Party for the People


Join us to mark the 50th anniversary of the Keeper dedication on May 18, 2024! The Bosin Society, in collaboration with the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, and other generous sponsors, invites you to a free and family-friendly celebration – the Party for the People. Experience a day filled with re-dedication ceremonies, a vibrant powwow, mesmerizing Native performances, free museum admission, captivating Native youth and adult art exhibits, delicious offerings from food trucks, and outdoor games and activities for families. The festivities will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display. Don't miss out on this joyous occasion!

Check out the schedule below and keep an eye out for weekly additions! Be sure to visit regularly to stay updated on all the exciting updates and activities we have in store for you!

Saturday, May 18 | Schedule of Events

8:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Parkrun 5K across the Keeper of the Plains Bridge utilizing the riverfront bike path. (Start/finish is at Exploration Place.​)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Keeper Rededication and opening remarks​​
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Outdoor Festival featuring Keeper Kids Zone​, community partners, activities.
​Featuring Native performers:​
Flute - Brandon Buffalohead
Singer/Actor - AJ Harvey​
Powwow Dancers - Indigenous Enterprise and more
1:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Free Arkansas River Rides from the SS Waterwagon, operated by the Wichita Wagonmasters. (Boarding near the Douglas Street bridge; rides departing app. every 20 min. to the Keeper and back.)
Native Elders Council concessions 
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Indoor Powwow
Free Museum Admission
4:30 p.m. - ?
Indian Taco Sale - until they sell out!
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Indoor Powwow
Free Museum Admission
9:00 p.m.
Fireworks set to Native music to be seen from the museum back grounds

Get 50% Off for the Keeper's 50th!​

Self-service kayak rentals at Riverside Tennis Center, Kellogg Bridge, and OJ Watson Park will be 50% off on May 17-18. (Valid for one time use, using code KEEPER50.)


History of the Keeper of the Plains

In the traditional Comanche manner, Francis Blackbear Bosin was born June 5, 1921 in a tipi near Cement, Oklahoma. He grew up very poor and in an isolated area. As the oldest male, he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents as soon as he was able to walk and lived with them for more than three years. At age six, he entered St. Patrick’s Mission school. His parents had attended the same school in their youth and raised their son to speak English as they did not know each other’s native tongue. It helped young Bosin when he attended that same Catholic school since only English was allowed. He grew up with little education about his heritage and learned to walk in the white world.

During the 1940s, many Indians in Oklahoma were encouraged to move to Wichita and build planes for the war effort. They built homes, raised families, and became part of the community. One young artist and draftsman, Blackbear Bosin, who made Wichita his home was a famous Kiowa Comanche artist. He was part of the group that came together in 1969 to form the Mid-America All-Indian Center (now Museum).

In 1968, Blackbear was asked by Elmer Hall from Kansas Gas and Electric Company to design a statue as a beautification project at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers on land owned by KG&E. The company had built an unattractive addition and wanted to beautify the area while focusing on our American Indian heritage in Kansas. However, KG&E ran out of funds and the Keeper of the Plains was not completed until May 18, 1974. It was a long process of the community coming together to find the funding to construct the sculpture. In 1972 the Wichita American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Wichita Festivals adopted the Keeper of the Plains sculpture as the bicentennial symbol of the Wichita community. The Wichita City Commission approved $10,000 in funding and on December 12, 1973, the State Bicentennial Commission gave a matching grant. The remaining $8,500 was raised through the sale of 10,000 Commemorative Bicentennial medals by the Quivira Council of Boy Scouts of America. Without those fundraising efforts, and Tom Washburn of Architectural Metal Products’ generosity honoring the original bid made six years before construction, the Keeper wouldn’t exist today.

In 2006, as part of a beautification project, the City of Wichita elevated the Keeper onto a 30’ rock and built the bridges and plaza area. The Keeper, which faces east to greet the rising sun, stands upon a large rock, into which a wooden door with a turtle on its face, was cut into it. The Keeper, which began as a humble idea in the mind of a local artist, is beloved by Wichitans and is THE iconic symbol of Wichita.