Wolf Creek Insignia
The Wolf Creek Generating Station logo is a synthesis of man and nature. Its Native American designer used symbolism and mythology to link nuclear technology to the Kansas landscape.
In designing the Wolf Creek insignia in 1980, Native American artist Blackbear Bosin hoped to focus on the plant’s positive role. The central image of a wolf represents a great provider that lived in harmony with the environment; for Bosin, the plant performed the same function. The blue band encircling the wolf’s head symbolizes nature’s gift of water, which in this case, references the cooling lake surrounding the plant. The star behind the wolf is Sirius, the wolf star. This star represents the pathway over which wolves travel to and from the spirit world down the wolf road, Milky Way. To the artist, Sirius also symbolized the heat produced by the plant’s nuclear energy.
Dedication of the signed print is interesting because Carlin, who was elected governor midway through the plant’s construction, opposed Wolf Creek’s development. Governor Carlin gave this print to the Kansas Historical Society in 1981; it is in the collections of the Society’s Kansas Museum of History. Born to a Kiowa father and a Comanche mother on June 5, 1921, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, Blackbear Bosin became an internationally recognized artist.
“Dust flies and the earth trembles as man and nature collide in America’s
quest for energy. Here, man is building a nuclear power plant.”
– Fort Scott Tribune, May 21, 1977
He was named Blackbear – Ksate Kongia – after his great-grandfather, and was raised in a Comanche surrounding for the early years of his childhood. He attended St. Patrick’s Mission schools, where he was first exposed to the traditional art of the Five Kiowa painters. He started painting then and never ceased until the day of his death, August 9, 1980. He was a graduate of Cyril High School and attended a trade school in Chilocco while painting at night and peddling his pictures for $2.50. He left Oklahoma and joined the Marine Corps where he served for two years during World War II. He was given the opportunity to hold his first one-man show in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a sellout.
After serving in World War II, he moved to Wichita, the city he adopted as his home, and worked as an illustrator for Boeing Aircraft. He developed his skills further and devoted all his efforts to portray scenes and tales of his beloved Indian heritage. Although he held several positions in the commercial art field with local businesses, Blackbear’s deep desire was to be a full-time artist.
National Geographic gave Blackbear Bosin his first national recognition in March 1955, with the publication of his painting, “Prairie Fire.”
Bosin was best known for sculpting the “Keeper of the Plains,” a 44-foot statue commissioned by KG&E and placed in downtown Wichita.
He was commissioned by the Franklin Mint of Franklin, Pennsylvania, to contribute to a metallic Historical series and by the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., to create several paintings.
Besides being recognized as an artist, Blackbear Bosin held executive positions on the Mid-America All-Indian Center Board of Trustees; the Indian Center Museum’s Acquisition Board of Wichita and the Kansas Arts Commission. He was made a Fellow of International Arts and Letters in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.