Ofi' Tohbi Lodge History
Long ago, the Chickasaw People needed to move from the west. They were led by two brothers, Chiksa' and Chahta. Scouting out in front of them was Ofi' Tohbi, their large white dog. After they crossed the Mississippi River, the tribe split. The followers of Chiksa' settled in what would become northeast Mississippi and the followers of Chahta settled just to the south and formed the Choctaw Tribe.
On January 1st, 2023, two great Order of the Arrow lodges, Chicksa and Watonala, joined forces to create Ofi' Tohbi Lodge. Chicksa Lodge was on lands originally belonging to the Chickasaw Tribe, and Watonala Lodge was on the ancestral homeland of the Choctaw Tribe.
Ofi' Tohbi Lodge pays homage to the honorable traditions of the original inhabitants of the land.
Chicksa Lodge #202 History
Chicksa Lodge was organized on July 15, 1941 by Yocona Area Council Scout Executive Curtis L. “Scottie” Carlisle. In 1941, during Boy Scout Summer Camp at Pickwick, the advanced Scouts were accorded the rare privilege of participating in the initiation ceremonies of the establishment of Chicksa Lodge 202, Order of the Arrow. Egwa-Tawa-Dee Lodge 129 from Atlanta, Georgia came to install the new Lodge. There were eleven charter members. The first Lodge Chief was Bill Dabbs of Tupelo, Mississippi. The totem for the new lodge was selected to be a snapping turtle surrounded by dogwood blossoms.
In September of 1941, Ackia Chapter of the Lodge was organized in Lee County.
From 1941 to 1946, the Yocona Area Council held summer camp programs at Pickwick and Camp Chewalla. In 1947, summer camp was held at the current Camp Yocona site for the first time. This became the home of Chicksa Lodge.
Chicksa Lodge was originally in Section VC and first hosted a conclave in 1958.
In its eight decades of history, Chicksa Lodge had a long record of service to scouting and Camp Yocona.
Chicksa Lodge #202 History provided by Mark Guyton (Watonala Chapter) and Marshall Hollis (Jacinto Chapter, inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 1964).
Watonala Lodge #169 History
On September 1, 1939, five adult Boy Scout leaders from the Pushmataha Area Council attended an Order of the Arrow Fellowship in Birmingham, Alabama and learned about the purpose and mission of the Order. Upon returning to the Pushmataha Area Council, an application for a charter was submitted to the National Order of the Arrow office. The initial charter was issued in the latter part of September, 1939. This was the first Lodge to be issued a charter in the state of Mississippi.
When the initial charter was issued, it was issues in the name of the local council, Pushmataha Lodge, with a totem of a Spanish helmet pierced by an arrow. In January of 1942, Pushmataha Lodge chose its Native American name, Watonala Lode, with a totem of a white water bird. In the Choctaw language, "Watonala" means "white egret" or "white water bird".
The first Lodge event was held in the Spring of 1940 at the Natchez Trace Game Preserve near Houston, Mississippi. Lodge membership began to grow as new Arrowmen were inducted during each Council Camporee. Membership slowed consderibably during World War II but resumed its pre-war growth during the few years immediately following World War II.
The founding of Watonala Lodge in 1939 is well documented although there is an oral history that places the origin of the Lodge ten years earlier in 1929.
Order of the Arrow Lodges are closely tied to their "home" camps. In the early years of Watonala Lodge, Pushmataha Area Council did not have a permanent camp poperty, so Lodge events were held in the same locations as summer camp, including Henry Pratt and Natchez Trace Game Preserve. In 1953, the Council began using Camp Palila outside of Lousiville, Mississippi as a permanent camp, and it became the home of Watonala Lodge. In 1979, the Coucil lost Camp Palila and was once again homeless. In 1982, the Council purchased a property north of Starkville, Mississippi and named it Camp Seminole. Watonala Lodge had a home again until December of 2022. Now, with the formation of the Ofi' Tohbi Lodge from the merge of Watonala and Chicksa Lodges, we have two homes: Camp Seminole and Camp Yocona.
Watonala Lodge #169 History provided by Mark Guyton (Watonala Chapter).