Koshare Indian Kiva and Museum

Koshare Indian Kiva and Museum

The Koshare Indian Kiva is located on the Otero Junior College campus and is one of Colorado's premier attractions.

Koshare Indian Museum
& Trading Post

115 W 18th St.
La Junta, CO 81050

(On the OJC Campus)

(719) 384-4411

  Museum Hours

Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Closed Tuesday & Thursday

On Show Nights, Open Until 9:00 PM

   Museum Rates

Adults: $5.00
Students (7 - 17): $3.00
Seniors (55+): $3.00
Children (6 and under): Free

The Koshare Clown

About the Koshare Indian Kiva

The Kiva, which is owned by the college, is unusual in that it was built by the La Junta Boy Scout troop under the inspired leadership of James Francis "Buck" Burshears, and the original 1949 structure is a registered state historic site of the Colorado Historical Society, housing a collection of Native American art and artifacts considered to be among the finest in the world. Today the Koshare Indian Kiva not only houses an impressive museum, but a first class gift shop, and of course the Kiva itself which provides the center stage for the world-famous Koshare Indian Dancers.

An Idea is Born
During a trip to Aztec National Monument in 1939, the Koshares heard the ranger tell the story of the prehistoric Indians who built the great ceremonial Kivas a thousand years ago. From that visit and other visits in 1941 and 1946, the boys resolved to invest surplus Koshare money in the building of a giant Kiva.

A Remarkable Room
When President Eisenhower visited the Koshare Kiva, he stated the ceiling was truly amazing as he stood at the center of the room and looked. Typically referred to as "the Kiva," the room is patterned after the kivas of the Southwest and is one of the most unique places to be found in America.

The main reason for the uniqueness is that the building was built through the dedicated efforts of the Koshare Indian Dancers - a Boy Scout group. The Kiva, used as the performance area for the Koshare Indian Dancers, is what most visitors view as the featured piece of the Koshare Indian Museum.

The Kiva Interior

The Kiva Atmosphere

Visitors to the Kiva are amazed by the unique log roof, the wonderful art displayed, and the atmosphere this room provides. It's that special atmosphere that visitors enjoy the most.

Priceless pottery is used throughout the Kiva as light fixtures. Rocks used in ancient Native American kivas over two thousand years ago protrude from the inside walls. Ten large murals, by famous Native American artist Velino Herrera, adorn the walls of the Kiva.

Thanks greatly to these efforts the Kiva has been declared the most beautifully decorated Indian-type room in the world by no less than the Laboratory of Ethnology in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Kiva contains many examples of Native American art

The Koshare Indian Museum

The link between the dancer program and the Museum began by introducing the Koshare dancers to art and artifacts as well as noted artists throughout their tenure as a Koshare Indian dancer. The youth gained an appreciation of Native American and Southwestern art and soon began collecting and purchasing Native American Indian art and artifacts. In 1949, they built a replica of an authentic Pueblo Kiva in which to perform their dances and house their growing collection. Over the years, graduating Koshare classes purchased a piece of art to leave to the Museum on behalf of their senior class.

We have had the privilege of having many archaeologists and museum directors visit our Kiva. This visitors are astounded at the collections we have and have pronounced our efforts one of the most interesting examples to be found any place in America. Most Scout Troops and Scout organizations operate on a shoe string and work diligently to make enough money to get by. However, here a group of Boy Scouts with dedicated leadership have purchased for our community a building, a museum, and a program that attracts interested people from all over the world.

Did you know...
In February of 2008, the Koshares performed at the Colorado Governor's Mansion - 75 years (to the month) after the first official Koshare meeting.