The Spirit of the Ordeal Award was created by the Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut Lodge #97 in 2010 to recognize the Lodge’s outstanding young – Scouts who are setting the example high above their peers building an enduring legacy to Scouting and the Order of the Arrow through cheerful service to others.
The Higher Vision Award was created by the Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut Lodge #97 in 2009 to recognize the Lodge’s second and third generation “Founders” – Scouters who have built an enduring legacy to Scouting and the Order of the Arrow through a lifetime of cheerful service to others.
The Founder’s Award is the highest honor a lodge can bestow on a member. It is given to those members who display the dedication of the Order of the Arrow founders, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Col. Carroll Edson.
Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones. The James E. West Fellowship Award is a national recognition for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more in cash or securities to their local council endowment fund.
The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position of office to one or more of the following: their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout Camp.
Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut Lodge #97 was formed in 1965 with the merger of Covered Wagon and Southwest Iowa Councils. The Order of the Arrow Lodges of Southwest Iowa Council and Covered Wagon Council were Cha-Pa (#97) and Pohawk (#445). The members of those lodges became the charter members of Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut (#97)
Each year the Lodge presents several scholarships to deserving arrowmen.
Lodge Committee Chair of the Year.
The present Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut lodge was actually created by the merger of two older lodges when their respective Councils merged in 1965. The part of Mid-America Council that is located in Iowa was once a separate Council, known as Southwest Iowa Council (Council #175). Its headquarters was located in Council Bluffs. Until 1936, an honor camper society known as the Order of the Black Diamond served this Council. In that year, however, Elmer Ogren and others campaigned to organize a local chapter of another honor camper society that was sweeping across the nation, the Order of the Arrow. The executive board of Southwest Iowa Council approved the formation of a new OA lodge. The petition was approved by the National Organization of the OA on August 31, 1936, and the lodge was assigned the number 97. At that time, the national organization was called the "National Tribe" and the local lodge was called the "Local Tribe." The members of the old Order of the Black Diamond became the charter members of the new OA lodge.
Arrowmen from an already existing lodge from southeast Iowa in Burlington, Iowa came to Council Bluffs on January 16, 1937 to perform the initiation ceremonies for the 26 charter members of the new lodge at its first meeting. At that time, there were 26 members. The Lodge Chief was George Mace, Jr. from Clarinda, Iowa; the scribe was Wilbur Squire from Shenandoah, Iowa; and the treasurer was Duane Skow from Council Bluffs, Iowa. Melvin Tudor was the Scout Executive at the time.
A committee was then appointed by the new lodge leaders to select a name and a totem for the lodge. The committee chose four possibilities upon which the general membership would vote. All candidate names were names of animals. Manchoo (bear) and Mikasi (coyote) were in the Omaha language. Hehaka (elk) and Chapa (beaver) were in the Sioux language. The committee recommended Chapa because it was easy to pronounce and was the only animal among the four which still resided in that region of Iowa. The members selected Chapa as the name and the beaver as the totem in March, 1937.
The lodge originally served Camp Mik-a-nak-a-wa near Crescent, which was then the Council camp. That camp was later sold to another youth organization and is now known as Camp Pokamoke. The new Council camp became Wakonda, which was located on the Nishnabotna River near Griswold. This camp was also sold in the late 1970s.
Many of the records of the Chapa Lodge have apparently been lost, but enough exist to sketch a history of the leadership and membership. The size of the membership fluctuated a lot during the 50s and 60s. The peak membership was 421 in 1960, and the trough was 50 in 1952. The first Vigil Honor members were selected in 1953 in a ceremony that was held at Camp Mitigwa near Boone, Iowa. The reason for having the ceremony out of the Council is unknown, but perhaps it was done to take advantage of a ceremony team already in existence.
The Covered Wagon Council (Council #326), comprised of the Nebraska portion of the current Mid-America Council, formed its OA lodge in 1950. The OA was also preceded here by the Order of the Black Diamond as well as another honor camper society, which has recently been resurrected, The Tribe of Nani-bazou. (Nani-bazou numbered amongst its youth leaders the actor Henry Fonda.) On November 15, 1950, the executive board of Covered Wagon Council approved a resolution to form an OA lodge, and the petition was approved by the National Organization on December 1. The new lodge was designated 445. John Rinde of Fremont became the first lodge chief. In the original charter, 57 active members were listed. Over the years, membership varied between 144 and 732, with the usual ups and downs.
The name chosen for the new lodge was Pohawk, which is a variation of the Pawnee word, Pahuk, meaning "promontory" or "headland." In Pawnee culture, Pahuk was the most important of five places sacred to the tribe. There is a Pawnee legend about Pahuk and the Nahurac, or animal spirits which inhabited it. Pahuk is a promontory-like bluff, which overlooks the Platte River, as Pohawk Point does at Camp Cedars. However, the real Pohawk Point, or Pahuk of the legend, is thought to be located a mile upstream.
The cedar tree was also sacred to the Pawnee, and they associated it closely with Pohawk Point (Pahuk) because it was so densely covered with cedar. The cedar tree (superimposed upon a square) also became the totem of the new OA lodge, Pohawk. The lodge pocketflap depicted three cedar trees similar to those seen on the Camp Cedars patch today.
Pohawk Lodge served Camp Cedars as its main Council camp, but it also served Camp Wakonda (in Bellevue) and Eagle.
The Covered Wagon Council and the Southwest Iowa Council merged in 1965 to form the Mid-America Council, and so the two lodges were also merged. A new lodge was officially created on July 1 of that year. While the merger of the two Councils was being worked out, Larry Fiehn, the immediate past Lodge Chief of the Pohawk Lodge and at the time the Area 8C Chief, acted as the transitional Chief of the new lodge. John S. McCollister, the last lodge chief of Pohawk lodge, became the first Lodge Chief, and Willis Abels, the last adviser of Chapa, became the first lodge adviser. A new name was taken for the lodge, Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut, which means "On the Hills Above the River." One reason for selecting this name was that all of the Council camps were located on hills overlooking rivers. The totems of the old lodges were combined into a new one comprising a beaver superimposed upon a cedar tree, as seen in the pocketflap today. The number 97 was retained because it was the lower of the two old lodge numbers, thus holding more prestige.
The pocketflap is said by some to represent the Pawnee legend of Pohawk Point, although there is no mention of this in present lodge records. The light green triangle is said to symbolize the hill of Pohawk Point. The beaver is the chief animal spirit inhabiting the lodge within the hill. The cedar tree, many of which surround the hill, is a sacred symbol and shows that the hill is a sacred place. The blue and purple bands represent the Missouri River which joins the two old lodges into one new lodge.
The feelings regarding the merger were mixed. Some members were still loyal to the traditions and ways of their respective lodges. However, John S. McCollister recalled a very amicable merger with the spirit of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness and Service prevailing.
In 1994, there were eleven chapters and over 950 members in Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut. The lodge served Camps Butterfield, Cedars, Eagle, Wakonda (in Bellevue) and the Little Sioux Scout Ranch.
The Prairie Gold Area Council experienced financial difficulties, which culminated in 2000 in the National BSA closing the Council. After considering various options, the Council directors decided it was in their best interests to join with Mid-America Council. Because a Council may have only one OA Lodge, Miniconjou Lodge #438 was absorbed by Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut Lodge in 2001. Miniconjou (which means “planters by the water” had been formed in 1973 by merger of Wahpeton Lodge #438 and War Eagle Lodge #474. The merger increased the membership of Lodge #97 to over 1500 members. A new lodge flap was constructed to include the Kit-Ke-Hak-O-Kut totems (beaver and cedar) and the Miniconjou totem, the buffalo. The three existing chapters of the new territory were added to those in existence in the lodge. A new camp, Ashford, was also added to those already served by the Lodge.
Basic information for this history was gathered originally by Doug Aupperle for the 20th Anniversary of the lodge and by Brian and Dwight Grantham, then Editor and Adviser for The ARROWHEAD (Volume 24, No. 4, December, 1990), on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the lodge. Mike Mann edited their text and added to it to provide more information and bring it up to date in 1994. He has again updated the history to 2002.