History of Ku-Ni-Eh

A Summary of Ku-Ni-Eh History

In 1922, Arthur E. Roberts, Scout Executive and Camp Director, founded the Tribe of Ku-Ni-Eh, a Brotherhood of Honor Campers who exemplified the Scout Oath and Law. After discovering that the Order of the Arrow wanted a fee to join, Mr. Roberts created the tribe at Camp Friedlander. The Tribe of Ku-Ni-Eh was used by the Cincinnati Area Council until the early 1950’s. In fact, the Ku-Ni-Eh system was as popular as the Order of the Arrow, with over 250 councils using the same system and materials at the height of its popularity.

The We-Hin-Ay-Pay is a symbol brought into use by Arthur E. Roberts, and each color symbolizes a different quality: red for blood, the heart and life; white for purity; green for nature and blossoming manhood; and the rising sun on the blue sky since the sun, to the Native American, represents honor and fidelity. The We-Hin-Ay-Pay was taken from the base of a ritual basket of the Maidu Indians of Northern California, as was our Lodge’s name, which means “order of manhood.”

In 1951 the Tribe of Ku-Ni-Eh chose to join forces with the Order of the Arrow by becoming Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge 462. (The Boy Scouts of America had made the OA official in 1948.) With the help of Zit-Kala-Sha Lodge 123 of Louisville, KY, Ku-Ni-Eh held its first ordeal, officially establishing its status as an OA lodge. With the help of Camp Friedlander Staff member Conrad Fruehan (of Michi-Kini-Kwa 306) and many others, the new lodge was well on its way. On August 15th of the following year, nearly one hundred members participated in a Brotherhood Ceremony, conducted by Michi-Kini-Kwa 306, sealing their membership. In 1953, the Lodge issued its first OA lodge flap, replacing the khaki square with the We-Hin-Ay-Pay on it. By 1955, the Lodge created its first chapters and in 1956 it inducted its first Vigil Honor members, again with the help of Zit-Kala-Sha.

In 1957, Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge 462 merged with Michi-Kini-Qua Lodge 155 as the Cincinnati Area Council and the Dan Beard Councils merged, bringing the total lodge membership up to around 700 and increasing lodge boundaries to include Northern Kentucky.

Then, in 1959, a merger occurred between Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge 462 and Fort Hamilton Council’s Michi-Kini-Kwa Lodge 306. This lodge in Hamilton was the one that had helped Ku-Ni-Eh in its early years and established the Anthony Wayne Trail, which Ku-Ni-Eh partially maintained. Ku-Ni-Eh lodge was very prosperous during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and by 1979 had a membership of 1,000 members.

January of 1960 saw the First Annual Father/Son Banquet, which lives on as the Annual Lodge Winter Banquet today. Two years later in the fall of 1962, the Lodge began the long-standing tradition of the Fall Fellowship, with one hundred Arrowmen in attendance. The first time the Clan system was used was in 1963, when chapters were subdivided into these “clans” according to district boundaries. However, the following year a system was established to form a chapter for each district. 1965 saw the approval of “Ku-Ni-Eh, My Ku-Ni-Eh” as the official song of the Lodge and the organization of the Lodge Dance Team. During the sixties the lodge held dominance in the section, being well represented with section officers and claiming the section trophy permanently after winning it three straight years. Amazingly 1969 brought the lodge 538 new members, with the largest ordeal inducting 157. The Fall Business Meeting that year was held at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Song of Ku-Ni-Eh
(Tune: Maryland, My Maryland)

Where e’er on earth we chance to be,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh,
Our hearts will ever turn to thee,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh,
Thy spirit makes us ever strong,
Thy comradeship we praise in song,
Miami’s waters carry it on,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh.

Thy faith and trust we safely keep,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh,
In waking hours and midnight sleep,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh,
Our fondest thoughts are for our tribe,
And tho’ we’re scattered far and wide,
In spirit we’ll be side by side,
Ku-Ni-Eh, my Ku-Ni-Eh