Shortly after Erielhonan Lodge was formed, it was decided to compile the history of its origins based on the histories created in 2015 during the Order of the Arrow centennial. A committee was formed including both adults and youth from the three former lodges to collect and merge the stories of our past. Here we are telling the story of how we got to be the way we are.
As the Lake Erie Council shoulder patch states, “Honor The Past – Focus On Our Future,” we can proudly build on the past successes of our legacy lodges. Our former councils and camps benefitted from our cheerful service, as did our members. And certainly, Lake Erie Council will do the same.
Below are links to the histories of the legacy lodges, along with merged lists of Lodge Chiefs and Advisers, Vigil and Founder’s Award recipients, plus images of the patches and flaps we have worn through the years. Our roots are wide and deep, but the principals of our brotherhood have not changed.
History of the Erielhonan Lodge
Erielhonan Lodge was founded in 2017 following the creation of the Lake Erie Council #440 serving a seven-county area of Northeast Ohio. This council was formed from the legacy Greater Cleveland Council (Cuyahoga Lodge #17), the Firelands and Great Frontier districts of Heart of Ohio Council (Portage Lodge #619), and the Grand River and Headwaters districts of Greater Western Reserve Council (Wapashuwi Lodge #56).
A transition team of youth members from the three legacy lodges met during the early months of 2017 to decide the new lodge's name, totem, governance, and other foundational topics. They selected the name Erielhonan to honor an early Native American people who lived along the southern shores of Lake Erie, with the long-tailed panther chosen as the lodge totem. The panther is symbolic of Mishipeshu, an underwater panther that inhabited the Great Lakes, according to Native American mythology.
At the Section C-4A conclave at Manatoc Scout Reservation in May, 2017, members of Cuyahoga, Portage and Wapashuwi lodges arrived as representatives of their legacy lodges. On the morning of May 21, 2017, the transition team youths elected the first officers of Erielhonan Lodge. The election was overseen by Forrest Gertin, the 2017 National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, who subsequently installed the newly-elected officers. Arrowmen departed as members of the new lodge.
The Erielhonan Lodge was initially formed with six chapters. From west to east, they were Mawat (Erie and Huron counties), Amangi Bischuwi (Lorain County), Chippewa (western Cuyahoga County), Wewoapisak (eastern Cuyahoga County), T'sisgoli Ama (Lake and Geauga counties) and Stigwandish (Ashtabula County). When Lake Erie Council reorganized its districts into service areas, the Cuyahoga County chapters remained the same, but Erie, Huron and Lorain Counties are now served by Naxa Sipu Chapter and Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Counties are served by Kittan Chapter.
On June 3-5, 2017, the full membership of Erielhonan Lodge came together for their first fellowship event, Panther-Ree, at Beaumont Scout Reservation in Rock Creek, OH. The weekend featured open program areas, including the Sizzler zip line, ATVs, and field sports ranges, designed to enable members of the new lodge to become friends and build esprit de corps.
History of the Cuyahoga Lodge 17
The Lodge of the Wimachtendienk WW became the interest of Mr. Bert Reed, the camp director of Cleveland Scoutcraft Camp (known as the Chagrin Scout Reservation). He had heard of the young camp fraternity and needed information for its possible incorporation into the Greater Cleveland Council program.
On March 26, 1924 he sent letter requesting information to Mr. W. A. Stump, Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America, in Bronx, New York. Formal application was made on August 7, 1924 by Bert Reed, with the required fee of $15.00 enclosed. The number 17 was thus reserved for the Cleveland Lodge.
To formally charter the Lodge, it was necessary that the local Scout Executive, Mr. John K. Doan, and three representative men submit in writing to the Grand Scribe, each over his own signature, adherence to the First Degree (Ordeal Honor) obligation. This was the first step in organizing a lodge, but there was no evidence that the step was ever taken.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, several efforts were made by the National Boy Scout office to revive the interest in the formation of an Order of the Arrow lodge in Cleveland. During these years, the Greater Cleveland Scout Executive, Mr. George C. Green, was very dedicated to the traditional ideals of Scouting. Mr. Green believed that the Order of the Arrow was not a positive contribution to these ideals.
During those years of non-interest in Cleveland, the Order of the Arrow was incorporated as part of the council camping program in more than 500 councils in every state of the union. The Order of the Arrow increased dramatically in membership and lodge charters. In August 1948, the first modern National Order of the Arrow Conference was held at the University of Indiana – Bloomington.
On April 7, 1955, Mr. Henry G. Shires, Deputy Scout Executive of the Greater Cleveland Council, wrote to the National Order of the Arrow about organizing a lodge in Cleveland. With the information received, Cuyahoga Lodge #17 became a chartered lodge of the Order of the Arrow on November 28, 1955.
The selection of charter members of Cuyahoga Lodge #17 proceeded during the summer of 1955 at Chagrin Scout Reservation and Beaumont Scout Reservation. The candidates selected were all members of the camp staff at Chagrin and Beaumont. The induction of the 23 scouts selected was held at Camp Chagrin on September 24, 1955. The Ordeal Induction ceremonies were performed by members of the Stigwandish Lodge #114 (Painesville) and Marnoc Lodge # 151 (Akron). On October 7-8 at Camp Chagrin five Scoutmasters and one professional were inducted as chartered adults. The Director of Camping, Mr. Robert Diamond, was appointed Staff Advisor, and Mr. Edwin R. Perkins III, a member of the Council Camping Committee, was appointed Lay Advisor. With the transfer of Scouts and Staff to the Lodge membership for 1955 totaled 39 people.
In the 60 years since its founding, Cuyahoga Lodge #17 as inducted 7300 Scouts, 1000 Scouters, 9 professionals into its ranks as Ordeal members. Cuyahoga Lodge #17 has had 1000 Scouts, 300 Scouters, 16 professionals go into Brotherhood Honor. Cuyahoga Lodge #17 has had 172 Scouts, 104 Scouters, and 27 professionals selected for the Vigil Honor.
Two of our members have received the Distinguished Award. The Order of the Arrow’s highest honor. These were Jim Petro – 1967, and Larry Ewaska – 1979. Cuyahoga Lodge#17 was selected as the best Lodge in the Region 4 in 1967.
Cuyahoga Lodge#17 has given many hours of service to many different events: Parades - 3, Memorial Day – 3, Flag Day – 16, American Legion - 1, VFW – 3, Columbus Day - 1, Al Altare Dei Awards – 20, Council Appreciation Award – 20, Sportsman Shows – 10, Cuyahoga County Fair – 10, Dinners and Ox Roasts for camp promotions – 6, Eagle Court of Honor – 8, Soap Box Derby’s – 3, National Air Show – 1, Council Scoutorama at Brecksville – 3, Dance Team Competition Ohio State Fair First Pow-Wow – 1, Father and Son Webelos Weekend – 1, President John F. Kennedy Exhibit at Public Hall - 1964. In addition, the Culinary Committee has hosted and prepared meals for many organizations at camp, and the Dance Team has performed at many functions over the years, The Lodge has sent many representatives to National and Regional meetings and provided flag bearers and color guards for many conventions and parades, Many exhibits of OA traditions, costumes, dance have been performed. The Lodge has purchased a horse and saddle for Ranger Don Farmer at Camp Clendenning.
Service has been performed at all Council camps, totaling all hundreds of thousands of man-hours of work painting, cleaning and repairing cabins and building new fences at all of the camps. We have planted over 100,000 trees of all kinds, developed and promoted numerous camping booklets, developed and built many ceremonial sites and campfire circles. We have carved and painted over 100 totem poles, done two years of clearing debris and trees from the big lake at Beaumont, built new docks, a new suspension bridge, platforms, bridges and more at Beaumont. We built new docks, rifle range platforms, stables, the OA Cabin and trails at Camp Clendenning. We also built a new fireplace in Bower Cabin, a new block foundation for a barn, Campmasters quarters and done many other tasks, plus a new trail at Camp Belden. We have developed a newsletter, many more things have been done in the in the spirit W.W.W. (Brotherhood of Cheerful Service) than can be listed.
The Order of the Arrow is a service-oriented organization that thrives on work. Dedication to the ideals of the founder of our organization keeps us working hard.
“I do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the order of the Arrow, Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome task and weighty responsibilities and will endeavor, so far as my power lies, to be unselfish and devotion to the welfare of others.”
History of the Notawacy Lodge 205
Notawacy Lodge #205 was first formed in the Firelands Area Council during a camporee in Norwalk in June of 1941 under the name Hilo-Hos-Kula. (The meaning of this name and its native language is unknown at this time.) There were only fifteen charter members, inducted by brothers from Katinonkwat Lodge #93 of the Central Ohio Council. In those days, it was felt that the youth members couldn't handle running a lodge themselves, so the officers were adults. The Lodge totem was an Indian stone peace pipe, and it is generally believed that there was a patch, but none has ever been found. Unfortunately, the Lodge disbanded in 1945.
The Lodge reorganized in 1950 under the name Notawacy with the Lodge totem of an eagle. The Lodge flap issued in 1950 featured a stylized eagle with spread wings and wasn't nearly as fancy as today's flaps. A special version of this patch was recreated for trading in the 1980's. The flap was spruced up and re-issued in 1951. However, this second attempt at a Lodge lasted just three years and it was once again disbanded.
Finally in 1971, after much effort to convince the Council of its benefit, Notawacy Lodge was reorganized for the third time, initially with only ten youth members, all summer camp staffers, and remained a strong and vital part of the Council's program. The Lodge flap chosen was a design that changed only in colors and details throughout the life of the lodge. The first Ordeal of the new Lodge was held in June of 1971, thirty years from the initial inception of the Lodge. The first Brotherhood Ceremony was held in August 1972, with the first Vigil Honor members inducted in 1976.
The name Notawacy means to kick up (Nota-) red clay (-waseh or -wacy) which refers to the red clay churned up by the Vermilion River which flows through Firelands Scout Reservation
Lodge Totem: The eagle was the Lodge totem selected 1950. In 1971 flames were added to refer to the Firelands portion of the original Connecticut Western Reserve, after which Firelands Area Council was named. The eagle rising from the flames refers to the rebirth of the Lodge after lying dormant so long, rising like a mythical phoenix.
History of the Portage Lodge 619
In 1994, the Harding Area Council, Firelands Area Council, and Johnny Appleseed Council merged together to form the Heart of Ohio Council in order to better serve the youth of Erie, Richland, Marion, Wyandot, Crawford, Morrow, Huron, Ashland, and Lorain Counties. An integral part of this was also the merger of the Order of the Arrow Lodges serving these Councils - Wyandota Lodge #121, Notawacy Lodge #205, and Lou-Ott Lodge #513. Late in 1995 representatives of each of the three Lodges began meeting to lay out the plans for the creation of Portage Lodge #619 on January 1, 1996.
At first, it was thought that the three Lodges from those Councils could continue as separate Lodges within the new Council. However, during 1995 the National office informed the Lodges that it would only issue one Lodge Charter for the new Council in 1996. Thus began the work to form a new Lodge.
The first attempt at working together was for the hosting of the 1995 Conclave. Notawacy Lodge had been scheduled to host the event at Camp Firelands on May 5-7. In those days, the host Lodge of Conclave was responsible for a vast portion of the Conclave program, so there was a lot of work to be done. While the members of Notawacy took the lead, Brothers from Lou Ott and Wyandota jumped in to help out wherever needed to make the Conclave hugely successful.
After the initial success of working together on Conclave, the Lodges focused on Summer Camp and their respective Summer and Fall Ordeals. In October of 1995, representatives from Wyandota, Notawacy, and Lou Ott Lodges met for the first time as a Merger Committee. The Committee was comprised of their respective Lodge Chiefs, one appointed youth representative, the Lodge Advisor, and those youth in the council holding a section or area office. It was their job to figure out the best way to combine the best of the three former Lodges to create a new lodge based on cooperation, service, brotherhood, and cheerfulness. The primary members of the Merger Committee were:
Notawacy: Chris Scott (Chief), Andrew Ferguson (Youth), and Tracy Lovell (Adviser)
Wyandota: Adam Nedolast (Chief), Daniel McEnnis (Youth), Eugene McWade (Adult) and Matt Pollack (Adviser)
Lou Ott: Ben Bakenhaster (Chief), Tom Nation (Youth), Charlie Angerman (Youth), and Bob McGrath (Adviser)
Professional Adviser: Don Day
Scout Executive: Barry Norris
New Lodge Adviser: Jim Tobin
Section Chief: Brian Mead
Section Vice Chief: Alan Lepard (also former Notawacy Chief)
A contest was held to allow all members of the new Lodge to help in picking a new name and patch design. The Merger Committee reviewed 24 proposed names for the new Lodge. They decided to eliminate names related to the existing Lodges and those with the number three. It was felt that this would help focus the Members on the future of the new Lodge, not always looking back at the past. Eventually, the names were whittled down and Portage was chosen as the new name for the Lodge. The meaning of the name: “the crossing of many rivers/lands via a canoe” was chosen because of the numerous rivers that cross the new Council. Another interpretation has been suggested that we would have many rivers to cross to form the new Lodge. It is said that even though the other names were all American Indian in origin, many on the Committee were led to believe that “portage” was as well, even though it is actually a French word.
Originally, each Lodge was assigned a sequential Lodge Number as it was formed. But over time as Councils and Lodges merged and disbanded, Lodges were allowed to choose their number as long as no other Lodge currently had it. It was during this period that Portage Lodge formed, and requested the number 619 as it was the highest number that had never been used by a Lodge. In December 2003, Lodge Numbers were officially eliminated for official purposes, although many Lodges still use them locally.
During the Merger Committee meetings, the original Lodge Totem was originally chosen to be a combination of two items – a skunk and a canoe. But during subsequent meetings, the skunk was replaced by an Indian silhouette. This new totem was chosen to honor all of the American Indians who once lived in the area of the new council.
The first Lodge Flap was given to all paid Lodge members during that first year, as well as new Members inducted during that year’s Ordeals. At the end of the year, the remaining patches were burned. The design was a combination of many that were considered and featured a landscaped background with a tall clump of trees, WWW ghosted into the sun, a canoe, and the silhouette of an Indian drawing a bow. During the first year “CHARTER MEMBER” was placed across the left lower angled portion, but that was removed in the general issue patch for subsequent years. Another flap was available in limited quantities to those who submitted flap design ideas – it was the same design, with a yellow border, and without the Charter Member designation.
The Merger Committee decided that the elected leadership positions in the Lodge would be:
· Lodge Chief
· Vice Chief of Administration
· Vice Chief of Program
Originally the thought was to hold Lodge elections at the Section Conclave May 3-5, 1996 at Camp Manatoc. That, however, was moved the first full Lodge event – a Fellowship held August 2-4, 1996 at Camp Firelands. This was done so that the election could be held at a Lodge event within the boundaries of the Lodge so that Members did not have to travel so far to elect their new leaders. At the Fellowship, the first Lodge Chief was elected to be Andrew Ferguson. He had been very active in the OA and was a key member of the Merger Committee.
History of the Stigwandish Lodge 114
Transcribed from the history titled 1987-1988 Lodge Plan Book Stigwandish Lodge 114 50th Anniversary published in 1988 and provided by Mike Kupec
The history of Stigwandish Lodge 114 can be traced to several years before its official founding on June 1, 1938. The “father” and founder of the Lodge was William Friend, the first Scout Executive of the Northeast Ohio Council. Mr, Friend served as the Council’s Chief Executive from its founding in 1929 until he was transferred to a council in Covington, West Virginia, in 1940.
As the Council became established, Mr. Friend began to look into the Order of the Arrow. On November 12, 1936, he wrote a letter to the National Council of the Order of the Arrow requesting information. For the next year, Mr. Friend worked with many people to establish a lodge. Some of these were J.H. Brinton, the National Chief; Bob Heistand, the Scout Executive of the Columbus, Ohio Council; the personnel of the Katinonkwat Lodge No. 93 of Columbus, Ohio; and many local Scouts and Scouters.
In August of 1937, the Council was placed on the Area List of Inquiry, one of the first steps to take place in the formation of a new lodge. After reviewing the rituals, goals, and purposes of the Order of the Arrow the Council’s Camping Committee adopted a resolution, on April 25, 1938, to sponsor and Order of the Arrow Lodge. The National Council approved the application on May 31, 1938, and on June 1, 1938, it was approved by the National Lodge.
The first Lodge Chief was George Hobbs, a Scout from Painesville, chosen by Mr. Friend. His father, J.C. Hobbs, was the Council President from 1930 to 1931, and George has been active in the Council. In 1931 he had served as a summer camp counselor at $5.00 a week for the six week period.
The requirements for the first group of candidates was a little different from those used to select a candidate today. At the unit elections held that first year by Mr. Friend, a secret ballot was used to select 15% of a troop’s total membership with each candidate being a second class scout having twenty nights of camping including one week of summer camp. Elections were held by those troops attending the camp that year.
The first Ordeal was held at the end of summer camp, in late June 1938. At the Friday evening meal, when all the scouts were lined up around the flag circle (the same circle in use today) an Arrowman from Katinonkwat Lodge No. 93 went to the point in front of the flag dressed in a loincloth head-dress, he called forth the six candidates. The Arrowman then instructed them (including George Hobbs) to go to their campsites and return with a jacket and sleeping blanket. Upon their return, the candidates were taken into the woods and after a brief introduction was placed throughout the woods for the evening. The next day the candidates were placed at work projects that were out of view of the other campers. During the entire time, they were pledged to an oath of silence. During breaks, they were told more about the Order of the Arrow. Their meals were also sparse. On Saturday night they were taken to a clearing and there the first six members of the Lodge were inducted. Four more Ordeals were held that summer and about twenty Scouts and five adults were inducted that year.
The lodge was named “Stigwandish” at the suggestion of William Friend, with the approval of the Council’s Camping Committee. The Lodge’s totem “The Standing Rock”, was chosen at a later date. * See the origin of the Stigwandish name at the end of this article.
George Hobbs became the first Brotherhood member of the Lodge in 1940. Also in 1940 the first Lodge Constitution was written and approved. No copies of these documents can be found at this time.
By 1941 the membership had reached a period of steady growth. In that year 38 new members were inducted, bringing the total membership to 139. As of December 31, 1941, the Lodge had inducted a total of 178 Scouts and Scouters.
The United States of America entered World War II at the end of 1941, and Scouts everywhere began to help by collecting scrap and rubber, as well as other goods for the war effort. Records were either not kept or were lost as there is very little information on the Lodge’s activities during those years.
During the war and the first two years following it fewer than 100 Scouts and Scouters were inducted into the Lodge. However, in the period between the end of the war and 1947 and the end of 1952, 282 people were initiated into Stigwandish Lodge. It was during this period that some of the traditions, customs, and activities in use today were developed. Among these: the annual Fall Fellowship, the Spring Fellowship, and the late summer Ordeals.
In 1953 the Lodge presented its first two Vigil Honors. The names of these two persons have unfortunately been lost. At the end of 1953, a total of 598 Scouts and Scouters had become Arrowmen through the Stigwandish Lodge.
The first attempt to organize Chapters occurred in 1954. At first, there were two chapters, the Eastern Chapter covered Ashtabula County and the Western Chapter took in Lake and Geauga Counties. In 1957 the Western Chapter was divided along the county line. The Chapters proved to be unsuccessful and were dissolved in 1958. In 1956 the first Annual Lodge Winter Banquet was conducted and in 1957, the Standing Rock newsletter was established. Until 1975 it was published quarterly (except in 1960 and 1961 when it was published eight times of those two years). In 1976 it became part of the Council’s newsletter again being published as a monthly.
The Lodge grew steadily from 1958 through 1964 as over 700 Scouts and Scouters were initiated during this period. Several projects were also completed during these years. In 1962 a Rifle Range was finished and a new O.A. Council Ring was established. In 1965 the lodge held its first section Conclave, at Camp Stigwandish. During the period from 1965 to 1972, the Lodge continued to grow. The chapters were reorganized with one in each district except Ashtabula County which was divided into Eastern Shore in the North and Pyma Grand in the South. In 1972 the Lodge had 581 dues-paying members.
The National Chief and Vice-Chief are selected by the 58 Section Chiefs who form the Order of the Arrow Conference Committee and provide youth opinion on national O.A. policy. They also serve as the presiding officers for the National O.A. Conference. Their term of office is two years.
The national O.A. committee chairman is appointed by the chairman of the national Boy Scout Committee. The professional advisor is the national executive secretary of the Order of the Arrow, a member of the national Boy Scout Division staff.
In 1968 and 1972 the Lodge sponsored two more Sectional Conclaves. In 1970 a 100 page “Where to Go Camping” booklet was published. When revised in 1974 it was praised as one of the best in the nation.
During the 1965 to 1972 period the Rifle Range was rebuilt, trails were improved, a Mo-Skeet Range was constructed and a wildlife pond was financed and built at Camp Stigwandish.
The Lodge experienced a decline in membership in the 1973 to 1976 period followed by a steady increase over the next several years. The chapters were also on the rise after a two year period of inactivity in 1976 and 1977.
The Lodge sponsored Open Houses at Camp Stigwandish in 1977 and in 1978. In 1980, the Lodge conducted Ordeals during each week of summer camp. During 1980, our lodge played a major role in the improvements of the kitchen at Camp Stigwandish.
The Lodge sponsored its last Section 5-B Conclave in 1983. In 1987 a new “Where to Go Camping” booklet was issued.
A major revamping of Lodge officer descriptions was completed in the period between 1985 and 1987. The four Vice-Chiefs were each given definite areas of responsibilities: Activities, Administration, Ceremonies and Unit Service.
In 1987 the Lodge began conducting Brotherhood ceremonies during each week of camp.
At the end of 1987, as we approach the 50th anniversary of Stigwandish Lodge 114, the paid membership was 254 Scouts and Scouters.
To quote from the 40th Anniversary issue of the Standing Rock, “This birthday of our Lodge should serve as a revitalizing period. It must be a time for all Arrowmen of Stigwandish to recommit themselves to the three W’s. It should be a time to see what we have done for the Lodge an what the Lodge has done for us.”
“It is always easy to be a ‘Sunshine Soldier’ but a true Scout shines even in the rain.”
The Origin of the Stigwandish Name
Prior to the War of 1812, an Indian by the name of “Stigwandish” (meaning ‘Standing Rock’) lived in Ashtabula County in the neighborhood of Jefferson, Ohio. He was known as a “good Indian”; he made friends with the settlers, and everyone in the locality thought highly of him.
When the War of 1812 was declared, the Indians, fought with the British. Most of them left for the Canadian border where they organized war parties. Stigwandish was compelled to go with the tribes, but before he left, he promised his white friends that he would warn them, at the point of losing his life, if at any time he heard of a plan to raid the locality.
When Stigwandish heard that a raid was being planned down through Erie and Ashtabula County, he left the tribes to warn his friends of the impending raid. Now on guard, area residents made necessary preparations. Through spies, the British learned of this activity and canceled their proposed raid.
Stigwandish disappeared, and no one knew what happened to him. Quite often the old settlers discussed him and wondered why he disappeared. Years later, an old settler – on his deathbed – confessed to the murder of Stigwandish. He said that the Indian’s body could be found in a hollow tree on the banks of what is now known as “Indian Creek”. In fact, that’s how Indian Creek got its name!
A party was organized to search along the banks of the creek. The body of Stigwandish was found, but about all that remained were a few bones, his tomahawk and leather moccasins. It has been said that both the leather moccasins and the tomahawk were in the possession of a woman in Ashtabula, whose grandfather was in the search party.
The man who murdered Stigwandish did so because of a vow he had made to kill every Indian he ran across. It seems that during the war his two sons were stationed at an outpost in the Firelands region, near Sandusky. The Indians had raided this outpost and cruelly tortured and murdered two or three men. This man’s son was found dazed and wandering several miles away from the scene, his head scalped. He died several days later. The old man repented his act when he found he had killed the Indian who had warned the settlers and perhaps saved hundreds of pioneers from a cruel death.
Northeast Ohio Council’s camp was named Stigwandish in honor of this Seneca Indian because he represented the true ‘Scout Spirit’. He knew he would meet certain death at the hands of the Indians if he betrayed them – and perhaps even at the hands of the settlers, but he was true and loyal to his friends, like a ‘standing rock,’ and he kept his word
History of the Wapashuwi Lodge 56
In 1993, the three Boy Scout Councils in northeast Ohio, the Northeast Ohio Council, the Western Reserve Council and the Mahoning Valley Council, were merged to form the Greater Western Reserve Council. Each original council having their own Order of the Arrow Lodge namely Stigwandish Lodge 114, Tapawingo Lodge 368 and Neatoka Lodge 396 did not merge at that time.
In March of 1995, the leadership of the three lodges met in the Baden Powell cabin at Camp Stigwandish to begin the formal process of merging the three lodges and forming one.
It had begun snowing outside during the meeting and was noticed by the members in the cabin. Some commented that they thought it was appropriate for a new beginning.
The first order of business was to select a new name. It was explained that since they were merging and not one lodge taking over another, they were to select a new name. They also had to select a new number and lodge totem as well as select new leadership until the new lodge would hold its first elections.
Discussion began on the new name and totem. Several members had brought information and documentation as to what Native American name would possibly be used. One member had information that it was recorded in some Native American documentation the fact that a "White Lynx" had once been seen by the native inhabitants in the very northeast corner of Ashtabula County. The Native American word for this sacred animal was "Wapashuwi". The Native Americans considered any "white" (otherwise known as an albino form) animal as sacred similar to the White Buffalo. This became the most popular idea at the meeting and thus was voted on as the lodge name and totem - WAPASHUWI - White Lynx, The Canadian Lynx - 'Lynx Canadensis’ is the Lynx referred to as The White Lynx.
The next order of business at the meeting was to select the lodge number. It was reported that the lowest lodge number available was "56". Since the three former lodge were not to be used, it was quickly decided to choose "56" as the Wapashuwi Lodge number.
Next was to decide on the youth leadership of the lodge that would be temporary until lodge elections could be held in the fall. Dan Santone, the Lodge Chief of Tapawingo Lodge was chosen to be the interim Lodge Chief along with Gregg Snyder as Lodge Executive Vice Chief, Joel Biller as Secretary and Mike Wilson as Treasurer. Appointment of the new Lodge Adviser and the Associate Advisers was to be made by the Supreme Chief of the Fire.
Mr. Kevin Bokesch was appointed to be the first Adviser of the new lodge. Kevin, in his youth, was a Neatoka Lodge Chief, Section Chief and East Central Region Chief. He later went on to serve as the Section C-5A Adviser and is a Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recipient and remains a member of Wapashuwi Lodge.
The formal date of the merger of the three lodges and the creation of Wapashuwi Lodge two years after the creation of the Greater Western Reserve Council is July 1, 1995 bringing together the three lodges.