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Field Sunset


Native American Medicine Man in Great Plains Kansas

In 1979 Doug Boyd's Cross Cultural Studies Program hosted an International Symposium in Parkville, Missouri, bringing spiritual leaders from around the world to address the poverty and injustice that Native peoples in the Americas have been subject to. A lasting outcome of this symposium was the annual meeting of Native Elders and leaders called Wisdom Keepers in Asheville, North Carolina. Coming together to socialize, celebrate, and problem solve following Sacred Traditions.


Ted Williams, who was born on the Tuscarora Reservation near Niagara Falls, NY- was one of the founding elders of Wisdom Keepers. Ted's father was Eleaser Williams, a Medicine Man and Sachem Chief of the Turtle Clan.  Ted’s mother, Amelia Chew, was a Clan Mother of the Wolf Clan. Ted worked with Wallace Mad Bear Anderson. Mad Bear was a member of the Bear Clan of the Tuscarora Nation of the Six-Nation Iroquois Confederacy of the United States and Canada. A Native American rights-activist, he was also a medicine man and a leader with great power and influence both among his own people and cross culturally.

In 2002, Doug, Ted, and Mad Bear decided to hold the gathering in Council Grove at White Memorial Camp, a site with deep roots for the original occupants, the Kansa. This change of venue was agreed upon by the Elders and this event became known as the Wisdom Keepers Gathering. 

With Doug's passing in 2009, it was unanimously agreed his work should continue and in order to be separate from Doug's Cross Cultural Studies Program, a 501(C3) was created and the gathering became known as the Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers.

"May that which is best for all of life come to pass." — Doug Boyd

Our Story

Doug Boyd

1934 - 2009

Mad Bear

1927 – 1985

Ted Williams

1930 - 2005

Our Vision

Welcome to Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers. Our gatherings are a unique opportunity to learn about Native culture and connect with a community of people who share a passion for learning and respect. We believe that listening actively is at the heart of our teachings and wisdom. We welcome everyone to our events, regardless of their background, age, or beliefs. We believe that fostering an understanding of other cultures is instrumental in building a more empathetic and respectful society. Children are welcome, however, must always be accompanied by an adult. Please know that there is no specific program for children offered at this time.

For People to Come Together

Mark Jones - President

Brenda Volz - Vice President

Byron Fry - Treasurer 

Joni Fornelli - Secretary

Karen Reagle - Historian

Our Board of Directors (Active)

Mark Sampsel (Firekeeper & Consultant)

Byron Fry (Chair)

Steve Boyda 

The Boyer Family

Rock Erichson

Steve Erichson

Steve Strause

George LeRoux

Mark Jones (Chair)

Annual Gathering Supporters

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