In 1993, a group of men decided to band together and form a Gourd Society.
The group project was spearheaded by Christian Kramer (Yuchi) and a set of by-laws were developed. The name, Standing Bear, was chosen because of a desire by the group for a “strong medicine name” and to honor the warriors who have carried the Standing Bear name.
The Kiowa Elders taught us that it is a men’s society for the purpose of healing, forgiveness, and prayer. The Gourd Societies developed historically in the Kiowa Nation and they later allowed other Native Americans to become members and form Gourd Societies. Originally, in the Kiowa Nation, the Gourd Society members protected the women and children (a sort of tribal police force) and honored the veterans of the tribe.
The women of the group have supported the men in this endeavor and you will find a lot of the women dancing behind the men and accompanying the singing of the drum group to show their support. We sincerely thank and applaud the women for their support, assistance, and understanding.
About 1995 a drum was added to the Brotherhood. The drum was given by the Woolsypiti Family and The Standing Bear Drum came into being with the help of Tim Tieyah (Comanche) as a part of the Gourd Society.
Standing Bear does programs for schools, scouts, home, churches, veterans hospital, historical societies, etc. in an effort to educate the general population on Native American Culture. The Brotherhood meets each Wednesday night at 6:30pm. The first Wednesday of the month is our business meeting. The rest of the Wednesdays in each month are singing and dance practice. We meet at the Highland Park Methodist Church 2914 SE Michigan Ave. Topeka, Kansas.