1990s_ext_webLate in 1957, the idea of a Ceremonial Longhouse to provide an all weather area for Order of the Arrow Ceremonies, was born in the minds of some of the Lodge Leaders. Del Loder, former Lodge Advisor and National Committee Member, ascribes the inspiration to a particularly wet and nasty OA event in the fall of that year. The idea was presented to the lodge at the 1958 Potlatch and was approved by the membership. The Lodge Lay Adviser, Mr. Edmond Packard, was one of the leaders in the development of this program.

Following Lodge approval, Mr. Packard secured the services of Leland Hollo and his father Ben Hollo as Longhouse Chairman and Advisor. It was the efforts and inspiration of these men that caused the idea of a longhouse to become a reality. A primary concern for the lodge at that time was to build the building as authentic as possible using native materials. The design was of a Coast Salish style house used by the Quinault and other tribes of Western Washington. The 4 massive beams ran perpendicular to the length of the building and were supported by huge poles sunk directly into the ground. The Western Red Cedar used in the construction was taken from the surrounding forest on the Cascade Scout Reservation.1960s_ext_2_webIn June 1959, Mr. Packard passed away. His widow requested that a memorial fund be established and then authorized it to help defray the longhouse construction costs. Since that time it has been known as the S. Edmund Packard Memorial Longhouse in honor of that Vigil Honor Arrowman, Lodge Lay Adviser and outstanding Scouter of this Council.

In June 1962, after countless Arrowman-hours of dedicated work through Chapter and Lodge work parties, the Longhouse was formally dedicated.

The Hillaire Entrance Pole

The main totem pole was designed by UW professor and curator of the Burke Museum, William Holm, a nationally known authority on Northwest Coast First Peoples. He made the design at the request of the Sahaptin Chapter who had won the privilege in a Potlatch attendance contest. The design is symbolic of the original five chapters of the Lodge. The top figures are Watchmen of the Sahaptin Chapter, the second figure down is a wolf of the Klahanie Chapter, the Eagle symbolizes the KwinKwinKuleg Chapter, the fourth is the Sun of the Sunyakwa Chapter and the Beaver is of the Hyas Eena Chapter. The lodge commissioned Joe Hillaire a master carver and activist of the Lummi Tribe to carve the pole in the Coast Salish style. The proud pole was erected and dedicated along with the longhouse in 1962.

1990's Reconstruction

For many years the Longhouse performed its duty admirably. However, the limitations of the original design began to reveal themselves. The Longhouse was designed to be as authentic as possible using a pole and beam structure. Poles sunk directly into the ground, even if they are the hardy Western Red Cedar, began to rot and weaken the structure. In the winter of 1989-1990 accumulated snow buckled and destroyed one of the main support beams, and the roof suffered a partial collapse. The Lodge quickly mustered support and began to ask for donations to re-raise the roof. The project was quickly completed and two rededication ceremonies honoring the effort and the memory of Ed Packard were held at the Section W1-b Conclave and the Spring Ordeal of 1992. Even though reinforced, the challenges for the original design remained. Over the next decade the rot would become a safety hazard.1960s_ext_1_web

The End of an Era

The T'Kope Kwiskwis lodge has had a great blessing over the years: A traditionally built Longhouse for our ceremonies on the outskirts of Camp Omache. The Ed Packard Memorial Longhouse, built as an "all weather place for ceremonies", has been a point of pride in our lodge in our lodge's activities for many years. Unfortunately, over the last many decades, nature has taken its toll. The Longhouse could no longer stand by its self, and was held up by supports and cables. There was no question that the Longhouse, at this point, had to come down before something fell and destroyed the remaining structure.

Over the weekend of October 12th 2002, an opportunity arose. The logging company, currently working on the Camp Brinkley improvements, agreed to volunteer their equipment, experience and time to help us dismantle the Longhouse, with one catch: the workers were on schedule to complete work at Camp Brinkley within ten days, and they would have to the work before they left. This left the Lodge with a terrible burden: an opportunity to safely and at no cost dismantle the Longhouse but with little time to do so.

Bobby Pepka, the Lodge Chief at the time, found out about this opportunity late Monday night and agreed that yes it must be done. He immediately set out to put together a retirement ceremony for the Longhouse. By the end of the next day, the details had been finalized and the chapter chiefs were contacted.


On Saturday morning, the ceremony commenced. Pauline Hillaire and two other Elders from the Lummi tribe preformed the first half of the ceremony. All members in attendance walked from Brinkley to the Longhouse, followed shortly by two more Elders. When they reached the Longhouse they said a prayer and then sang a Lummi song. One of the participants preformed a special, traditional blessing to thank the Longhouse and everyone that contributed to it. After the ceremony all of the participants received a special bead dangle. This bead dangle represents several things: the four seasons, the four elements and the four stages of life. The center bead represents both a beginning and an end and each is over forty years old and hand carved, like the Longhouse. It also symbolizes a seed, ready to grow, much like the Lodge is dedicated to rebuild the Longhouse.