Rare, historic Comanche items from the 19th and 20th Century go on exhibit Thursday at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center.
Considered priceless, the items are part of the third and final installment of the current exhibition All Things Comanche – A Numunuu Trilogy.
The exhibit opening, which is free to the public, will include a program featuring traditional Comanche songs and dance at Lawton’s McMahon Auditorium at 1:06 p.m. Thursday.
Guest speaker for the event is Comanche tribal member Machel Monenerkit, Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC.
A sampling of traditional foods will be served following the program.
All Things Comanche – A Numunuu Trilogy is a year-long exhibition 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.
“We saved the shock and awe for last,” said Comanche National Museum Executive Director Phyllis Wahahrockah-Tasi.
Visitors this time around can expect to see extremely rare 19th century Comanche items on loan from NMAI. 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,” Wahahrockah-Tasi said.
Part three of the trilogy will also include several rarely-seen Comanche Code Talker items from the personal collection of the last surviving Code Talker, Charles Chibitty. The items are being loaned 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.
All the items will be on display through Aug. 31. CNMCC is located at 701 NW Ferris Avenue, behind McMahon Auditorium.
For information, call 580-353-0404 or visit www.comanchemuseum.com.