The Comanche



The model for this piece of sculpture was Quanah Parker, the last Comanche Chief.  He was born sometime between 1845 and 1852 in Gains County located in West Texas on the banks of a large salt water lagoon.  This location was believed to be a sacred burial ground for the leaders of several tribes.  Quanah’s name believed to be translated to mean “Sweet Smell” or “Fragrant”, which probably referred to a spring berth.  He was the son of a white woman named Cynthia Ann Parker captured by the Comanche and her Indian husband the famous Peta Nocona, Chief of the Noconi band of Comanches.

Around 1860 Quanah’s father was killed by Texas Rangers.  Quanah then joined the Quahada Comanches and became a great leader, fighting with the Quahada against the rapid spread of white settlements.

As leader of the Comanches, Quanah lived two different lives:  One as a warrior among the plains Indians, the other as a peacemaking leader trying to seek a place for his people in a changing world.

Later in life, as a warrior Quanah lead his band of Qwahada Comanches in organized attacks on white settlements south of the Red River near Gainsville, Texas.

After several years of peace treaties being signed and broken by the US government, buffalo hunters who were encouraged by the government began  slaughtering the great herds of buffalo.  They hoped this would force the natives to move to the reservations.  This action was a direct treaty violation.

With their food source depleted, and under continuous pressure from the army, the Quahadas under Quanah’s leadership finally surrendered in 1875 to Colonel Mackenzie’s army and settled on the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation in Southwestern Indian Territory.  At this time, Quanah embraced much of the white culture and adopted the surname Parker.  He became well respected by the whites.  He went on several hunting trips with President Theodore Roosevelt, who often visited him.

Quanah had seven wives and when told by a government official that he must get rid of all but one, Quanah replied, I agree, you tell them.  Quanah kept all of them.