Biography of Quana Parker

Parker, Quana (from Comanche kwaina, ‘fragrant,’ joined to his mother’s family name). The principal chief of the Comanche, son of a Comanche chief and a white captive woman. His father, Nokoni, ‘wanderer,’ was the leader of the Kwahadi division, the wildest and most hostile portion of the tribe and the most inveterate raiders along the Texas border.

In one of the incursions, in the summer of 1835, the Comanche attacked a small settlement on Navasota river, in east Texas, known from its founder as Parker’s Fort, and carried off 2 children of Parker himself, one of whom, Cynthia Ann Parker, then about 12 years of age, became later the wife of the chief and the mother of Quana, born about 1845.

The mother, with a younger infant, was afterward rescued by the troops and brought back to Texas, where both soon died. Quana grew up with the tribe, and on the death of his father rapidly rose to commanding influence.

The Kwahadi band refused to enter into the Medicine Lodge treaty of 1867, by which the Comanche, Kiowa Apache, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were assigned to reservations, and continued to be a disturbing element until 1874, when, in consequence of.the depredations of an organized company of white buffalo hunters, Quana himself mustered the warriors of the Comanche and Cheyenne, with about half the Kiowa and some portion of the other two tribes, for resistance.

The campaign began June 24, 1874, with an attack led by Quana in person at the head of 700 confederate warriors against the buffalo hunters, who were strongly entrenched in a fort known as the Adobe Walls, on the South Canadian in the Texas panhandle. In addition to the protection afforded by the thick walls, the white hunters had a small field-piece which they used with such good effect that after a siege lasting all day the Indians were obliged to retire with considerable loss. The war thus begun continued along the whole border south of Kansas until about the middle of the next year, when, being hard pressed by the troops under Gen. Mackenzie, most of the hostiles surrendered. Quana, however, kept his band out upon the Staked plain for 2 years longer, when he also came in.

Recognizing the inevitable, he set about making the best of the new conditions, and being still young and with the inherited intelligence of his white ancestry, he quickly adapted himself so well to the white man’s road as to become a most efficient factor in leading his people up to civilization. Through his influence the confederated tribes adopted the policy of leasing the surplus pasture lands, by which a large annual income was added to their revenues. He has popularized education, encouraged house building and agriculture, and discouraged dissipation and savage extravagances, while holding strictly to his native beliefs and ceremonies. Polygamy being customary in his tribe, he has several wives and a number of children, all of whom, of proper age, have received a school education, and one or two of whom have married white men.

For nearly 30 years he has been the most prominent and influential figure among the 3 confederated tribes in all leases, treaty negotiations, and other public business with the Government, and in this capacity has made repeated visits to Washington, besides having traveled extensively in other parts of the country. Besides his native language he speaks both English and Spanish fairly well. He now lives in a large and comfortable house, surrounded by well-cultivated fields, about 12 miles west of Ft Sill, Okla. Quanah, a town in north Texas, was named in his honor.

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