History of Woman In The Order of The Arrow

March is Women’s History Month and so here is the history of woman in the Order of the Arrow!

Women were not allowed as members in the Order of the Arrow until 1988. However, women have been associated with the OA for since its founding by actively helping out with the OA Lodges and Arrowmen for years. The Red Arrow Award (an award given to recognize those who are not members for their outstanding service to the Order) was often given to women. The Red Arrow is considered the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Award for non – members.

Some of the first recipients of this award were Natasha Hawaka, for her work as an administrative employee in the OA national office, Doris Tonemah, a Native American who volunteered with the NOAC American Indian group and Louise Goodman, wife of founder E. Urner Goodman for her service for the OA and her husband. Nina Dukes was the only woman to be awarded both the Red Arrow and the Distinguished Service Award. She was awarded the Red Arrow in 1990 and was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award for her service to American Indian events. 

Prior to 1988 women were unofficially inducted as “honorary members” however this was not officially sanctioned and varied by Lodge. There are accounts of women keeping Vigils as early as the 1960s. In 1988 female leaders (21 and older) were first able to become members of the OA, the same as male leaders. And about 3 years after, the first female Vigil Honor members were officially inducted. In 2009 Kay Trick became the first woman to receive The Distinguished Service Award and be appointed to the National OA committee member. In 2019, the first youth females were allowed to be inducted as members in the Order.

Our Lodge continues to develop and grow our history and we would love for you all to be a part of that! There are so many exceptional woman from our lodge who have strived to make a change for the better. Showing up to events and getting involved are some of the best ways to make a change!

 For more information and personal accounts from some women who have made history in the Order, visit the link below!