Keeper of the Plains stands at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers with hands raised in supplication to the Great Spirit. Since the sculpture's installation in 1974 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial, it has become a symbol for the city of Wichita and a tribute to the Native American tribes who continue to gather at this sacred site. The
Keeper also serves as the focal point of an eight-year, $20 million restoration and river beautification project completed in May 2007.
The 44-foot Cor-Ten steel
Keeper of the Plains sculpture now stands elevated on a 30-foot rock promontory, surrounded by a plaza which describes the Plains Indian way of life. Pedestrians can access the area via two bow-and-arrow-inspired cable-stay bridges which span the Little and Big Arkansas rivers. Fire drums on boulders at the foot of the
Keeper dramatically light the night. Plantings of sage, bottlebrush, medicinal herbs, prairie grasses, yuccas and cactus add to the sense of place and time.
Renowed Native American artist Blackbear Bosin donated the
Keeper of the Plains to the citizens of Wichita in 1974. It was erected at the junction of the two rivers and dedicated May 18, 1974, with Senator Bob Dole on hand for the dedication. The renovated
Keeper of the Plains was dedicated on May 18, 2007. The area is free and open to the public year-round.
Hours of Access
Keeper of the Plains Plaza and surrounding area will be closed to the public during the hours of midnight until 5am.
Surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the area. The City of Wichita will prosecute to recover losses due to vandalism.
City ordinance 11.16.085 bans skateboarding from the core area, including the
Keeper of the Plains Plaza and pedestrian bridges.