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The Tribe of Mic-O-Say

BSA troop learns Native American heritage

Boy Scouts from Troop 436 in Lakewood and Troop 71 from Steilacoom are members of the “Tribe of Mic-O-Say.” Col.(R) Thomas Curry is on the far right. Photo credit: Rachanee Curry

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Army Col.(R) Thomas Curry, Eagle Scout and Troop 436 volunteer, is passionate about scouting and encouraging young men to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Through his efforts the scout honor society, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say is now an integral part of Troop 436, sponsored by St. John Lutheran Church, Lakewood.  Troop 436 has many Boy Scouts and volunteers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) families.    

In 1925, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say was founded in Missouri by H. Roe Bartle, scout executive, St. Joseph Council (now the Pony Express Council). During Bartle's time working in Wyoming for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), he spent many hours visiting local Indian reservations and learning about Native American culture.  He was inducted into a local Arapaho tribe as an honorary member and given the name "Lone Bear" by the Chief.  Bartle incorporated the Indian stories, values and culture he learned into what is now the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

According to Curry, "The program is for older Scouts, eighth grade and up, and reinforces the principles of the Scout Oath and Law, within a Native American theme. There are several ranks of increasing responsibility for the scouts, so each year there are new challenges for the scout. It requires that the scout continue to participate in their troop, to advance in Scout rank and return to yearly summer camp. To reach the more senior levels, the scouts must be eagle scouts. These requirements lead to a much higher rate of tribesmen achieving eagle scout than non-tribesmen. Tribesmen tend to stay involved in scouting longer than non-Tribesmen."

"I like being a member of the tribe because it adds onto the Boy Scout experience. Learning about Indian culture has helped me appreciate what Native Americans had to overcome and achieve and to understand their values and beliefs," said Simon Carlsson, eagle scout, Troop 71, sponsored by the Steilacoom Community Church in Steilacoom.

Curry was a Boy Scout in the Pony Express Council.  In 1979, he was inducted into the tribe and became an eagle scout in 1981. When he and his family moved to Fort Lewis, his sons continued to participate in scouting.  In 2012, he and his oldest son, Michael, traveled to Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, Missouri, a Pony Express Council camp. "The next year, the troop elected to go to Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, Missouri, to ‘check out' the tribe. Six of our Scouts were selected for membership in the tribe, and we've been returning every year since. Our contingent typically has Scouts from three or four different troops, and has had twenty Scouts tapped for membership in the tribe over the last five years, seventeen of which are still active in Scouts. Eleven of those have earned their Eagle rank, with two others on track to complete the requirements for Eagle in the next three months. I doubt I would have achieved Eagle had I not been a Tribesmen, and would not have stayed active in Scouting as long," he said. This is a significant accomplishment for the troop as less than five percent of all Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

The members of the tribe make their own costumes by hand. The intricate beadwork on the headbands are pieces of artwork designed to represent each Scout.  The young men choose their own color scheme which can be found on their back bustles, leggings and arm bustles. The costume's pieces vary based on what rank a Tribesman holds. New Eagle Scout, John Pierre Bega, Troop 436, said, "For me, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say is a buildup in leadership and friendship.  It helped me to achieve Eagle Scout and was a motivation because some of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say ranks you can't achieve unless you are an Eagle Scout."

The Tribe of Mic-O-Say is also a dance troop and performs locally at Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts events. They recently performed at the Lewis Community Spouses' Club (LCSC) auction.  Troop 436 is a 2017 LCSC grant recipient.

The Tribe of Mic-O-Say is not limited to any specific troop. For more information, contact:  Col.(R) Thomas Curry at

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