The Story of T’kope Kwiskwis Lodge
Camp Parsons, which opened in 1919, was for many years the center of long-term camping in the Seattle Area Council. Like most Scout Camps it had an honor society. This first took the form of merely rating each camper as “honor” or, “distinguished camper.” The rating was done by the Camp Staff.
In the late 1920’s the Order of the Silver Marmot was established as an Olympic Mountain hiking fraternity, based on trail and camp experience both at Camp Parsons and in the Olympics. In the early 1940’s, the Order of the Silver Marmot evolved into a full dress honor society, complete with insignia, ceremonies, and officers. The basis for selection into the order was Scouting skills, character, and leadership. Insignia of membership consisted of a Silver Marmot pin mounted in the center of a leather square
which was suspended from a leather thong hung around the neck. Various degrees of advancement were earned by the senior campers and veteran members of the camp staff. This advancement was shown by various colors of lacing around the edges of the leather square.
The purpose of the Order of the Silver Marmot was to recognize good campers and loyal staffers. A reunion banquet was held once a year during Christmas break.
In October of 1953, the Chief Seattle Camping Committee officially adopted the Order of the Arrow as the highest camping honor in the Council. Charter members were those members of the Order of the Silver Marmot who wished to transfer to the Order of the Arrow. The first Ordeal Ceremony was held at Camp Long in West Seattle on March 2, 1954. Since the tests of the Order of the arrow were similar to those of the Order of the Silver Marmot, charter members were required to participate only in the ceremony of the ordeal. All charter members were those that transferred during 1954. Chartered members were awarded a Silver Marmot pin to be worn on the OA pocket flap. Any other Silver Marmot’s were given until 1955 to transfer without taking the full Ordeal.
At the first Lodge Banquet in December of 1954, the membership decided to call the Lodge the Silver Marmot Lodge, which translates to “T’Kope Kwiskwis” in Chinook Jargon. They also decided that the neckerchief would be light blue with an embroidered Silver Marmot on the back. Sam Eng designed both the neckerchief and the pocket flap design. They were approved in 1956.
The first Brotherhood Ceremony took place at the Black Mountain Camp of the Mount Baker Council on March 25, 1955. The first Vigil Ceremony was conducted by the members of the Quilshan Lodge on October 5, 1957 at Camp Omache.
At the 1958 Potlatch, the Lodge approved the construction of a ceremonial long house to be built at Camp Omache. Our Lodge has printed a “Where to go Camping Book” since 1959, and the “Marmot’s Whistle” since March 1956.
Since our Lodge was formed, we have participated in countless Section Conclaves and National events. Our Lodge has held Ordeals, Brotherhood Ceremonies, Banquets, Potlatches, Fellowships, and Fall Rallies since the mid 1950’s. Our Lodge is also spoken of nationwide because of our long house and our pioneers in Northwest Coast dances and regalia.