#19 Ganeodiyo Lodge

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Ganeodiyo the Lodge

In the autumn of 1948, a small group of Scouters and veteran camp staff personnel met to discuss the formation of an Order of the Arrow Lodge within the boundaries of the Finger Lakes Council. In December 1948, the Boy Scouts of America granted the first charter to what would become Ganeodiyo Lodge. The Lodge originally was called the Finger Lakes Lodge and wasn’t change to Ganeodiyo until sometime in the 1950‘s. Some of the first inductees were J. Walter Keating and Gordon “Sandy” MacLaren. The first Lodge Chief was Eugene Orbaker in 1949. The first neckerchiefs are said to be made from parachute silk from the Sampson Air Force Base just north of camp. Ganeodiyo was a spiritual leader of the Iroquois and Ganeodiyo translates into “Handsome Lake” and was a member of the Turtle Clan. The lodge totem is the turtle.

In 1997 the Lodge received the E. Urner Goodman Award. The E. Urner Goodman Award was established in 1969 as a tribute and testimonial to the Order’s founder, E. Urner Goodman. Its purpose is to encourage and challenge Order of the Arrow members and lodges to increase their effectiveness in promoting and increasing Scout camping in each council. Awards are presented to two outstanding lodges in each region annually. For a lodge to be eligible for consideration, the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award petition should be completed and forwarded with the lodge’s charter renewal application.

In 1999 the lodge received the OA service Grant. One of the four fold purposes of the Order of the Arrow is “to crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.” It is with this spirit of cheerful service to others that the Order proudly offers the matching service grant program.  For several years, the National Order of the Arrow Committee has provided matching service award grants for a limited number of projects submitted by application to the national office. Respective council offices receive letter notification from the national office when they are awarded the grant. Matching grant money is given to lodges for camp or service center projects in their local council. The Order will provide up to one-half of the money for a service project, with a $5,000 maximum amount granted for any lodge project.

Over the years many Ganeodiyo members have answered the call to serve at the section level. From the records available they following have served from our lodge at the section level.

Section Chiefs – 1975 Admiral Lord, 1990+1991  Dan Miller

Section Vice Chiefs – 1974 Admiral Lord, 1983 Damian Weidmann, 1984 Scott Smith

Section Secretaries – 1982 Damian Weidmann, 1983 Scott Smith, 1984 Matt Dennie, 2003 Alexander Peck

In 2009 Finger Lakes Council merged with Otetiana Council to form Seneca Waterways Council. In the merger process Ganeodiyo Lodge (#417) merged with Ty-Ohni Lodge (#95) to form Tschipey Achtu Lodge. Tschipey Achtu means Ghost Deer and is currently operating without a lodge number as per national policy. Alec Calabrese was the last Lodge Chief serving from January 2009 to January 2010. Due to the Vigil nomination process the last Vigil honors from Ganeodiyo Lodge were awarded during the summer of 2010.

Ganeodiyo the Man

The singular person who was destined to obtain a spiritual sway over the descendants of the ancient Iroquois was Ganeodiyo or “Handsome Lake”, a Seneca Sachem of the highest class.

Ganeodiyo was born at the Indian Village of Ga no Wau’ gas near Avon, about the year 1735. By birth, he was a member of the Seneca wolf clan however he was raised by the Seneca Turtle clan. Ganeodiyo was a half brother of the celebrated Corn Planter.

The best part of his life was spent in idleness and dissipation during which although a Sachem and ruler among the Seneca’s for many years and through the most perilous period of their history, he acquired no particular reputation.

Ganeodiyo fell very ill during this, after lying near death, he had several visions. The lessons learned in these visions changed Ganeodiyo’s life. Reforming late in life in his future career, he showed himself to be possessed of superior talents and to be animated by a sincere and ardent desire for the welfare of his race.

He formed a religion which is practiced by the Iroquois to date. He became a Prophet. It is not Christian, although it includes some elements borrowed from Christianity: It is essentially an amalgam of ancient tradition and the innovations of the Seneca Prophet named Ganeodiyo.

The Heat of Handsome Lake religion is the Gairo uo (The Good Word), this is the gospel. A gospel transmitted by word of mouth from preacher to preacher and memorized so that is can be chanted by a man standing in a long house.

Ganeodiyo died on August 10, 1815. He had for some time, had intimations of approaching death, He started out afoot on the 150 mile trip to Onondaga accompanied by a number of followers. At Canaqaugus on the Genesee River, the place where he was born, they stopped and performed the Thanksgiving Address. After the company moved again, at the head of Seneca Lake, he again performed the Thanksgiving Ritual.

Ganeodiyo discovered that he had lost his prized knife and went back along the trail to hunt for it. He became very ill while hunting for the knife and took refuge in a small cabin some distance away. Near the end he addressed the crowd gathered about the cabin/ “I will soon go to my new home. Soon I will step into the New World, for there is a plain pathway before be leading there.”

“Whoever follows my teachings, will follow in my footsteps, and I will look back upon him with outstretched arms, inviting him into the New World of our creator. Alas, I fear a pall of smoke will obscure the eyes of many from the Truth of Gairo uo, but I pray that when I am gone, that all may do what I have taught.”

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