Chief Plácido

Tonkawa Indian chief
Born: late 1700s
Birthplace: ?

Also called Ha-shu-ka-na (“Can't Kill Him”), Chief Plácido was the son of a Tonkawa warrior and a captive Comanche woman. In 1819 he joined James Long's expedition in Texas, riding against the Spanish and taking many of their horses and scalps. In 1823 he became chief of the Tonkawas after the death of Carita, another Tonkawa leader.

In 1824 the Tonkawas entered into a treaty with Stephen F. Austin and helped his men (the forerunners of the Texas Rangers) defend the Texas frontier against hostile Comanches. After the Rangers were formally established in Nov. 1835, Chief Plácido enlisted as a scout and served with them during the Texas Revolution (1835–1836) and the Republic of Texas (1836–1845).

In Aug. 1840 Chief Plácido and 13 other Tonkawa scouts joined with the Texas Rangers and a hastily organized militia to track down a large Comanche war party that had attacked white settlements in the Guadalupe Valley in southeast Texas, killing the inhabitants and plundering their dwellings. The Texans and their Tonkawa allies overtook the Comanches at Plum Creek, near present-day Lockhart, Tex., and utterly defeated them.

After Texas became a state in Dec. 1845, the Tonkawa came into conflict with the white settlers who moved into the area in increasing numbers. In 1854 the Tonkawas moved to a reservation on the Brazos River, and Chief Plácido continued to scout for the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army. In 1859, against his protests, Chief Plácido and his people were moved to a reservation near Fort Cobb in Indian Territory (now in Caddo County in southern Oklahoma).

On Oct. 24, 1862, a number of other tribes living in the area, including the Comanches, Kiowas, Shawnees, and Kickapoos, banded together and attacked the Tonkawas, possibly in retaliation for the Tonkawas' earlier alliance with the Texans. Nearly half of the 300 Tonkawas living on the reservation were killed, including Chief Plácido.

Died: 1862