Indian Lore at Sequoyah

From the initiation ceremony, to the ranks of Brave, Warrior, Scout, Chosatonga and Chief, Indian Lore at Sequoyah celebrated Native American culture.

Photos and comments are by E. W. "Doc" Rabon, who was a counselor in 1959.  Doc has been active in Scouting since the age of 9 and still teaches the Indian Lore merit badge. 





Doc's Hopi Snake Dance Door




Apache Mountain Spirit Dance




Chief's Throne

Chief had his throne built at Council Ring before camp opened in 1959. He had hired a first-year art teacher that summer to work in crafts, and asked the art teacher to research a native American design to paint the chair. The art teacher did the research and made some preliminary drawings, which he took to Chief for approval. Chief approved. The picture above shows the seat painted. The art teacher spent many of his free hours on this project.

 After it was finished, Chief decided he didn't like it and, without informing art teacher, told the p[rogram director to take turpentine and remove the paint from the seat. Well, it was built from untreated lumber, and the wood had just soaked up that paint. It was a mess (picture below). WHen the art teacher saw it he promptly quit and left camp. After that they just put a blanket over the seat for programs.




Iroquois False Face Dancers



Cherokee Booger Dancers

The Booger Dance was the Cherokee ritual depiction of intruders in a satirical or grotesque way.  Boogers could be Europeans, Africans or other tribes.  They were mainly after girls.  The ritual was sanitized at Sequoyah, but in authentic settings the language, costumes and gestures could be quite obscene.



Buffalo Dance



Camper Dance



Doc Rabun, Lin Church



Green Corn Dance



The Pipe Ceremony




Red Dawn

Red Dawn's English name was Stephen S. Jones, Jr.  A Sioux originally from South Dakota, Steve worked as a lab technician in Los Angeles. He actually stayed at Sequoyah for several weeks that summer. I spent a lot of time with him, learning about his culture as he was Sioux and raised in the Dakotas. He would go to other camps in the Asheville area and put on programs. Since I was a dancer, he taught me a couple of dances and took me with him to demonstrate the dances. I had special permission to go out of camp with him. I did the Eagle dance and a War dance.

One night at Sequoyah Red Dawn had several counselors help him put on his version of a grand council program with the peace pipe. I sent you pictures of this and he drummed and sang some songs also. I did at least one dance.

The pictures below are from a trip a couple of us counselors made with Red Dawn to Cherokee, NC, on our day off. The picture was made in front of a store with an older Cherokee. The Cherokees for years have earned money by standing in front of stores wearing fancy war bonnets and having their picture made with tourists. It's called "chiefting".


Red Dawn in Cherokee, with an Indian "chiefting"


Red Dawn Story

"Once when a young boy, I was walking down a dirt road one night.
I had to pass a small log cabin where an old Sioux Indian man lived alone.
As I passed his cabin, I saw a swarm of fireflies come out and up and fly towards the woods.
 The next day I heard that the old man had died that night."
Everyone knows that fireflies (called lightening bugs in the South) never swarm.
They come out in the evening and fly around individually.
The Sioux say that when you see fireflies swarming, someone has died.


Red Dawn's Chiefs Council



Naseit Awi




Indian Lore Today


Order of the Arrow Lodge Members (BSA)
Cherokee outfitting dates from the late 18th century.
The Cherokee adopted cloth clothing soon after contact with Europans.


E. W. "Doc" Rabon


With Grandson Daniel



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