Founded in 1976, the Mid-America All-Indian Center (MAAIC) is dedicated to the history, culture and art of Native Americans. It serves as both a museum and a cultural center, and is focused on both preservation and education.
Where is it?
The Mid-America All-Indian Center is located along the Arkansas River in the Riverside neighborhood of Wichita.
Address: 650 North Seneca Street, Wichita, KS 67203 United States
Coordinates: 37°41′32″N 97°21′7″W
What can I experience here?
Here are just a few examples of the many experiences that MAAIC has to offer:
- The collection of Native American artifacts contains many different things, including beadwork, jewelry, pottery, pipe bags, and baskets.
- Even though the museum is located in Kansas, it has a big collection of Alaska Native artwork created in the mid-20th century.
- This museum have the largest publicly displayed body of artwork by Tsate Kongia (Blackbear Bosin), a Kiowa-Comanche painter and sculptor who lived 1921-1980. He was born in Oklahoma but moved to Wichita right after high school.
- Flags from over 70 different Native American tribes are on display in the Gallery of Nations.
- Outside the MAAIC building, there is an Outdoor Learning Center that includes, among other things, an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site maintained in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks. There is also a genuine tipi, a travois (Native American sledge), a medicinal garden, and an outdoor classroom.
- Throughout the year, the center offers various arts and crafts classes (for a fee). The classes are focused on learning hands-on about the traditional arts and crafts of certain Native American tribes. The teachers are local Native Americans. Examples of classes that have been held in the past are dream catcher class, loom making, clay sculpture, jewelry design, beaded ornaments, and the making of loom beaded bracelets. Each class is typically limited to 12 participants.
The famous 44-foot statue Keeper of the Plains is located east of the MAAIC building, in Keeper Plaza.
Native American cultural events
The center is a cultural hub for the circa 10,000 Native Americans who live in the Wichita metropolitan area. Among other things, the center hosts powwows.
The American Indian Festival
The center launched the first American Indian Festival in 2011, inspired by the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City.
When the Mid-America All-Indian Center opened in 1976, it was a cultural center and provider of social services to the Native American community. One of the co-founders was the Kiowa artist and artisan Betty Nixon. Eventually, the social services part of the project was closed.
Crisis and resurrection
In the mid-2000s, the center was suffering from mismanagement and heavily in debt. In the midst of this, it was discovered that several artifacts had gone missing from the museum. In 2005, the city of Wichita took control of the center and temporarily closed it. The city also lent money to the center to get its finances in order. (The loan was repaid within two years.)
As part of the resurrection, the city trimmed costs and restructured the center, and also commissioned a new digital inventory of all artifacts. All of the missing artifacts eventually found their way back to the museum.