The Degree of Pocahontas
of Red Men
The name of the Degree of Pocahontas is taken from the celebrated character in Native American history, Pocahontas, whose brief life presents a touching and beautiful picture of grace, beauty, and virtue as well as constant friendship to the palefaces.
All the information that comes down to us describes Pocahontas as being a woman of remarkable grace, beauty, and kindness of heart; of the character of Pocahontas, it is remarked that considering all circumstances it is not surpassed by any in the whole range of history and that for those qualities which do honor to our nature — a humane and feeling heart, and an unshaken constancy in her attachments — she stands almost without a rival.
The Degree of Pocahontas (D of P) patterns itself after the virtues of this Native American princess — those virtues of teaching kindness, love, charity, and loyalty to one's nation.
The Degree of Pocahontas is the Women's Auxiliary of The Improved Order of Red Men. IORM is a national fraternal organization that believes in…
- Love and Respect for the American Flag.
- The American Way of Life.
- Keeping alive the customs and legends of a once-vanishing race.
- Creating and inspiring a greater love for the United States of America.
- Linking our members together in a common bond of Friendship and Love.
- Helping those in need with organized charitable programs.
The Degree of Pocahontas is the women's affiliate of The Improved Order of Red Men. It was organized in 1885 and soon councils had sprung up across the United States. The organization takes its name from the famous Pocahontas, daughter of the powerful Native American Chief Powhatan of the Algonquian Indian Tribe. She befriended the early English settlers at Jamestown, allowing herself to be held hostage after her father threatened to destroy the entire settlement. Because of her friendship with the English, Powhatan ordered his tribe to provide food and clothing during the terrible winter of 1614. This help ultimately allowed the English colony to grow and flourish and is today considered the first permanent English settlement in North America. The Degree of Pocahontas, as a separate organization, engages in fraternal and social affairs and provides an excellent program for women seeking an ideal fraternal association.
- Flag Recognition Program — A program to honor those patriotic Americans who display the flag regularly.
- Faith of Our Fathers Chapel — Chapel erected at Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to memorialize the ideals and principles of our founding fathers.
- Annual Pilgrimage to Faith of Our Fathers Chapel — Annual meeting to renew and strengthen our beliefs in the American Way of Life.
- Princess Pocahontas Memorial Day — Annual meeting held in March at the Princess Pocahontas Statue in Gloucester, Virginia to honor Pocahontas, whose life of grace, beauty and virtue is a pattern for the Degree of Pocahontas.
- Children with Cognitive, Intellectual, and Developmental Disabilities Program — Support of various projects and programs of the ARC (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens) and Special Olympics.
- Red Men's Day at Arlington National Cemetery — Annual ceremony to honor our unknown soldiers and all brave Americans who have fallen in battle to protect our Freedom.
- Red Men's Week — Week of December 16, designated as National Red Men's Week, commemorating the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
- Family Programs — The Degree of Pocahontas has various family-oriented programs and charitable projects and teach by example in the traditional American Way of Life.
The National Charity project of The Improved Order of Red Men and the Degree of Pocahontas is the Alzheimer's Association. Since 1991, the organization has given over a million dollars to Alzheimer's research. Alzheimer's disease knows no social or economic boundaries; but it does incline heavily toward older people, affecting seven to nine percent of Americans over the age of 65, yet it strikes those in their 40s and 50s as well. Indeed, some of our own members have been stricken with this dreaded disease. Our members not only give generously, but work with local Alzheimer's Chapters across the nation.
Questions and Answers
Q. How do I become a Member?
A. Contact a local Council or member who will provide you with an application blank.
Q. What if there is no council in my town?
A. Contact the National Office, 4521 Speight Ave., Waco, Texas 76711.
Q. Is it expensive to join?
A. No — The initiation fee and annual dues vary with the individual councils' laws and facilities that are offered.
Q. Is the Adoption (initiation) Ceremony difficult or embarrassing to go through?
A. No — this ceremony symbolizes the precepts of our order. It is done in good taste and is beautiful to behold.
Q. Must I memorize a large amount of unwritten or secret work?
A. No — You will be required to know the password and the secret signs of the Order, both of which may be learned in a few minutes.
Q. Will I be required to wear Native American dress to the meetings?
A. No — The only time Native American regalia is worn is during the Adoption Degree. Occasionally, the council officers may wear Native American regalia at various public affairs, but this is done with discretion.
Q. Can a man belong to the Degree of Pocahontas?
A. Yes — In this way a husband and wife can participate in the same organization; however, he must be a member of a tribe in good standing.
Q. Do you have to be Native American to belong?
Q. How is the Degree of Pocahontas associated with Native Americans?
A. Only through our customs, terminology, and rituals, which are patterned after the early Native Americans.
Q. What are the primary purposes and beliefs of the Order?
A. The Motto, or precepts, of the Order are Freedom, Friendship and Charity.
Freedom — We endeavor to preserve and uphold the American Way of Life and its guarantee of Liberty. Freedom has been the hope and aim of the oppressed of every land. It is now the proud boast of every American. We dedicated our lives to its maintenance.
Friendship — Is the binding link and unswerving loyalty of one to another, which makes sweet and lasting the relationship that one member bears to another.
Charity — Is giving with an open hand and willing heart in time of need, assistance to the weak or unfortunate and measured not by wealth but by moral worth. Charity exemplifies the Brotherhood of Man.
Q. What do you do at your meetings?
A. Our meetings are conducted the same as any organization. Aside from our ritualistic opening and closing, the regular business of the council is conducted. Various projects are planned and discussed and regular programs are presented. Social affairs are apart from these.