Party for the People celebration

Keeper of the Plains turns 50

Wichita celebrated the 50th anniversary of the iconic Keeper of the Plains statue at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum on May 18. 

“Party for the People” included a re-dedication of the statue by Blackbear Bosin, musical performances outside and a traditional powwow inside in the museum’s kiva space. The celebration attracted large crowds all day and included booths showcasing a variety of community-based organizations. Hunter Health staff provided first aid services and free blood pressure checks. There were also events for kids and arts & crafts. 

A particular hit was an Indian Taco sale that sold out very quickly. The event ended with fireworks set to Native American music outside by the Keeper. 

Newman Washington, Hunter Health’s Traditional Health Coordinator, said the event was an overwhelming success.  

“The turnout was superb,” he said. “Everybody enjoyed themselves.” 

He said it was a fitting tribute to Bosin’s locally famous statue. 

“The city of Wichita IS the Keeper. It’s an icon.”  

Louis Stumblingbear, who is Kiowa, was the emcee for the powwow, which was packed with eager spectators. He said it was positive that so many people came out to experience and learn about Native American culture. He said it helps shred stereotypes. 

“A lot of people still think we live in teepees and ride horses every day,” Stumblingbear said with a chuckle. “But we’re just regular people.” 

He said he was also glad that the Keeper of the Plains is such a uniting piece of art.  

“I’m appreciative of what it has meant to Wichita.” 


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