History of Koi Hatachi Lodge #345
Prepared: April 1991; Revised: November 2002
From the inception and organization of Lodge 345 in 1946 to the present time, the lodge has striven to carry out the traditions of the Order which was founded in 1915 at Treasure Island in Philadelphia, PA.
Lodge 345 was organized in 1946 by Mr. Hudson, who was Scout Executive of the Delta Area Council. The first tap out was held at summer camp in July, 1946. The first six members of the Lodge were summer camp staffers. The first meeting of the newly formed Lodge was in December of 1947. Officers for 1948 were elected at that time. Since that date the Lodge has elected officers in the fall of each year.
Legend of the White Panther:
The Delta Council, now known as the Delta Area Council, was formed in the early 1920’s. Camping at the council’s only camp, Camp Tallaha, commenced in 1925.
During those early years at Camp Tallaha, a tale was told around campfires about an old Choctaw Indian Chief and his constant companion, a White Panther. It seemed the old Indian Chief was killed and his faithful White Panther has been roaming the hills looking for his friend for these many years.
Because this story was so engraved into the history of the Camp, it was only natural that when the lodge was formed that the White Panther was selected as the totem for the Lodge .
The name White Panther and totem was retained from 1946 to 1955. At that time the name was changed to “Koi Hatachie” which is thought to mean “White Panther ” in the Choctaw Indian language. There is some dispute whether that is the correct wording or spelling in the Choctaw language.
The reason for the name change from “White Panther” to “Koi Hatachie” is because most other Order of the Arrow Lodges in the U.S. had adopted an Indian name and totem, so Lodge 345 changed to conform to the rest of the Lodges.
Brotherhood of Cheerful Service:
Service to Scouting and to each Order of the Arrow member’s individual troop is always difficult to measure. However, there are many projects that have been directed toward Camp Tallaha that are still in evidence after 45 years. A partial listing of projects completed by the Lodge, are as follows:
- Where To Go Camping Booklet: Because the Lodge promotes camping among the council troops, a booklet to inform Scoutmasters of proper Scouting areas for camping is maintained by the Lodge for all Scoutmasters. It is currently being updated.
- Summer Camp Attendance Promotions: Teams of Order of the Arrow members visit troops in the council to promote attendance at Camp Tallaha during the summer. This is an ongoing project of the Lodge.
PROJECTS AT CAMP TALLAHA:
During Order of the Arrow Fellowships, Ordeals, Pow Wows, and other special weekends, many building or repairing projects are carried out. A partial listing follows.
- Bridge From Conference Center to Dining Hall: This bridge was completed one weekend during a post-camp ordeal. It will save many steps for some of our older members to shorten the distance around camp.
- Fence at Sewer: This large fence also was completed during an ordeal weekend. It provides protection for humans as well as our wild animal friends.
- Fence at Shop: Another large fence project was erected to secure the shop area and its contents.
- Handicraft Shed: This shed is in front of the dining hall and has been used during summer craft by hundreds of Scouts working on various craft merit badges.
- Shelters at Pine Tree: Another project that has benefited many campers at this site.
- Camp Tallaha Sign: A recent addition to our camp replacing an older, less visible sign. Also, a newer sign has been erected at the pioneer site at Camp A. J. Hill.
- Scout Oath and Law Signs: Surrounding our parking lot are these signs that are indispensable reminders of any Scout’s life.
- Other Signs and Trail Signs: These signs were erected to provide direction to new campers and visitors to our camp.
- Docks at Lake: Our beautiful lake has benefited from the Order of the Arrow Lodge by having docks built for boating and canoeing.
- Commissioner Site at Camp A. J. Hill: This large commissioner site named “Gilwell Commissioner Site” in honor of “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was recently erected at A. J. Hill. Camp A. J. Hill is used primarily for pioneer camping and Wood Badge training.
- Council Ring: The Council Ring has been built and repaired many times by Lodge 345 . This ring is used for many purposes such as campfire programs at summer camp, special meetings, church services, and special programs that need a larger seating area. Hundreds of Scouts and their families and friends have used this area over the years.
- Chief’s Lodge: This building has been constructed for use by the Lodge so that much of the Lodge’s ceremonial equipment can be housed and protected. This building is also used for smaller meetings by the Chief and his other Lodge officers and advisers.
- Scout Museum: The housing of memorabilia of the council and lodge was deemed important by the Executive Board of the Council and by the Order of the Arrow. Many items of historical interest to Scouting, the Delta Area Council and the Lodge are on display to remind us of our Scouting heritage. Scouters are encouraged to donate items to the museum.
These are but a few of the projects that the Order of the Arrow has completed during its 45 years of existence. Others, such as repairs to equipment, setting up and taking down of summer camp, re-roofing buildings, etc., are too many to enumerate.
It would also be appropriate when talking about maintaining Camp Tallaha to praise the National Guard for their building and repairing much of our property. It is also very appropriate to mention in this history our Camp Rangers who have contributed to our camp through their dedication and service. The Lodge and the Council are indebted to them. A particular word of commendation to our current Ranger, Mr. Donnie Little, who has served the Delta Area Council and Camp Tallaha for the past 13 years.
In writing this brief history, Lodge 345 would like to thank all the Scouts and Scouters who have contributed unselfishly to the programs of Scouting in the Delta Area Council and to the Brotherhood of cheerful service in the Order of the Arrow .