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Touring Texoma: Quanah Parker Part I

<br><font size=3>&nbsp;</font> <P>One month from now, from June 9th through the 12th, descendants of Quanah Parker will be back in the Hardeman County town named for him, for a celebration 100- years after his death.</P>

One month from now, from June 9th through the 12th, descendants of Quanah Parker will be back in the Hardeman County town named for him, for a celebration 100- years after his death.

Scarlett Daugherty/Curator, Quanah Museum: "There's going to be people with crafts, clothes, jewelry, flute players, dancers, there will be dancing. They'll have teepees set up in the area, and on the courthouse square.

Carolyn Wilson/Three Rivers Foundation Arts & Sciences: "It was originally the Quanah Parker reunion, their family reunion. And, they've always had it in Cache, the Star House. And, they decided this year they wanted to share their culture and come back to Quanah and have it as the Quanah Parker Celebration."

Eugene Johnson/Economic Development Corp.:  "All the people in Quanah are excited. We've got ranchers coming in from various communities that used to give beef and all to the indians in the older days when Quanah was bringing them in."

"The thing about it is, the celebration is in memory of Quanah Parker because it's been 100- years since his death."

And, this week's Touring Texoma report is taking us back out to parts of this area, on a look at how Parker became the last chief of the Comanches.

For around 150- years, the Comanche Indians lived, hunted, and waged war over about 20- thousand square miles, from what's now central Texas, to Kansas and over into present day Colorado and New Mexico.

And Quanah Parker, leader of the band of Quahadas, was the last to take his people out of fighting and onto Fort Sill, and help convert them to the white man's way of life.

Towana Spivey/Director and Curator of Fort Sill's National Historic Landmark Museum: "Quanah was such a significant individual in the Fort Sill history, and the history of this area, he deserves special treatment."

Quanah was born in the Wichita Mountains area, south of Elk Mountain, to War Chief, Peta Nocona and white captive, Cynthia Ann Parker.

Spivey: "From the very beginning, when you could run, ride, shoot, swim, wrestle, you were training as a warrior. That's what life was about, to become a warrior. And, everything in the village and the family supported that warrior tradition."

And, Quanah excelled from very early on, at a time when his superior warrior abilities were needed most.

He was born almost 10- years after Texas declared independence from Mexico, just before Texas joined the union by treaty, and federal troops began building forts everywhere as more and more settlers moved here with intentions to stay.

By 1867, with shrinking Comanche numbers due to sickness, hunger and war with Texas Rangers and then the cavalry, different tribes of indians met in southern Kansas to reach a deal and avoid extermination.

Quanah's band of indians were among the 1/3 or so that refused to give up land in Texas, those who now often used guns instead of bows and arrows in their war with the United States.

Quanah was the ruthless and extremely intelligent leader in the revenge battle against buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls.

Spivey: "The 1874 Red River war as it's called, sometimes the indians call it the Buffalo War, was full of conflict all over the southern plains from Colorado to Texas to Kansas to the Indian Territory. And, Fort Sill was the hub of that war.

As the cavalry tracked down Quanah and his band of indians to Palo Duro Canyon during their retreat from the Red River War.

The Native Americans' entire heard of horses, numbering around 14- hundred, were shot and killed along with their spirit.

And, on June 2nd, 1875, Quanah brought in some 400 war weary Comanche followers to Fort Sill.

Spivey: "I think it became inevitable that they were hungry. It was hard to stay out of the white man's way. They were engaging buffalo hunters and settlers and Texas Rangers at all directions."

Spivey says Quanah tried hard to work out the arrangements for his people to be fed, and to get the best treatment possible.

"Quanah not only was one of the early major figures who came in here and surrendered, took a role as a leader of the Comanches, helped manage their business, their activities with the government, the army for a long time after."

He negotiated with the military and with indian agents at Fort Sill, and despite the fact Comanches had never had a single chief over its bands, Quanah Parker was named chief of the Comanche Nation by the U.S. Government, which he remained until his death.

Spivey: "It became very quickly obvious to the people dealing with him who he was. He was the son of the white captive, Cynthia Ann. He was a famous war chief they had fought in many instances. He was well known. So, he had status with the military and the agents here."

And, he succeeded in leading the Comanche Nation down the white man's road into the 20th Century.

Besides that, though, he became an extremely successful businessman and rancher, and even friend to American presidents.

And next thursday, we'll spotlight that portion of Quanah Parker's life, that was centered right here in Texoma.

We'll also look at why the town of Quanah was named for him.

Parker's house, called the Star House, is badly in need of repair.

When Fort Sill expanded in the 1950's during the cold war, it was relocated to the Cache area., west of Lawton.

And, that's where it still sits today.

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