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Old 05-26-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Tennessee/Michigan
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We are aware, of course, that back during the U.S./Indian wars, men, women and children were sometimes captured by the Indians. So one question is: why?

Well, with regard to the men, one answer is relatively easy.

White captives had a difficult time living among Indians - El Paso Times
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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Well, El Paso is a long way from the Ohio Valley, but having studied Native Americans/European relations for many years, the arguements put forth in the article are not entirely true for this region. Much of what was mentioned did happen, but here there is much more to the story. Many white captives, particularily women and children were adopted in families to replace a deceased member. They were accorded every right and consideration that would have been extended to the person they replaced.

A nearly equal number of Native American were captured by whites, and were rarely treated well. There are many recorded instances of trades by local tribes and the white authorites where the N.A. couldn't wait to be returned home, but the white captives did not want to leave their adopted families. Many times they escaped and returned back to the tribe.

My only explanation for the discrepencies is different time, different place, different people. Thanks for sharing the information.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:20 PM
 
25,485 posts, read 11,581,227 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John1960 View Post
We are aware, of course, that back during the U.S./Indian wars, men, women and children were sometimes captured by the Indians. So one question is: why?

Well, with regard to the men, one answer is relatively easy.

White captives had a difficult time living among Indians - El Paso Times
Taking captives was part of the culture. But the article sounds like a high school essay. There were 400 tribes and the Indian wars were over a broad spectrum. Obviously the Delaware tribes on the east coast came into much earlier contact than the nomadic tribes of the Southern Plains. (Thank you Spanish amigos for the horses.)

Here in the Southern Plains, my tribe went to Mexico to capture women and horses as a means to gain honor and exploits. Not to mention how beautiful spanish/mexican/indian women were. We have men in our tribe back before the Indian wars were over who were white and became part of the tribe. I think its best not to generalize. Later, of course, atrocities were committed by both sides. But to stay on topic, the little essay cited by John is the tip of the iceberg.

MICmom makes a very good point. My tribe was constantly bringing back captives. Sometimes, small children would be found on the prairies as part of the aftermath of a skirmish between Indians/settlers.

There are many stories of white children raised by Indians, and these are not text book stories, these are oral tradition. Remember in the old days, one wife was not enough to handle all the rigors of life on the plains. Most warriors had 2 or more wives. ~~and please, no cracks about mormonish.

Many children were taken home and adopted into Indian families who themselves lost children. Here is one account of such an incident.

Chronicles of Oklahoma

Quanah Parker, Chief of the Comanches was the son of a captive.

Cynthia Ann Parker - A Texas Legend
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:04 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
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Being captured by Indians was a dicey thing; you might be burned alive or you might be adopted. Or you might simply be robbed and set loose.

Ole Daniel Boone was captured by Indians several times, on a couple of occasions he was robbed but not hurt and once he was taken back to Ohio and adopted by some Shawnees, not that some of the Shawnees didn't want to burn him. Boone considered his adoption a legitimate experience and all his life considered the Shawnees who'd adopted him his kinsmen, even when he fought them.

Later in life Boone was run out of Kentucky and lived in Missouri and nearby were his Shawnee relatives who'd been run out of Ohio. Boone often hunted and visited with them and they used to josh Boone saying things like "well Boone, they ran us out, looks like they ran you out too" and such.

Boone's son James was captured by Indians and tortured and killed and another son was killed at the battle of Blue Licks fighting British and Indians who'd come down from Detroit to raise Hell. Boone also had a brother and brother in law killed by Indians and a nephew too. Not to mention a daughter taken by the Shawnees but he chased them down and got her back after a fight.

An eventful life. And after all that ole Boone never hated Indians, Hell, he liked Indians.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Being captured by Indians was a dicey thing; you might be burned alive or you might be adopted. Or you might simply be robbed and set loose.
Excellent point, Irishtom. Also during the 19th century, our tribe considered Texans and Americans to be different people-cultures.

Now that I think about it, most Texans probably still hold this to be true!

Interestingly enough, many warring tribes also had lasting peace with traders. So if a man was caught alone on the prairie, he'd better have some trade goods!

A short blurb on the subject with citation below.

"INDIAN CAPTIVES. The practice of captive-taking among North American Indians goes back to prehistoric times. Centuries before white men came to these shores, captives were taken from neighboring tribes to replenish losses suffered in warfare or to obtain victims to torture in the spirit of revenge. When warfare developed between Europeans and Indians, white captives were taken for the same reasons and, in addition, to hold for ransom or to use to gain bargaining power with an allied European government or colony.

The earliest European captives in Texas were Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vacaqv and three companions, survivors of the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváezqv in 1528.
"
Handbook of Texas Online - INDIAN CAPTIVES

My own great grandfather was raised by full-bloods, but had blue eyes and blond hair. He would have been born sometime during the 1860's, which was the height of the Indian wars on the southern plains.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:24 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine
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Redbird----Oh yes, I'm familiar with the bloodfeud between the Comanches and Texians, reminds me of a Sicilian vendetta. Don't you think Ford captured the bitterness of it well in The Searchers?

I saw that picture when it came out in 1956, I was seven years old. The picture was a wakeup call, I never watched Roy Rogers again!

As for the Comanche marking a difference between Americans and Texans, didn't they also consider Mexicans enemies but traded and got along with the Spanish of the upper Rio Grande? In earlier days didn't they also trade with Frenchmen who pushed out from the lower Mississippi with trade goods?

Of course you know that Indians were far more politically sophisticated than the general public knows. Reading of the Northwest War of the early 1790s one reads of letters going back and forth between people like the Miami sachem Little Turtle and the Mohawk Joseph Brant saying things like "it's important that the Indians develop a united policy towards The United States". It's also said that though ole Tecumseh wouldn't speak English to Americans he enjoyed reading Shakespeare. This kind'a stuff ain't in movies though.

Up in Chicago I knew a young woman from Texas who claimed descent from Cynthia Ann Parker. She was thrilled to meet a Yankee (Yanqui) who knew the story.

Kind Regards
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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i grew up in Oklahoma, now living in Indiana. I do not know how much Cherokee, however, I am a CDIB card holder of the Choctaw nation of Indians, and am very, very proud of my heritage passed on from my grandfather. I had a very dear friend in Lawton, Ok, in 2006, Russell. He is the great-great grandson of Quanah Parker. Oh the stories he has to tell that were passed down!
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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redbird
Quote:
The earliest European captives in Texas were Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vacaqv and three companions, survivors of the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváezqv in 1528.
"


Right there is an excellent example of the variety of treatments that captives endured. Cabeza and his three companions spent six years as slave prisoners of the natives of the coastal islands near modern day Corpus Christi/Galveston. They were worked tremendously hard and were provided with only the minimum needed to stay alive.

After their escape, the four managed to gain reputations as mystic spiritual healers. Over the next few years, as they wandered from the Texas coast to the Pacific, they were treated as gods everywhere that they went, showered with gifts, escorted by thousands of natives from village to village, denied nothing that they might desire. In one instance, a small native girl made the error of crying while in the presence of these holy men. She was immediately seized by tribe members and had her face and body disfigured as a punishment for this outrage.

There was no central policy, no guarantee of treatment, cruel or kind. It was all regional and heavily dependent upon luck.
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Cabeza de Vaca was captured by the Karankawas, certainly one of the most bizarre of American Indian tribes. They were giants, over a foot taller than Europeans, and highly cannibalistic. They resisted assimilation right up to their senseless extermination in 1858..

Handbook of Texas Online - KARANKAWA INDIANS
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Texas
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The article is no longer available for viewing at that link, so I can't comment on exactly what it said.

I can, however, comment on the issue of captives.

Here in Texas, the biggest problem was the Comanche's and their Kiowa cousins, as has been mentioned before. Captives were their chief source of revenue, not for trading, but for cash.

After a raid, some captives would be simply killed because they were inconvenient, some would be adopted into the tribe (Cynthia Ann Parker is the best known example of that), but most would be sold to slave traders, especially the children. About twice a year, the Indians and their captives would meet up with the slave traders at a place commonly called the "Place of Sorrows," somewhere along the upper Brazos and deals would be struck. The Indians would get their money and the children would disappear forever, probably sold off in Mexico. Not many were ever found again.

Can you imagine that happening to YOUR children? What do you think would be YOUR reaction the next time you ran across a Comanche?
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