Yes, with the understanding that we do not have a program for children, so they must be accompanied by an adult. If they can sit and listen they are welcome in the circle with the Elders. The grounds are open to parents and children who want to be outdoors. There are patches of prairie and oak shorelines to explore, but be sure to ask if any areas are restricted. The camp or Gathering staff will be happy to direct you.
Are Children Welcome at the Gathering?
Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers is dedicated to sharing the teachings, ceremonies, and traditions of the indigenous and native communities. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds who are interested in learning and experiencing these traditions. For ceremonial purposes, we request that all individuals wear respectful full-length clothing that covers the knees and shoulders, with modest necklines, and no hats during ceremony.
Please check the weather forecast before arrival. Preparations for rain, snow, and tornadoes is common in Kansas. Shoes suitable for hiking are strongly recommended.
What Should I Wear?
We publish an outline of the schedule on the website to help people decide which day to attend if they aren’t coming for the full weekend. Also, you will receive a Welcome Packet a few weeks before the Gathering which will include the detailed schedule. If there are last minute changes you will receive an email or phone call.
Saturday, the longest day, starts with the Sunrise Ceremony and Lighting of the Sacred Fire. Saturday ends with a choice of activities like singing and dancing, films, or ceremony offered by an Elder. These activities can last until after 10:00 p.m..
The Elders don’t always decide what they want to present until close to the event, but it is always subject to what Spirit guides them to talk about. In their wisdom they connect us with Mother Earth and can change our perspective of how lives are lived in harmony with all sentient beings.
Where can I find the full schedule?
The Sacred Fire is located behind the Elder's Lodge. We light the fire on Saturday morning during the Sunrise Ceremony. The "Hotchka", as the Lakota call the Sacred Fire, is the Heart of the Gathering. It connects all participants through its purifying influence. With the support and guidance of our Firekeeper the participants are with the fire until the Closing Ceremony, Sunday evening. During this time everyone is encouraged to sign up and be responsible for tending the fire (with the help of the FIreKeeper) and visit anytime with respect to all those in quiet meditation and prayer. Respectful space is also given for Elders who may be in the Fire Circle doing special ceremony.
What is the Sacred Fire?
There are no restrictions to bringing food to the camp. The kitchen staff provide three excellent meals daily during your stay. Coffee, tea (hot or cold), and water are always available in the Main Lodge. We hope you will think of Mother Earth and bring your own water container. The kitchen staff frown on us taking mugs to our cabins, so you could bring your own. Each cabin is equipped with a small refrigerator and microwave. If you have special dietary needs please let us know when you register.
Do I need to bring food?
Common sense and courtesy should prevail in all circumstances. Specifically, do not interrupt an Elder or group, by voice or actions. Absolutely no photographs, video/audio recordings without the express permission of the Elder. Some have beliefs about this. When an Elder is speaking, please do not take any written notes. It's considered poor manners to do anything other than listen. Some Elders believe that when they are talking about Spirit that the Spirit or belief dies if someone writes down the words. This is our way of honoring their oral traditions.
How can I best show respect to Elders/Presenters?
Frequently Asked Questions
Lodging and Transportation
White Memorial Camp
Winterized stone cottages house bedrooms and full bathrooms. All cabins have a living room area, complete with small kitchen and in some cases, a fireplace. The Gathering takes place in the main lodge, as do the meals.
Cabin accommodations allow eight to sixteen persons to a room with comfortable bunk beds while sharing a bathroom and shower. Some of the beds are upper bunks. Bedding (Flat sheets, pillow case, blanket, towels and wash cloths) are supplied. Since temperatures may be cooler in April, please be reminded that the blankets in the cabins must stay in the cabins at all times. Instead, bring layers of clothing to keep warm or that can be removed as needed.
Tenting/camping is available on a limited basis at no change in cost. Those camping are required to bring all necessary gear and equipment and should be prepared for any weather. Campers will be sharing the cabin bathrooms with dormitory guests.
Although participants are encouraged to stay at White Memorial Camp, other lodging options are available in nearby Council Grove (12 miles from camp) or Manhattan (approximately 35 miles away). Those wishing to make alternative lodging arrangements are responsible for their own reservations, hotel costs, and transportation to and from White Memorial Camp.
In the past, those arriving by air have elected to rent a car from the airport or arrange to share a vehicle with another attendee. All participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation.
White Memorial Camp
1271 S. 1050 Road
Council Grove, KS 66846