Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team
Around the year of 1948 there was a group of Oklahoma Indians that got together to put on some Masonic Degree work. It was very well received by those who witnessed the effort. In 1950 , part of the 1948 group decided to form the Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team. Every year since, the Team has traveled all over the U.S. and Europe to put on the Maser Mason Degree. In the past, until now, there has been comparatively little change in Team. The Directors have been Fred Hays, Bunny Manly, Bob Archiquette, Ron Chambers, Terry Adams and currently Donald R. (Butch) McIntosh. Raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and added to the Team in 1959, Bob Archiquette who has been with us at almost every one of the Team's Degrees and is still participating with the Team. The Team also consist of 13 Past Masters and the other are in line at the present time. The Team has never charged for their work and will not do mock Degrees. One of our largest degrees put on previously, was a count of approximately 4,500 brethren present and that was in Delaware, some times we have done the Degree when the Team has outnumbered the people in the lodge. Regardless we still put on the same degree.
The Team is not made up of members from any one Lodge, but from several. All the Brothers must live in the State of Oklahoma and be willing to travel two and occasionally three weekends a month, if the Team can travel from Tulsa to a Lodge in an hour, we will work week nights. This amount of travel time during a year can be stressful on home life, but we have a very supportive "home team". On occasion, the "home team" gets to "go on the road"; that is to say the wives of the Team get invited to visit when the ladies of the Lodge members for whom the Team is doing the Degree work. It is through this fellowship that many long-standing friendship, for both the members and the wives, have been built. Team members genuinely enjoy getting to know their Brethren from other states and finding kindred spirits in Masonry.
Since the early 60's the Team has had picture postcards available as a memento of their degree work. The donations received through these help to pay for their travels. Lately, they have added lapel pins, ballcaps, and coins as another souvenir. When the Team travels out of state, they ask the requesting Lodge pay for travel, food and lodging. In recent years , members of the Team have put on a traditional Indian dance programs and Story telling of legends and tales to help some of the Lodges defray part of the cost of their travel. This has been a favorite, not only of the Lodge members, but also their ladies and family members. This is the only time that the ladies and children can see the Team members in their authentic tribal regalia or dance clothes. The Team often visits the Shrine hospitals located near the Degree work. They enjoy their talks with the kids and staff, ans perform their dance programs for them.
The Native American Nations represented on the team are Apache, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Keetoowah, Oneida, Ottawa, Quapaw, Shawnee. In the past members have been Delaware, Kaw, Kiowa, Pawnee and Ponca.
This is "The oldest Degree Team" in existence today, and mostly that is because as a Team the group has never stopped or had a break since inception - over fifty year ago. The OMIDT have raised over 900 to the Master Mason Degree. THEY ARE the only known Indian Degree Team.
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