The first Indian Guides program was initiated by Harold S. Keltner of the St. Louis YMCA in 1926. He organized the original tribe in Richmond Heights, Missouri with the assistance of his friend, Joe Friday, an Ojibwa Indian.
Joe Friday once mentioned to Mr. Keltner as they warmed around a blazing campfire: “The Indian father raises his son. He teaches his son to hunt, track, fish, walk softly and quietly within the forest, understand the purpose and meaning of life everything he must know.”
These statements struck home, and Harold Keltner collaborated with Joe Friday to build a new YMCA program at the St. Louis YMCA.
The Ojibwa Indian spoke before groups of boys and dads in St. Louis, and Keltner discovered that the boys and their fathers, had a strong curiosity to learn of the traditions and ways of the American Indian.
Based on these experiences, he formed a father and son program primarily based upon the strong qualities of the American Indian culture and life — dignity, patience, endurance, spirituality, respect for nature and love for the family.
After WWII, the success of the father/son program nurtured the idea of alternative parent-child programs, to build stronger relationship between fathers and daughters. The “Indian Princesses” program was born from this.
For over eighty five years, these programs have been the cornerstone for family programs across the country. In recent years, The Croix Nation has joined to become part of the independent Algonquin Longhouse, continuing this tradition.