Party for the People

 

Join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Keeper dedication on May 18, 2024! The Bosin Society, in collaboration with the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, 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

7am
Volunteer to clean up the river!
8am
Park Run (Register Online)
12-2pm
City Crew Event
1pm
Re-dedication Ceremony & Opening Remarks
1-5pm
Outdoor Festival & Live Entertainment
Food Trucks
1-3pm
Fishing Competition
2-8pm
Indoor Powwow
Free Museum Admission
8pm
Night Kayak Tour
9pm
Fireworks Show Set to Native Music

Sponsor

Would you like to become a sponsor? Get in touch with April Scott at ascott@wichita.gov to explore exciting sponsorship opportunities! Your support could make a significant impact on our event, and we look forward to discussing how we can collaborate.
Download the Sponsor Packet

Vendor

Ready to showcase your offerings at our event? Register now to become a vendor and be part of the 50th celebration, Party For the People! We welcome your participation and look forward to creating a vibrant and diverse marketplace at this special occasion. Don't miss the chance to connect with our community – sign up today! Email April Scott at ascott@wichita.gov to get started on becoming a Vendor.

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 the group that came together in 1969 and formed 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 6 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.