Woodcraft Council Robes

 

 

 

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by Ernest Thompson Seton

Tribal Robe 

Many tribes have made tribal robes. They are best made of some bright colored material, since they are essentially a display property. Their usual place is hung banner-like behind the Council Rock or on the wall. The proper ornaments are the Woodcraft shield, the tribal totem, any pictographic incidents of local history and any coups or degrees that have been won, by every member of the tribe, provided there are not less than six members enrolled. 

The Sagamore Robe 

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The proudest visible ornament of the Woodcrafter is the Sagamore robe, the right to wear which is bestowed at the time of installation as Sagamore and continues thereafter. 

The robe is designed to be, first, a comfortable blanket or wrap; second, a bedspread; third, a wall drape, or a banner background in council. But its ornaments are the Woodcraft record of the wearer, and may be embellished and beautified to any desired extent. The robes of our Sagamores, are, perhaps, the most picturesque adjuncts of all our Woodcraft work. 

While much of its plan is left to individual taste, there are one or two essentials that all must accept. 

First, it is a robe, and when spread out, lies flat. 

Second, it must have on it the crown of 24 white feathers about the wearer's personal symbol or totem, and somewhere also the horned shield, the symbol of Woodcraft, also the wearer's tribe totem. 

To all this, you add as won your additional coup feathers and your degree emblems, the former in a row below the crown, the latter as a border to the robe. 

These are the essentials, but it is urged that the robe be of soft, beautiful material, any color you please so it be beautiful. The best pattern or cut is the one given in the illustration. This is 4 1/2 feet wide and 6 1/2 feet long. Its peculiar features are as follows: The head hole which is Organization 15 inches long and begins 4 1/2 feet from the bottom, and which, when worn, is closed by the buttoned throat latch, CD. At E and F but on the under side, are two tie strings, fastened on. They are about 18 inches long each, and are meant to tie around the wearer's waist under the robe while it is worn with the head through the head hole.

Individual taste finds full scope in the decoration. Buckskin fringes, shoulder bands, borders of bead work or quill work, spangles of wampum beads, shells or imitation elks' teeth, pockets or pouches, painted, appliqued or embroidered pictographic records, --all are used and allowed, so long as the above named essentials are adhered to. 

But above all, first, last and all the time, remember that the robe is made a thing of beauty. 

Errors That Have Been Made 

Ugly color, harsh, intractable material. The crown is usually made so large that its design is not seen when it is worn. Twelve inches across the crown is enough. This gives each feather a length of 4 to 4 1/2 inches.

The Birch Bark Roll

 

 

   

 

 


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Last modified: October 15, 2016.