Q: Why did the Order of the Arrow change its logo and get rid of the Chief symbol?
A: The change in the logo was done by the national Order of the Arrow committee as part of their adoption of the 1998 Strategic Plan for our order. In discussing actions taken to achieve the vision spelled out in the plan, it says:
"We will adopt a new logo; one focused on the Arrow rather than the Indian. The Arrow is easily the most recognizable symbol that has its origin in our first ceremony. By taking the Arrowhead from the Arrow on the sash as our logo, we unify our image and strengthen the identity embodied in our name, the Order of the Arrow "
The Stylized Indianhead logo (sometimes called the "MGM Indianhead") is a strong logo. It is one that many people have strong feelings for. It may have been there when you first ever saw OA members, or when you were first involved in the OA.
But it is important to realize that the Stylized Indianhead logo is only a symbol. The truly important aspects of our Order are, in the words of our founder, "The things of the Spirit". The brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service we try to always live up to are what really matters.
Over the years the OA has been in existence, the symbols and logos have changed several times. At the beginning, there was not a logo for the Order. Then an arrow began to be used, or three W's, or the letters "OA". The "logo" used on the 1948 handbook was an arrow, intertwined with the letters "OA". By the 1950 version, the cover logo was the ordeal sash, the red arrow against a white band. The first Indian head logo did not appear until 1957.
The "Sioux Chief Indian head" (a Indian head in profile with a detailed, full bonnet) appeared in 1965. It was used as the logo of the OA for over a decade. In 1976, the Stylized Indianhead was officially approved as the "new logo". (It had been created in 1975 as a special cover design for the 60th anniversary edition of the OA handbook.) And in 1998, the logo changed again, to the "new" Arrowhead.
As the strategic plan makes clear, this change was TO a logo based on the Arrowhead. The plan notes that "we will strengthen our focus on the symbolism of the Arrow, so eloquently articulated in the Ordeal Ceremony, as related to the individual and to leadership."
In some ways, we are returning to our roots. We are going back to the symbol that has been a critical part of our organization from the beginning. We are now choosing to use a symbol that better matches our name, our ceremonies, and our ideals. (Think about what Allowat Sakima says when he describes the arrow in the Ordeal ceremony.)
As one Section Chief said, when asked this very question, "We are, after all, 'THE ORDER OF THE ARROW', not the 'Order of the Stylized Indianhead'."
Change is never easy. We all get attached to things the way they have been before. But change always occurs, except in things that are dead. The Order of the Arrow is definitely not dead, and so it will continue to change as time goes on.
The leaders of our organization decided in 1998 to move on to a new symbol. As new materials have come out, you have seen the arrowhead logo used more and more. And, as leaders ourselves (whether with a section, a lodge, a chapter, or in our troop), it is part of our role to use the arrowhead logo ourselves.