The Last Comanche War Chief

Quanah Parker would become famous not just for his resistance to westward expansion, but as an advocate for Indian rights.

The half-breed son of Lone Wanderer (Peta Nocona) and the white woman, Cynthia Ann Parker, he was raised within the Nokoni (Movers) band of the Comanche and later joined the Quahadi (Human Beings). As a young man he first gained prominence by refusing to sign the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. He rose in stature and commanded a combined force of Southern Plains Indians (Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Plains Apache) in the ill-fated attack against the trading post at Adobe Walls in 1873 which led to what became known as the Red River War. And, he would be the last Comanche war chief to surrender.

Though the Comanche were never really defeated in battle, their way of life effectively ended in 1874 with the attack by U.S. forces under the command of Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie on their stronghold in West Texas at Palo Duro Canyon and the destruction of their horse herd. The execution of their ponies crippled their mobility and ended their mastery of the plains. Combined with the systematic slaughter of their main food source (the buffalo), it convinced them of the futility of further resistance and forced them onto the reservation in order to survive. The last of the once proud Comanche, the Quahadi under Quanah Parker, officially surrendered June 2, 1875.

Quanah Parker , after finally surrendering in 1875, would not be prosecuted or imprisoned and would go on to become an influential historical figure, not for his wartime actions but for the symbolic role he would assume as champion of the Southern Plains Indians. He would oppose privatization of Indian lands, host dignitaries up to and including President Theodore Roosevelt at the home he built in Oklahoma, and exploit his fame by appearing in numerous community and state venues including the State Fair of Texas. – excerpt from Palo Duro.

Author: maxknight73

Retired Army Officer and Counterintelligence Specialist. Currently living in San Antonio, Texas with his wife Gray. Cancer survivor. Avid history buff and writer.

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