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The last chief of the Comanches and the fall of an empire - Dustin Tahmahkera

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Late one night in 1871, a group of riders descended on a sleeping army camp, stole about 70 horses, and disappeared. Led by a young chief named Quanah Parker, the raid was the latest in a long series of altercations along the Texas frontier between indigenous people and United States forces. Who was this brave warrior? Dustin Tahmahkera details the life of the last chief of the Comanches.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Dustin Tahmahker
  • Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Narrator Dustin Tahmahker
  • Animator Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Storyboard Artist Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Art Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Compositor Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Music Cem Misirlioglu
  • Sound Designer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Soraya Field Fiorio
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Quanah Parker (ca. 1848-1911), the son of a Comanche leader and a white captive-turned-Comanche, is recognized as the last “chief” of Comanches. A direct descendant of Quanah Parker, Dustin Tahmahkera speaks about the famous Comanche leader who defended his people’s way of life, forged cross-cultural relationships, and left a legacy of leadership alive today in the sovereign Comanche Nation.

The short film Quanah Parker: The Last Comanche Chief (2012), by Quanah’s great-grandsons Ron Parker and the late Vincent Parker is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5F3CeIjNZU.

For more information on Quanah Parker and his family, see Bill Neeley’s book The Last Comanche Chief: The Life and Times of Quanah Parker (1995).

On Comanche history, see Pekka Hämäläinen’s book The Comanche Empire (2008).

Quanah’s co-starring role in the silent film The Bank Robbery (1908) can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q87ooO6B74. For more on Quanah’s role in The Bank Robbery and his children’s roles in other films, see Dustin Tahmahkera’s article “Hakarʉ Marʉʉmatʉ Kwitaka? Seeking Representational Jurisdiction in Comanchería Cinema” (2018) in the journal Native American and Indigenous Studies.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Dustin Tahmahker
  • Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Narrator Dustin Tahmahker
  • Animator Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Storyboard Artist Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Art Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Compositor Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Music Cem Misirlioglu
  • Sound Designer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Soraya Field Fiorio
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more