A Native American sentinel atop a horse now keeps watch in a downtown Omaha park.
The statue is one of four being installed at Pioneer Courage Park near 15th Street and Capitol Avenue. The statues, which include two other Native Americans and a settler, come together to form a piece called “Trading for Directions.”
Sculpted by Utah-based artist Blair Buswell, the scene depicts the frontiersman asking the three Native Americans for directions on a map. The frontiersman also is bartering goods with the three.
The installation process, which began around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, is set to continue through Friday and into Saturday if needed.
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The installation is part of five blocks of sculpture installations that were commissioned by First National Bank in the early 2000s. The works stretch from Pioneer Courage Park into the Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Park at 16th and Dodge Streets. They wrap up in the Winter Garden Atrium in First National Tower.
The statues are meant to interact with each other over the five-block stretch. A wagon train at 14th and Capitol scares a group of bison, which flee south down 15th. The bison then run into a pond in Wilderness Park, startling the geese that finish out the installation.
The first sculptures were installed in 2002. Three artists — Buswell, Utah-based Ed Fraughton and Colorado-based Kent Ullberg — plus New Hampshire-based land architect Jim Reeves spearheaded the works.
“It’s really unique in that we just had an open canvas,” Buswell said. “They said, ‘We want the edge of the frontier represented and the wildlife of Nebraska. Have fun, figure it out.’ And we did.”
As for “Trading for Directions,” it’s not necessarily finished, Buswell said. More figures will be added later, likely frontiersmen, potentially one on a horse, as well as multiple other Native Americans.