Quanah Parker was a Kwahadi Indian, part of the nation of the Comanche Nation and a war leader within his tribe. He was born around the years of 1845 and 1848 and died in 1911 on February 23. Not only was he a leader in war, but Quanah Parker was the final Kwahadi chief. He played a huge, pivotal role in the resistance to the white expansion and subsequently adapting his tribe to the reservation lifestyle. He is the child of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman who was captured by the tribe and converted to the Native American way of life. To celebrate Quanah Parker and the Comanche Tribe, artist Charles A. Smith constructed a network of arrows standing 22 feet tall at the final sites where the tribe “hunted, traded, lived, traveled, and fought.”
The arrows are situated around the Texas Panhandle and other regions of the Plains of Texas that showcase points associated with the Comanche as a whole or their leader Quanah Parker. One of the arrows installed in Gail, TX is representative of Parker and his peoples’ last campsite before following surrender orders made by Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie in 1875. These were the last moments of the Kwahadi Indians’ freedom before being forced onto reservations.
The Quanah Parker Trail was started by a group of individuals who were fascinated by the story of the capture and conversion of Cynthia Ann Parker to a Comanche citizen and the birth of her historically iconic son, Quanah Parker, and wanted to create a memorial for them and their feats. There are now 86 arrows representing historic sites of the Kwahadi Comanche led by Quanah. The project began in 2011 after extensive research of each of the areas the arrows would be located was completed. The installation of these arrows is to remind the people of the Texas Panhandle of these almost-forgotten historical memories.
The arrows along the trails range from the corners of the Texas Panhandle all the way down to Big Spring, TX. Swisher County contains a total of four arrow installations all dedicated on July 22, 2012. One is located at Conner Park in Tulia, TX, another at Tule Lake, another at Mackenzie Park, and the last at Tule Canyon. A historical marker located at Tule Canyon established in 1936 tells viewers of General Mackenzie’s strategy of slaughtering over 1,000 of the Native Americans’ captured horses which forced the tribe to return home on foot and stunted any efforts to fight back. This resulted in a major loss in the way of life for the Comanches. There is another arrow located in the region of Palo Duro Canyon located on the private property of an adopted Quanah Parker family member. The arrow located in the city of Amarillo rests at the nature center Wildcat Bluff.
In 2019 on August 3, businesses and civic leaders in participating counties launched “Wild and Free on 83!” This event was used by the Quanah Parker Trail Officials in conjunction with the Texas Plains Trail Region directors to send a replica of the esteemed Native American along the journey.
Follow this link to read another article in this series.
Map from Quanah Parker Trail Arrow to AW Broadband:
Map from Quanah Parker Trail Arrow to Camp Don Harrington: