Association Boys, 1905 (article)
- 1 Vol. IV. ASSOCIATION BOYS. No.3.
- 1.1 Laws of the Seton Indians
- 1.2 A LIST OF THE EXPLOITS OR COUPS THAT ENTITLE THE BRAVE TO A DECORATION
Vol. IV. ASSOCIATION BOYS. No.3.
Laws of the Seton Indians
Ernest Thompson Seton
The Seton Indians have been organized to give young people the advantages of camp life without its dangers. The Indian form was adopted because its picturesqueness gives such hold on boys; it makes them self-governing; it is appropriate to out-door life; it gives definite things to do in the woods, and it is so plastic that it may be engrafted on any other organized mode of camping, to any desired extent, in whole or in part.
Of course there are many bad Indians, and many bad things are done by nearly all Indians, but we wish to imitate the good things of good Indians. Our watchword then is: “The best things of the best Indians”, and our object: “The study and pleasures of Woodcraft”.
Our tribes are trained in Woodcraft and in Self-government. By Woodcraft we mean out-door athletics, nature study and camping as a fine art.
Photography is recognized as a branch of nature study, and camper-craft is made to include the simplest methods of triangulation, starcraft, finding one’s way, telling direction, sign-language, as well as many branches of Indian craft.
About 100 deeds or exploits are recognized in these departments and the braves are given decorations that show what they have achieved.
The plan aims to give the young people “something to do, something to think about and something to enjoy in the woods”, with a view always to character building.
Get the boys together, any number from ten upwards, and by popular vote elect the following officers:
Head War Chief elected by the Tribe. He should be strong as well as popular, because his duties are to lead and to enforce the laws. He is head of the Council.
Second War Chief, to take the Head Chief’s place when he is absent, otherwise he is merely a Councillor.
Third War Chief, for leader when the other two are away.
Wampum Chief. He has charge of the money and public property of the Tribe, except the records. He obeys the Head Chief and Council. He ought to have a lock box or small trunk to keep valuables in.
Chief of the Painted Robe, or Feather-tally. He keeps the tribal records, including the Law book, the Roster or Roll, the Winter Count, or Record of Camps and Seasons and the Feather-tally or record of honors and exploits. He enters nothing except on instructions from the Council. He should be an artist.
Chief of the Council-Fire. It is his exclusive privilege to make fire. He must do it without matches. He must also see that the camp and woods are kept clean.
Sometimes one Brave or Chief holds more than one of these last three offices.
Medicine Man (a grown up). His duty is to advise the Head Chief.
Add to these all the Sachems and Sagamores with elected Councillors enough to raise the total number to not more than twelve.
All are under the Chief. All disputes, etc., are settled by the Chief and Council. The Council makes the laws and fixes the dues, The Chief enforces the laws.
All officers are elected for one. year or until their successors are chosen. The election to take place as soon as possible after Spring Day, the first of March.
(Whenever in doubt we try to follow the National Constitution.)
Vow of the Head Chief.
I solemnly promise to maintain the laws and to see fair play in all the doings of the Tribe.
Vow of each Brave.
I solemnly promise that I will obey the Chief and Council of my Tribe, and if I fail in my duty I will appear before the Council and submit without murmuring to their decision.
1. Don’t rebel. Rebellion by any one against any decision of the Council is punishable by expulsion. Absolute obedience is always enforced.
2. Don’t kindle a wild fire. To start a wild fire — that is, to set the woods or prairies a fire — is a crime against the State, as well as the Tribe. Never leave a fire in camp without someone to watch it.
3. Don’t harm song-birds. It is forbidden to kill or injure or frighten song-birds, or to disturb their nests or eggs, or to molest squirrels.
4. Don’t break the Game Laws.
5. Don’t cheat. Cheating in the games or records or wearing honors not conferred by the Council is a crime.
6. Don’t bring firearms of any kind into camp. Bows and arrows are enough for our purpose. Never point a weapon at any one.
7. Don’t make a dirty camp. Keep the woods and streams clean by burying all garbage.
8. No smoking till you are 18 years old.
9. No fire-water in camp.
10. Word of honor is sacred.
Punishments are meted out by the Chief and Council after a hearing of the case. They consist of:
Exclusion from the games for a time.
Of tasks of drudgery and camp service.
Of reduction in rank.
The extreme penalty is banishment from the Tribe.
The totem of the whole nation of Seton Indians (as they have called themselves) is the White or Silver Buffalo.
Each Band needs a totem of its own in addition. This is selected by the Council, and should be something easy to draw. Each brave adds a private totem of his own, usually a drawing of his name.
A LIST OF THE EXPLOITS OR COUPS THAT ENTITLE THE BRAVE TO A DECORATION
These exploits are intended to distinguish those warriors who are first class or remarkable in each department. They may be called Honors and High Honors, but the Plains Indians speak of their exploits as Coup (pronounced coo) and Grand Coup. The Sioux, I am informed, use the French word coup, but call them “Jus-pee-na Coo” and “Tonka Coo”, the “Little Deed” and the “Big Deed”.
The decoration for a Coup or Honor is an eagle feather for the war-bonnet or a wampum medal for the coat, or both.
For the high Honor or Grand Coup the eagle feather has a red tuft of horsehair on the top.
No one can count both Coup and Grand Coup or repeat the honor in the same department except for Heroism in which each honor is added to that previously worn.
No honors are conferred unless the exploit has been properly witnessed or proven, as though for the century bar of the L. A. W.
The exploits in the first group of Class 1, Athletics, are meant for boys under sixteen, but all the others apply to all ages.
Those with twenty-five coups are Sachems. Those with twenty-five grand coups are Grand Sachems. Those with fifty coups are Sagamores and those with fifty grand coups are Grand Sagamores. Sachems and Sagamores sit in Council without election.
CLASS I — RED HONORS
1. Honors are allowed for saving human life at risk of one’s own; it is a coup or grand coup at the discretion of the Council.
(For boys under sixteen)
2. Walk 34 measured miles in one hour (heel and toe) to count coup or honor; or four miles to count grand coup or high honor.
3. Walk ¼ of a mile in 2½ minutes for coup; in 2 minutes for grand coup.
4. Walk 1 mile in 11 minutes for coup; in 10 minutes for grand coup.
5. Run 100 yards in 12 seconds for coup; in 11 seconds for grand coup.
6. Run 220 yards in 28 seconds for coup; in 26 seconds for grand coup.
7. Run a mile in 5½ minutes for coup; in 5 minutes for grand coup.
8. High standing jump, 3 feet 4 inches for coup; 3 feet 9 inches for grand coup.
9. High running jump, 4 feet 6 inches for coup; 5 feet for grand coup.
10. Standing broad jump, 8 feet for coup; 9 feet for grand coup.
11. Running broad jump, 16 feet for coup; 18 for grand coup.
12. Hammer-throw (12 lbs.), 80 feet for coup; 90 for grand coup.
13. Shot put (12 lbs.), 30 feet for coup; 35 for grand coup.
14. Throwing the regular 4½ oz. baseball 50 yards for coup; 65 for grand coup.
15. One mile on bicycle, 3½ for coup; 3 minutes for grand coup.
16. Skate 100 yards in 12 seconds for coup; 11 seconds for grand coup.
17. Row (single sculls) one mile in 15 minutes for coup; in 12 minutes for grand coup.
18. Paddle (single) one mile in 20 minutes for coup; in 15 minutes for grand coup.
19. Swim 100 yards in any time at all, to count coup; or 200 in 34 minutes, to count grand coup.
20. Go 400 yards in 6 minutes, running 100, rowing 100, walking, 100, and swimming 100 (in any order), for coup; do it in 5 minutes, for grand coup.
21. To catch 10 horses in corral, with 10 throws of the lasso, counts coup; to catch 10 on the range in 10 throws, counts a grand coup.
22. To ride a horse one mile in 3 minutes, clearing a 4-foot hurdle and a 10-foot ditch, counts coup; to do it in 2 minutes, clearing a 6-foot hurdle and a 15-foot ditch, grand coup.
(The standards for men are not yet complete)
23. To spot the Rabbit at sixty yards, to distinguish six Pleiades and see clearly the “Pappoose on the Squaws back”, counts a coup; to spot the Rabbit at 75 yards and see seven Pleiades, counts a far-sight grand coup. (Those who habitually wear glasses may use them in this test.)
24. To make a 75 score in ten tries in the game of Quicksight with ten counters, counts coup; a 95 score, counts a grand coup.*
CLASS II. — WHITE HONORS
25. Come to camp through strange woods from a point one mile off in 20 minutes, for coup; in 15, for grand coup.
26. Light ten camp fires in succession with ten matches, all at different places, all with stuff found in the woods by the boy himself, one at least to be on a wet day, for coup. If all ten are done on wet days, or if he does twenty, of which two are on wet days, it counts grand coup.
27. Light a fire with fire-drill or rubbing sticks, with material of one’s own gathering, counts a coup; to do it in one minute, counts a grand coup.
28. To chop down a 6-inch tree in sixty seconds, throwing it to drive a given stake for coup; in forty-five seconds, grand coup.
29. Know and name ten star groups, for coup; know ten star groups and tell the names and something about at least one star in each, for grand coup.
30. Take the latitude from the stars at night with a cartwheel, or some home-made instrument, within two degrees of error, for coup; one degree, for grand coup.
31. To guess one inch, one foot, one yard, one rod, one acre, 100 yards, 200 yards, one quarter-mile, one-half mile, and a mile, within twenty per cent of average error, for coup; ten per cent., for grand coup.
32. To measure the height of a tree without climbing, or distance across a river, etc., without crossing, within ten per cent. of average error in ten tries, for coup; five per cent., for grand coup.
33. In sign-talking, to know and use eerrectly fifty signs, for coup; 100 signs, for grand coup.
34. To make twenty different standard knots in a rope, for coup; 30 for grand coup.
35. To catch a two-pound trout on a five ounce rod with fly, and without assistance, coup; a three-pound trout, a grand coup.
36. To cast a fly on five-ounce nine-foot rod, fifty feet for coup; seventy-five for grand coup.
37. To catch a five-pound fish on a five ounce rod, grand coup.
38. Make a total score of 300 with sixty shots (in one or two meets) four-foot target at forty yards for coup; make 400 for grand coup.
39. Shoot so fast as to have six arrows in the air at once, for coup; seven for grand coup.
40. Send an arrow 150 yards for coup; 200 for grand coup (for those under 16).
41. To hit the Burlap Deer in the heart at 60 yards first shot, counts a coup; at 75 yards, counts a grand coup.*
CLASS III — BLUE HONORS
42. Know and name correctly, i.e., with the accepted English names, according to any standard authority, 25 trees, and tell something interesting about them, counts coup; 50 for grand coup.
43. Know and name correctly 50 of our wild flowers, for coup; 100, for grand coup.
44. Know and name correctly 50 of our native birds as seen mounted in a museum, the female and young to count separately when they are wholly different from the male; this counts coup; 100 birds, for grand coup.
45. Know and namely correctly 50 wild birds in the field; this count coup; 100, grand coup.
46 Recognize so wild birds by note, for coup; 100 for grand coup.
47. Know and name correctly twenty-five wild quadrupeds for coup; know and name correctly fifty and tell something interesting about each, for grand coup.
48. Know and draw unmistakable pictures of twenty-five tracks of our four-footed animals, for coup; of fifty, for grand coup.
49. Know and name twenty-five fish, for coup; fifty fish, for grand coup.
50. Know and name ten snakes of different varieties, telling which are poisonous, for coup; twenty snakes for grand coup.
51. Know and name fifty common toadstools or mushrooms, for coup; 100, for grand coup.
52. Know and name fifty moths, for coup; 100 for grand coup.
53. Know and name twenty-five butterflies for coup; fifty butterflies, for grand coup.
54. Know and name fifty other insects, for coup; 100 for grand coup.
55. Know and name ten native turtles, for coup; twenty, with something interesting about them for grand coup.
56. Make a good recognizable photograph of any wild bird larger than a robin, while on its nest, for coup.
57. Make a good photograph of a partridge, drumming, for grand coup.
58. Make a good recognizable photograph of a wild animal or fish in the air, for coup, or grand coup, according to merit.
Coups for mountain climbing, camping, baseball, football, etc., are being provided for.
* See Two Little Savages.
(Copyrighted by Ernest Thompson Seton. All rights reserved)
“How to Play Indian” is told by Ernest Thompson Seton in the “Red Book” which will be found advertized on another page. This thirty-two page illustrated booklet should be in the hands of every camper, boy or man. The making of teepees and the art of decoration are clearly and graphically told as well as much of the matter contained in Mr. Seton’s article in this number. This booklet, together with ”The Campers’ Manual”, containing over 100 illustrations and full information regarding clothing, outfit, tents, rations, ovens, cooking with and without utensils, receipts, hints regarding all kinds of camps, beds, sleeping bags, hammocks, shelters, what to do when lost in the woods, simple remedies, etc., etc., and will be mailed on receipt of twenty-five cents.