Closing Gathering: A Celebration of Brotherhood and Heritage
Closing Gathering tied together the central themes and interests of Indian
Summer through the image of the coup stick.
The Pre-Ordeal ceremony was woven throughout the various speaking parts to
connect stage segments together. The gathering opened with a flag dance and ceremony with dancers and a drum team. Fifty American flags lined the edges of the balcony as all Arrowmen in attendance sang the national anthem
and pledged allegiance.
The theme running through the gathering ceremony was one of renewal and revival. The first speaker started this theme by saying, "Our Indian Summer was … true renewal of our experience, heritage, and love for one another."
Western Region Chief Matt Griffis introduced the 15 best coup sticks that clans
made during the week.
Coup sticks were traditionally important in a young brave's life and were given as a reward for good deeds and battle successes--they were "powerful personal medicine."
One member from each
of several winning clans then gave their thoughts on today's purposes of the Order of the Arrow. The Comanche tribal chief told participants that "when we encounter a new task, we must strive to complete our obligation and our purpose."
Central tenets of Native American culture include unselfish service and duty to self, much as the foundational principles of the Order.
Sean Murray, an Indian Summer tribal leader, described servant leadership as "indefinable by words, but well defined through actions. … The greater the presence of servant leadership, the stronger the Order becomes."
National Chief Nick Digirolamo offered recognition to Tsali Lodge, the service lodge. National Vice Chief Rich Moore gave a keynote address describing his Ordeal experience, a weekend that led to his continuing
commitment to and leadership in the Order. He said, "It is our common interest and our common love that binds us together as brothers, not a shiny white sash."
The gathering closed with a highlights video of the conference, and the Order
of the Arrow song--a solemn and fitting end to the event.