Published on February 10, 2012 by Amy
Comanche leader; born at Cedar Lake, Texas. He was the son of a Comanche chief and Cynthia Ann Parker, a captive white woman (taken back by whites in 1860). He grew up to become a bold warrior and in 1867 was made war chief of the Kwahadi Comanche of the Staked Plains.
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For the next eight years he led an alliance of various tribes in raids against frontier settlements in Texas. After finally surrendering in 1875, he quickly accommodated himself to the white culture by learning Spanish and English, adopting new agricultural methods, and promoting education for his fellow Indians.
He himself prospered as both a farmer and the managing agent for business deals between whites and Indian tribes – he was reputed in later years to be the wealthiest Native American in North America – but he also created wealth for fellow Indians by getting them to lease surplus tribal lands to white cattlemen.
In 1886 he became a judge of the Court of Indian Affairs; by 1890 he was principal chief of all Comanche bands; he was also a major figure in the peyote religion. He rode beside Geronimo in the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt (1905).