Boy Scout Initiation




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By William Tomkins


Blanket or other drapery for each Scout.  It is desirable that Tenderfoot Scouts wear one feather, Second Class Scouts-two, and First Class Scouts-three.   Scoutmasters and assistants should have more pretentious display, if possible, (this can be an old shirt, fringed and decorated with paint, etc., or made-up costumes, war bonnet).  If possible have an electric or other council fire.  Have a Tom-Tom, or a portable player with Indian music.


Troop in Indian regalia seated in circle around fire, at distance of 15 feet.

Chief and assistants at fire within circle, according to diagram.

Lights out, or very dim.  Fire in operation.


One of the assistants, or any combination of assistants or boys do an Indian dance, to Tom-Tom or primitive music on portable phonograph, or have the music alone.  All this is optional and according to individual possibilities, but highly recommended.

All conversation around the fire is in sign language and therefore silent. A reader in the back of the audience will interpret the gestures.

Guide enters with candidates.  Halts them and comes close to outside of circle.  Makes sign of friendly greeting.

Chief invites him to come within circle, using sign language.

Guide signs that he has come a long ways, over mountains, (meaning the tests), across a river, (meaning the parents' consent), with boys who want to make themselves Scouts, (or with boys who want to sit at the council fire).

Chief signs for boys to be brought to the fire. This is done by motion, by the guide.

Chief, (in sign): "Why want go with Scouts?"

Candidates, (Being Scouts they are supposed to know the sign language): "Want go woods, make me strong, brave, true, rise in the world" (Be a rising man).

The Chief and his assistants rise to their feet.

Chief: "Make Scout oath."

Candidates make the Oath in sign language, all may do it at once, or the candidates may do it while the rest hold the oath sign.

Chief makes sign: "Good."

Chief pins tenderfoot pin on each candidate, then makes sign: "YOU, ME, ALL BROTHERS, NOW, ALWAYS."  Chief makes sign of shaking hands.  He then motions to scouts in each patrol, some members of which will come forward (as many as there are candidates), throw one arm and blanket over a candidate's shoulder, and bring him to a place in the circle.

Then everybody will rise and give the Scout benediction in sign, or do a friendship dance, followed by the benediction.

See Also:

Dan Beard's Initiation

Ernest Seton's Initiation

Troop Investiture Ceremonies

Eengonyama Campfire Ceremony 

Silent Scout Signals

Universal Indian Sign Language






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Sign Dictionary ] Introductory Notes ] Asking Names ] Moons/Months ] Sign Simplified ] Top 200 Signs ] 40 Native American Signs ] Indian Blessing ] Boy Scout Oath in Sign ] Sentence Formation ] Practice Sentences ] Sign Synonyms ] Telling Directions ] Pictographs ] Pictographic Story ] Correspondence ] Sign&Pictography ] Smoke Signals ] Sign History ] Sign Idioms ] Song "Taps" in Sign ] Troop Meeting ] Council Fire ] Camp Ideas ] Sign Play ] Sign Playlet ] [ Boy Scout Initiation ] Sign Exercises ] Advanced Students ] Immortality Poem ] Photos ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Native Skills ] Totem Poles ] Indian Sign Language ] Indian Ceremonies ] Indian Dance ] Indian Songs ] Birch Bark Dances ] Birch Bark Songs ] Birch Bark Plays ] Indian Games for Boys ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.