History of Lakota Lodge #175

Northwest Suburban Council and the Order of the Arrow NWSC was organized to break off from the Chicago Council in 1926 due to the rapid growth of scouting northwest of Chicago. The scouting program continued to grow. Early in 1937, the OA National Committee decided to participate in the upcoming 1937 NSJ in Washington , D.C. as a service to others and expose the OA as a new, rapidly expanding Senior Scout Program. A meeting of Arrowmen was planned and an exhibit was set for the Senior Program Department display.

The seeds of creating an OA Lodge within the NWSC were planted. The new NWSC Scout Executive, Donald F. Kyger, had, among others, attended the 1937 NSJ. Mr. Kyger saw the Order of the Arrow program as a significant avenue to keep Senior Scouts involved in the Scouting program and developing their senses of duty and charity.

A number of scouts in the council and a tribe of “Gim-O-Gash”, an Indian-lore based organization with many scouts inquired of Mr. Kyger about the OA. Thus August 6, 1938, Mr. Kyger wrote E. Urner Goodman about available information regarding the OA becoming part of the NWSC Senior Scout Program.

Mr. Goodman assured Mr. Kyger that the OA was not a secretive, sinister organization but rather a benevolent and charitable program open to all that qualify. The National BSA office, in August of 1938, promptly mailed the National OA constitutional & bylaws, Lodge manual and applications.

However, it would be 19 months before NWSC mailed back the application when it was received by Mr. Goodman on March 25, 1940 with a letter dated March 21, 1940 from Mr. Kyger. In that letter, Mr. Kyger stated that we, the NWSC, have definitely decided to organize an OA lodge. At that time we had no name, no totem, no chief but we did have 19 current members: 14 inducted the previous summer into the OH-DA-KO-TA Lodge and 5 others who moved in from outside lodges.

A meeting on April 5, 1940 by these 19 members chose out name–LAKOTA, our first totem–an arrowhead with 2-crossed arrows and a chief–which I am still trying to find out about.

National Council approval happened in one day, but National Lodge approval with the assigned Lodge #175 did not occur until April 25, 1940, the day of our birth as Lakota Lodge #175.

Written by Dr. Brad Epstein
Lakota Lodge Historical Adviser