July 30, 2014

Priceless 19th, 20th century Comanche items return home

Very rare and historic pieces go on exhibit at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center in Lawton, Okla.


LAWTON, Okla. – Priceless Comanche items from the 19th and 20th centuries are on exhibit at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center (CNMCC) in Lawton, Oklahoma, as part of the third and final installment of the museum’s current exhibition All Things Comanche – A Numunuu Trilogy.

It’s all part of a a year-long exhibit celebrating the cultural uniqueness of the great Comanche Nation.  Many seldom seen Comanche items, including a historic buffalo robe once belonging to captive Cynthia Ann Parker, have been on display since the exhibit opened in the fall of 2012.  Visitors this time around can expect to see very rare 19th century Comanche items on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C.

“We saved the shock and awe for last,” said Comanche National Museum Executive Director Phyllis Wahahrockah-Tasi.

Some of the items include a lynx skin children’s parka and a fully beaded cradleboard.

“The final part of our trilogy is a homecoming,” Wahahrockah-Tasi said.  “NMAI graciously opened their doors to our staff and allowed us to hand-pick these items from their collections in Suitland, Maryland."

"The Smithsonian has very high standards and strenuous loan requirements, so it has taken us a little over a year to bring these items back to Comanche country.  The fact that the Comanche National Museum cleared all of the Smithsonian’s hurdles says a lot about how far we’ve come in the past five years,” she said.

Part three of the trilogy also includes several rarely-seen Comanche Code Talker items from the personal collection of the last surviving Code Talker, Charles Chibitty.  The items are on loan to the museum from Joe Martinez of Tyler, Texas.

“Mr. Martinez had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Charles Chibitty before he passed away in 2007.  Mr. Chibitty gave Joe several of his historic World War II mementos and asked him to use them to continue telling the Code Talker story.  Comanche Code Talker items are extremely rare so we are thrilled to include these keepsakes in the final part of our exhibit,”  Wahahrockah-Tasi said.

The exhibit will be on display through August 31, 2013.  CNMCC is located at 701 NW Ferris Avenue, behind McMahon Auditorium.  Admission is always free.  Call 580-353-0404 for more information or visit www.comanchemuseum.com.

Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center (CNMCC) Collections Manager, Jessica Baber (right), and museum assistant, Jared Wahkinney (left), arrange rare WW II Comanche Code Talker artifacts currently on display as part of the CNMCC's current exhibit, All Things Comanche – A NumunuuTrilogy.

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