Sunday, May 22, 2016

Waist Deep Comanche River Crossing Gives Texas Town Its Name

Wichita Falls.

Previously we learned how the Falls part of this Texas town's name came to be. That being that way back in the 1800s, when Wichita Falls came to be a town, there was a short drop of about three feet in the Wichita River which the locals thought was a waterfall, which a flood destroyed before the 1800s became the 1900s.

Hence the Falls part of the name, even though there soon was no falls, til a new artificial waterfall was made late in the 1900s.

I assumed that the Wichita part of the Wichita Falls name was an Indian tribe, long forgotten, not etched into the collective memory like the more well known Comanche or Apache or Navajo.

Well, I assumed wrong.

When one drives or walks around Wichita Falls, no matter where one is in the town, one sees directional signage which is very well done and very useful. I will make further mention of this in a subsequent blogging in the near future.

As one nears the downtown Wichita Falls zone the directional signage starts to have Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture on the list of what one is being pointed towards.

A couple days ago I followed the Wee-Chi-Tah directions and eventually found what you see above.

A sculpture.

To get to the Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture one is directed to cross the Wichita River, out of downtown, to what appears to be a past its prime industrial area.

Eventually the signs get one to a parking lot from whence one walks a short paved trail to the Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture, overlooking the Wichita River.

One then learns that this sculpture is one of the biggest in America honoring our Native Americans. The sculpture depicts a Comanche family crossing the Wichita River.

This Comanche family crossing the river is based on a Comanche legend, from whence Wichita Falls derives its full name.

A Comanche squaw, her child, a pair of Comanche braves, their horses and one colt were wanting to cross the river. The squaw wades out into the river to test its depth, then hollers back that the water is waist deep, a concept which when expressed in Comanche is "we-chi-tah."

The Wee-Chi-Tah sculpture depicts all aspects of this Comanche legend.

But, I must point out that that Comanche squaw must have been testing the river's depth during a drought period, because if she was testing its depth on a day like today she would find the water way deeper than waist deep.

I wonder what the Comanche word is for "water too deep"? Had this Comanche crossing of long ago been made when the water was deep the town would likely not be Wichita Falls....

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