“I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures and where everything drew a free breath. I want to die there, not within walls.”
Ten Bears, Yamparika Comanche
“The Tonkawa killed him – it make my heart hot.
I want my people follow after white way. Some white people do that, too.”
Comanche leader; born at Cedar Lake, Texas. He was the son of a Comanche chief and Cynthia Ann Parker, a captive white woman (taken back by whites in 1860). He grew up to become a bold warrior and in 1867 was made war chief of the Kwahadi Comanche of the Staked Plains. For the next eight years he led an alliance of various tribes in raids against frontier settlements in Texas. After finally surrendering in 1875, he quickly accommodated himself to the white culture by learning Spanish and English, adopting new agricultural methods, and promoting education for his fellow Indians.
He himself prospered as both a farmer and the managing agent for business deals between whites and Indian tribes – he was reputed in later years to be the wealthiest Native American in North America – but he also created wealth for fellow Indians by getting them to lease surplus tribal lands to white cattlemen. In 1886 he became a judge of the Court of Indian Affairs; by 1890 he was principal chief of all Comanche bands; he was also a major figure in the peyote religion. He rode beside Geronimo in the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt (1905).
Quanah Parker’s mother, Cynthia Ann Parker (born ca. 1827), was a member of the large Parker frontier family that settled in east Texas in the 1830s. She was captured in 1836 (at age nine) by Comanches during the raid of Fort Parker near present-day Groesbeck, Texas. Given the Indian name Nadua (Someone Found), she was adopted into the Nocona band of Comanches. Assimilated into the Comanche, Cynthia Ann Parker later married the warrior Peta Nocona, (also known as Noconie, Tah-con-ne-ah-pe-ah, or Nocona). His father was the renowned chief Iron Jacket, famous among the Comanche for wearing a Spanish coat of mail.
Nadua and Nocona’s first child was Quanah (Fragrance), born in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma. Biographer Bill Neeley cites a letter Quanah wrote late in life to his friend, rancher Charles Goodnight, in which Quanah stated, “From the best information I have, I was born about 1850 on Elk Creek just below the Wichita Mountains.” Author S.C. Gwynne supports the Oklahoma claim in his 2010 book, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History.
However, another account disputes the birthplace, contending that in 1911 Parker was seen traveling by automobile near Lubbock, Texas, telling observers he was going to visit what he understood to be his birthplace at Laguna Sabinas (Cedar Lake) in Gaines County, Texas.
Nadua and Nocona also had another son, Pecos, and a daughter, Topsana (Prairie Flower). In December 1860, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and Topsana were captured in the battle of Pease River, which actually took place along Mule Creek. American forces were led by Sgt. John Spangler, who commanded Company H of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry, and Texas Rangers under Lawrence Sullivan Ross (better known in Texas history as Sul Ross). Quanah, his brother Pecos, and his father Peta Nocona were almost certainly not at Mule Creek. However, in an effort to further his political career, Sul Ross later fabricated a story wherein he claimed to have killed Peta Nocona at Pease River. Ross would later become a Texas state senator, and eventually governor.
Meanwhile, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and her daughter Topsana were reunited with her white family, but after having made her life 24 years with the Comanche, she wanted to return to them and her sons. However, Topsana died of an illness in 1863. Cynthia Ann Parker died in 1870.
Quanah Parker: in “History of Pampa TX”
“One day the Great Spirit collected swirls of dust from the four directions in order to create the Commanche people. These people formed from the earth had the strength of mighty storms. Unfortunately, a shape-shifting demon was also created and began to torment the people. The Great Spirit cast the demon into a bottomless pit. To seek revenge the demon took refuge in the fangs and stingers of poisonous creatures and continues to harm people every chance it gets.”
The Comanche Indians created an origin story that dates back to many years. It is called The Legend of the Manitous Springs. Many times in this story it explains how the geography of the Comanche culture really relies on water. The geography of Oklahoma is dry, flat land and no water. The story tells how two Indians fight about drinking out of one end of the water and why one tribe could drink from the higher level and the other could not. At the beginning of the story it tells how the geography brought the culture together. Throughout the story it tells of a deeper message. The springs were very scared to them and if they lost it there would be no water for them. This tells that the land was so dry that when you find the water you have to keep that water for everything. Geography is a big part of this story and tells how the land was for that time.
The Comanche are a Native American tribe from the Great Plains whose historic territory, known as Comancheria, consisted of present day eastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. The Comanche people are federally recognized as the Comanche Nation, headquartered in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Post-contact, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers with a horse culture. There may have been as many as 45,000 Comanches in the late 18th century. They were the dominant tribe on the Southern Plains and often took captives from weaker tribes during warfare, selling them as slaves to the Spanish and later Mexican settlers. They also took thousands of captives from the Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers.
Today, the Comanche Nation has 15,191 members, approximately 7,763 of whom reside in tribal jurisdictional area around the Lawton, Fort Sill, and surrounding areas of southwest Oklahoma. The Comanche Nation Homecoming Powwow is held annually in Walters, Oklahoma in mid-July.
The Comanche language is a Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family, sometimes classified as a Shoshoni dialect. Only about 1% of Comanches speak their language today.
The name “Comanche” is from the Ute name for them, kimantsi (enemy).