On the TOTEM-BOARD No.4 Mar. I; 1918

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1) Snow - Hunger Moons - Crow - Grass - Planting Moons - Rose

Vol. 1 No. 4


On the


March 1918

Raise Potatoes!

The food question is not solved. You will not have food next winter unless you help produce it this summer. Next to wheat, potatoes are our most important crop. Germany is living on them! Potato for potato, we must fight this war! Every bushel grown means that much more food for the Nation and our Allies. And every bushel grown by the consumer saves a bushel of transportation. Save Transportation.

Thunder - Red - Hunter - Leaf-fall - Mad - Long night

Woodcraft League of America 13 West 29th St. New York 2)

The Totem Board
March — Vol. 1, No. 4.
A News Bulletin published occasionally by the Council of Guidance of The Woodcraft League of America, Inc. 13 West 29th Street, New York City.
Ernest Thompson Seton President and Chief
Grace Gallatin Seton Vice-President
Elon Huntington Hooker Treasurer
Mark Sullivan Secretary
Philip D. Fagans Executive Secretary

Answering a Few Questions.

Recently a Secretary of a Y.M.C.A. asked a number of questions regarding the Woodcraft League and its attitude to such organizations. We are quoting our reply (without the gentleman’s name), believing that our members and friends will be interested.

“We are glad of the chance to answer the questions in your letter of Feby. 6th. We are more than ready to cooperate with the Churches, Y.M.C.A.’s, etc., as the Woodcraft League of America is a ‘Character-building movement’ preaching the ‘Blue Sky’ method, and cares little about the form of organization so long as the activities and ideals are adopted. We are anxious to spread the Woodcraft gospel for its effect on American life. and have formulated our program so that it may be used by existing organizations without disrupting their own institutions. If our gospel could be best spread without an organization, we would much prefer it, and could then be simply a movement, but this was not found practical. If you are already organized in some form, you will have to change but little in adopting the ideas that we offer.

“The Woodcraft League lays particular and continual emphasis on the things of the Spirit, as well as those of the body.

“Obviously we must do nothing with creeds or sects, touching only the great fundamentals, but in our scheme supply the opportunity for the affiliated or fathering group to add such religious color as thes deem best. Everyone who observes our work must note that we assume a constant recognition of the one Great Spirit. The initiations, the laws, the symbolism of the formal Council, the activities and atmosphere engendered throughout, while referring to no particular church or sect, are in the best, strictest sense, religious, because they are carefully planned to construct a strong, reverent, law-abiding, clean-minded man or woman. “Your remarks on the needs of rural communities are of the highest interest. We should be only too glad to cooperate with the churches of such communities and with your Y.M.C.A. work. We would welcome any suggestions you may have to offer as to measures or methods to bring about such co-operation.

“We are enclosing for your information a copy of a folder on War Work, also copy of a letter which may be of interest.”

We are also quoting from a letter written to a Y.W.C.A. Secretary, which outlines what we consider the minimum requirement for a group to be a Woodcraft Tribe.

“We are keen on seeing the Woodcraft program become a vital power in the lives of American girls. If this could be done without organization, it would please us, but of course, organization is necessary if standards are to be maintained and a high-grade type of work done.

“The minimum requirement for a Woodcraft girl is that she be a member of a chartered Woodcraft Tribe, the Guide of which agrees that all members will qualify in the rank of Wayseeker, that is, be over 12 years of age, know the four watchwords and the 12 laws, take an initiation test and be voted in. The leaders of the group would agree to award no Woodcraft honors or badges except according to the standards as set forth in the Woodcraft Manual. The group would sit in circle, use the Order of Doings in Council at all the meetings (in some cases it might be necessary to say that ‘such and such’ an item or all the Order of Doings would be dispensed with as this is a ‘Grand Council’ or a special event), and the leader would also emphasize the Decorum of the Council. Naturally a group would go beyond this, particularly if the leader studies the Manual and gets any conception of the Spirit of the Woodcraft work. We would think that a Woodcraft group which has been in existence three months or more would want to provide its members with Woodcraft Honor Bands, on which they would wear their rank badges and their honor badges. This, however, is not absolutely essential though exceedingly important, We believe that it would be likely to hold the girls together. The expense, of course, is not at all prohibitive (fifty cents).

“We charter a group when it has a Head Guide over 21 years of age, and a Committee of three who agree to back up the work and see that it is continued. The Tribe can have from 10 to 50 girls. We will furnish free membership tickets for the first ten members and will supply the balance at ten cents apiece. We also send a charter, a Guide’s Scroll, the ‘Totem Board, and are glad to give assistance by correspondence.”

The Woodcraft Honor Band.

With the cost of material constantly going up, many Guides have hesitated about urging their members to purchase Woodcraft Suits, and yet they wanted some way for the Boys and Girls to wear the honors they have won.

In order to meet the need for something which is inexpensive and thus within the reach of all Boys and Girls, The Council of Guidance, at the recommendation of the Committee on Costumes, has adopted for both Boys and Girls, a band of Forest Gray, five inches wide, hanging from the right shoulder and buttoning at the left hip with the Woodcraft Button. In the center of the hand, and in the center of the chest, there is placed a Wayseeker’s Rank Badge.

When a Boy or Girl joins, they are received into membership by having this band placed on their shoulder.

As the Coups for the Pathfinder’s Rank are won, the first four are placed at the four corners: 1st, Athletics; 2nd, Campercraft; 3rd, Nature Study, and 4th, Crafts; after which two coups are added between each of the vacant places. Coups won in other departments and additional coup badges are placed below the circle space, as in the drawing. Degree Badges are worn above the Pathfinder’s Circle. On the right shoulder there may be placed the totem of the Tribe to which the member belongs, and if the member has been awarded an Indian name, the totem may go in the center of the back.

These bands sell at 50 cents. Every Tribe will find it a great stimulus to have its members equipped with them. 3)


Woodcraft in Town.

Why the Dog Behaved That Way.

We were walking along a main street im town; our dog, a big Newfoundland, was trotting along when on turning a corner, we suddenly faced another good-sized dog, a collie. This new one sunk down on the grass and gazed at our dog until we came quite near, then suddenly he rose to his full height, cocked his ears and raised his tail slightly, waving it. Our dog walked up, smelled the collie, waved his tail and presently went on.

This is a very little incident, one that each and all of us have seen many times, but it is full of Woodcraft history.

Long ago men found it necessary to wear labels or distinguishing marks or gestures so that friend or foe could know who they were and how to act. This is shown by the emblems of the army and navy and the secret signs of many tribes.

Every animal has some distinguishing marks that are the uniform or its national flag. Many of them have scent bags that they use for letting off little smell signals, for animal noses are so much keener than ours that a nose is as good as an eye anytime.

When the dog was a wild animal — jackal really (with some other blood mixed in today) — these were his national colors or uniform: A light spot over each eye, a white tip to his tail, and on the top of his tail near the base a black spot, under which was a musker or gland that made a peculiar strong smelling musk. This was the uniform adopted then and still in use. For every dog, except those pure black or pure white, has traces of the light spot on each eye. Every dog that has any white on him at all, is sure to have at least a few white hairs in the end of his tail, unless his tail is cut off short, and every dog has the tail musker.

Now supposing an Indian or primitive warrior sees a strange man approaching. He himself hides to get a good outlook. When the second man is near and the first one sees by his tribal marks that he is one of his own people he must announce himself and make clear who he is, or else be mistaken and maybe get a quick shot from the gun or bow of the stranger. And this he does by standing up plainly and displaying his tribal signs.

This was really what the dog was doing. When he crouched in the grass, first, he hid from a stranger who might be a foe, then recognized him as an acquaintance; he himself stood up high, so the newcomer might see his eye spots, and at the same time he waved his tail aloft like a wig-wag sign, made more certain by the little white flag or bunch of hairs on the end.

Some over-bred dogs, like pugs or bulldogs, are often without these marks. and having lost the control of the tail, can neither musk nor wig-wag, but the great majority of dogs, however long they have dwelt in town, still show the marks of their wilderness beginnings.


Whet One Woodcraft Girls’ Tribe Has Done.

In one of the large settlements on the East Side, a small but earnest Band of Woodcraft Girls decided that WOODCRAFT was too good a thing to be enjoyed by a few. They felt they wanted the whole world to know about it (their world, at least), so they proceeded to interest their friends by inviting not only girls of their own age, but adults who might become guides, to their Councils.

Result — two new Bands formed with Guides, Officers, etc. and duly initiated into the Tribe; other Groups, both boys and girls, clamoring to be taken in and acquainted with the wonders of Woodcraft; the interest of three adults, two in the Settlement and one in a suburb of New York.

They have really turned their Councils into Training Councils, for to their Grand Councils they have invited groups of boys and girls and allowed them to take part as far as possible in the programme.

During the past month, they have held two Grand Councils in their own Council Lodge, initiating many new members; one Grand Council in Van Cortlandt Park followed by a supper cooked over their own fire, and a ten-mile “hike” through the woods with only the stars to light their way; have attended two Grand Councils at Headquarters Lodge, taking part in the programme of each, and awarded Coups of City Hunter and Peace Messenger, also Degree of Dancer, by Chief Black Wolf.

In addition to these things, they have made arrangements with the Manager of one of the Swimming Pools for the use of the pool for members of their Tribe one night a week, thus giving them an opportunity to win some of the swimming coups.

They are also working on Bird Houses, one very good specimen having been completed. Plans for a Tribe Theatre Party and the week-end of April 23rd in the country, have been formulated — thus making the past month not only “joyful” but most profitable.

A. T.

A New Plan for the Ranks.

The Woodcraft League has just taken a step which will mean increased interest and activity on the part of every Tribe.

Acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Honors, the Council of Guides has decided to change the plan for the Pathfinder Rank, so that as soon as a member has qualified as a Wayseeker, they may immediately begin to work for coups.

The following is the motion adopted:

The Woodcraft League lays emphasis on using the interests and instincts of children to build character. The plan of the League is to make full use of the instinct to achieve.

Recognition of achievement is given in accordance with a system of honors (coups and degrees). The system recognizes achievement along certain lines by coups and degrees; in the requirements for Pathfinder and Sagamore, it emphasizes the importance of achievement over a wide field of endeavor. The system works out as follows:

In order to become a member of the League, one must be over twelve, must know, the twelve laws, must be acceptable to the Group or Tribe, and must pass an initiation test.


Having been received into membership, the member becomes a Wayseeker, and immediately begins to work for coups. In general they should be urged to work for coups along lines which interest them most. (In the case of a boy, this might be some athletic coup; in the case of a girl, it might be a sewing coup.) This plan provides for the immediate use of the desire to accomplish, and furnishes the guide with an immediate program. The guide can give the members of the Tribe special instructions on certain coups at appropriate times, or can arrange special lectures. (For instance, the bird coup would be especially interesting in the Spring, as would flowers. The stars, handicraft, sign talk, etc., would be good for the winter months.)


To begin with, any coup may be selected which will arouse the interest of the members and start them working. After a beginning is made, the attention of the members should be called to the fact that the ideal of the League is all-round achievement in every line possible to the individual, and not simply the gaining of a number of coups. This idea is the basis of the rank of Pathfinder. Pathfinder, the member must gain twelve coups, three each from

Athletics (Class I)
Campercraft (Class II)
Nature Study (Class III)
Crafts (Class IV)

The Committee unanimously recommends the elimination of the ranks of Minisino and Winyan, and that the requirements for the rank Sagamore stand as always. 4)

No Candy, Give me a thrift Stamp!

Winning the War — and Afterwards.

Every Woodcrafter will be greatly interested in an attractive eight-page folder, “Winning the War — and Afterwards”, which has just been published by Headquarters.

It drives home, of course. the importance of organizing for war work. It lays particular emphasis on the importance of this work on the part of young people being used to help build their characters. Suggestions are made as to the organization of groups, showing how the Woodcraft Programme may be used.

The War Honors printed in a recent issue of the Totem Board are given in full and the illustrations are from the pen of Ernest Thompson Seton.

This War Work Programme has already gripped many tribes, and should be placed in the hands of all workers with boys and girls. Send for copies to be used in this way.

The New Tickets.

The long-looked-for Membership Tickets have finally arrived and all orders received for them from the Guides have been filled.

Everyone is delighted, and one Guide even goes so far as to say “it is a work of art”. There is no question but that every boy and girl will be proud and happy to possess one. They are to be issued only to members of chartered tribes who have passed the requirements for Wayseeker Rank.

Ten tickets will be supplied to every chartered tribe free of cost. Because of the expense it will be necessary to make a charge of ten cents each for additional tickets supplied to Tribes having more than ten members. This charge, however, should not fall on the individual, but should be borne by the Tribe, from the Tribal treasury.


Raise a Bushel of Potatoes — Save a Bushel of Transportation.

In the Springtime of 1917, just as we entered the great world war, we said:

“Food prices are high — but they will be higher. Bread and potatoes are essentials of life. America is going to have less of them this winter. The one thing that will stand between us and want next winter will be the vegetables raised in the gardens, in the back yards, lots and pieces of vacant land this summer.”

Then sounded the first call for POTATRIOTISM. The resules in response were wonderful. Potatoes were planted from one end of the country to the other. Some had “bad luck”, some found their potatoes fairly expensive, but the potato crop was the biggest ever.

Literally millions of us did grow things in gardens last year. Notwithstanding this enormous increase of food supplies, the price of food has been higher the past winter and in all our great cities families have faced want.

What of the Coming Year?

Next to wheat, potatoes are our most important crop. Germany plants twice as many potatoes as the United States. Germany eats three times as many potatoes as the United States. Potatoes are helping Germany to hold on. Potatoes and more potatoes are needed if we are to win the war. And the only way to do it is to do your share — raise potatoes in your own garden, Potatoes are bulky, and this is important when you consider that the Transportation systems are clogged with freight. Literally thousands of bushels of potatoes have rotted because of lack of transportation.

Help Transportation!

Plant at least 24 hills of potatoes — more if you can. If we could all dig our coal out of our back yards — how we could help Uncle Sam! We can at least dig our own potatoes! Every bushel of potatoes raised in individual gardens this year is a bushel added to the food supply, and in addition, a load taken from the back of Uncle Sam, as he carries food and supplies to the Army and Navy. His load is already heavier than … bear, and will grow heavier as the size of the Army abroad increases.

Believing that the need is greater this year than ever, the WOODCRAFT POTATO CLUBS enter their second year, urging that in every garden there be planted at least 24 hills of potatoes, and that whenever possible, this amount be increased so that at least one bushel of potatoes be grown in each garden.

We therefore urge every Woodcraft Guide to enlist the members of their Group to help in this effort. Ask each one who has a garden (and everyone will want a garden this year) to put in some potatoes. Ask your boys and girls to each secure five members for the Potato Clubs.

As before, any person who will plant and grow 24 or more hills of potatoes may become a member of the Potato Clubs.

This means that members of any Conservation Club, Garden Club, or any Club, may at the same time be a member of the Woodcraft Potato Clubs. Members who agree to raise 24 hills of potatoes, receive a Button of Membership in the Potato Clubs and complete information for planting and raising potatoes.


Any person who grows a bushel of potatoes and saves a bushel of transportation, will be given a Certificate of Patriotism, certifying in an attractive form that they have rendered a patriotic service.

Prizes for Potato Patriots.

Gold, silver and bronze medals, with the winners’ name engraved on the back, will be awarded to the boy or girl under 18 years of age, as first, second and third prizes in the following classes:

Class A: The Grand Prize — For growing the most potatoes in weight. Farm methods may be used, with horse cultivation.

Class B: For growing the most potatoes in 24 hills. (At least 30 hills should be planted, to make sure of 24 growing.)

Class C: For the largest potato raised in 24 hills.

Folders of the Potato Club work have been prepared by Mrs. Burton Emmett, the Chairman of the Potato Clubs Committee, and are now available for distribution. Send at once for a supply. Do your share in this important work.