Venture Bound: Museum highlights America’s first people – News – Columbia Daily Tribune

The Mid-America All-Indian Center in Wichita, Kan., focuses on the history and culture of the Nature Americans who originally populated this area.

Our visit started with an excellent film about the career of Francis Blackbear Bosin, a Native American artist who developed a painting style specifically to help Native Americans keep ties with their traditional tribal cultures.

Born in an Indian community, he was sent off early to a school that was specifically developed to remove Indian children from their own culture and help them become members of American culture. Another display emphasizes how widespread the attempts were to put Indian children in boarding schools and convert them to our way of life while destroying theirs.

Blackbear resisted and escaped from the program and spent the rest of his life dedicated to restoring Indian spiritually through his art work.

The centerpiece of the main display hall is “From Whence All Life,” a lengthy mural Blackbear made for the Credit Bank of Wichita that is now on permanent loan to the museum. In the mural, Blackbear is attempting to show the philosophy of life common to this area before the white man came along and not only upset Indian traditions, but tried to eradicate them.

A variety of pots are on display with a list of 19 terms used to describe them. For example, a wedding vase has a double mouth and Micaceous vase is made with glittery mineral mica.

Seventy Native American flags hang in the large gallery. The comments on each flag shown in the brochure allow the visitor to get a brief history of each of the tribes. 

Fifteen of the flags are tribes that are now in Oklahoma. The Ponca tribe of Oklahoma has a different flag than the Ponca tribe of Nebraska. The brochure while explaining the meaning of the symbols on the flags points out that the Ponca tribe was forcefully moved to Oklahoma, but part of the tribe returned to Nebraska because off harsh conditions.

In the hall of…

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