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Five Western Washington Order of the Arrow Lodges founded Area X1-B: Quilshan (1945) and Kelcema (1945) to the North; Tahoma (1946) made up central Puget Sound; Tillicum (1948) to the South and Kcumkum (1945) on the coast.
At the invitation of Quilshan Lodge, delegates from some of these lodges got together in 1948 at Camp Black Mountain in Bellingham for a weekend fellowship. The first organized section event was the Puget Sound Show Conference held in 1952 at Camp Sevenich near Everett. A simple patch with the wording WWW Area Conference was issued. Denny Bonner, the first Area Lodge Chief, officiated over the second Puget Sound Show Conference held April 24-26, 1953 at Camp Black Mountain.
Why was this called Puget Sound Show Conference? Del Loder explains that many executives in those days from the region on down to the local council worked for logging companies (the biggest industry in the area) and commonly used logging terminology. For example, “the bull of the woods” was the logging superintendent for a particular area*. Logging sections were called “shows.”
Two lodges encompassing the entire Northwest corner of the State, T’Kope Kwiskwis and Mox Kar-Po, joined the area in 1954 and 1957, respectively.
The sixties were the Golden Years of the Order of the Arrow. There were well-attended Conclaves at large scale facilities. One of the biggest Conclaves ever held in this Section was April 3-5, 1964 at Fort Lewis. This Conclave was interesting because the 500 participants were taken to Lakes High School in Lakewood on the evening of the 4th for the Conclave Banquet to hear Honorable Supreme Court Justice, Matthew W. Hill.
Conclaves of the 1960’s and 1970’s were sure unique. First of all, the cost of Conclave in the 60’s was only $4.50. At the heart of the conclave program was the “Makahiki (Physiorama)” or what we called in the 1980’s “The Quest of the Golden Arrow” and later just the “Quest”. Arrowmen spent the afternoon learning things like survival cooking and seafood cooking. They participated in events like quarter staffing, grease stick, kris kross kick stick, shot put and even wrestling (with adult supervision). Instead of Conclave training like we have today, they once had the “Oyster Ramblings” or conclave discussion groups. Complete uniformity was essential at conclave and there was even a committee for uniformity, and another, for morale. Most participants at the 50th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow Conclave held March 19-21, 1965 at Camp Parsons had to take a ferry to get to Conclave.
In the late 1960’s, and early 1970’s, there was the Vietnam War and many local Arrowmen were drafted or volunteered to serve. There was no Conclave held in 1971, but several events were held in 1972 including a Training Conference on January 14-16 at Ocean Shores Inn and a training conference for fifty arrowmen held February 19-20 aboard the U.S.S. Delta docked at Bremerton.
The Teaquan Wask Award was given annually to the top Ordeal team. Today it’s given to the Lodge that provides the most “honor” ceremony teams in Pre-Ordeal and Brotherhood. The “Wask” award states: “In Memory of Ralph Kirschner. Section Advisor 1984-1986. This trophy is awarded for outstanding ordeal ceremony in Section W1-B. Given by Kelcema Lodge. Recipients include 1987 Tillicum, 1988 Tillicum, 1989 Kelcema, 1990 Kelcema, 1991 T’Kope Kwiskwis, 1992 T’Kope Kwiskwis, 1993 T’Kope Kwiskwis, 1994 Kelcema, 1995 Quilshan, 1996 Kelcema, 1997 None, 1998 None, 1999 None, 2000 None, 2001 None, 2002 None, 2003 Sikhs Mox Lamonti, 2004 None, 2005 T’Kope Kwiskwis.
In the 1980’s the Section had well attended Conclaves at large scale locations such as Fort Lewis in 1982, Fort Casey in 1984, Fort Lewis in 1987 and Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds in 1989.
The 1990’s started off great with the 75th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow Conclave held at Fort Flagner in 1990. Along with an inspirational re-dedication ceremony, there was a huge turnout for Indian Ceremonial and Dancing Competitions. Unfortunately, the 1990’s turned out to be the years of mergers and smaller conclaves held at local Boy Scout Camps. This started in 1992 when the National Council consolidated its management areas, reducing the structure to four Regions. In addition, the consolidation of many councils/lodges resulted in Sections with far fewer lodges than they had in the past.
This did not prove true for our section. In 1994, Tahoma, Tillicum, and Kcumkum Lodges came together to form Nisqually Lodge. In 1995, Kelcema and Quilshan formed Sikhs Mox Lamonti Lodge. We also added three lodges from Alaska, and one from Japan. Once again, we had seven lodges in one unified, and now international, section. These lodges include Achpateuny from the Far East; Kootz, Nanuk, & Toontuk from Alaska; Nisqually, Sikhs Mox Lamonti & T’Kope Kwiskwis from Western Washington.
The 1990’s ended with new National OA goals, including a new a logo for the Order. In 1998 the Council of Chiefs asked participants to “Imagine”, and for that effort they were rewarded with arguably the best Conclave ever. A year later those participants were invited back to Conclave and challenged to “Live Your Dreams!”
Part of that dream become a reality in 2000 with the first ever W-1B Conclave in the State of Alaska. The first W-1B Section Chief elected from Alaska, Brad Lowry, presided over this historical event.
In January 2006 Western Alaska Council and Southeast Alaska Council merged to form the Great Alaska Council, thus dissolving Kootz Lodge of Juneau, AK. Chartered in 1957 with the lodge totem of the Northwestern Native American design of Alaskan brown bear, Kootz Lodge had almost 50 years of cheerful service.
In 2009 the National Order of the Arrow reorganized the areas and we became Section W-1N, losing Achpateuny Lodge #498. Sam Giacalone was elected as the first Chief of our newly formed Section. We had 311 attendees that year, the best Conclave turn-out in 15 years.
In 2021, the National Order of the Arrow consolidated the four regions into two, Eastern and Gateway, and reorgainzed the sections accordingly. Section W1-N became Section G15, with no change to the lodges that comprise our Section.
So you may ask, “What will the Section focus on in the 21st century?”, I believe the Section will be focusing on using technology to make the Section more visible and efficient, developing the leadership skills of lodge officers and members, increasing Conclave attendance, and most important, making Conclave as inspirational and fun as possible.
Compiled by Kevin Rudesill, updated by Samuel Kuhn