Indian museum collecting elders’ stories, Bosin works

By The Active Age | December 1, 2021

Blackbear Bosin created the monumental Keeper of the Plains sculpture but was primarily a painter.

Two projects at the Mid-America All-Indian Center are dovetailing nicely, according to executive director April Scott.

The museum’s “Tell Me a Story” oral history project has been collecting stories from Native American elders on video. Some of those elders are family members of artist Blackbear Bosin, whose work the museum is celebrating through next June.

“They’ve got some great stories about him,” Scott said of Bosin, who’s best-known locally for his Keeper of the Plains sculpture.

The museum hopes to collect stories on a wide variety of topics, not just Bosin, and plans to make them available via YouTube, Scott said. The first one to be posted features Eugene “Louie” Stumblingbear telling a humorous story about visiting a Native American healer.

Eugene “Louie” Stumblingbear recorded a tale of Native American healing man as part of a oral history project.

“I am simply trying to capture a moment in time before they’re gone,” Scott said. “A lot of these elders are traditional and they know their culture, and there’s an awful lot of generations after them that don’t.”

The museum’s “Bring the Bosins Home” project aims to collect Bosin originals for the museum’s collection and raise money to preserve them. Originally from Oklahoma, he moved to Wichita in the 1940s.

The museum’s exhibit on Bosin, who died in 1980, looks at his professional and personal life.

“He walked into the world at a time when it wasn’t cool to be an Indian, and he was in a multiracial marriage and a lot of things,” Scott said. “We try to show more about the person behind” the work.

The museum “pretty much turned the museum over to” Bosin for what would have been his 100th birthday on June 5, 2021, Scott said, and will continue to do so until a pow wow and celebration set for June 2022.

The museum, located at 650 N. Seneca, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, visit theindiancenter.org.

print