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Tamet Lodge Ritual Team - Photos 1940's-50's  

jump to photos from  >  late 1940's     early 1950's    Istamaza Dancers    mid 1950's     Iron Eyes Cody     late 1950's    1960's-72

All images are original prints unless otherwise noted.


          The first known images of the Tamet Lodge Ritual Team are recorded in the film: Camp Josepho"the West Point of Scouting".
Included in the film is a 99-second long sequence showing a Calling  Out (or Tap Out) of a young Scout elected into the Order of the Arrow at Camp Josepho during the summer of 1944. Dick Iseminger, 1944 Lodge Chief, is believed to be leading the ceremony. A second Arrowman seen in a Chief's bonnet is possibly  Allen O'Neil, who later became Tamet Lodge's first Ritual Chief in 1947. It is unclear if the costumes were constructed and owned by the Lodge, by the individuals wearing the costumes or both? 
          Throughout the United States, photographic documentation of Order of the Arrow ceremonies from  the 1940's is considered rare and color films of such ceremonies are extremely scarce. The secretive and mysterious nature of OA rituals, combined with limited availability and expense of color camera equipment at the time, may possibly account  for the limited archival film footage of early Arrow ceremonies that exists today.
jump to  >  Camp Josepho"the West Point of Scouting"
(OA ceremony segment starts at minute 15:58)

Order of the Arrow Tap-Out
Camp Josepho

Original Black & White image taken during the OA tap-out ceremony filmed in the 1944 Camp Josepho video.
Indian on left tapping out is believed to be Lodge Chief Dick Iseminger.
Indian in bonnet facing forward is believed to be Allen O'Neil.

Late 1940's Photos   

Program Book Cover
Section U, Area A, Fellowship Conference

        An unidentified Tamet Lodge Indian Chief is depicted on the cover of the program book for the  1947 Fellowship Conference hosted by Tamet Lodge at Camp Josepho. This photo is believed to have been taken in front of the large fireplace inside the lodge at Camp Josepho during an Arrow ceremony in the summer of 1946 or earlier. 
       This same image was used again in 1952 when Tamet


Believed to be Allen O'Neil, Tamet Lodge's first Ritual Chief.


    Lodge hosted another Area Conference at Camp Emerald Bay.
              Members of the Tamet Lodge Ritual Team.
L-R: Bud Schuman; Allen O'Neil; Frank Demond


Tamet Lodge Ritual Team leading Arrow candidates into campfire circle
(possibly at Camp Josepho)

      Ceremony thought to be held on the stage at Camp Josepho.
Pierce Weir is 3rd from right (wearing arrow breech cloth).
  Tamet ceremony at Cub pack.
Costume made by Loren Tarvin. 

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c. 1949
Pimu Chapter Ceremony
Camp Emerald Bay - Catalina Island

Only known photo of Tamet Ritual Team members wearing what is thought to be Pimu Indian costumes.
(Photo by George Bergstrom)

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Early 1950's Photos  

Eagle Court of Honor

In the early 1950's, the Tamet Lodge Ritual Team expanded beyond its role of performing
ceremonies at OA functions. The team was available for Cub Packs and 'troop Courts of Honor.
Charles Grobe, 1953-54 Ritual Chief, is Indian wearing roach, second from right.

Istamaza Dancers

           Vigil Honor member Dr. Clay Kniss, started an Indian dance team in Troop 11 from Santa Monica. The group was named  Istamaza, meaning "Ironized", undoubtedly influenced by Dr. Kniss' friendship with Iron Eyes Cody. While the Istamaza Dancers were an outgrowth of Troop 11, it was made up mostly of Tamet Lodge Ritual Team members and a few others, most notably Dr. Kniss' daughter, Dee Dee.

Istamaza Dancers Dee Dee (kneeling) & Daryl Kniss
Istamaza eagle dancer Doug Wykoff

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Mid 1950's Photos  
Santa Monica Evening Outlook Article

Russell Orr, Culver Palms Chapter Ritual Chief.

Darryl Kniss; Dr.Clay Kniss; Norman Mulvenon
Scheduled to perform Tribal dances at the 1955 Scout-O-Rama at Corsair Field, June 4-5.

Tom-Tom Photo
February, 1955, p.4

Iron Eyes Cody  

          Iron Eyes Cody (April 3, 1904 – January 4, 1999) was an American actor. He frequently portrayed American Indians in Hollywood films. In the late 1940's, he developed ties with the Boy Scouts and the Order of the Arrow. It is believed his original connection to the Order of the Arrow was with Spe-Le-Yai Lodge from Glendale, CA. Iron Eyes developed a close friendship with Dr.Clay Kniss, perhaps initially as a patient of the Doctor and  then through their shared interest in Indian lore. This led to a close affiliation with Tamet Lodge and Crescent Bay Council. He was considered a local celebrity, expert on Indian lore and was a frequent dignitary at Los Angeles area Order of the Arrow functions in the 1950's.
          In 1995, Cody was honored by the American Indian community for his work publicizing the plight of Native Americans, including his acting in films. Born as Espera Oscar de Corti in Kaplan, Louisiana, a second son of Antonio de Corti and his wife, Francesca Salpietra, immigrants from Sicily, Italy. His Italian ancestry was made public in 1996.

Los Angeles Herald Examiner Article
October 2, 1956


Iron Eyes Cody seated in center, Dr. Clay Kniss on left, surrounded by Santa Monica Troop 11 Istamaza dancers.




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Tamet Lodge Ritual Chief - Russell Orr


Rusell Orr (on right) and an unidentified ritual team member


Rusell Orr (on left) and another unidentified ritual team member


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Late 1950's Photos  

April, 1958
Iron Eyes Cody
Area 12-E Conference, Paramount Ranch, CA

c. 1958
  Culver City Evening Star News Article

The Ritual Team was available to entertain and promote the Order of the Arrow for all types of groups
as seen in this news photo taken at an Elks Lodge dance.
L-R standing: Roy Wise, Bill Keown; Loraine Keown; Mrs.Keown; Barton Davis.
L-R seated: Terry Neset; Ken Dennington; Russell Orr.

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c. 1959
Candidate Ceremony
Camp Josepho

Bart Davis, Ritual Chief, believed to be 3rd from right, is reading lines from a ceremony booklet.
NOTE: Blind-folded scouter on left. This form of hazing was sometimes part of Ordeal ceremonies
during the 1950's and is particularly rare to have been photo-documented.

Santa Monica Evening Outlook Article

Each year, the Tamet Ritual Team set up an Indian village and performed dances at Scout-O-Rama.
The village included the Lodge's large Indian tee-pee.

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jump to photos from  >  late 1940's     early 1950's    Istamaza Dancers    mid 1950's     Iron Eyes Cody     late 1950's    1960's-72

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