National Ranching Heritage Center to celebrate Quanah Parker Day on September 14

Local News

Quanah Parker
(Photo provided by the NRHC)

LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) – The following is a news release from the NRHC:

Three great-grandchildren of Quanah Parker, the last Comanche chief of one of the most powerful tribes in America, will present a program at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 14 at the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) in Lubbock during a reception and exhibit celebrating Quanah Parker Day.

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill in June proclaiming the second Saturday of every September as Quanah Parker Day throughout the state,” said Dr. Scott White, NRHC Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Collections, Exhibits and Research.

“Because our center has one of the largest collections of items related to Quanah of any museum in the country, we want to celebrate this day with a new Quanah exhibit and a significant presentation by some of the Parker family,” White said.

Quanah’s great-grandson, Bruce Parker, said his family will travel from Albuquerque to present a PowerPoint presentation about the Parker family and include details of Quanah’s life as a Comanche warrior. Don Parker of Cache, Okla., and his sister Ardith Parker Leming of Sulphur, Okla., will join in the family presentation, which will include a Comanche blessing and Comanche songs.

Bruce Parker was born in Lawton, Okla., at the Kiowa-Comanche-Indian Hospital and worked for nearly 39 years in various management positions with the Indian Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Items in this exhibit were given by Quanah to three generations of the Samuel Burk Burnett family, owners of the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. These gifts remained at the Four Sixes Ranch house long after Burnett’s death. The collection was given to the National Ranching Heritage Center by Anne Marion, Burnett’s great-granddaughter and owner of the historic Four Sixes Ranch.

These gifts include headdresses, beaded items, clothing and ceremonial lances. Collectively they provide a glimpse of Comanche life, but the collection also includes items from the Apache, Kiowa and Cheyenne communities as well as the Native American Church.

“The correspondence that exists between Quanah and Burk Burnett and Burnett’s son, Tom, provides a clear picture of a relationship of mutual admiration and respect that existed between these legendary figures,” White said.

The Comanche had no central government but were organized in bands. The most primitive and hostile band was the Quahadi. Quanah was a Quahadi, the only band that never signed a treaty and the last band to surrender to life on the reservation. Quanah became a leading figure among the Comanche people in their resistance to Anglo encroachment and settlement and later in the tribe’s adjustment to living on their reservation.

“Much has been written about the honors Quanah received and his friendship with Texas cattlemen,” White said, “but perhaps not enough has been written about his enormous generosity and what might have happened to his people if such a man had not existed.”

(News release from the National Ranching Heritage Center)

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