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Ask the Chairman - Beaded Sashes

October 29, 2016     Ask the Chairman

Q. Ray,

I am curious why the Order of the Arrow discourages beaded sashes? Since our organization is based on a Native American theme, and beadwork is the most recognizable art form, I would think that a beaded sash would not only be recognized, but encouraged. National should issue a uniform bead pattern & encourage people to use it for beaded sashes.

Yours in Brotherhood,

A. Jim,

Thank you for your question, and for your service to Scouting and the Order. There are a couple of reasons why the national OA committee does not endorse beaded sashes, despite our historical relationship with American Indian culture.

  1. Like other parts of the Scout uniform, we attempt to maintain the notion of “uniform”, meaning that each sash should be basically the same. There is obviously a very significant difference between an embroidered cloth sash and one made of seed beads.
  2. We try to support having uniform items available to our members at the lowest reasonable cost. Authorizing a beaded OA sash would potentially highlight several classes of Arrowmen - Those with the financial resources to purchase a beaded sash at high cost, those with the skill set to produce such a sash (high cost in “sweat equity”), and those not able to afford either.

While I am delighted to learn that you have the skills to produce such a sash, I hope you will focus those skills on encouraging our youth Arrowmen and Scouts to harness their interest in American Indian culture to result in increased involvement in the overall program offered by the Order and Scouting.

Thank you again for your service,