The Way of the Scout


Happy Tuesday and welcome to my blog today.  I will be giving away a free ebook today to one lucky blogger, so come on in and join in the discussion.

Traditionally, the North American Indian called their scouts wolves.  It was a compliment.  These scouts were the most trusted individuals within the tribe, belonging to a mysterious medicine society (medicine meaning a cause for wonder — often involving healing or the occult).  Upon their trusted words stood the well-being and safety of every person within the tribe, from chief on down to the tiny baby.  Even chiefs bowed to the wisdom and opinions of the scout.  These men were warriors, trackers, and trailblazers.  But most of all these were men of incredible skill and pride.  So I thought I’d say a bit about this very important person within the tribe.

indians on the hillThe identity of the scout was sometimes unknown to many others in the tribe, because the scout was often in disguise.  He used the tools that he was given by nature to affect these disguises — mud placed all over his body (sometimes the scout even made “ears” like a wolf out of the mud), a wolf-pelt, buffalo belt, etc.  He faded into the environment so much that he was often never detected.  It was an honor for a scout to fool another scout — a very hard thing to do.

I have several books that are dedicated to the scout.  Chief amongst them is THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, a tale that encompasses two different continents.  In this book, I go into great detail about the scout and how he operated. 

Wolf on the HillThere is a book on the market that you can buy that has the same title as this blog, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by author and scout, Tom Brown.  In this book, one is introduced to the way of the scout by Tom, who, as a boy, was taken under the wing of an old Apache scout and was taught the ways of the scout.  But let me mention a few of the abilities that these scouts possessed.  They could see miles in the distance, often stumping their white contempories.  They could sneak up on a person with such silence that one wouldn’t have even known a scout was there.  They were expert trackers and could tell not only each tribe by their prints (as all hunters and warriors could also), they could tell the state of health of the person who made the track.  They could tell the time of day it was made and could even discern the thoughts of the person who made the track.  Was that person worried, happy, fearful?  They could even tell what organs of the body were not good or where they might fail– all from a track.

wolf in the woodsThey were so attuned to nature and the ebbs and flows of all around them that they could tell when something disturbed it, which means that they could detect a stranger into the environment.  Scouts loved water and mastered a technique of using water as a medium for scouting in what they lovingly called the water dance of the scout. 

Scouts were trained hard and diligently by their elders and were trained to their profession as young boys, often given such chores as tracking ants — tracking animals over rocks, etc.  Scouts were honest to a fault — they had to be, because, as mentioned above, the entire safety and well-being of the tribe depended upon their observations and recommendations.

imagesCA9921J1The Way of the Scout:  honesty, integrity, not being afraid to state what you know or have seen, certainty of observation and a deep love of every member of his tribe.  These were all the traits of the old scout.  Some in military or government today like to think that they know The Way of the Scout.  Not so.  Not so at all.  The scout was noted for his compassion for all living creators — he did not kill his own kind, be they of his own tribe or stranger wholly unknown to him.  And unless he had to eat, he didn’t kill other creatures either, nor did he press advantage for the skills and means that he had.  He used his skills to help his tribe, not to harm others without just cause.

Can  you imagine a governmheaderent made up of such men of integrity today?  In the current atmosphere of 180 degree reverse vectors, it seems almost impossible, even laughable.  And yet in the old days, it was so.  May we never forget.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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32 thoughts on “The Way of the Scout”

  1. Hi Kay – Interesting info on Indian scouts. It’s fascinating to learn about how important a scout was to the tribe’s safety and survival. Another great blog!!

  2. Hi Charlene. You’re up late like me — oops, I forget you’re on the West coast. : ) Thanks so much for your warm thoughts. I miss you, since I’m no longer on the West coast.

  3. Karen, I truly enjoyed your blog today. I love to read about our history and I had never read or heard this history about the scouts. Thank you for sharing and please enter me in your giveaway.

  4. This was so very interesting and informative. I always learn so much from your blogs and your books are so real that I often forget they are listed as fiction. (OH, and I love the pictures you use in your blogs and love the one from Dances with Wolves)

  5. I’m not sure how many of the politicians holding office now could be that true and faithful to their people. What’s everyone else opinion?

  6. You always hear a story about the cowboy, but very few about the scouts that usually look out for the cattle drive. Most were halfbreeds and very skilled. So silent! Sounds like a awesome book.
    Always like finding new authors who write about the old west!

  7. “The Way of the Scout: honesty, integrity, not being afraid to state what you know or have seen, certainty of observation and a deep love of every member of his tribe.” These are all character traits that, sadly, seem to be lost in the world today. If only we could get back to The Way of the Scout! Thank you for sharing!

  8. I do think the Indian Scout was one of the best things in your American History… Integrity has always been at the top of my list of good qualities in any person..

  9. Thanks for sharing another interesting post with us Karen. I enjoyed learning more about the scouts… such details I had never known.

  10. Hi Connie!

    Wow! What a wonderful thing for you to say. Wow and Wow again! Isn’t that a great picture from Dances with Wolves — and also the one from The Last of the Mohicans. : )

  11. Hi Barbara!

    There’s a big difference between a politican and a statesman. The only statesman that I know of nowadays would be Ron Paul. In my opinion, even his son, though probably the best we have, is not a statesman. My opinion…

  12. Thanks Maxie!

    But you know that’s okay. For those of you who can’t use an ebook, I do have hard copies (though not of all my books). : ) Thanks for leaving a message.

  13. Love this post, Karen! It’s hard to imagine anyone living “The Way of the Scout” in this time, but how incredible it would be. What an inspiration for all the heroes in the books we write.


  14. Hi Kim!

    So you’ve told me something I didn’t know. When Indians became cowboys, of course they would go on the cattle drives. I hadn’t thought of that. Usually my books center in on the Indian before the big wars…usually…not always. : )

  15. Oh, Brittany, I couldn’t agree with you more. There are still men — and women — around today who live their lives with these wonderful attributes — but sadly, they usually don’t run the country or the government. Maybe that’s why I have my nose in history so much. : )

  16. Hi Kathleen!

    Yes, I agree. So hard to find nowadays — and sometimes even in oneself…try though one might…

    I think it’s the world in which we live nowadays that, like I said, seems to be 180 degree reverse vector — it’s gotten so that if it says it in the press — I immediately know it’s a lie…

  17. Hi Sylvia!

    Wow, so nice to see you here! Although I often go to Montana, I haven’t been there since 2010 — I do need to make that trip back to Indian days, however. : ) Thanks so much for your comment here today!

  18. Hi Kirsten!

    Yes, I know what you mean. Sadly, we’ve come a long way away from that concept — but mostly from the things that you hear, I think. There are still people in the world who live their lives this way, despite the decay of the civilization around us.

    And in the end, though fought, truth eventually prevails. I just wish the interim didn’t hurt people.

  19. Hi Colleen!

    And you know I had only so much space to tell a bit about them — the real thing is quite something to behold — to read about. So this is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. : )

  20. I have always wished we hadn’t been settled by the Puritans and it looks like we’ve gone back to those roots! We could have learned so much from the real peoples of this country.

  21. Hi Catslady!

    You know the more and more I study history, I am coming to learn that the real culprit isn’t the individual or his group, but rather the corporation and its hunger to own all trade, and to act as a person and have all the rights as a person without the liabilities of being a live, living being. Even back then, the colonies were tied to corporations that had to show profit.

    The woes of Pocahantas and her people were based on the greed of the corporation and its need to show profit. Specifically tobacco.

    It was the corporation (can’t recall the name right now) that stole the land of the once powerful Iroquois — Hollywood has painted it incorrectly, perhaps on purpose in order to rewrite history — but Hollywood almost always shows the culprit as a private individuals.

    Not so. The greed was almost always in most cases tied to some hunger of a corporation.

    But it’s not that all corporations are evil or bad. A corporation can be a blessing to mankind. But it can also be that which enslaves — and so I think that’s why originally our Founding Fathers had laws that stated that all corporations had to show that they were helping mankind — every year — or they would lose their charter.

    I forget when that was bypassed by statute — but I think our Founding Fathers had it right. Don’t restrict the corporation, but insist that it show — for real — that its existence is helping mankind.

    My thoughts.

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