Golden State Gourd Society

Golden State Gourd Society

The Golden State Gourd Society was started in Maywood, Ca. in 1971.  The purpose of this organization is to carry on the traditions of the Kiowa Gourd Clan, which has been revived to carry on it's music and dancing.  This dance originated with the Kiowa Tribe and has been handed down from one generation to the next.

This Society has turned 40 years old since it's inception and although many of the original charter members have left us, the legacy they left behind continues on through their children and grandchildren.  As members of this Society, we truly cherish and respect the traditions and rich history of the Gourd Dance that has been handed down by our forefathers.


Kiowa Legend of the Gourd Dance

A long time ago, when the Kiowa’s lived in the Black Hills and Wyoming area, a young Kiowa warrior was separated from his people.  After many days without food and water, he was weak and had given up hope of ever seeing his people again.  Nearing his final hour, he heard a strong and clear voice singing beyond a nearby hill.  He climbed the hill and as he peered over the top he saw a beautiful Red Wolf.  The wolf was standing on his hind legs bouncing up and down, singing songs and melodies that were stirring to the warrior.  In the wolf’s paw was a gourd that was used to keep time with each song and as the song ended he would raise the rattle to the sky and vigorously shake it and let out a howl.  The wolf continued singing these songs throughout the night, while the warrior tried to remember each song.  At dawn the Red Wolf looked at the warrior and instructed him to take the songs and dance back to his people as a gift.  He was told as long as they cherish their tribal ways, this dance and these songs would remain with them. When the Kiowa warrior returned to his people, he related his story. The people listened to the songs and melodies and to show their appreciation to the Red Wolf, they ended each song with a wolf howl.

To this day the Kiowa honor the Red Wolf at the end of each song by shaking their gourds and rendering a wolf howl. 



In 1971 at Maywood, California, a group of Oklahoma Indian families came together to officially form the Golden State Gourd Society.  They decided to base their protocol on the original Kiowa Gourd Clan organization.  Permission was given to the group by Taft Hainta, then President of the Kiowa Gourd Clan, so that the Oklahoma Indian Tribal members now located in California, could use this particular ceremony as a part of the Powwow arena in the proper manner, and would assist in perpetuating the Gourd Dance and its songs.

At the initial formation of the Gourd Society meeting in Maywood were the Bohay, Yackus, Edmonds, Allrunners and Nightwalker families.  Officers were elected as follows:  Mr. Howard Yackus-President, Sonny Miller-Vice President and spokesman, June Miller and Mamie Bohay-Secretaries, Carl Bryant-Chaplain and Melvin Ahhaitty-Head Singer.

When President Howard Yackus was tragically killed in the Cerritos plane crash in 1986 all existing records for the organization were lost with him.  It was then that Mr. Les Hand took over the leadership.  He appointed Randy Edmonds as Vice-President, Mike Burgess-Whipman and June Miller-Secretary.

Subsequent officers were Randy Edmonds-President, Steve Bohay-Vice President, Larry Brown-Secretary/Treasurer, Mike Burgess-Whipman, Marv Abrams-Chaplain, Ken Yackus-Officer at Large.  The current officers are listed below.

All officers should have a basic knowledge of the Golden State Gourd Society and where the dances came from, what the proper protocol is for the arena, the songs, the dance, the sponsoring of new members, honoring dances and the appropriate regalia.  They should at all times show respect and honor to the Golden State Gourd Society and the arena.

Golden State Gourd Society Officers

The current Officers for the Gourd Society are as follows:

Steve Bohay, Kiowa...................................................President

Darron Ahhaitty, Kiowa, Comanche, Cherokee....................Vice President

Tim Morales..........................................Secretary/Treasurer

Julio Rodriguez.......................................Whipman

You can contact the Golden State Gourd Society at:


According to the Golden State Gourd Society bylaws, there are 2 types of membership in this association:

American Indian Ancestry
-all individuals must be of American Indian Ancestry and will have submitted the information required by the Golden State Gourd Society and have all the privileges of a member of this society.

Associate Members-shall be non-indians with non-voting privileges, but have all other privileges of a member, such as participating in the Golden State Gourd Society activities.

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Golden State Gourd Society Logo

The Golden State Gourd Society would like to thank Sonny Del Castillo for his hard work on improving the old Logo and adding more color and detail. 

Site last updated 3/11/2013

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