The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is continuously learning and adjusting how we share indigenous stories with our visitors. Previously, the gallery exhibited several artifacts representing various Plains cultures, including a bison robe once owned by Cynthia Ann Parker. The objects have been removed, and while the robe remains in the gallery it is currently covered out of respect for the new Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) regulations.

The gallery is open to the public but looks different as we address how our museum cares and interprets its Native American collections. While in the gallery, visitors will learn more about NAGPRA, its history, and how it impacts our museum. To learn more, check out the resources below!

NAGPRA Resources

Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nagpra/index.htm 

National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/index.htm 

The U.S. Depart of the Interior Bureau of Land Management https://www.blm.gov/programs/cultural-heritage-and-paleontology/archaeology/archaeology-in-blm/nagpra 

 The U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairshttps://www.bia.gov 

National Congress of American Indians https://archive.ncai.org/about-tribes 

National Museum of the American Indianhttps://americanindian.si.edu 

Narua’s Story

Narua’s Story

Cynthia Ann Parker or “Narua”, which in the Comanche language means, “Something Found or She Warms With Us”, was at the age of 9, one of five captives taken during a Comanche/Caddo/Wichita Indian raid on Fort Parker near Groesbeck, Texas on May 19th, 1836. In those days, people died at an early age and the taking of children as captives was a way in which to replenish the number of people in the tribe. Children were taken in and raised as Comanches.

Narua stayed with the Comanche people for 24 years and became the only wife to Peta Nocona, Chief of the Kwahadi band of Comanches. Together, they had two sons and a daughter. The oldest was Quanah Parker (Fragrance), Pecos (Pecos) the middle child and Topsuana (Prairie Flower), the youngest. During her stay with the Kwahadi’s, Narua had multiple opportunities to return to her Parker family but declined them all. She had fully assimilated herself into the Comanche way of life with a love for her husband Peta and children.

After her re-capture in 1860, she was taken back to Fort Cooper and claimed by her uncle, Senator Isaac Parker, (whom Parker County, Texas is named after). She initially went to live with her Uncle Isaac and his wife Lucy in Birdville, Texas. Within a couple of months, Cynthia Ann and Topsuana were taken to live with her brother and sister, Silas Parker Jr. and Orlena Parker O’Quinn (they had survived the Indian raid of 1836 and married O’Quinn siblings and all lived together on the same property) in Van Zandt County and later Anderson County.

Narua made attempts to return to her Comanche family but was always found and brought back. As a young child, Topsuana became sick with fever and passed. It is said that this broke the spirit of Narua, and she gave up on life, passing around 1870 to 1873, by refusing to eat. She was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in northern Anderson County, Texas.

Written by the descendants of Cynthia Ann Parker: Lance Tahmahkera, Nocona Burgess, and Scott Nicholson.

Questions about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) regulations or how they affect the museum? Share them below!
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