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Cahuilla Lodge #127 History

Cahuilla Lodge # 127 was formed on June 1, 1973, from the merger of Tahquitz Lodge # 127 and .

Cahuilla Lodge RattlesnakeThroughout 1973, before and after the merger, leaders of both Lodges met regularly to discuss how to combine their Lodge operations into a single unit comprising the greater part of two large counties.

Many compromises were made, including the original issue of both a trader and standard pocket flap, reflecting both Tahquitz and Wisumahi’s style of issuance. Many other items were discussed, including the Vigil Honor, providing service to both Camps Emerson and Helendade, as well as regular events.

The name, Cahuilla, was chosen because their First Nation included territory native to both Counties. The rattlesnake was enthusiastically chosen as the totem, long before the chants of “Snake! Power!” had a life of its own.

From June to December, an Office of the Lodge Chief presided over both groups, and the sterling leadership of First Lodge Chiefs Ken DeWitt and Jon Nelson was instrumental in setting up the new Lodge for success. Also in 1973, future Lodge Chief Kevin Walker created the Call of the Cahuilla, a quarterly newsletter that would become well-known, respected, and key tool to inform Lodge membership about events, service, and opportunities. At the first Fall Ordeal, Karl Hartmetz because the first elected Lodge Chief.

On February 1, 1974, A-tsa Lodge # 380 was absorbed into the Lodge as a single chapter. At this time, the Council Service Center moved from Riverside to Redlands.

On May 1, 2006, the most recent change to the Lodge occurred when the San Bernardino County-portion of Navajo Lodge # 98 was absorbed into the Lodge as their own single chapter.

Cahuilla Lodge has a long history of achievement in the Order of the Arrow and Scouting. To date, Cahuilla Lodge has received the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award 12 times, the National Service Award 8 times, and the National Innovation Award 5 times. 16 youth have served as Section Chief and 6 have served as Section Adviser (this doesn’t include the 5 youth and 4 adults serving similar roles from Navajo Lodge). In 1980, Lodge Chief Chris Warack was selected to be the lead youth to deliver the BSA Report To The Nation, which included visits to Congress and the Oval Office, meeting President Jimmy Carter.

Started in early 1998, Cahuilla Lodge has the oldest continuously operating Lodge website in the country, even older than the National website. In 2008, the Lodge took the largest contingent in the country to ArrowCorps5, which itself was the largest Scouting service project since World War II.

The Lodge’s history and traditions are important as the Order of the Arrow is in its second century. We hope these history pages provide the opportunity to look back on our accomplishments, so they may inform the future.

Let “Snake! Power!” be part of all the service the Lodge gives in the future.

Credits: Ken DeWitt, Larry Krikorian, Hayden Martois, Jon Nelson, Rick Pohlers, Tracy Schultze, Kevin Walker

For the 100th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow, Cahuilla Lodge created a Lodge History Book. Special thanks go to Hayden Martois and his adviser Larry Krikorian for putting this together.

Click here for a listing of past Cahuilla Lodge Chiefs and Advisers

Click here for the Cahuilla Lodge page on the Area 4 History website

Tahquitz Lodge #127

Like many Lodges throughout Southern California, the Order of the Arrow program grew out of the many summer camp Tribes that rose in popularity, like the Tribe of Gorgonio in Orange County and Tribe of Tahquitz from Long Beach Area Council.

Tahquitz Lodge LogoThe probable beginning for Riverside County Council's Tribe of Tahquitz was 1928, three years after Long Beach's program began. A 1929 Summer Camp brochure for Camp Emerson proclaims that the "Second Degree of the Tribe of Tahquitz will be given this year." Because C.J. Carlson worked for both Councils, it is obvious to understand there existed a great degree of networking that resulted in the creation of the two groups. Through the leadership of Scout Executive Carl Helmick, the Order of the Arrow came into existence in 1938. At the July 10, 1938 Executive Board meeting, Helmick explained the program and asked for its adoption into the Riverside County Council. The motion was approved. The charter fee was $10.00. On July 30, 1938, a charter was issued for Tahquitz Lodge # 127. The first Lodge Chief was Charles Berry, who eventually served on a number of the Gemini missions for NASA.

Throughout the 1940s, the Order of the Arrow reported having annual meetings. The first Vigil Honor induction was held in 1947, inducting John Herring (1944 Eagle Scout) as the Lodge's first Vigil Honor member. The following year, Kirby Hester (1944 Eagle Scout) received his Vigil Honor. There would not be another Vigil Honor induction for 5 more years, when Lewis Barksdale received the honor. There were two Area 12-A Conferences held at Camp Emerson, hosted by Tahquitz Lodge in 1955 and 1960. The O.A. would not have another Conference/Conclave at the camp for 43 years.

In 1964, Lodge Chief Ron Richmond started a system of bones and beads that took off in popularity, a tradition still evident in our members today. Ordeal members wore one bone, Brotherhood members wore two, and Vigil Honor members wore three in the form of a triangle. Carl Helmick repeatedly remarked about the success of the Order of the Arrow in numerous meeting minutes from the 1950s and 1960s. In his 1957 report, he said that "The Order of the Arrow men and many others contributed much to the improvement of Camp Emerson during the year."

In the 1960s, the Lodge held many successful Father and Son Banquets that were attended by as many as 280 people. In 1964, the Order of the Arrow led by Chief John La Rocca and Adviser Bob White helped install new seating in Bear Trap Bowl. In 1967, Tahquitz donated one canoe for the newly completed Camp Emerson lake.Tahquitz Talk As the Lodge's time was shortly coming to a close with the 1973 merger with Wisumahi Lodge # 478, the O.A. program in Riverside County Council was as strong as ever. The Tlinget Dancers were a huge hit both at summer camp and at the Lodge Banquets. The Lodge Newsletter, the Tahquitz Talk, was one of the best produced periodicals anywhere and continued through the merger until it was renamed the Call of the Cahuilla in 1974.

The Council was one of the first to put the Lodge Chief on the Council Executive Board (June 9, 1971). Terry Tyson was probably the first Chief to serve in that capacity. Arrowmen Mike Goldware and Frank Sydow served on several National Order of the Arrow Conference staffs. Mike was an assistant to the director on the operational staff, and Frank actually drove E. Urner Goodman's golf cart! Tahquitz Lodge also earned the first two Lodge Excellence Awards in the 12-A Conference in 1971 and 1972.

Alas, the only persistent thing in life is change, and it would come time for the Lodge to complete its merger with Wisumahi. Jon Nelson was the last Lodge Chief and also served as a Co-Lodge Chief for the new organization. In May of 1972, Carl Helmick retired after serving 35 years as the Scout Executive of Riverside County Council. One of his key accomplishments as an Executive was the fostering of advanced leadership opportunities for the Council's youth through the Order of the Arrow program. While the merger was not easy, Tahquitz Lodge left a positive impression on the new organization. Even today, we owe our number to the Lodge's founding in 1938 and the Lodge totem, the Tahquitz Rock, is still the most famous landmark at Camp Emerson. Today, over 30 years later, the spirit of Tahquitz Lodge lives on.

Click here for a listing of past Tahquitz Lodge Chiefs and Advisers

Click here for a listing of the Tribe of Tahquitz Chiefs and Advisers

Wisumahi Lodge #478

Long before white settlers happened upon the valley, San Bernardino was the home to Native Americans. When they cast their eyes to the north they could see an enormous landslide area shape like an arrowhead. Legend has it that those early inhabitants believed that the Great Spirit had been hunting deer one day and, having spotted a large buck, let loose a shaft. The deer, a wily old fellow, spotted the speeding shaft and bolted to one side, causing the arrowhead to dig deeply into the adjacent ground. It struck so hard and deep that it created a monumental arrowhead-shaped scar and hit an underground spring, creating a much needed source of water for the valley. To this day, the scar from that arrowhead can be seen on the hillside and the spring that it struck still delivers pure water of crystalline clarity.Wisumahi Lodge

So, it was quite logical when Boy Scouting came to the valley during the great growth years of Southern California, that the council should take on the name, Arrowhead Area Council. The environs within and surrounding the Council included many of nature's wonders: the San Bernardino Mountains, lush with evergreens and deciduous trees; cool, clear mountain lakes such as Gregory and Arrowhead; and great expanses of desert, pristine desert, that grew unimaginably hot in Summer, dry and pleasant during the Fall, cold on Winter nights, and in full bloom during magnificent, temperate Spring days.

These wondrous natural places became second homes to a growing group of young men and boys in the 40's and 50's as Boy Scouting expanded in importance. Then, as more and more Scouts took to the camps and trails, their leaders began to notice organizations within Scouting that encouraged and acknowledged superior camping skills, along with service to fellow Scouts. One such organization, recognized nationally, was the Order of the Arrow. Thus, it was on a summer day in 1952, under that great landmark arrowhead, which also marked the location of Camp Hilton, that Wisumahi Lodge #478 came into existence. The word, "Wisumahi" is from the Dakota (Sioux) language and means, Arrowhead, a name most appropriate for the lodge that took it.

Larry FifeThe Ordeal was under the auspices of San Gorgonio Lodge #298, from the neighboring Orange Empire Council of Santa Ana. From that day forward, there was always a special bond between those two lodges. As the Wisumahi's first Ordeal came to a close, the old-style felt sashes, emblazoned with crimson arrows, were placed over the shoulders of 16 new members of the Order. Wisumahi Lodge took life! Then, Skip Fife, representing San Gorgonio Lodge and the Order, placed a symbolic necklace around the neck of Larry Grace, the first Lodge Chief of Wisumahi. That necklace, elegant in its simplicity, was comprised of a leather thong and three wooden beads. It was passed on to each succeeding Wisumahi Chief.

At the end of a Chief's term of office in recognition of his service, each was given a necklace to replace that leather thong. The necklace consisted of a sterling arrowhead suspended on a black ribbon. The face of the arrowhead featured the sculpted profile of the head of a Indian wearing a warbonnet, while the reverse side was inscribed with the name of the Chief, his year of service and the words, "Chief, Wisumahi Lodge".

Cheerful Service to one's fellow Scouts was the admirable goal of the Order. Wisumahi's members achieved this goal by tirelessly improving the Council's Summer Camp, Arataba. One of the first projects was to create a large campfire circle that could accommodate all of a session's campers. It became a focal point for many of the camp's activities and for sometimes-spectacular events. For 18 years Wisumahi's members devoted countless hours to Arataba: there were Spring work parties to ready the camp for summer; many of the Ordeal tasks were directed at shutting the camp down for the winter; and there was always work to be done inside the spacious lodge during the winter.

Wisumahi PatchIt took a devastating fire that destroyed the lodge to bring an end to Camp Arataba. That fire, in 1960, initiated the final year at Arataba. And, of course, Wisumahi was there to make the camp the best place it could be under the circumstances. However, the Ordeal of 1960 marked the final days of Arataba.

Arataba's decline was compensated by the addition of Camp Running Springs to Arrowhead Area Council's assets. 1961, its Pioneer Year, was an opportunity for Wisumahi, once again, to serve the Scouts of the Council by turning to at the new camp. One year later, the camp was renamed Helendade in honor of its generous donor. From those early days until 1972, Wisumahi members continued the tradition of Cheerful Service at Helendade.

Click here for a listing of past Wisumahi Lodge Chiefs and Advisers

A-tsa Lodge #380ATSA Patch

A-tsa Lodge # 380 was active in the Grayback Council headquartered in Redlands, CA. A predecessor Lodge called Ho-Mita-Koda existed from 1948-1952 before disbanding. Unfortunately, at this time there is no information on this group, though a chapter named Ho-Mita-Koda did exist.

One of the Lodge's primary duties was serving and staffing Camp Tulakes, located near the present Camp Tahquitz in Barton Flats.

Among its accomplishments, A-tsa Lodge had the honor of being the service Lodge for the first Section W4B Conclave which was held at Redlands High School. A year later, A-tsa was a part of Cahuilla Lodge. National OA records indicate the merger occurred in 1976, not 1974, and in time there will be an explanation for this discrepancy.

Click here for a listing of past A-tsa Lodge Chiefs and Advisers

Navajo Lodge #98

Navajo PatchNavajo Lodge # 98 was one of California's oldest lodges, being formed in 1937. It was chartered to the Old Baldy Council in Ontario, CA.

Navajo Lodge was well-known for their Pow Wows, which were numbered in sequential order. Many other lodges in the area participated and are commemorated on their patches.

In 2006, the Old Baldy Council agreed to dissolve. The area of the council in Los Angeles County joined the San Gabriel Area Council while the San Bernardino County area joined the California Inland Empire Council. Most of the S.B. County area formed its own district, Old Baldy, and an O.A. chapter was formed, Navajo.

Navajo Lodge Founders Award Winners

Navajo Lodge Annual Award Winners

Navajo Lodge Vigil Honors

Navajo Lodge Chiefs and Advisers

Lodge Chief and Adviser locator information available by request.

Incomplete History of Cahuilla Lodge Chapters

Although only 6 chapters are currently operating in Cahuilla Lodge today, there have been (at least) 21 viable chapters that have operated in our history, including some clans, or subsets of chapters.

The chapter has been a necessary hierarchy for our lodge to operate because of our large geographical size, which from time to time has swept from Fort Irwin to Temecula, from Ontario to Quartzite, Arizona. Many members who do not participate long, or district members who are not in the Order may see the chapter, and their knowledge of the OA as an organization may not go beyond the chapter itself.

  • 1974: The original chapters of Cahuilla Lodge # 127 were probably: Agua Mansa, Agua Caliente, Chemehuevi, Luwillivon, Mojave, Serrano, Takik, Yamiwa, and Wanakik. A-tsa Lodge # 380 merged with Cahuilla and formed their own chapter.
  • 1982: Agua Mansa and Luwillivon merged to form the Whi-Al-Lum Chapter. Agua Mansa served the greater communities of Rialto and Colton and had roughly the same area of service as the Kaneeno Chapter.
  • 1985: In September, the huge Agua Caliente Chapter split into four pieces. The north area became the Chemehuevi Chapter, the west end became the Morongo Chapter. The Morongo Chapter served the Pass Area District of our council. The Palm Springs area because the Aswit Chapter and the rest remained the Agua Caliente Chapter. Also, the Takik Chapter was split into the Hutuk and Puyumak Chapters and the Big Bear Clan seperated from the Mojave Chapter.
  • 1986: In September, Soboba Chapter split from Wanakik Chapter. Takic was split into the Hutuk and Puyumak Chapters.
  • 1989: In September, Whi-Al-Lum Chapter was once again split into the Luwillivon and Kaneeno Chapters and Big Bear Clan remerged with Mojave Chapter. The Kaneeno Chapter was part of the Broken Arrow District.
  • 1992: In September, several changes took place. Morongo Chapter was absorbed by A-tsa Chapter. Aswit Chapter was absorbed by Agua Caliente Chapter. Memekis Chapter, formerly of Pang Lodge, became a chapter of Cahuilla after the Pang-Ashie merger.
  • 1993: In June, Luwillivon and Kaneeno Chapters merged to reform the Whi-Al-Lum Chapter. In March 1994, Aswit Chapter split from Agua Caliente. The Memekis Chapter was formed from area given to the Council that was originally in Pang Lodge.
  • 1994: In April, the Big Bear Clan was once again split from the Mojave Chapter. The Memekis Chapter was absorbed by the Agua Caliente Chapter. The Big Bear Clan was allowed to operate at times because being in the Mojave Chapter, it was extremely difficult to cover the distances required to actively participate. The group never became a recognized chapter but had an active group from time to time.
  • 1999: The Azwit Chapter was absorbed by the Agua Caliente Chapter.OA Logo
  • 2000: The Chemeheuvi and Agua Caliente Chapters merged. The Chapter named itself Aca.
  • 2001: The Whi-Al-Lum chapter decided in 2001 to change their name to Wisumahi, the name of the Order of the Arrow Lodge in the old Arrowhead Council from 1952 - 1972.
  • 2004: Yamiwa Chapter reformed after Three Peaks District was split from Tahquitz District in March 2003.
  • 2005: Soboba Chapter was absorbed by Wanakik Chapter after Five Nations and Mt. Rubidoux Districts were merged.
  • 2015: Arrowhead Chapter was absorbed by A-tsa Chapter. Yamiwa Chapter was absorbed by Tahquitz Chapter. Hutuk Chapter was devided with the north going Navajo Chapter and the south to Wanakik Chapter.

Click here for a listing of former Chapters past Chiefs and Advisers