Title: Lee R. Bacon
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Title: Lee R. Bacon
Series Title: Lee R. Bacon
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SUB: Lee Bacon
INT: Nanih Waiya Staff
Oct. 21, 1980

B: Lee Bacon, I have a boy scout troop 61

S: Where were you born at?

B: I was born in Oklahoma, that's down in the southeastern part of


S: Where did you start scouting?

B: I started scouting at the Indian School back in about '45, from

about 1945.

S: ?

B: Well it was a little different than it was today. Most of the responsibility was

with the institution that sponsored the scouts. And of there wasn't any district

offices and this kind of thing. Most of it was down at the state office.

S: How many were in the troop -kX -Ao1 ?

B: Oh I'd say we had probably, maybe 40 boys in the troop, and all at least were

Jndian boys from all over the country. The ScLiK\ helps 'em from

80-some tribes there They really were on a

national indian boy scout troop.

S: fA)o u~c.g~ age limit to this?
B: They always have hadn't offered a age limit to .scouting. For scouts it runs

about ten and a half or fifth grade orkl8. And of course there's explore scouting

once you get beyond 18 where you can always go to explore, and explores are a

unit of scouting that involves a speciality, like for example the one we have on

the Choctaw reservation is a law and order post. So they specialize in the study

of law and order.

S: What was the troop number? ,

B: Well our troop number was 49, at C! '__. The reason we chose that


B: number is that the, way back in the time the pioneers were going to California

for the Gold Rush, well we felt like number 49 was a pretty good number, so our

troop was 49.

S: You going to keep on scouting?

B: Well I feel like it's, it's an important thing to be involved in scouting and it

does give you an opportunity to help young uh-boys and young men out and I think

it's one of the real worthwhile things that one can get out of life initerms of

helping boys to become men and to be able to use some of the skills they have in

scouting, so it's really a worthwhile -+ IOG I'll probably stay

on for a while I've had about'6 years in scouting so it's

been worthwhile.

S: ?

B: No it hasn't, it's always been the khaki type clothes and basically scouting has

changed some but not the dress*6-his is pretty much as it was back in the '40s,

so that's something that really wasn't changed too often much. Now scouting it-

self has made a drastic change in that we used to be that boys would have to

learn signaling, morse code, and they'd have to learn tracking and all of this
kind of thing. And for the past five years now this, these were some of the

things they took out of scouting, but they're coming more back to that again,

because they found that boys like to learn to track, like going out and tracking

down an animal or boys tracking each other. Certain kinds of like three rocks

4eacue-X together, well that meant that they went a certain way, or
if you seen a stick broken over, well that meant that the person that you were

tracking had gone a certain direction. So they got away from that for a while,
but they are going back to it, and one of the requirements getting back into the

new scouting program, well I guess it's really the old scouting program, is

signaling, where that you take two flags and have to send a message with these

two flags. And so the requirement now will be that a boy will need to send so


B: many words per minute through the morse code.

S: Did the morse code have to be used in the directions?

B: Well uh, morse code would almost help you in the Navy certainly because it would

taken, you'd already know it, and there are signalmen, signalmen in the Navy and

they, they use the morse code. So it would be applicable to some jobs that you,

forestry people use morse codes. So uh, and of course there's the international

morse code where that, that different countries use the morse code, so it is a

very practical thing.

S: What ?

B: Uh Melvin I got to like, and I've always been sorry that I didn't finish up,

because of the fact that I think being an eagle scout is really important to an

individual. You take a boy that's been through the eagle ranks and he applies

for a job and another one applies, and they have equal qualifications, well then

an employer will nine times out of ten take the eagle scout over the other one

that did not have scouting or did not have an eagle scout rank. But that's one

thing I've always regretted is that I didn't finish up.

S: Were you a scoutmaster, a cub scoutmaster?

B: Uh yes Melvin I was both a scout master and a iplo r.'r. when I

worked at sCri.\ then when I moved to .,

Oklahoma, well then I became the cubmaster for the First Christian Church in

which had a pack of about 80 boys, which would mean about

10 dens in this pack. So it was a fantastiyexperience because they really, the

parent really got involved in the cub scout program at And

this is basically what cub scouting is all about is the parent and the boy being

involved. Now it's not so much the case when you get to be a boy scout. You be

do a lot of things on your own even though that, it still involves you know parents

but at the same time it's a more than independent program and, whereas cub scout-

ing uh you can't even get a promotion in cub scouting unless your parents have


B: signed off on it. So it is a, cub scouting is a parent-scout activity.

S: What year did you come to Mississippi?

B: I came to Mississippi in 1968, and I was around about three or four month s before

I got involved in scouting and then one day Cecil Farmer asked me if I'd be

interested in being in the scout troop and helping them out and the odd thing

about it is after I was there about a month, well Cecil said would you take over

the troop? And so I took over the troop and I've had troop 61 ever since.

S: How many boys were in jc____ did you

B: I think we had about 14 boys and of course if you really work at it it's a program

that will attract young boys from ten and a half to, especially up to about 15,so

we've had as high as you know 24-25 boys in a troop depending on the time. In fact

when we went to the 1973 national jamboree we had 24 boys in our troop at that time

and we took them. In fact we earned the money to take the 24 boys to the jamboree.

And it's real exciting to do this because you have to know that you 've got that

much money and you have to be sure that each boy has physical and ready to go and

we were gone for about 16 days to the

End Side 1A


B: And of course at the national jamboree you'd see a city spring up overnight because

at the Faragut State Park the year that Troop 61 went, we got there and we just

set up a city overnight of about 50,000 boys. And of course you know like there

was maybe 200 telephones near our camp and all kinds of activities, so it really

was exciting in that we met boys from all over the country and seven foreign

countries. The Choctaw boys had the most fun with the Chinese scouts, that was

from Taiwan. And we got acquainted with them, and they shared in some of their

Chinese food. W just really had a good time with the Chinese scouts, and I

think this is an exciting thing about boys going out and meeting other boys from

different parts of the country, then they can share each others experiences, and

some times you get experiences that really are enjoyable and we really did enjoy

the Chinese scouts.

S: Has your scout troop -~e-__ gone to another jamboree?

B: Melford, I'm not really sure because the year and a half we worked to raise the

money I hardly saw my family because we were doing something almost every night

and the boys didn't get to see their families to much either, because we were

either selling someplace or just having wrestling or we was having a movie or

anything that we could get to do, washing cars or whatever, anybody wanted us to

do that would pay us for it and we'd do it. So almost every night. Melvin was

very much involved in this and he knows that it takes a lot of work, and we don't

mind work. We worked for about a year and a half before we got enough money to

really go. And it takes a lot of preparation in terms of equipment and every,

every scout needs at least two uniforms and they, we even helped buy some of those.

It's really an exciting thing to do, but really a lot of hard work. So I'm not

sure that, that whether we'll do that or not, but we have had enough money at times

to send individual scouts to the jamboree. In 1977 Melvin went to the national

jamboree at Moran State Park in Pennsylvania, but it is a very difficult take-to

raise money in a rural area like this. Because, I recall that we had wrestling


B: and had some pretty good wrestling names on our card but we maybe had less than

65 people to show up. So you never really know whether you're going to make any

money out of it or not. And I guess the most exciting time in raising money, we

had Dorothy Moore, a singer that is now very popular throughout the country, and

we had her to give a concert, and she gave of her time and her, and she gave a

concert without charge to the troop, and we thought that was really an exciting

time. And I guess we made the most money when we had Dorothy Moore here. So it

really does involve a lot of work, so as far as working, we don't mind that, but

you have to plan a year and a half, two years in advance that you're going to do this.

And in 1981 will be the next national jamboree. So who knows, we might do something

about it


B: The national jamboree is sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, and ordinarily

would have only scouts from this country there, but they do invite scouts from

other countries to be there, but the world jamboree involves scouts from all the

countries of the world. And of course we were invited and had plans of several

of us going to the world jamboree in Iran until the country fell apart, and they

cancelled the world jamboree, and so we didn't get to go and were very disappointed,

but we didn't, I guess the situation in Iran at that time warranted cancelling

the world jamboree.

S: How many boys were 2c o -s ~JoaL TiJo r n-eC ?

B: There was three, three boys and myself from Choctaw. That's how many we'd plan-

ned and we were going to connect with the southeast region, and this then would

make a council uh group. So we had this all worked out and it just didn't work

out because of the situation in Iran, and they did finally cancel the world


S: How old does a boy have to be to be a eagle scout?

B: Ten and a half or fifth grade up to 18. Now if you're going out for an eagle


B: scout you need to have all your requirements and everything finished before you're

18. If you can have it all finished and checked out and everything, and the day

you're 18, you can still receive it, but after that well they probably wouldn't

send everything back to you. But 18, they're pretty fussy about that, of making

18 the age of cutting off of getting the, the eagle award.

S: Have you gone on any camping trips lately?

B: Yes, we have gone on a number of camping trips just on our own, and we have won

the national camping award several times. This means that you camp two weeks,

14 days and nights out of the year.And we've done this a number of times, it

really is good. I think the boys like camping about as much as anything in

scouting. And at camping they can earn more badges, merit badges, than they can
at any other time and especially at summer camp. This is why we always try to

encourage boys to go to summer camp, because it's a time they can earn merit

badges that they can't earn back home. Especially the ones like the aquatic merit

badges and water merit badges, uh swimming and boating, and canoeing, and swimming

a mile and these kinds of things. It's pretty hard to earn those back in your

home community, so if a boy goes to camp then he has an opportunity to earn all of

those kinds of merit badges.

S: Where do they hold these kinds of camps ?

B: At Binachi and Binachi is a camp owned by the Choctaw area scouting council, and
it's about JXmiles east of Meridian, and truly a beautiful setting. And this

camp was donated by Wilkshire And it has about 500 acres in it and

it is a very exciting time and we've always gone, we've always tried to hike all
S the trails, they have five trails and they're ranging from five miles to .ff isn't

Sit, about-20 miles. So we've tried to really hike all the trails as a troop, and

S you get a trail hiking award for doing this. We've done that a couple of times and
it's really good to hike the trails because you see so many different things of

nature, and hiking the trails at Camp Binoche we've seen rattlesnakes and deer


B: and coons, squirrels, and rabbits, all of those kinds of things, and all kinds of

birds. It is a real fine camp, and we would certainly encourage every scout to

have an opportunity to go. And one nice thing about the Choctaw tribe, they really

spent more on scouting than they have in any of the other youth programs because

many times they have sent us to camp and well the Bureau of Indian Affairs too has

been very helpful in finding money to send boys to camp on. And we really ap-

preciate the support of the community and the council in finding funds for boys

that can't provide funds for themselves to go to camp.

S: Where is the location of Camp Binoche?

B: The location is about. .

End Side 2A


S: How many agle scouts do you have in your troop?

B: Melvin, since I've been here we've had one eagle scout, and of course the, that

was the second one that we'd had on the reservation so I thought, I felt pretty

proud that we did, we have got one eagle out of our troop since we've had the

troop, we've always got you know like a lot of first class and a lot of A second
class but it's not an easy task to get a boy to be an eagle. It's really something

that the boy wants to do and it takes a lot of extra work. Of course an eagle

scout has to do a community project and this takes time, and he has to write it

up and tell exactly what he done and o ciP -

and so eagle scout, once you get to an eagle scout you know that you've done a lot

of different things. You've earned something like 24 merit badges and you've had

a community project and you've probably been senior patrol leader and all the

officers that your troop has. An eagle scout is well rounded once he has reached
the rank of eagle.

S: How do the scouts help the community?

B: What's that?

S: How does an eagle scout help the community?
B: Well um, the scouts first of all has to be a good citizen before he can be a scout.

And the scout oath really says that uh he has to be a very good citizen in order

to be in scouting. So that's one way and then certainly that's an important way,

is being a good citizen of the community. And of course our troop has had what they
call clean up day, and gone out and cleaned up the roadsides and varied other

places on the reservation so. A scout does help his community in many different

ways and certainly as we pointed out being a good citizen is helping the community.

S: What is the scout law?

B: The scout lawq, a scout is trustworthy, loyal, hblpful, friendly, courteous, kind,
obedient, thrifty, clean and reverent. That's the scout laws and if a scout lives

up to each one of those laws then you know that he's going to be a good citizen.


B: And so you just couldn't, couldn't help from being a good citizen if you lived up
to the scout law.

S: Who were th sponsors of the troop in Choctaw?

B: On the Choctaw reservation the tribe back uh, several years back oh maybe three

or four years back, decided that they'd like to sponsor all the troops on the

reservation, so the tribe is the current sponsor of every troop on the reservation.

And uh I want to commend the tribe for doing a good job. They've never turned

us down when we had asked for you know money or for them to something for usand

they've always been very good. They, they have, I think they are doing a good

job. As.we make them aware of scouts and scouters then they even want to do a
better job because many times you take people out of the community, doesn't really

know too much about scouting, and it is the responsibility then of scouts and

scouters to have an awareness program that they tell people about scouting.

S: ?

B: Yes the, may be the only one that doesn't have one, I'm not

sure about that but each of the six communities in, in this vicinity down in
(VAy 'OJ County and fV-_-VpeR- County, and the troops here in

cr lo,, Cousni or the communities here in
each of them have some kind of scouting program. Like this community has an
explore post and they have scouts and they have And some com-

munities even have girl scouts. So I think we do have a sufficient scouting in

our communities but we just need to make people more aware of

S: What is the highest scout progress award?

B: Highest what?

S: Progress award, scout progress award.

I: What is the highest scout, scout progress award?

B: Progress award?


I: Um hum.

B: The highest progress award would really be the eagle scout, that'd be the highest

scouting award. And of course there's all kinds of awardings, awards for scout

leaders. And this is something that's rewarding for a scout leader. Melvin you're

a young scout leader yourself, and as you go up the ladder in helping boys and

helping in scouting well then there'll be all kinds of awards for you as a leader.

And one of the things that I enjoy doing is giving scout training award. It's

called the Scouter's Key, and as you complete various stages of scout training,

well then when you complete all the stages well then you get a Scouter's Key. And

then of course the highest award for a scouter in the council level is the Silver

Beaver award, and it's a very high honor to receive the Silver Beaver award and

then of course an award that is very covenant and very desirable is the Silver

Buffalo award and that's awarded at the national level, and very few men/ever

received this award because it is an national award. We have two to three men

in our council receiving the Silver Beaver award every year. It's a, but it's

a highly coveted award for the council.

S: Do you have a meeting every Monday and Tuesday?

B: WE try to hold our meetings every Monday at 6:30Jand if we have it at 6:30 we try

to have the parents to be aware that we'll be through by 8:00 and that we want

the parents then to pick the boys up at 8:00. So we very seldom ever run over

the 8:00 period, from 6:30 to 8:00.

S: What do you do at these meetings?

B: WE11 we do varied kinds of things, Melford. For example, last Monday night we

organized our troop and got new officers, and then we had games and a lot of times

you'll work on the scouting skills such as knot tying, the scout laws, and the

scout oath, and just varied kinds of activities. We try to make it where we don't

do the same thing all the time. And this is important to young boys who are in

scouting that they like to vary their C ",, s, nad lO 41e never really do


B: the same thing all the time so, the way we do this is that the, all the officers

which is called the leadership council works out the program for each week. And
it may be that we'll have a knot tying contest. Another time we may have a first
aid contest. So it reallyevary each time, it's not the same every week. And then

sometimes we have a merit badge that all of us work on together such as the citizen-
ship merit badge. So maybe you'll all work that badge, merit badge together, and
that's just part of the ,-ri- Maybe we'll have a half hour just
working on that particular merit badge. Now there are, there is a requirement for
merit badges AJ ;, , There's 12 merit badges that's required like

the first aid and swimming and emergency preparedness, and then, then the others

are kind of like in school, you select certain courses that you want to take, well
the state requires that you take certain other courses. There are a certain number
of merit badges that you have, that is required and must be a'- ... C -

End Side 1B


S: And do you have any scout council meetings?

B: Yes Melvin we do have a council meeting once a month called the Council Roundtable.

And this is also where you go to get additional training, and they'll help you out
for activities and suggestions for meetings for a month, and then the next month

you go back and there's another Roundtable. And of course there are a number of

us on the council district, district council meeting, so we meet once a month at

the district level. So there are meetings that you need to attend in order to

have a good scouting program.

B: Yes I do Melford, I think that the things that you learn in scouting such as uh

citizenship and community, there is a merit badge on the community, merit badges

on kind of a national level such as the world citizenship and the, and a U.S

citizenship and a local citizenship. I think it does help you out in that you know

something about the world besides just maybe that community in which you live.

So I think it's good in that way that, it's kind a international program where

that you learn more than just things that are locally. And local things that you

learn are important too)but you have a more of an international outlook in scouting
than you do if you are not in scouting.

S: What kind of an award here have you got?

B: Melvin, I've Wu1,\received several awards as an adult scouter. I've received the

Scouter's Key, and I've received the Silver Beaver award,and I've received the
national indian scouting award called the Francis Award, and

this is a, an award that is given to Indian people that has fifteen or more years

experience work in an Indian community with Indian scouts. So it's a very nice

award, it's something that I'm very proud to have.

S: Where did you get this FV ------- award?

B: I got the FAUs ---award when they helped the national

Indian seminar on scouting at Pearl River here in 1977. And this is an organization


B: made up of Indian people and Indian scouters across the country and Indian scouts,

and they meet once a year, and basically you come together to work out you know

different kinds of problems that Indian communities are having with scouts. And

then of course, the exciting thing is that you meet scouts from all over the country

and you get to know them, and it's kind of a lifetime friendship, just getting

to know the scouts from other parts of the country. And these would be Indian

scouts from almost every reservation in the country. And this past year we went

to the National Indian Seminar on Scouting at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and of

course the 1980 one is going to be held at TA1 Lr-EQUA Oklahoma and I'm

fortunate enough to be the chairman of this seminar and I'll be chairing the 1980

seminar at

S: How many boys went to South Dakota?

B: Well we had both boys and girls go, Melvin. Girl Scouts are-involved in the

National Indian Seminar also and from here we had 14 scouts and six adults, and

of course we had girl scouts and boy scouts and explorers go along with us. So

our reservation was well represented at the National Indian Seminar on Scouting

and we are fortunate that we have a tribe that does and is concerned about the
young people having experiences that, that a lot of young people don't get that

live on an Indian reservation.

S: are there any other
scouts in other countries?

B: Yeah they uh, almost every country in the world Melford has scouting. They even

had Philippino .couts at this one jamboree, and they have Russian scouts, so

virtually every country of the world has scouts. Now it may be called something

besides scouts but it'll have the same kind of training and everything as scouting

has. Like the Canadian scouts are called Trailblazers, but they're still scouts.

We know them as Canadian scouts, but their national title is Trailblazers, and

of course the girl scouts have an international flavor too. But scouting got


B: started back in 1908 by Lord Clinton Powell of c{CL' b and what happened
is that

(break in tape)

S: Who founded scouts, Boy Scouts of America?

B: Lord Clinton Powell of England. The reason he founded scouting more than 75 years

ago is that he saw one night an elderly, it was a veryAtime in England, raining

and cold winter, saw this young man helping an elderly person across the street

and so this started the scout movement and it's more than 75 years old.

S: I've heard some of

B: That is the scout motto-do a good deed daily. So if all of us whether we were

a scout or not did a good deed daily then the world would be better.

S: Would you encourage the boys, boys and girls into being Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts?

B: Yes I would Melvin, I think that you know the movement is a great youth organization,

it's one of the largest youth movements in the world, and it does have a national

flavor, and an international flavor so there's kids all over the world that belongs

to scouting units, and whether they're you know Chinese or black or white or

whatever color they are, it kind of falls away when you, when you're a scout because

you really don't as a scout, brother in scouting, you don't really see that color

whether a guy, aerson's an Indian or Chinese or Japanese or whatever he is, and I

think it really makes it worthwhile because this summer we had a beautiful time

with the Canadian scouts. They were at the National Indian Seminar on Scouting,
and they just showed us a lot of their customs, and the way they lived and this

kind of thing that we couldn't have got anywhere else. So it was an exciting time

and we met somebody from a country that even we know very little about in terms,

even though they're neighbors of north, well they're in, sometimes know very little

about Canada.


B: Well I think that scouting is here to stay, and I think that it will be around a

long time as long as there's a boy willing to be a scout and a man willing to have

boys under him I think there will be scouting for a long time to come. And it is

a good organization to be in.

S: TL Yo_ Mr. Bacon.

B: Thank you.

End Side 2B

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