Quanah Parker Trail arrow marker dedication, Amarillo, Nov. 2
If you are fascinated by the history of the American West and of the Comanches who once dominated the western lands of Texas, plan to come and watch a Quanah Parker Trail Arrow installed by Charles A. Smith for Potter County Sat., Nov. 2, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. on the grounds of Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, 2301 North Soncy Rd., Amarillo, TX 79124.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a brief program on the Native American history of the area, greetings from local officials, and a traditional Comanche blessing of the arrow, site, and participants. Members of the Quanah Parker family from Oklahoma will attend in traditional dress to present the blessing and performance.
Wear comfortable shoes—the site is a nature preserve—and bring a lawn chair. Visitors are encouraged to carpool due to limited parking. Following the ceremony, there will also be tours and educational demonstrations (flintknapping, flora and fauna, Native American handcrafts, etc.) afterward at the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
For more information, contact Barbara Brannon, Texas Plains Trail Region, 806-747-1997, info@TexasPlainsTrail.com.
Above: Dedication of Quanah Parker Trail arrow marker, Abernathy, Texas, July 4, 2013
Above: Descendants of Quanah Parker join members of the Wheeler County Historical Commission in dedicating the arrow marker at Mobeeite, Texas, September 2013
View other slide shows of Quanah Parker Trail events at http://www.flickr.com/photos/barbarabrannon/sets/
About the Arrow Site
The board of directors of the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and education, have generously provided the site for installing the Quanah Parker Trail arrow for Potter County on its grounds.
This site at the nature center not only mirrors the natural environment of the area once frequented by the Comanches and other American Indians, but also shares a public education mission similar to one embraced by the Texas Plains Trail Region, a cultural heritage trail program of the Texas Historical Commission, and sponsor of the Quanah Parker Trail initiative.
Historic Sites in Amarillo and Potter County once part of Comancheria
The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center is located on a branch of the historic Gregg-Marcy Wagon Trail from Santa Fe to Fort Smith, and near to the historic route of the old Tascosa Road, which first was traveled as a trail not only by Comanches and other American Indians in their time, but by those preceding them by thousands of years.
All followed trails across the plains that first were cut by the hooves of animals and most particularly by bison on the move in search of good grass and water. These trails then became established as familiar routes traveled by people on the hunt for game and eager to exchange trade goods.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the route that later became known as the Old Tascosa Road came to be trekked not only by Comanches and other Indians, but also by Comanchero traders, Spaniards, U.S. Army scouts, pastores, buffalo hunters, gold seekers, freighters, settlers, and ranchers.
Potter County features other historical sites and events associated with the history of the Comanches and many other American Indian groups who frequented the area in their time, as well as thousands of years before them. This is due to the presence of the Canadian River and its tributaries that course through its lands and that served as a major water trailway system, supporting a great diversity of cultural life ways for thousands of years.
One such site includes the Alibates Flint Quarry, in the northeast area of the county, providing the material of flint, coveted for use in making spear points and arrowheads up through the 19th century, and traded throughout the Americas.
Another is Tecovas Springs, a historic spring tucked into the southwest area of the county that once functioned as a destination water site landmark. Of Tecovas Springs and other water sites important to those who traversed the Texas High Plains, scholar Dan Gelo writes, “Comanche travelers moving eastward from Tucumcari [New Mexico] had several possible routes. They found water and favorable campsites in the region between the main Canadian and Red Rivers, at Old Tascosa Creek in Oldham County, Tecovas Springs northwest of Amarillo, Sweetwater Creek near Mobeetie in Wheeler County, and Mulberry Creek east of Palo Duro Canyon” (“Comanche Land and Ever Has Been," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Jan. 2000, p. 282).
The Quanah Parker Trail
The arrow to be installed at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center is sponsored by the Quanah Parker Trail, a conceptual cultural and historical trail developed to highlight a historical legacy shared by all 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region located in the Panhandle and Plains of Texas. The Texas Plains Trail Region is one of ten Texas Heritage Trails, a heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission.
This region is known as The Last Frontier because it was the original homeland of many American Indians where they last roamed freely on the lands of Texas before being forcibly removed to live on reservations.
By the 19th century, the Comanches, along with the Kiowas and Kiowa Apaches, represented a formidable presence in the region. Historians note that the Comanches were considered the Lords of the Plains, owing to their extraordinary skills as warriors on horseback, ranking them among the finest light cavalry in the world; their territory became known as the Comancheria.
The Quanah Parker Trail honors landmarks, sites, cultural materials, events and stories that link all 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region to this shared history.
The trail, named after Quanah Parker, honors his role as the last chief of the Comanche people. Quanah Parker, born around 1845 or 1852, and passing away on February 23, 1911, became one of the most charismatic tribal leaders of the time.
His name was chosen for this trail for several reasons:
● Although he is not the only noteworthy American Indian tribal leader of his time, many historians consider him to be one of the most significant leaders of the frontier, because he successfully guided his people to navigate through two very different cultural worlds to ensure their survival during two centuries of dramatic change;
● He is cited on historical markers throughout the region;
● His stories, shared by living descendants and those whose ancestors encountered him in his travels, are linked to the history of the 52-county area of the Texas Plains Trail Region;
● And his name still echoes in today’s public memory.
Quanah Parker Trail Arrows
The giant arrow markers, chosen by Don Parker, a great-grandson of Quanah Parker, serve as a symbol and physical reminder of the 19th century nomadic Comanches as well as other American Indian tribes who once dominated the Texas plains. Each arrow is painted in colors which include the red, yellow and blue that signify the logo for the Comanche Nation’s war shield.
The arrows convey a connection between the community in which they stand and the legacy of Quanah Parker, his family, the Comanche people, and the American Indians who inhabited and defended what were once their territorial lands.
The arrows are created by Charles A. Smith, a cotton farmer, gin operator, welder, artist, and sculptor of New Home, Texas. The 342-pound steel arrows rise to a grand height of 22 feet, and when the wind blows through the steel wires which form the upper feathers of the fletching, visitors can hear the arrows sing.
All are invited to follow the arrows and discover tantalizing clues that convey parts of the epic story of Quanah Parker and the Comanche people along the marked sites throughout this region of west Texas
For more information, visit:
Wildcat Bluff Nature Center
Quanah Parker Trail