive the Warrior, and the Sannap will resume his station. The
Mystery Men will then conduct the brother three times around the council
chamber, and halt, facing the Prophet’s tepee, with the council brand in front
of them. The First Mystery Man will then quench the council brand, and all will
remain in silent darkness.
The Second Mystery Man will remove the outer covering from the entrance to the
Prophet’s tent, which will then be screened only by the transparency of a human
skeleton. The Mystery Men will then take stations one on each side of the
Prophet’s tepee, a member concealed in the tepee will then light the council
brand behind the skeleton. The Prophet appears and exclaims:
The Great Spirit is offended at his red children, and has withdrawn the visible
symbol of his pleasure. The spirit of darkness has gone abroad and spread its
sable mantle over the once smiling bosom of creation. The azure heaven above,
the green earth beneath, the pleasing foliage of the forest, the shining bosoms
of the lakes, the rippling waters of the swift-running rivers, and the
variegated hues of the angry waves of the great oceans which surround our
land—all have merged into darkness and disappeared. The beasts of prey have gone
forth; the stealthy panther utters his piteous but deceptive cries; the ravenous
wolf breaks the dismal gloom with his bark; all is darkness and desolation. Let
us invoke the Great Spirit for mercy, for life, for light.
Prophet: O, Thou Great Spirit, bless every heart sincere
In freedom’s cause. Bless our fraternal band.
In friendship may it stand. Extend it through the land,
By Thy almighty power.
O, let Thy sacred fire descend. Inspire
Our brother’s heart with truth, sincerity,
Benevolence and charity—the sacred mystery
Of every Red Man’s love.
Him, in mercy, move to succor the distressed,
And from the orphan’s eye the tear remove,
The widow’s heart to soothe, and calm affliction’s sigh.
In our fraternal band thus may he ever stand
A chief both firm and true.
The emblem of mortality will then be removed by the brother inside of the tepee,
and the Mystery Men will take the brand from the tepee and light the brands on
the stations of the Sachem, Senior and Junior Sagamores, after which they will
return to the Prophet’s tepee, taking position on each side. The First Sannap
will then take charge of the candidate.
Sannap, conduct the Warrior to the Senior Sagamore, who has words of wisdom to
Senior Sagamore, from the Warriors’ Council this brother comes, and brings the
Red Tomahawk, the emblem he promised to deliver to the Chiefs in council.
The Senior Sagamore receives the Tomahawk, and conceals it, as if burying it,
and will say:
Henceforth be this weapon
Deep in the earth’s cold bosom buried.
Its thirsty edge no more shall taste
The life-inspiring current; nor in dread conflict
Cleave the proud citadel where reason
Sits enthroned. But from this time
Shall our Warrior’s mission be one of peace
And good will to all upon the earth;
And, to prove my words are true,
And will not to me return,
I present this Wampum Belt,
The Red Man’s bond, that he will faithful prove
To what his tongue may utter.
Mark my words.
Hands the Wampum Belt to the candidate.
Sannap, return with the Warrior, that he may be accepted in the Covenant of
The Sannap conducts the candidate to the Prophet, who stanch at the place of the
council brand, beside an arrangement in which to fix the brands.
Prophet, the tomahawk has been buried, and the brother returns with the sacred
The belt is handed to the Prophet.
My son, hearken to the voice of the Prophet. We accept from you the Wampum Belt
as a symbol of your intent to honorably fulfil the duties of our Covenant of
Faith, which shall never be broken; that we may henceforth be as One, and have
but one Council Fire and one Voice. Let our words go quickly forth and assemble
our Chiefs together that they may take part in this solemn ceremony.
Sachem advances, bearing brand.
I come, symbolizing Freedom, in honor of that proud race, fast fading away, who
in the days of their affluence were as brave as they were generous, and as
truthful as they were brave. Freedom, the hope and aim of the oppressed of every
land and clime, now the proud boast of every American. We dedicate our lives to
Sachem places brand. Senior advances, bearing brand.
I come, symbolizing Friendship, the binding link in our Covenant, and the
brightest gem in the jeweled diadem of our Totem. Be friendly, for in
misfortune’s dreary hour, “a kindly word in friendship spoken, may soothe and
calm a heart that’s broken.”
Senior Sagamore places brand. Junior advances, bearing brand.
I come, symbolizing Charity, not that alone which gives with an open hand and
willing heart in time of need, but Charity which is indulgent, kind and
constant, expressed by the smiles of those who meet around the council brand.
Charity for the weak and erring, to measure men not by their wealth, but by
their moral worth.
“Rugged strength and radiant beauty, These are one in Nature’s plan;
Humble toil and heavenward duty, These will form a perfect man.”
Junior Sagamore places brand.
In the name of Freedom, Friendship and Charity, the three cardinal precepts of
our Totemic Bond, I welcome you into the Covenant of Faith, and you will place
this brand as a symbol of your acceptance therein.
Prophet hands brand to candidate, who places it with the others. The chiefs then
take stations around the light so as to be situated at the four cardinal points,
the Sachem in the East, Senior Sagamore in the West, Junior Sagamore in the
South; the Warriors and Braves seated, forming a circle around them. The Mystery
Men in the rear of Prophet. The Prophet then continues:
By the blending of these fires, fit emblem of purification, vigor, and life, by
which the primitive Red Men symbolized the mysterious union through which they
were bound by the strong bonds of amity and love, let us symbolize the
inseparable ties of fraternity which shall henceforth bind us.
As this fire is consuming, so let the sordid and grosser passions of our nature
be destroyed; as it is warm and invigorating, so let the fire of love burn
within to nourish and stimulate us; and as its rays dispel the darkness and
gloom from our midst, so may the divine law, emanating from the Great Spirit,
illuminate our souls, and shed its hallowed rays upon our path.
The First Mystery Man then arises, advances to the light, lights the calumet and
smokes. The Prophet continues:
As the smoke from the calumet, ascending to the Great Spirit, blends together,
so may our affections blend in this Covenant of Faith, which shall not be
broken. You shall keep our secrets, and we will keep yours; you shall administer
to our wants, and we will administer to yours. You shall defend our fair fame,
and we will defend yours. These are our words. They have gone forth from our
mouth and shall not return.
Receives calumet from Mystery Man, takes a whiff through the same, then points
the stem upwards.
And now, as a token of your fidelity to us, that you will fulfil to the utmost
of your ability, without equivocation or mental reservation, the various
requirements of this Degree, its doctrines and teachings, we extend to you the
calumet, with which was solemnized the most sacred compacts among the primitive
The Prophet hands the calumet to the candidate who draws a whiff through the
pipe, and it is then handed to the Prophet, who
will roll it in bandages of green, blue and scarlet material, and lay it
Sannaps, present the brother to our Sachem.
The Chiefs, with the exception of the Sachem and Sannaps, then sit around the
council brand, and the Sannaps, by direction of the Prophet, conduct the
candidate to the Sachem, in front of the brand, the council chamber being
lighted. The First Sannap will say:
Sachem, the brother has been accepted into the Covenant of Faith, and awaits
your further pleasure.
Chief, for such I have now the honor to call you, from an adopted and humble
member of the Tribe you have steadily progressed in the mysteries of the Order.
First, you advanced upon the Hunter’s trail, then upon the Warrior’s path, and
learned the mysteries of the various ceremonies. Now, your ambition prompts you
to greater knowledge in the Chiefs’ Council. The tomahawk has been buried, and
you were presented with the sacred wampum belt. You have also gained admission
into the Totemic Bond, and lastly, have been accepted into the Covenant of
Faith, where you have smoked the calumet, and in these fraternal relations have
each time bound yourself in stronger bonds of fidelity and truth. We ask no
further pledge, but will proceed to clothe and give you the key, by which you
may unlock the inmost secrets of our Order.
I now invest you with the sash of a chief, and as often as you wear it, may its
brilliant color, emblematic of energy. inspire you with renewed ardor in the
cause of Freedom, Friendship and Charity.
I present you with this emblem, the Chief’s Tomahawk. Upon it you will find the
device of an Eagle, and upon its breast four characters, T. O. T. E., signifying
the ... This device is the mark or sign manual of our Totem, and as such may be
worn on the person in the form of an emblem, seal or ring. Any Chief observing
these letters may approach you and say,
...; to which you will reply, ...; he, ...; you, ...; he, ... You will then know
each other to be worthy of fraternal confidence and trust. This is the only
manner in which these letters and words are to be used. Their use and
signification must not be imparted to any one but a member in good standing of
the Chiefs’ Degree.
When you desire to enter the Chiefs’ Council, you will give the same alarm at
the outer wicket as in the. preceding degrees. You will communicate to the Guard
the universal password of the term, which is . Having received this, he will
permit you to pass the outer wicket. You will then clothe yourself in regalia,
which for this Degree is a scarlet sash. You will then advance to the inner
wicket and give this alarm . This will call the attention of the Guard of the
Wigwam to whom you will announce your name and the name and number of the Tribe
to which you are attached. When a member becomes a Past Sachem or attains higher
honors, he may also announce his rank. The Guard will report the same to the
Senior Sagamore, who, if there be no objection, will direct him to admit you, if
correct. The Tribe shall be the judge of the validity of any objection. You will
then communicate to the Guard the explanation of the universal password, which
is ..., and also the password of this Degree, which is ... Having received this,
he will permit you to pass the inner wicket. Having entered the council chamber,
you will advance to the place of the council brand, and, facing the Sachem,
salute him thus ...
He will recognize your salutation thus ... This will insure you a welcome. You
will then be seated.
Should you wish to leave the council chamber before the council fire has been
quenched, you will advance to the place of the council brand and salute the
Sachem with the same sign as on entering. Being recognized. you are at liberty
In voting upon all questions before the Tribe, where ballots or twigs are not
used, the following sign is given, which is designated “the usual show of a Red
Man.” It is made thus ... It is also used as a sign of respect, on arising to
speak; in depositing a ballot or twig; when retiring on business of the Tribe or
in passing the Sachem.
When retiring on business, the chief arises in his station, gives the sign of
respect, and is then permitted to retire. Having attended to the business
assigned him, he re-enters the council chamber by giving the alarms and
passwords, advances to the council brand, gives the sign of respect and makes
There is also a hailing, or distress sign, to be used only in cases of absolute
or positive danger. Should you be threatened by danger or overtaken by
misfortune, so as to be unable to extricate yourself, and have a reasonable
expectation that there is a Red Man in sight, you may use this sign ... If seen
by a brother he will answer you by repeating the same sign with the additional
movement of .., and hasten to your assistance if in his power to do so.
Should you, however, be so situated as to be heard and not seen, you may use the
“spell-words” ... ...
Any brother hearing these words is bound to give assistance as promptly as if he
had seen the sign.
We have a “recognition sign,” to be used in promiscuous assemblages, or wherever
in the “forest of life” our steps may be directed, when it may be useful or
necessary for us to know if there are any Improved Red Men present. It is made
thus ... Any member of the Order seeing this sign will answer it thus ...
Observing that the sign is properly answered, you may approach your newly-made
acquaintance with the “grasp of friendship,” and further prove his claim to your
confidence before trusting him too far. It is given thus ...
Extreme caution must be used in giving the grasp of friendship, so that
palefaces shall not distinguish it.
Never extend it to a brother unless your heart beats in unison with your hand.
Instructions must be carefully imparted, so that the grip may be given by the
brother in a proper manner.
You have now been duly instructed in the unwritten work of the Chiefs’ Degree.
This unwritten work constitutes the sign language by which a brother may prove
himself entitled to a brother’s welcome wherever burns a council brand of our
Order. To guard against imposition you will use these signs with caution, and
never in a trifling or careless manner. The Sannap will now seat you within the
The First Sannap seats the candidate as in the Degree of Adoption, and then
takes a seat back of the Sachem, alongside of the Second Sannap. The Sachem
The ceremonies of our Order are founded upon the manners, customs and traditions
of the aborigines of the American Continent. The Degree of Adoption illustrates
their ancient mode of adoption, or naturalization; the Warriors’, the rules and
regulations controlling the war-path; and the Chiefs’, the nature and character
of their civil government, as well as their religious and superstitious views.
On your admission into the Council of this Degree you found all the lights
extinguished, to symbolize a custom of the aborigines of extinguishing all fires
and scattering the ashes once each great sun as an appeal to the Great Spirit.
Deprived of fire, they believed themselves to be also deprived of the sustaining
power of the Great Spirit, whose image they recognized in the sun.
As you perceived, the entrance to the Prophet’s tepee was screened from view by
the form of a human skeleton, illustrating a custom by which skeletons were used
in religious ceremonies as emblems of mortality, to impress novices with awe and
reverence, and with the evanescent character of all things earthly.
Before the fire had been lighted the Prophet offered an invocation to the Great
Spirit, which was the custom of the primitive Red Men previous to entering upon
any important enterprise.
The Wampum Belt was given you in exchange for the Red Tomahawk, because the
burial of the Red Tomahawk symbolized the cessation of hostilities and Tribal
animosity. The Wampum Belt was a symbol of peace, and is regarded as a sure sign
In using the Calumet, or Pipe of Peace, the Prophet pointed the stem upward, in
order to propitiate the good will of the Great Spirit, believing his words would
ascend to him in the smoke. The Calumet was a sacred pipe, and was never used
except at the ratification of treaties, and on religious occasions. In the
Chiefs’ Degree its use symbolized the Token of covenant between the exalted
brother and the Chiefs.
Brother, you have now been made acquainted with the rites and mysteries of the
The Sachem gives two raps, which call up the officiating Chiefs, and the Second
Sannap takes charge of the newly-exalted brother. The First Sannap, followed by
the Chiefs trail around the council chamber and sing the Ode of Exaltation:
The Chief is exalted; in triumph has won,
On the pathway of Freedom (may it still guide him on),
The spell. word of Friendship, in which we unite,
For deeds of true Charity, Justice and Right.
Then hail to the Chieftain; exalted be he;
Be his heart ever noble, e’er generous and free;
Responsive to woe, when in pity it pleads,
And in mercy extending the solace it needs,
When the Ode is finished, a member not in costume takes charge ol the candidate,
the officiating Chiefs trail and finally form in two ranks diagonally across the
council chamber toward the inner wicket, while the member and candidate trail
between them out into the Forest, after which, with evolutions, the officiating
Chiefs trail to the paraphernalia room, divest themselves of their costumes, and
then re-enter the council chamber, resuming their stations.
The Sachem will give one rap with tomahawk and say:
Guard of the Wigwam, you will notify the brothers to enter.
The brother in charge of the newly-exalted brother will instruct him how to pass
the wickets and to enter the council chamber, then fellow him. They make the
usual salutation to the Sachem, when the brother will say:
Sachem, our brother now awaits further instructions.
The traditions of our Order trace its history to those patriotic organizations
known as the Tamina Societies, Sons of Liberty, and the Order of Red Men, all of
which existed prior to the birth of the Republic. As early as 1765, they were a
powerful factor in those events which finally crystallized into the Declaration
of Independence and the United States of America. Their motto was Freedom, and
the government they founded stands to-day foremost among the nations of the
earth. The Order of Red Men pledged their sacred honor to defend the Union and
this Emblem of Liberty.
An American flag is here exhibited.
The Freedom they then proclaimed and gained through struggle and suffering, has
been given to us as a priceless legacy, always to be sacredly guarded. To the
Improved Order of Red Men, the oldest organization in our land of purely
American origin and teachings, should be given the proud privilege of handing
down to posterity this heritage, spotless and untarnished. Red Men should always
be true to our government, this Glorious Flag, and our precept “Freedom,” which
will remain to bless those who succeed us in the glorious work of humanity..
You are required to punctually attend the councils of the Tribe, and to perform
your share of the labor and responsibility. Never be drawn aside from the path
of duty by any idle pleasure, nor become forgetful of the signs and passwords.
Be careful in their use, that you do not inadvertently disclose them.
I now present you with a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Tribe,
which you will carefully study.
I will also instruct you in the signs of honor that are given when an official
visitation is made by the Great Chiefs or by another Tribe.
When the Great Chiefs or a visiting Tribe are admitted, the Sachem calls up the
Tribe, and the members place the back of the open left hand against the
forehead, the fingers and thumb extended straight; remaining in that position
until the usual salutation to the Sachem is made, when we salute them as
The hands placed in position as if holding a bow and arrow for the purpose of
discharging the arrow both arms extended, the left hand about seven inches in
advance of the right, then quickly drawing back the right hand and suddenly
bringing it into the palm of the left hand with a loud slap.
We have a sign of recognition between members of this Degree and members of the
Degree of Pocahontas, a branch of the Improved Order of Red Men. It is made thus
..., and signifies ... The answer is made thus ..., and means a ...
This tomahawk is the visible symbol of the Sachem’s authority in the Tribe. The
sound of the tomahawk is as potent and imperative as the voice of the Sachem.
One rap calls the Tribe to order or seats it when standing.
Gives one rap. Two raps call up the elective
and appointed Chiefs. Gives two raps. Four
raps, in couplets, two slow and two in quick succession, call up the Tribe.
Sannap, you will now introduce the brother to the Tribe, so that he may receive
the salute and congratulations of the brothers.
The “salute” is the same as is given on the visitation of Great Chiefs.
Chiefs and brothers of ... Tribe, No. ..., by direction of the Sachem, I have
the pleasure of introducing to you Brother ..., who has just been exalted to the
Chiefs’ Degree. You will assist me in giving the salute, and then extend to him
the grasp of friendship.
After the salute is given and a few breaths allowed the members to congratulate
the brother, the Sannap conducts him to a seat. The Sachem will call the Tribe
to order, and then proceed with the Order of Business.