This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.
Born about 1845, Comanche leader Quanah Parker lived two vastly different lives: the first as a warrior among the Plains Indians of Texas, and the second as a pragmatic leader who sought a place for his people in a rapidly changing America.
Parker's birth was a direct result of the conflict between Native Americans and white settlers. His mother, Cynthia Parker, was captured by the Comanche as a child and later married his father, Chief Peta Nocona.
In 1860, after Parker's father was killed by Texas Rangers, young Quanah moved west, where he joined the Quahada Comanche. Parker proved an able leader, fighting with the Quahada against the spread of white settlement.
But in 1875, following the U.S. Army's relentless Red River campaign, Parker and the Quahada ultimately surrendered and moved to reservation lands in Oklahoma.
In his new life, Parker quickly established himself as a successful rancher and investor. The government officials he had once fought soon recognized him as the leader of the remaining Comanche tribes.
Parker encouraged Indian youth to learn the ways of white culture, yet he never assimilated entirely. He remained a member of the Native American Church, and had a total of seven wives.
The respect Parker earned is evident in the Panhandle town of Quanah. There, by the Hardeman County Courthouse, stands a monument to the town's namesake: Quanah Parker, chief of the Comanche.
More information about Quanah Parker and other Texas Originals is available at Texasoriginals.org. This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.