Indian Lore

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Indian Lore merit badge requires prior counselor approval for requirement(s) #2b.
Indian Lore and other award requirements were revised on January 1, 2009.

Indian Lore merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1931
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 064
Requirements revision: 2009
Latest pamphlet revision: 2008


Far different from the stereotypes or common images that are portrayed on film, on television, and in many books and stories, American Indians have many different cultures, languages, religions, styles of dress, and ways of life. To learn about these different groups is to take an exciting journey of discovery in which you will meet some of America's most fascinating peoples.

Indian Lore requirements

  1. Identify the different American Indian cultural areas. Explain what makes them each unique.
  2. Give the history of one American Indian tribe, group or nation that lives or has lived near you. Visit it, if possible. Tell about traditional dwellings, way of life, tribal government, religious beliefs, family and clan relationships, language, clothing styles, arts and crafts, food preparation, means of getting around, games, customs in warfare, where members of the group now live, and how they live.
  3. Do TWO of the following. Focus on a specific group or tribe.
    a. Make an item of clothing worn by members of the tribe.
    b. Make and decorate three items used by the tribe, as approved by your counselor.
    c. Make an authentic model of a dwelling used by any Indian tribe, group, or nation.
    d. Visit a museum to see Indian artifacts. Discuss them with your counselor. Identify at least 10artifacts by tribe or nation, their shape, size, and use.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Learn three games played by a group or tribe. Teach and lead one game with a Scout group.
    b. Learn and show how a tribe traditionally cooked or prepared food. Make three food items.
    c. Give a demonstration showing how a specific Indian group traditionally hunted, fished, or trapped.
  5. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Write or briefly describe how life might have been different for the European settlers if there had been no native Americans to meet them when they came to this continent.
    b. Sing two songs in an Indian language. Explain their meanings.
    c. Learn in an Indian language at least 25 common terms and their meanings.
    d. Show 25 signs in Indian sign language. Include those that will help you ask for water, for food, and where the path or road leads.
    e. Learn an Indian story of up to 300 words (or several shorter stories adding up to no more than 300 words). Tell the story or stories at a Scout gathering or campfire.
    f. Write or tell about eight things adopted by others from American Indians.
    g. Learn 25 Indian place names. Tell their origins and meanings.
    h. Name five well-known American Indian leaders, either from the past or people of today. Give their tribes or nations. Describe what they did or do now that makes them notable.
    i. Attend a contemporary American Indian gathering. Discuss with your counselor what you learned and observed. Include in your discussion any singing, dancing, drumming, and the various men’s and women’s dance styles you saw.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Indian Lore is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Indian Lore requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.

Requirement resources

1 - 4. American Indian Heritage Foundation - Encarta Encyclopedia - National Congress of American Indians - Nat. Museum of the American Indian - - NativeTech - NativeWeb
1 - 2. Traditions, history, beliefs, dwellings, etc.: Tribes by State - Federally recognized tribes - American Indian Tribe Directory - Encarta American Tribes - Clothing - Dwellings - Makah Tribe - Omaha Tribe - Squaxin Island Indians - Suquamish Tribe
3a. Authentic Indian Games - Indian Sports
3b. Food
3c. How Indians Hunted - Uses of the Buffalo - more - Getting Food - Fish Trap Spearfishing -Fishing gear
4a. See 4f below
4b. Native American Music
4c. Native American Additions to English - Native American Languages
4d. Indian Sign Languages: Hand-Signals to Communicate From the National Parks Service
4f. Native American Contributions: Conservation - adobe - balsa wood - barbecues - chewing gum - chocolate - corn (maize) - cornmeal - hammocks - hockey - igloos - kayak- lacrosse - llamas - maracas - moccasins - popcorn - potato chips - salsa - spinning top - tepee - tomatoe - tortillas
4g. Indian place names - Everyday Indian Words and Place names - Northwest Indian Place Names
4h. Famous Native American Leaders - Native American leaders - Chief Shabbona - Indian Chiefs and Leaders by Tribe
4i. The Iroquois Confederacy and the US Constitution -Iroquois Confederacy (Six Nations, Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy)

Related awards

Art-related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

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