A “Comanche Picnic” to Celebrate Native American Foodways on the 19th-Century South Plains, Sept. 16 and 17, 2016
Fall is an excellent time of year to appreciate the bounty of harvests originating from the food and fiber industry of West Texas.
From Sept. 16 through Sept. 17, 2016, the Texas Plains Trail Region invites the public to attend multiple events and ceremonies to commemorate the culture and food production lifeways utilized by the Comanches and their allies of the region through the late 19th century, which formed the antecedent agricultural economy of the South Plains. This two-day event will symbolically provide “A Comanche Picnic” of knowledge to enrich understanding of those who conceived of ways to sustain way of life in the challenging environment of the South Plains before Anglo settler arrived.
Events include the opening of a new Quanah Parker exhibit at the National Ranching Heritage Center; a presentation about Native American foodways at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture; the At'l Do Farms Corn Maize of Shallowater, which this year will feature the theme of renowned Comanche chief Quanah Parker, whose likeness will be featured in the maze design; and a series of Comanche blessings conferred by members of the Quanah Parker family at opening ceremonies and at Quanah Parker Trail arrows located in Yellow House Canyon (Lubbock), Levelland Hockley County), Muleshoe (Bailey County), the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge (Bailey County), and Morton (Cochran County), Texas.
The two-day celebration will offer something for all ages and interests, including artwork, an overview of the cultural landscape of the region before settlement by ranchers and farmers in the late 19th century, historical information, TEKS-themed packets and activities for students K-12, and best of all, entertainment for the whole family at the At’l Do Farms.
Fri., Sept. 16 at 10:00 a.m. National Ranching Heritage Center exhibit, "Buckskin and Beads: Native American Clothing and Artifacts"
3121 Fourth St., Lubbock, TX 79409
The unique artifacts of Samuel Burk Burnett's Quanah Parker Collection will be viewed by Parker family descendants, and the public is invited to accompany them during the visit. This new exhibit, opening in September, includes clothing, ceremonial regalia and weaponry of South Plains Indian tribes. Quanah gave these artifacts to Burnett during the years they conducted business transactions permitting Texas cattlemen to lease pasturage on Indian reservation lands in Oklahoma.
Fri., Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m. Bayer Museum of Agriculture’s Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center
1121 Canyon Lake Drive, Lubbock, TX 79403
The Texas Plains Trail Region will present a program summarizing the 19th-century production and exchange of food by Native Americans which formed an antecedent agricultural economy on the South Plains. Nomadic Comanches hunted the protein of bison which they exchanged for the “three sisters” (corn/beans/squash) carbohydrates cultivated by farming Pueblo villagers of New Mexico, transported here for trade in ox-drawn wooden carts by Hispanic Comanchero traders traveling the Yellow House Canyon water trailway. The Parker family will confer a Comanche blessing on the commemorative 22-foot tall steel Quanah Parker Trail Arrow located on the museum grounds in Yellow House Canyon. The arrow was sculpted and donated by New Home artist Charles A. Smith.
Fri., Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. Tahoka Lake Pasture and Visitor's Center
1076 Mammoth Creek Rd., Wilson, TX 79381
Departing at 3:00 p.m. from the Bayer Agriculture Museum by car caravan to arrive by 3:30 p.m., friends of the Texas Plains Trail Region will drive descendants of the Quanah Parker family to the historic Tahoka Lake Pasture. Overseen by owner Mrs. Clyde May, this is one of the few sites on the South Plains that still retains its Comanche name, with the spring-fed lake providing the ‘fresh water for which it is named. The Comanches, like Native Americans before them, camped here while hunting game and processing the meat and hides obtained from the hunt. As the site's natural landscape was never turned by a plow, it looks much the same as it did in Quanah Parker's time.
Sat., Sept. 17 at 11:30 a.m. At'l Do Farms visitor's barn and corn maize
6323 FM 1294, Lubbock, TX 79415
The At'l Do Farms Corn Maize event this season will feature the portrait of Comanche chief Quanah Parker cut out of the corn as its graphic trails system. The Corn Maize also will highlight a new Fairy Tale Trail for young children, telling the story of “Young Quanah Parker and the Rabbit” written by local children’s author Dolores Mosser with illustration guideposts designed by artist Eric Simpson, son of At'l Do Farms owners James and Patti Simpson. Members of the Quanah Parker family will confer a Comanche blessing on the opening ceremony.
See At'l Do Farms Web site for admission price information: http://www.atldofarms.com/pages/funthings.php
Sat., Sept. 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Muleshoe Heritage Center.
2000 Ash Street (off U.S. Hwys 70 and 84), Muleshoe, TX 79347
Beginning in the visitor's center, once a former railway depot, representatives of the Texas Plains Trail Region will present a program summarizing how Comanches and other South Plains tribes navigated the water trailways associated with Yellow House Draw and nearby Blackwater Draw to track and hunt game and trade with Comancheros. Such “trails of living water” were little known to most early Euro-Anglo explorers and U.S. soldiers, several of whom died of thirst as a consequence. Descendants of Quanah Parker will confer a Comanche blessing on the Muleshoe Heritage Center Quanah Parker Trail Arrow.
Sat., Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. beside the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge visitor's center
1531 County Road 1248, Muleshoe, Texas 79347
Descendants of Quanah Parker will confer a Comanche blessing on the Quanah Parker Trail Arrow located beside the visitor's center. The arrow was placed there to honor Comanches and Indians of the South Plains who frequented the area in the 19th century to hunt the abundant game attracted to the nearby lakes of the refuge.
Sat., Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in downtown Morton, Texas, at the Quanah Parker Trail arrow located one block south of the Cochran County Museum 118 SW 1st St., Morton, TX 79346
Descendants of Quanah Parker will confer a Comanche blessing on the Arrow located here. In 1877, Quanah Parker came to the Blue Sand Hills west of this site to protect Comanches from discovery by Captain Nicholas Nolan of the U.S. Cavalry. Quanah was carrying orders from Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie to lead the Comanches back safely to the reservation at Fort Sill in Lawton, OK. Because the Comanches knew how to find food and water in the area and the U.S. cavalry did not, four cavalrymen died of thirst on the South Plains.
The Texas Plains Trail Region, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission, is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing heritage tourism to the 52 counties of the Texas Plains and Panhandle. www.TexasPlainsTrail.com
For more information about the Quanah Parker Trail, since 2011 a volunteer-led program of the Texas Plains Trail Region, visit www.QuanahParkerTrail.com
Images of Quanah Parker Trail arrow markers and previous events may be downloaded here:
Arrow installation at Tahoka Lake Pasture, spring 2016
Arrow dedications in Wheeler County, 2014
Arrow installation at Morton, March 2013
For more information, call Barbara Brannon, TPTR, 806.747.1997 (mobile 806.252.6544).