Lodge History


Gila Lodge #378 was founded in early 1947 with the first Ordeal held at Camp Zach White in February of that year. The Lodge was asked to assist the National Park Service and the University of New Mexico in the excavation and restoration of the Gila Cliff Dwellings. George E. McDonald was the first Lodge Chief, and Mike Ramirez was the second. Legend has it that during a rest break while working on the restoration, Mike and George made bow and arrow for a ceremony. They saw a snake hiding under a rock and decided to shoot it with the bow and arrow and cook it for dinner. George flipped the rock but when Mike shot, he missed the snake but killed a large bug. The Indian pictograph of the wilderness looks like a bug, and this became the totem of the Gila Lodge