History of Chickasah Lodge #406

Chickasah’s First Flap (S-1)

The Order of the Arrow lodge in the Chickasaw Council began as an outgrowth of an organization called the “Council Scouts,” a local group of honor campers within the council with much the same ideals as the Order of the Arrow. They were known as the Order of Kamp Kia Kima. For many years it had been a tradition that each week at Kia Kima, those Scout campers who best exemplified the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law were led to a secret campfire circle deep in the woods and given an Indian name. The Council Scouts would meet periodically during the year and would use their Indian name in connection with meetings and correspondence. Many Council Scouts served on the camp staff just as many Arrowmen do today.

In 1948, the Chickasaw Council and its Scout Executive, W. Gordon Morris, recognized the need for an Order of the Arrow Lodge in the Council. A Council committee was formed to obtain information on the OA, secure the initial membership and locate current Arrowmen from other Lodges to conduct the first Ordeal. The Lodge formation was conducted under the direction of Mr. Phil Emerick. Mr. Emerick had been inducted as a member of Shawnee Lodge No. 51 in St. Louis in his youth and was interested in organizing the Order of the Arrow in the Chickasaw Council. The first Ordeal was held August 7, 1948, at the original Kamp Kia Kima near Hardy, Arkansas. The ceremonial team from Ittawamba Lodge 235 came and inducted about thirty Scouts and Scouters who became the lodge’s charter members. Although the first ceremony was held in 1948, the original charter was not issued until 1949 and was assigned Lodge #406.

In April of 1949, the name chosen for the Lodge was Chickasah, a variation of the name of the Chickasaw tribe used for the council name. The variation was used partly to distinguish the new lodge from the nearby Chicksa Lodge No. 202.

The totem chosen for the lodge was the thunderbird, an emblem it shares in one form or another with its birthplace, Kia Kima. Kia Kima is an Indian word meaning “Nest of the Eagles.”

In the spring of 1950, the Lodge held its first Brotherhood Ceremony. This was followed by its first Vigil Ceremony on December 14, 1952, at Camp Currier.

Chickasah Lodge was originally part of Area V-C in the 1950s and early 1960s, along with Lodges 235, 413, 202 and 345. The “V” was the designation of the old Region Five when the BSA was divided into 12 regions. The first two V-C conclaves were hosted by the Chickasah Lodge at Camp Currier near Eudora, Mississippi, in 1955 and 1956. Chickasah was again the host in 1960 at Kamp Kia Kima. In 1964, the areas were restructured and Chickasah joined the lodges in Arkansas in forming Area V-A. That same year Kia Kima was moved ten miles west to its present location. The new Area V-A first met in 1965 and Chickasah hosted the conclave at their brand new camp. Charles Holland of Chickasah was elected Area Chief to serve the new area and Tom McGuire was chosen Area Advisor. Chickasah again provided an area chief in 1971 when Johnny Fletcher was elected. He served during the last V-A conclave in 1972 hosted at Kia Kima. At that time, it was announced that the areas would be reorganized once again and Chickasah would belong to Section SE-IIA, along with the other lodges in Tennessee. The Chickasaw Council was part of the Southeast Region of the BSA after the regions were reduced in number from 12 to 6. In 1975, Robby Smith was elected Section Vice Chief and George Fant the Section Secretary. At the next section conclave, David Shettles of Chickasah was elected Section Chief and he presided over the 1976 conclave hosted by Chickasah, but held at Camp Skymont near Chattanooga, due to the long driving distance to Kia Kima from the eastern part of the Section.

At the Section II (Tennessee-Kentucky) conclave in 1981, Bill Jennings of Chickasah was elected section chief. At this time, the Southeast Region announced that it had again regrouped the sections and Chickasah became a member of the new Section SE-II, along with Ittawamba and the Mississippi lodges. At the first SE-II conclave in 1982, Jason Hood of Chickasah was elected Section Chief. Later that year at the National Planning Conference, Jason was elected Southeast Region Chief, serving in that position until 1984. Larry Raines from Chickasah was elected Section Chief in 1988 and reelected at the 1989 Conclave hosted by Chickasah at Kia Kima.

In 1990, Chickasah Lodge member Dr. C.D. Cash was appointed to the National Order of the Arrow Committee, the first Chickasah member to serve in that capacity.

In addition to providing area and section leadership over the years, Chickasah Lodge is home to several recipients of national Order of the Arrow awards. At the 1971 National Conference, Tom McGuire received the Distinguished Service Award for his untiring service as Area V-A advisor. Ann Jennings, the mother of Bill Jennings, was presented the Red Arrow Award for outstanding service from non-members at the 1983 National Conference in recognition of her help and instruction at several National Indian Seminars and National Conferences. Jason Hood received the Distinguished Service Award in 1986 in recognition of his service as Region Chief. In 1988, Dr. C.D. Cash received the Distinguished Service Award and his wife, Margaret, was presented the Red Arrow Award.

Chickasah Lodge has a rich tradition of service to the Council’s camping program. From its first ceremony there, the lodge has had a special relationship with Kia Kima. Numerous lodge, area and section events have been held there. When Kia Kima moved to its present location in 1964, the Order of the Arrow conducted the dedication ceremony witnessed by over 1,000 people. Chickasah has contributed a great deal of funds and much more manpower to the camp.

During the 1960’s, ordeals were held each spring and summer at Kia Kima. Beginning with the spring ordeal in 1964 and lasting for several years, arrowmen constructed the campsites and tent platforms at the new Kamp Kia Kima location. Among the many projects supported by the Order of the Arrow over the years were:

  • Construction of the OA circle in 1965
  • Shoring up of the low water bridge with rock and concrete in the mid 60’s
  • A new well and pump house paid for by the lodge was built in 1970 to ensure a reliable water supply
  • Reconstruction and development of the campfire arena in 1989
  • Tools for both Kia Kima and Currier
  • New dining hall tables and silverware
  • 12 canoes, 6 rowboats, 3 slide projectors & 8 slide shows for camp promotion
  • New campfire ring for Camp Currier

The lodge is also closely associated with the Chickasaw Council’s other camp, Camp Currier, the site of year-round week-end camping, training and special events. Usually, one Ordeal, Brotherhood and Service weekend was held at Currier each year in the fall. Many service projects were completed in connection with these events. Camp Currier also was the site of the first two Area V-C Conclaves. Area V-C is the predecessor of the current Section SE-II.