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Quanah Parker

1840 – February 23, 1911

Quanah Parker was the last Chief of the Comanches who lived in the panhandle of Texas. The town of Quanah, Texas is named for him and there is a statue there to honor him. While Quanah Parker was a brave and fierce warrior (he never lost a battle with the ‘white man,’ he became one of the most famous peacemaking chiefs. He was never captured by the Army, but instead surrendered, and led his people into adaptation to the white man’s culture, because he saw that as the only way for his people to survive. His efforts probably saved his nation from extinction. Quanah was born around 1850, the son of Quahada Comanche Chief, Pete Nocona, and an Anglo mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, who, as a young girl, was taken when her parents where killed in a raid, during that time when the Native Americans were trying to defend their lands from the waves of white settlers. Quanah had the wisdom to see the folly of bloodshed and violence and counseled other Native Americans to seek more peaceful ways and learn how to coexist, and even cooperate with the new settlers. Even though he was wary of the past lies and deceptive treaties of the ‘white man,’ he believed he was given a sign (through a wolf and an eagle) to seek ways of peace. He was deeply respected in both white and Native American circles. Even on the reservation, he fought to keep alive his tribal religion and culture, negotiated grazing rights with Texas cattlemen, and invested in the railroad. He learned English, became a reservation judge, lobbied congress and pled the cause of the Comanche Nation. Among his friends was President Theodore Roosevelt. While noted for his courage, integrity and insight, his true heroism was determined by his work for peace.

Submitted by Susan Quinn Bryan in 2007.