There is a building on the south side of Main St, just west of the church at the Live Oak intersection known as the Red Man Pocahontas Hall. You have probably driven by wondering what this hall is for and unaware of its history.
The Improved Order of Red Men is America’s oldest fraternal organization. They trace their roots to pre-Revolutionary War America. As Britain applied more taxes to the Americans, groups formed to protest. Among the early groups were; The Sons of Liberty and Sons of Tamina. The Sons of Liberty are infamous for the action they took in opposition to the Tea Act. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, the Sons of Liberty and others, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded the ships and dumped 342 chests of English tea into Boston Harbor.
The Sons of Liberty patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic governing body. Their system, with elected representatives to govern tribal councils, had been in existence for several centuries. The Improved Order of Red Men organizes their group as tribal councils with an elected representative to govern those councils which are patterned after the Iroquois Confederacy. They have kept the customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of their fraternity.
After the War of 1812 the name was changed to the Society of Red Men and in 1834 to the Improved Order of Red Men. They kept the customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of the fraternity.
The Degree of Pocahontas is the women’s affiliate of The Improved Order of Red Men. It was organized in 1885. The organization takes its name from the famous Pocahontas, daughter of the powerful Native American Chief Powhatan of the Algonquian Indian Tribe.
The Fraternal Order started in California in the early 1860’s. There were many tribes in the San Francisco area by the turn of the Century. A tribe was started in Somersville (just outside of Antioch in the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve). The Pocahontas started in 1889 in California. They have a very rich history over the last 150 years here in California.
With all this history about them they decided to create a museum and dedicated to PGS William F. Mullen Sr. I asked Shirley Darling why the museum, “We decided to share this history in our local community for the whole State, also Oregon and Nevada who are part of our Great Council.” Come and see the exhibit. The hall is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 – 1:00 while Loaves and Fishes are serving free lunches, also the First Sunday of the month from 8:00A.M. – 11:00A.M.
Their Mission Statement: We, citizens of the United States of America and members of the Degree of Pocahontas, Improved Order of Red Men, in order to perpetuate the hearts of our members a higher love and a holier veneration for the flag of our common country; cultivate a spirit of fraternal love, humbly invoking the divine guidance of the Great Spirit.
Shirley also let me know the many projects they are involved in including; they care for their member’s orphaned children, are active at the Veterans Hospitals as volunteers and support many charities. Our National Charity being Alzheimer’s (Pork Chop dinner Dec. 4th at 5:00P.M. cost will be $20.00), they also support statewide support Hospice, cancer, Diabetes, and many other charities. In Oakley we have Halloween Haunted house for the children of the community. We also have a Community Awareness day to acknowledge the charitable groups and the service groups available to help our citizens locally.
We serve breakfast the first Sunday of each month to the public. Cost is very reasonable. For further information please contact Shirley or Jim Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org . or 925-625-0596.