Woodcraft Indians

Last updated
Woodcraft Indians
Founded1901
Founder Ernest Thompson Seton
WikiProject Scouting fleur-de-lis dark.svg  Scouting portal

Woodcraft League of America, originally called the Woodcraft Indians and League of Woodcraft Indians, is a youth program, established by Ernest Thompson Seton in 1901 [1] and often regarded as one of the earliest youth organisations in modern history.[ citation needed ] Despite the name, the program was created for non-Indian children. At first the group was for boys only, but later it would also include girls. Seton instructed the children in his town in Connecticut in outdoor "Woodcraft" – knowledge and skills of life in the woods – and based much of the group's terminology and structure on the misconceptions about Native Americans that were common in that era. The program spread internationally to become the Woodcraft Movement and many of these programs still exist. Seton's Woodcraft scheme also had a strong influence on later youth programs and organizations, particularly, the Scout Movement. [1]

Contents

History

The first Woodcraft "Tribe" was established at Cos Cob, Connecticut, United States of America, in 1901. Seton's property had been vandalized by a group of boys from the local school. After having to repaint his gate a number of times, he went to the school, and invited the boys to the property for a weekend, rather than prosecuting them.

The unique feature of his program was that the boys elected their own leaders: a "Chief", a "Second Chief", a "Keeper of the Tally" and a "Keeper of the Wampum". [1]

Seton wrote a series of seven articles for Ladies' Home Journal from May to November 1902 under the heading "Seton's Boys" that were later published as the Birch Bark Roll . At the urging of his friend Rudyard Kipling, Seton published Two Little Savages (1903) as a novel, rather than a dictionary of Woodcraft.

Interest in the Woodcraft Indians spread to the United Kingdom and Seton traveled there in 1906 to promote his books and Woodcraft outdoor organization. Seton met Robert Baden-Powell, and gave him a copy of the Birch Bark Roll. Although one of many influences, Seton's book had a strong influence on Baden-Powell's book, Scouting for Boys .

In 1910, the Woodcraft Indians were merged into the fledgling Boy Scouts of America (BSA) by Seton and he wrote the BSA's first handbook, Boy Scouts of America: Official Handbook, A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft and became the Chief Scout of the BSA for five years. After a fallout with James E. West, Seton left the BSA in 1915 and re-established the Woodcraft Indians separately. He claimed to have never really merged his organization into the BSA. The Woodcraft League of America was a co-educational program open to children between ages "4 and 94".

Seton established a program he called "Brownies" in 1921 for girls and boys ages 6–11, based on his earlier book, Woodland Tales.

The organization consisted of the Big Lodge for Boys (12–18 years of age), the Big Lodge for Girls (12–18 years of age), as well as the Woodcraft Club and Sun Lodge for Male and Female Adults. [2] The Red Lodge or Medicine Lodge also existed for a time, it was for men over the age of 21 interested in a more spiritual approach to Woodcraft. [3]

There were many local Woodcraft groups in the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Camps following the Woodcraft Program in the United States and Canada were also founded by friends and students of Seton.

The Woodcraft League influenced the formation of Lone Scouts inspired in 1912 by John Hargrave.

In the United Kingdom, the Woodcraft League influenced the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry formed in 1916, the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift formed in 1920 and Woodcraft Folk formed in 1925 and Camp Fire Girls (UK).

See also

Related Research Articles

Scouting World-wide movement for the education of youth

The Scout movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder, Lord Baden-Powell. The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.

Ernest Thompson Seton American writer and artist

Ernest Thompson Seton was an author, wildlife artist, founder of the Woodcraft Indians in 1902 and one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1910. Seton also influenced Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of one of the first Scouting organization. His notable books related to Scouting include The Birch Bark Roll and the Boy Scout Handbook. He is responsible for the appropriation and incorporation of what he believed to be American Indian elements into the traditions of the BSA.

The Woodcraft Folk organization

Woodcraft Folk is a UK-based educational movement for children and young people. Founded in 1925 and grown by volunteers, it has been a registered charity since 1965 and a registered company limited by guarantee since 2012. The constitutional object of this youth organisation is "to educate and empower young people to be able to participate actively in society, improving their lives and others' through active citizenship."

The history of youth work goes back to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, which was the first time that young men left their own homes and cottage industries to migrate to the big towns. The result of this migration was an emergent youth culture in urban areas, which was responded to by the efforts of local people.

Kibbo Kift British youth movement

The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift was a camping, hiking and handicraft group with ambitions to bring world peace. It was the first of three movements in England associated with the charismatic artist and writer John Hargrave (1894–1982). The Kindred was founded in 1920. Some members continued into Hargrave's Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit, which was established in 1931–32, and which became in 1935 the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This was wound up in 1951.

Woodcraft is a recreational/educational program devised by Ernest Thompson Seton in 1902, for young people based on camping, outdoor skills and woodcrafts. Thompson Seton's Woodcraft ideas were incorporated into the early Scout movement, but also in many other organisations in many countries.

<i>Boy Scout Handbook</i> principle program book series supporting boy scout programs

Boy Scout Handbook is the official handbook of Scouts BSA. It is a descendant of Baden-Powell's original handbook, Scouting for Boys, which has been the basis for Scout handbooks in many countries, with some variations to the text of the book depending on each country's codes and customs.

John Hargrave British social credit leader

John Gordon Hargrave, , was a prominent youth leader in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, Head Man of the Kibbo Kift, described in his obituary as an 'author, cartoonist, inventor, lexicographer, artist and psychic healer'. He was a Utopian thinker, a believer in both science and magic, and a figure-head for the Social Credit movement in British politics.

Scout Law

Since the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908, all Scouts and Guides around the world, as well as members of the affiliated Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, have taken a Scout Promise or oath to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribed to a Scout Law. The wording of the promise and law have varied slightly over time and among Scouting organizations.

Traditional Scouting is "old-fashioned" or "back to basics" Scouting in some form, often with an emphasis on woodcraft activities. One form of Traditional Scouting, the "Traditional Scouting movement", aims to return Scouting to traditional style and activities; rejecting the trend of modernizing Scouting to appeal to more youths or identifying programs for younger children as Scouting.

James E. West (Scouting) lawyer and an advocate of childrens rights, who become the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, serving from 1911–1943

James Edward West was a lawyer and an advocate of children's rights, who became the first professional Executive Secretary, soon renamed Chief Scout Executive, of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), serving from 1911 to 1943. Upon his retirement from the BSA, West was given the title of Chief Scout.

Lone Scouts are members of the Scout movement who are in isolated areas or otherwise do not participate in a regular Scouting unit or organization. A Lone Scout must meet the membership requirements of the Scouting organization to which they belong and have an adult Scout leader or counselor who may be a parent, guardian, minister, teacher, or another adult. The leader or counselor instructs the boy and reviews all steps of Scouting advancement. Lone Scouts can be in the Scout Section or sections for older young people, and in some countries in the Cub section or sections for younger boys. They follow the same program as other Scouts and may advance in the same way as all other Scouts.

Scouting in the United States is dominated by the 2.7 million-member Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA and other associations that are recognized by one of the international Scouting organizations. There are also a few smaller, independent groups that are considered to be "Scout-like" or otherwise Scouting related.

History of the Boy Scouts of America Wikimedia history article

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was inspired by and modeled on the Boy Scout Association, established by Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908. In the early 1900s, several youth organizations were active, and many became part of the BSA.

Non-aligned Scouting organizations is a term used by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and their member national organizations to refer to Scouting organizations that are not affiliated with them. See List of non-aligned Scouting organizations.

The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry is a scouting-like movement operating in the United Kingdom, which was founded in 1916 by Ernest Westlake. It was inspired by Ernest Thompson Seton's Woodcraft Indians, and Seton was its honorary Grand Chieftain. Whilst largely being contemporary to Baden-Powell's Scouting movement, it differed from it in that it does not have the perceived military overtones of Scouting, instead focusing on the virtues of kindness, fellowship and woodcraft. The Order was small compared to Scouts, having only 1,200 members by 1926. By the 1950s it had ceased to have a major public presence. It still exists (2016) as a semi-formal network of personal friends with historic family links to the original formal organisation, with little interest in publicity and few surviving overt connections with the Woodcraft Folk or the Forest School Camps.

Ruth Clark was the author of the first woodcraft book for girls and an active original member of the Kibbo Kift.

<i>Scouting for Boys</i> Book on Boy Scout training

Scouting for Boys: A handbook for instruction in good citizenship is a book on Boy Scout training, published in various editions since 1908. Early editions were written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell with later editions being extensively rewritten by others. The book was originally a manual for self-instruction in observation, tracking and woodcraft skills as well as self-discipline and self-improvement, about the Empire and duty as citizens with an eclectic mix of anecdotes and unabashed personal observations and recollections. It is pervaded by a degree of moral proselytizing and references to the author's own exploits. It is based on his boyhood experiences, his experience with the Mafeking Cadet Corps during the Second Boer War at the Siege of Mafeking, and on his experimental camp on Brownsea Island, England.

The Red Lodge was a fraternal organization that traced its lineage back to 1912 with the creation of the Red Lodge or Medicine Lodge by Ernest Thompson Seton within the Woodcraft Movement. They describe themselves as a Brotherhood of men who have an appreciation for the outdoors, who are interested in the mystic side of Woodcraft and who have learned that true power comes from self-control.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Deloria, Philip J. (1999). Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 101, 105, 108. ISBN   9780300080674 . Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  2. "Directory of Social and Health Agencies of New York City". Columbia University Press. 6 June 2019 via Google Books.
  3. Seton, Ernest Thompson (6 June 2019). "The Birch-bark Roll of Woodcraft". A.S. Barnes via Google Books.

Seton Legacy Project, Academy for the Love of Learning