Seventeen of the nearly thirty different tribal groups living within the present boundaries of North Carolina at the time of European colonization were involved in early clashes and three Indian wars. Most of the other thirteen tribes had been reduced to a fraction of their former numbers or had left the area by the time of the Tuscarora War. The expansion of white settlement had inflicted unfamiliar diseases on them and had pushed them back from their ancestral fields and hunting grounds. By 1730 the colonial records contain very few references to Indians, and by the time of the French and Indian War, only three Indian groups of any size remained in North Carolina. The history behind our Lodge centers on two of these tribes–the Catawba and the Cherokee.
The meaning of the word “Catawba” is not known for certain. It may come from the Choctaw word katapa, meaning “cut off” or “separated” (presumably from other Siouans). The first Spanish explorers knew the tribe as the Issa, from the Catawba iswa, meaning river. It is thought that the Issa were an independent, but related, band who united with the Catawba proper at some early date. The Catawba claimed the area drained by the Catawba River from its headwaters deep into South Carolina and from the Broad River–the boundary between Catawba and Cherokee territory–to the Yadkin River.
The tribal name “Cherokee” has been spelled at least fifty ways, and more than one origin has been suggested for the name. It may come from the Choctaw word choluk, meaning cave or hollow, and referring to the mountainous country the Cherokee occupied. Another reasonable derivation is from the Muskegean word tciloki, meaning “people of a different speech.” In early historic times, this Iroquoian group occupied the present-day Allegheny County area of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, northwestern South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia and Alabama.
This area of land that lay in between the Catawba and the Cherokee was contested between the two tribes and many battles were fought. This portion of land lay between the Catawba River and the Eswau Huppeday, or Broad River, and encompasses most of our present-day Piedmont Council. It was referred to by the tribes as the Eswau Huppeday–the land between the rivers.
The Catawbas acquired firearms first since they were further east. The Cherokees, at this time, had to fight with more conventional weapons, such as a tomahawk. Their weapons are crossed as a pledge of peace between them, and the crossed tomahawk and rifle were chosen as the Totem of the Lodge. These two tribes fought many times with neither side achieving any clear victory, until they agreed to a permanent peace and to leaving this land open for both tribes to hunt and travel. They met in council and erected a stone pile monument to commemorate their peace treaty at what is now Nations Ford, North Carolina. This stone pile is shown on our patch.
Peace, which is symbolized by the setting sun on our patch, signified the end of old hatreds and a coming of a new day.
The mountains on our patch represent the Cherokee lands to the west, as well as the familiar skyline view in our area. The flatter foreground areas represents the Piedmont region to the east where the Catawbas lived. The three W’s on the patch represent the watchwords of our Order, and the letters “BSA” our affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America. The number 560 is our Lodge registration number. The red arrow, of course, represents the Order of the Arrow and all the ideals for which it stands.
Lastly, the words Eswau Huppeday at the top of our flap patch brightly reflect and stand proudly for the heritage of our area, as well as our Lodge name.