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Marion native finishes book on 'Keeper of the Plains' statue and its designer

Staff writer

Margaret Williams Norton of River Grove, Ill., has published a book about Native American Blackbear Bosin and the “Keeper of the Plains” sculpture in Wichita, which he designed.

The tall, 5-ton statue, made from rust-colored steel, was installed in 1974 on the bank of the Little Arkansas River, next to the Mid-America All Indian Center.

According to Norton, early white settlers and the Wichita Indians residing in the Arkansas River Valley lived together in peace until the Native Americans were forced out of the area by the U.S. government in the 1860s. For that reason, she said, Native Americans from various tribes made their way to Wichita later.

Blackbear Bosin was a Kiowa-Comanche born in Oklahoma, but he spent most of his adult life in Wichita, where he and his artwork were highly regarded. He died in 1980.

Norton lived in Marion until 1951. She moved at age 12. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Fine Arts Department at Triton College in River Grove, Ill.

Norton owns a house at Marion County Lake where she spends part of her time.

The book, Keeper of the Plains: Blackbear Bosin’s “Great Indian” in Wichita, is available by calling (888) 281-5170 or (877) 565-2665. It also is available at the Marion City Library.

Norton has been working on a study of Blackbear Bosin’s paintings for a number of years, and that bigger project is ongoing.

Last modified Oct. 27, 2010

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