People come from all over the world to see the Keeper of the Plains in Wichita, Kansas. This five-ton, 44-foot-tall steel sculpture is the most recognizable landmark in the Heart of the Country and is one of the region’s most photographed pieces of public art. It symbolizes inclusiveness as it brings together locals and visitors from all walks of life to marvel at its rich history and beauty.

Keeper of the Plains - Midwest Living

The majestic work by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin (1921-1980) stands in downtown Wichita, where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join. In addition to seeing its beauty, visiting the Keeper allows people to explore an important cultural and historic site in Wichita. The land between the two rivers where the Keeper stands is sacred ground to the Native American people, and Bosin, a nationally recognized artist who considered Wichita home.

The Keeper of the Plains was donated to the city of Wichita in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial, first displayed five decades ago in May 1974. A family-friendly festival commemorating the 50th anniversary, Party for the People, is scheduled for May 18 at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum (MAAIM). The day-long party will include re-dedication ceremonies, a powwow, mesmerizing Native performances, Native art exhibits, food trucks, fireworks and a variety of outdoor activities.


  • 1-1:30 p.m. | Re-dedication Ceremony 
  • 1-5 p.m. | Keeper Kids Zone, Outdoor Festival, Food Trucks
  • 1:30-5 p.m. | Native Performances: Flue - Brandon Buffalohead, Singer/Actor - AJ Harvey, Powwow Dancers - Indigenous Enterprise and more
  • 1-8 p.m. | Wichita Wagonmasters River Tours (launching from Douglas Ave.) and Native Elders Council Concessions
  • 2-5 p.m. | Powwow - Indoors and Free Museum Admission
  • 4:30 | Indian Taco Sale (while supplies last)
  • 6-8 p.m. | Powwow - Indoors and Free Museum Admission
  • 9 p.m. | Fireworks Show set to Native Music to be seen from museum backgrounds 

Admission is free for the Party for the People. Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family and get ready to experience this special event.

A family takes a break from a bike ride over spring break near the Keeper of the Plains in Wichita

Visiting the Keeper year-round

Can’t make it to the party? No problem! You can visit the Keeper of the Plains any time of year. Between 5 a.m. and midnight, you can get to the Keeper by crossing one of two footbridges from each side of the river. The statue and the surrounding Keeper of the Plains Plaza are free and accessible and include exhibits detailing the customs and traditions of the Plains Indians. Wheelchair-accessible paths guide visitors through the displays and down to the railing at the Keeper’s base just above the five firepots.

It is common for crowds to gather near the Keeper during its nightly Ring of Fire ceremony, watching as five fire drums illuminate the statue and the water below. The firepots, known as the “Ring of Fire” when lit, happens each night (at 9 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time and 7 p.m. during Standard Time). If the winds are calm, the firepots are lit for 15 minutes. The firepots are symbolic as they complete a sacred hoop of the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. It’s a top photography spot in Wichita not only at night but during just about any sunrise or sunset. It’s a place where everyone – no matter their age or cultural background – can gather to find peace and tranquility in the heart of the city.

A group kayaks in the Arkansas River near the Keeper of the Plains statue

You’ll find parking near the two footbridges leading to the Keeper. Throughout most of the year visitors can opt to participate in a kayak tour or rent watercraft from Boats and Bikes to explore the structure from the water. Also nearby, along the east riverbank, art lovers can view the statues at Veterans Memorial Park and easy access to Wichita’s Museums on the River.

Don’t miss a visit to the Keeper of the Plains. It’s a place where everyone – no matter their age or cultural background – can gather for peaceful and tranquil reflection. Go here for more details.