Indian Lore Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

Indian Lore Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

The Indian Lore merit badge is a favorite for our first year Boy Scouts at summer camp. I can always tell which Scouts are working on the badge because they are usually walking around with a necklace with beads on.

Far different from the stereotypes or common images that are portrayed on film, on television, and in many books and stories, American Indians have many different cultures, languages, religions, styles of dress, and ways of life. To learn about these different groups is to take an exciting journey of discovery in which you will meet some of America’s most fascinating peoples.

Requirements for the Indian Lore Merit Badge

  1. Give the history of one American Indian tribe, group, or nation that lives or has lived near you. Visit it, if possible. Tell about traditional dwellings, way of life, tribal government, religious beliefs, family and clan relationships, language, clothing styles, arts and crafts, food preparation, means of getting around, games, customs in warfare, where members of the group now live, and how they live.
  2. Do TWO of the following. Focus on a specific group or tribe.
    1. Make an item of clothing worn by members of the tribe.
    2. Make and decorate three items used by the tribe, as approved by your counselor.
    3. Make an authentic model of a dwelling used by an Indian tribe, group, or nation.
    4. Visit a museum to see Indian artifacts. Discuss them with your counselor. Identify at least 10 artifacts by tribe or nation, their shape, size, and use.
  3. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Learn three games played by a group or tribe. Teach and lead one game with a Scout group.
    2. Learn and show how a tribe traditionally cooked or prepared food. Make three food items.
    3. Give a demonstration showing how a specific Indian group traditionally hunted, fished, or trapped.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Write or briefly describe how life might have been different for the European settlers if there had been no native Americans to meet them when they came to this continent.
    2. Sing two songs in an Indian language. Explain their meanings.
    3. Learn in an Indian language at least 25 common terms and their meanings.
    4. Show 25 signs in Indian sign language. Include those that will help you ask for water, for food, and where the path or road leads.
    5. Learn in English (or the language you commonly speak at home or in the troop) an Indian story of at least 300 words, or any number of shorter ones adding up to 300 words. Tell the story or stories at a Scout meeting or campfire.
    6. Write or tell about eight things adopted by others from American Indians.
    7. Learn 25 Indian place names. Tell their origins and meanings.
    8. Name five well-known American Indian leaders, either from the past or people of today. Give their tribes or nations. Describe what they did or do now that makes them notable.
    9. Learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, including how and why it was formed. Tell about its governing system. Describe some of the similarities and differences between the governments of the United States and of the Six Nations (The Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy).
Get a printable checkoff list of these requirements for use with your patrol.

5 Responses to Indian Lore Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

  1. Pat July 8, 2014 at 1:22 PM #

    I have two sons who are joining Boy Scouts next year. Does anyone else have a problem with the Boy Scouts continued use of the term “Indian” instead of “Native American”? What is up with that. I’ve taught my two sons that “Indian” is an erroneous term and should only be used for people who are from India.

    Perhaps they should include something that teaches the boys about Vishnu and Hinduism for this merit badge if they insist on using the term “Indian Lore”.

    • Mark Van Vleet September 29, 2014 at 5:05 PM #

      I’m a member of the Cherokee Nation and have many great friends belonging to other tribes (i.e. Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, Ute, Navajo, Seminole and Arapahoe). Each of these of these proud Americans would enthusiastically introduce themselves as Cherokee, Lakota or Arapahoe; however, the overwhelming consensus is that we abhor the label ‘Native American’. ‘American Indian’ is the preferred reference to our culture, as we are the original Americans. With that said, perhaps the merit badge should be called ‘American Indian Lore’.

      • Jacqueline 5 April 4, 2015 at 4:52 PM #

        Thank you! It’s nice to hear personal preference from an American IndIan on the subject!

      • Heather Jhonson May 11, 2015 at 3:56 PM #

        Thank you for sharing! You don’t know what you don’t know so insights like your can be passed along to our gentlemen to help them become more sensitive and intentional with their words. Thank you again!!!

  2. Julie A January 16, 2016 at 4:27 PM #

    I think Pat has fallen into the liberal political correctness ffallacy by assuming that someone is going to be offended by a word, without consulting the people she is trying to “protect”. And has in turn taught her sons to use the very phrase Mark and his fellow American Indians abhor. Great job!!
    Instead of people just assuming they should either use the word/phrase that is in common usage or ask a person of said heritage. In any case, if you used the “wrong word”, if a person was truly offended, they could use that moment to educate you. They do not need you to protect them,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: