Speech of Quanah Parker

Image: Quanah Parker. Hamilton, E. W. (c. 1890) National Portrait Gallery. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.96.178?destination=edan-search/default_search%3Fedan_local%3D1%26edan_q%3DQuanah%252BParker
What did Quanah Parker want for his people? Why? Did Parker foresee the extinction of Comanches, or was he talking about something else?
How do Parker’s brief remarks compare with Sitting Bull’s testimony before the Senate committee and Red Cloud’s remarks at Cooper Union?

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Quanah Parker (c. 1845–1911), the last Comanche war chief, led his people in the Red River War (1874–75) in Texas. He was the son of Chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman captured as a child and raised by the Comanche. His intense charisma was enhanced by a striking physical feature: the bright blue eyes he inherited from his mother.

After the Red River War, Parker and his band were settled on a reservation in southwestern Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Thereafter, he became a forceful advocate of civilization. He took up ranching, which made him wealthy. He was appointed a judge on the Court of Indian Offenses but was dismissed when it was discovered that he himself had committed one of the “crimes” by having multiple wives.

In these brief remarks, delivered when he reinterred his mother’s remains near his home, Parker expressed his belief in assimilation.

—Jace Weaver

Daniel A. Becker, “Comanche Civilization with History of Quanah Parker,” Chronicles of Oklahoma 1, no. 1 (1921), 247, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Chronicles_of_Oklahoma/HINHAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0.

Forty years ago my mother died. She captured by Comanche, nine years old. Love Indian and wild life so well no want to go back to white folks. All same people, God say. I love my mother. I like white people. Got great heart. I want my people follow after white way, get educate, know work, make living when payments stop.1 I tell ’um they got to know pick cotton, plow corn. I want ’um know white man’s God. Comanche may die tomorrow, or ten years. When end come then they all be together again. I want to see my mother again. That’s why when government United States give money for new grave I have this funeral and ask white folks to help bury. Glad to see so many my people here at funeral. That’s all.

  1. 1. A reference to support payments that were often part of the agreements through which Indians took up residence on a reservation.
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