Effective January 1, 2020, changes will be enacted pertaining to the attire worn by ceremonialists during the official Order of the Arrow ceremonies.
While American Indian attire has been the historic tradition used in OA ceremonies, circumstances may dictate that lodges use either the Scout Field Uniform or the Alternative Ceremonial Clothing. For example, Alternative Ceremonial Clothing should be used in situations where a lodge does not have a relationship with a local tribe, a local tribe has expressed concern with the use American Indian ceremonial attire for this purpose, or limited resources preclude a lodge from developing historically correct and acceptable American Indian ceremonial attire.
Beginning in 2020 one of the following three options should be selected for OA Ordeal, Brotherhood or Vigil ceremonies:
- American Indian attire
- The Scout Field Uniform
- The Alternative Ceremonial Clothing consisting of black shirt with black pants
The Alternative Ceremonial Clothing consists of a plain black shirt and pants, as well as the Order of the Arrow sash and ceremonial neck medallion. Ceremonialists should all wear shirts and pants of the same style to ensure uniformity. Medallions will be ordered through the national office. Lodges will be advised via separate correspondence when they are available.
If lodges use American Indian attire, all efforts should be made by the lodge to depict the American Indian tribes that are native to the area. It is recommended that a lodge engage and work with the American Indian community to determine what attire would be appropriate and accurate. If a lodge cannot feasibly fulfill the requirements to conduct ceremonies in traditional attire, the Scout Field Uniform will suffice. If this method is done, all pieces of the uniform, including the Order of the Arrow sash and ceremonial neck medallion are to be worn. Extraneous patches and additional headwear are prohibited.
Ceremony scripts and the core messages they possess are remaining the same. Uniformity in both attire and content will be maintained. This will ensure the same meaningful experiences for candidates in these ceremonies.
The Order of the Arrow is proving more vital than ever, and the standards being set are to ensure the importance of the program and its values of forging a purpose of lifelong service for the future.
For questions related to this ceremony update, please email ICE@oa-bsa.org.
This article was posted on the National Order of the Arrow site on February 10, 2020.