Improved Order of Red Men
When a Warrior has applied for exaltation to the
Chiefs’ Degree, the officiating Chief will say: Brothers of the Totemic Bond, we are about to exalt a
true and well-tried Warrior, and teach him the higher duties and greater
knowledge in the Chiefs’ Council. I trust that during the rendition of the
ceremonies all will preserve decorum and silence.
The officiating Chief calls up with the usual raps
those who are to take part, and they leave the council chamber as in the Degree
of Adoption and assume their costumes. The property Chief will make ready the
council chamber for the floor work. The Chiefs then assume their stations.
The Sachem will direct the First Sannap to retire
to the forest, where, finding the candidate for exaltation, he will present him
with the Red Tomahawk. All the lights in the council chamber must be
extinguished except the council brand. After a few breaths the Sachem will say: Guard of the Wigwam, let the warning be given.
The Guard will give one loud rap. The Sannap will
reply by giving one rap.
Sachem: Guard of the
Wigwam, who alarms our council?
Guard of the Wigwam: The Sannap
and a runner from the Warriors’
Council bearing a message to the Chiefs.
Sachem: Let them be admitted.
As soon as they have entered the council chamber,
the two Mystery Men will advance and receive the Warrior, and the Sannap will
resume his station. The Mystery Men will then conduct the brother three times
around the council chamber, and halt, facing the Prophet’s tepee, with the
council brand in front of them. The First Mystery Man will then quench the
council brand, and all will remain in silent darkness.
The Second Mystery Man will remove the outer
covering from the entrance to the Prophet’s tent, which will then be screened
only by the transparency of a human skeleton. The Mystery Men will
stations one on each side of the Prophet’s tepee, a member concealed in the
tepee will then light the council brand behind the skeleton. The Prophet appears
and exclaims: The
Great Spirit is offended at his red children,
and has withdrawn the visible symbol of his pleasure. The spirit of darkness has
gone abroad and spread its sable mantle
over the once smiling bosom of creation. The azure heaven above, the green earth
beneath, the pleasing foliage of the forest, the shining bosoms of the lakes,
the rippling waters of the swift-running rivers, and the variegated hues of the
angry waves of the great oceans which surround our land—all have merged into
darkness and disappeared. The beasts of prey have gone forth; the stealthy
panther utters his piteous but deceptive cries; the ravenous wolf breaks the
dismal gloom with his bark; all is darkness and desolation. Let us invoke
the Great Spirit for mercy, for life, for light.
Prophet: O, Thou Great
Spirit, bless every heart sincere
In freedom’s cause.
Bless our fraternal band.
In friendship may it
stand. Extend it through the land,
By Thy almighty power.
O, let Thy sacred fire
Our brother’s heart with
charity—the sacred mystery
Of every Red Man’s love.
Him, in mercy, move to
succor the distressed,
And from the orphan’s
eye the tear remove,
The widow’s heart to
soothe, and calm affliction’s sigh.
In our fraternal band thus
may he ever stand
A chief both firm and
The emblem of mortality will then be removed by the brother inside of the tepee, and the
Mystery Men will take the brand from the tepee and light the brands on the
stations of the Sachem, Senior and Junior Sagamores, after which they will
return to the Prophet’s tepee, taking position on each side. The First Sannap
will then take charge of the candidate.
Prophet: Sannap, conduct the Warrior to the Senior Sagamore, who
has words of wisdom to impart.
Sannap: Senior Sagamore, from the Warriors’ Council this
brother comes, and brings the Red Tomahawk, the emblem he promised to deliver to
the Chiefs in council.
The Senior Sagamore receives the Tomahawk, and conceals it, as if burying it, and will say: Henceforth be this weapon
Deep in the earth’s cold
Its thirsty edge no more
current; nor in dread conflict
Cleave the proud citadel
Sits enthroned. But from
Shall our Warrior’s
mission be one of peace
And good will to all upon
And, to prove my words are
And will not to me return,
I present this Wampum
The Red Man’s bond, that
he will faithful prove
To what his tongue may
Mark my words.
Hands the Wampum Belt to the candidate.
Sannap, return with the
Warrior, that he may be accepted in the Covenant of Faith.
The Sannap conducts the candidate to the Prophet,
who stanch at the place of the council brand, beside an arrangement in which to
fix the brands.
Sannap: Prophet, the tomahawk has been buried, and the brother returns with the sacred Wampum Belt.
The belt is handed to the Prophet.
Prophet: My son,
hearken to the voice of the Prophet. We accept from you the
Wampum Belt as a symbol of your intent to honorably fulfil the
duties of our Covenant of Faith, which
shall never be broken; that we may henceforth be as One, and have but one
Council Fire and one Voice. Let our words go quickly forth and assemble our
Chiefs together that they may take part in this solemn ceremony.
Sachem advances, bearing brand.
Sachem: I come,
symbolizing Freedom, in
honor of that proud race, fast fading away, who in the days of their affluence were as brave as they were generous, and as truthful as they
were brave. Freedom, the hope and aim of the oppressed of every land and clime,
now the proud boast of every American. We dedicate our lives to its maintenance.
Sachem places brand. Senior advances, bearing
Senior Sagamore: I come,
symbolizing Friendship, the
binding link in our Covenant, and the brightest gem in the jeweled diadem of our
Totem. Be friendly, for in misfortune’s dreary hour, “a kindly word in
friendship spoken, may soothe and calm a heart that’s broken.”
Senior Sagamore places brand. Junior advances,
Junior Sagamore: I come, symbolizing Charity, not that alone which gives
with an open hand and willing heart in time of need, but Charity which is
indulgent, kind and constant, expressed by the smiles of those who meet around
the council brand. Charity for the weak and erring, to measure men not by their
wealth, but by their moral worth.
“Rugged strength and
radiant beauty, These are one in Nature’s plan;
Humble toil and heavenward
duty, These will form a perfect man.”
Junior Sagamore places brand.
Prophet: In the name of Freedom, Friendship and Charity, the
three cardinal precepts of our Totemic Bond, I welcome you into the Covenant of Faith, and you will
place this brand as a symbol of
your acceptance therein.
Prophet hands brand to candidate, who places it
with the others. The chiefs then take stations around the light so as to be
situated at the four cardinal points, the Sachem in the East, Senior Sagamore in
the West, Junior Sagamore in the South; the Warriors and Braves seated, forming
a circle around them. The Mystery Men in the rear of Prophet. The Prophet then
continues: By the
blending of these fires, fit emblem of purification, vigor, and life, by which
the primitive Red Men symbolized the mysterious union through which they were
bound by the strong bonds of amity and
love, let us symbolize the
inseparable ties of fraternity
which shall henceforth bind us.
As this fire is consuming,
so let the sordid and grosser
passions of our nature be destroyed;
as it is warm and invigorating, so let the fire of love burn within to nourish and stimulate us; and as its rays
dispel the darkness and gloom from our midst, so may the divine law, emanating from the Great Spirit,
illuminate our souls, and shed its hallowed rays upon our path.
The First Mystery Man then arises, advances to the
light, lights the calumet and smokes. The Prophet continues: As the smoke from the calumet, ascending to the
Great Spirit, blends together, so may our affections blend in this Covenant
of Faith, which shall not be broken. You shall keep our secrets, and we
will keep yours; you shall administer to our wants, and we will administer to yours. You shall defend our fair fame, and
we will defend yours. These are our words. They have gone forth from our mouth and
shall not return.
Receives calumet from Mystery Man, takes a whiff
through the same, then points the stem upwards.
And now, as a token of
your fidelity to us, that you will
fulfil to the utmost of your ability, without equivocation or mental
reservation, the various requirements of
this Degree, its doctrines and teachings, we extend to you the calumet, with which was solemnized the most
sacred compacts among the primitive Red Men.
The Prophet hands the calumet to the candidate who
draws a whiff through the pipe, and it is then handed to the Prophet, who
it in bandages of green, blue and
scarlet material, and lay it away.
Prophet: Sannaps, present the brother to our Sachem.
The Chiefs, with the exception of the Sachem and
Sannaps, then sit around the council brand, and the Sannaps, by direction of the
Prophet, conduct the candidate to the Sachem, in front of the brand, the council
chamber being lighted. The First Sannap will say: Sachem, the brother has been accepted into the
Covenant of Faith, and awaits your further pleasure.
Sachem: Chief, for such I have now the honor to call you, from
an adopted and humble member of the Tribe
you have steadily progressed in the mysteries of the Order. First, you advanced
upon the Hunter’s trail, then
upon the Warrior’s path, and learned the mysteries of the various ceremonies.
Now, your ambition prompts you to greater
knowledge in the Chiefs’ Council. The tomahawk has been buried, and you were
presented with the sacred wampum belt. You have also gained admission into the Totemic Bond, and lastly, have
been accepted into the Covenant of Faith, where you have smoked the calumet, and
in these fraternal relations
have each time bound yourself in
stronger bonds of fidelity and
truth. We ask no further pledge, but will proceed to clothe and give
you the key, by which you may unlock the inmost secrets of our Order.
I now invest you with the
sash of a chief, and as often as
you wear it, may its brilliant
color, emblematic of energy. inspire you with renewed ardor in the cause of Freedom, Friendship and Charity.
I present you with this
emblem, the Chief’s Tomahawk. Upon it
you will find the device of an Eagle, and upon its breast four characters, T. O. T. E., signifying the ... This device is
the mark or sign manual of our Totem,
and as such may be worn
on the person in the form of an emblem,
seal or ring. Any Chief observing these letters may approach you and say,
...; to which you will reply, ...; he, ...; you, ...;
he, ... You will then know each other to be worthy of fraternal
confidence and trust. This is the only manner in which these letters and words
are to be used. Their use and signification must not be imparted to any one but
a member in good standing of the Chiefs’ Degree.
When you desire to enter
the Chiefs’ Council, you will
give the same alarm at the outer wicket as in
the. preceding degrees. You will communicate to the Guard the universal password
of the term, which is . Having received this, he will permit you to pass
the outer wicket. You will then
clothe yourself in regalia, which for this Degree is a scarlet sash. You will
then advance to the inner wicket and
give this alarm . This will call the attention of the Guard of the Wigwam
to whom you will announce your name and the name and number of the Tribe to
which you are attached. When a
member becomes a Past Sachem or attains higher honors, he may also announce his rank. The Guard will
report the same to the Senior Sagamore, who, if there be no objection, will
direct him to admit you, if correct. The Tribe shall be the judge of the
validity of any objection. You will then communicate to the Guard the explanation of the universal password,
which is ..., and also the password of
this Degree, which is ... Having received this, he will permit you to pass
the inner wicket. Having entered the council chamber, you will advance to the place of the council brand, and, facing the Sachem,
salute him thus ...
He will recognize your
salutation thus ... This will insure you a welcome. You will then be seated.
Should you wish to leave
the council chamber before the
council fire has been quenched, you will advance to the place of the council
brand and salute the Sachem with the same sign as on entering. Being recognized.
you are at liberty to
In voting upon all
questions before the Tribe, where ballots or twigs are not used, the following
sign is given, which is designated “the
usual show of a Red Man.” It is made thus ... It is
also used as a sign of respect, on arising to speak; in depositing a ballot
or twig; when retiring on business
of the Tribe or in passing the
When retiring on business,
the chief arises in his station,
gives the sign of respect, and is then permitted to retire. Having attended to
the business assigned him, he re-enters the council chamber by giving the alarms
and passwords, advances to the council brand, gives the sign of respect and
makes his report.
There is also a hailing,
or distress sign, to be used only in
cases of absolute or positive danger. Should you be threatened by danger or
overtaken by misfortune, so as to be unable to extricate yourself, and have a
reasonable expectation that there is a Red Man in sight, you may use this sign
... If seen
by a brother he will answer you by repeating the same sign with the additional
movement of .., and hasten to your assistance if in his power to do so.
Should you, however, be so
situated as to be heard and not seen, you may use the “spell-words” ... ...
Any brother hearing these
words is bound to give assistance as promptly as if he had seen the sign.
We have a “recognition
sign,” to be used in promiscuous assemblages, or wherever in the “forest of
life” our steps may be directed, when
it may be useful or necessary for us to know if
there are any Improved Red Men present. It is made thus ... Any
member of the Order seeing this sign
will answer it thus ...
Observing that the sign is
properly answered, you may approach your newly-made acquaintance with the
“grasp of friendship,” and further prove his claim to your confidence before
trusting him too far. It is given thus ...
Extreme caution must be
used in giving the grasp of
friendship, so that palefaces shall not distinguish it.
Never extend it to a
brother unless your heart beats in unison with your hand.
Instructions must be carefully imparted, so that
the grip may be given by the brother in a proper manner.
You have now been duly
instructed in the unwritten work of
the Chiefs’ Degree. This unwritten work constitutes the sign language by which a brother may prove
himself entitled to a brother’s welcome wherever burns a council brand of our
Order. To guard against imposition you will use these signs with caution, and
never in a trifling or careless manner.
The Sannap will now seat you within the Totemic Circle.
The First Sannap seats the candidate as in the
Degree of Adoption, and then takes a seat back of the Sachem, alongside of the
Second Sannap. The Sachem continues: The ceremonies of our Order are founded upon the manners,
customs and traditions of the aborigines of the American Continent. The Degree
of Adoption illustrates their
ancient mode of adoption, or naturalization;
the Warriors’, the rules and regulations controlling the war-path; and the
Chiefs’, the nature and character of their civil government, as well as their
religious and superstitious views.
On your admission into the
Council of this Degree you found all the lights extinguished, to symbolize a
custom of the aborigines of extinguishing all fires and scattering the ashes
once each great sun as an appeal to the Great Spirit. Deprived of fire, they
believed themselves to be also deprived of the sustaining power of the Great
Spirit, whose image they recognized in the sun.
As you perceived, the
entrance to the Prophet’s tepee was screened from view by the form of a human
skeleton, illustrating a custom by which skeletons were used in religious
ceremonies as emblems of mortality, to impress novices with awe and reverence,
and with the evanescent character of all things earthly.
Before the fire had been
lighted the Prophet offered an invocation to the Great Spirit, which was the
custom of the primitive Red Men previous to entering upon any important
The Wampum Belt was given
you in exchange for the Red Tomahawk, because the burial of the Red Tomahawk
symbolized the cessation of hostilities and Tribal animosity. The Wampum Belt
was a symbol of peace, and is regarded as a sure sign of friendship.
In using the Calumet, or
Pipe of Peace, the Prophet pointed the stem upward, in order to propitiate the
good will of the Great Spirit, believing his words would ascend to him in the
smoke. The Calumet was a sacred pipe,
and was never used except at the ratification of treaties, and on religious occasions. In the Chiefs’
Degree its use symbolized the Token of covenant between the exalted brother and
Brother, you have now been
made acquainted with the rites and mysteries of the Chiefs’ Degree.
The Sachem gives two raps, which call up the
officiating Chiefs, and the Second Sannap takes charge of the newly-exalted
brother. The First Sannap, followed by the Chiefs trail around the council
chamber and sing the Ode of Exaltation:
The Chief is exalted; in
triumph has won,
On the pathway of Freedom (may it still guide him on),
The spell. word of
Friendship, in which we unite,
For deeds of true Charity,
Justice and Right.
Then hail to the Chieftain;
exalted be he;
Be his heart ever noble,
e’er generous and free;
Responsive to woe, when in
pity it pleads,
And in mercy extending the
solace it needs,
When the Ode is finished, a member not in costume takes charge ol the candidate, the officiating Chiefs trail and finally form in two ranks diagonally
across the council chamber toward the inner wicket, while the member and
candidate trail between them out into the Forest, after which, with evolutions,
the officiating Chiefs trail to the paraphernalia room, divest themselves of
their costumes, and then re-enter the council chamber, resuming their stations.
The Sachem will give one rap with tomahawk and say:
Guard of the Wigwam, you
will notify the brothers to enter.
The brother in charge of the newly-exalted brother
will instruct him how to pass the wickets and to enter the council chamber, then
fellow him. They make the usual salutation to the Sachem, when the brother will
say: Sachem, our brother
now awaits further instructions.
Sachem: The traditions
of our Order trace its history to those patriotic organizations known as the Tamina Societies, Sons of Liberty, and the Order of
Red Men, all of which existed prior to the birth of the Republic. As early as
1765, they were a powerful factor in those events which finally crystallized
into the Declaration of Independence and the United States of America. Their
motto was Freedom, and the government they founded stands to-day foremost among
the nations of the earth. The
Order of Red Men pledged their
sacred honor to defend the Union and this Emblem of Liberty.
An American flag is here exhibited.
The Freedom they then
proclaimed and gained through struggle and suffering, has been given to us as a
priceless legacy, always to be sacredly guarded. To the Improved Order of Red
Men, the oldest organization in our land of purely American origin and
teachings, should be given the proud privilege of handing down to posterity
this heritage, spotless and untarnished. Red Men should always be true to our
government, this Glorious Flag, and our precept “Freedom,” which will remain
to bless those who succeed us in the glorious work of humanity..
You are required to
punctually attend the councils of the Tribe, and to perform your share of the
labor and responsibility. Never be drawn aside from the path of duty by any idle
pleasure, nor become forgetful of the signs and passwords. Be careful in their
use, that you do not inadvertently disclose them.
I now present you with a
copy of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Tribe, which you will carefully
I will also instruct you
in the signs of honor that are given when an official visitation is made by the
Great Chiefs or by another Tribe.
When the Great Chiefs or a
visiting Tribe are admitted, the Sachem calls up the Tribe, and the members
place the back of the open left hand against the forehead, the fingers and thumb
extended straight; remaining in that position until the usual salutation to the
Sachem is made, when we salute them as follows:
The hands placed in
position as if holding a bow and arrow for the purpose of discharging the arrow
both arms extended, the left hand about seven inches in advance of the right,
then quickly drawing back the right hand and suddenly bringing it into the palm
of the left hand with a loud slap.
We have a sign of
recognition between members of this Degree and members of the Degree of
Pocahontas, a branch of the Improved Order of Red Men. It is made thus ..., and
signifies ... The answer is made thus ..., and
means a ...
This tomahawk is the
visible symbol of the Sachem’s authority
in the Tribe. The sound of the tomahawk is as potent and imperative as the voice
of the Sachem. One rap calls the Tribe to order or seats it when standing. Gives
one rap. Two raps call up the elective and appointed Chiefs. Gives two raps. Four raps, in
couplets, two slow and two in quick succession, call up the Tribe. Gives
Sannap, you will now
introduce the brother to the Tribe, so that he may receive the salute and
congratulations of the brothers.
The “salute” is the same as is given on the
visitation of Great Chiefs.
Sannap: Chiefs and brothers of ... Tribe, No. ..., by direction of the Sachem, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Brother ..., who has just been exalted to the Chiefs’
Degree. You will assist me in giving the salute, and then extend to him the
grasp of friendship.
After the salute is given and a few breaths allowed
the members to congratulate the brother, the Sannap conducts him to a seat. The
Sachem will call the Tribe to order, and then proceed with the Order of