Keeper of the Plains
Rising more than 70 feet above the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers in the heart of Wichita, Kansas, is a steel sculpture, keeping watch over this sacred site.
The Keeper of the Plains, standing 44-feet tall and resting atop a 30-foot rock base, was unveiled in 1974 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. It is part of a $20 million, eight-year, restoration project that converted the surrounding land into a park-like area with easily accessible walking paths and seating.
The area, where two rivers meet, has long been considered sacred by Native Americans who continue to host ceremonies here.
Pedestrian walkways with massive arches and steel cables, their design inspired by the image of a bow and arrow, guide visitors across the rivers and to the statue.
Around the statue are permanent displays, both depicting and telling the story of the Plains Indian way of life.
For 15 minutes each evening fire pots are lit around the sculpture, casting a dancing orange glow around the base and upward onto the Keeper. Hours vary depending on the season, check here for times.
The sculpture was created by Blackbear Bosin, a renowned Comanche/Kiowa artist who died just six years after the sculpture was opened at the age of 59. His painting, Prairie Fire, received international recognition and was featured in the May 1955 issue of National Geographic.
Nearby to the statue are both the Mid-America All-Indian Museum and Exploration Place.
The All-Indian Museum is dedicated to sharing the art, culture and heritage of American Indians. With more than 3,000 artifacts in its collection, exhibits rotate throughout the year.
Exploration Place is a futuristic-looking science museum with live science shows, a dome theatre and more that is an especially great place to take children.
Keeper of the Plains is an all-outdoor, free-of-charge, area. There are admission fees for both the Mid-America All-Indian Museum and Exploration Place with information available on their websites.
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