Native Americans have criticized the OA's various symbols and "rituals" as cultural appropriation based on non-Native stereotypes of American Indians.
Inducted members, known as Arrowmen or Brothers, are organized into local youth-led lodges that harbor fellowship, promote camping, and render service to Boy Scout councils and their communities.
The Order of the Arrow (OA) is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), composed of Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives as elected by their peers. It uses imagery commonly associated with American Indian cultures for its self-invented ceremonies.
Edson, in 1915 as a means of reinforcing the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
The name of the society was then changed to Order of the Arrow, and in October 1921, Goodman convened the first national meeting of what at that time was called the "National Lodge of the Order of the Arrow" in Philadelphia—where Goodman was elected as Grand Chieftain.
Adults age 21 or older may be nominated after meeting the camping requirements and being approved by the lodge adult selection committee.
The call-out ceremony may be performed at summer camp, a camporee, a call-out weekend or at a unit meeting.
Candidates subsequently participate in an Ordeal, intended to emphasize service and selflessness.
Honorary membership was once bestowed in special circumstances, as with Franklin D. Eisenhower, but this practice was officially discontinued in 1953.
After being elected or nominated, candidates may participate in a call-out ceremony to recognize those Scouts and Scouters that were selected before they attend their Ordeal.
During the induction, "candidates maintain complete silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and are required to sleep alone, apart from other campers, which teaches significant values." Ordeal members are entitled to all the same rights and privileges of membership in the Order as Brotherhood and Vigil Honor members—there are no ranks within the Order.