Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


The incredible story of Quanah Parker

posted by Rod Dreher

I listened over the weekend to a Fresh Air podcast interview with S.C. “Sam” Gwynne, a talented Texas writer who has just published a book that I’ve got to find time to read: “Empire of the Summer Moon.” (The New York Times recently published an excerpt). Gwynne’s book is a history of Quanah Parker (ca. 1852-1911), the last chief of the Comanches, described by Gwynne as the greatest of American Indian tribes. Parker’s mother, Cynthia Ann, was kidnapped at age 9 by a Comanche raiding party on the Texas frontier, and raised by the tribe as a Comanche. She bore Quanah by her husband, a Comanche chief named Peta Nocona. Cynthia was later recaptured by whites, and returned to the Parker family — but she often tried to escape to make her way back to the Comanches, which she regarded as her people. She died early, tormented by her loss.The amazing, and deeply American, story of this mother and her son is full of heartbreak and tragedy. If “Empire of the Summer Moon” hasn’t been bought by Hollywood for a feature film, somebody in California is not doing his job. quanah-parker.jpg
Anyway, in the Fresh Air interview with Sam Gwynne, I was particularly struck by this part of Terry Gross’s conversation with him, in which Gwynne discussed the intense savagery of the Comanches, and how in recent years we’ve tended to romanticize and soft-pedal the cruelty of Native American tribes. Excerpt from the transcript:

GROSS: You describe very vividly what the raid, what the Comanche raid on the Parker fort was like, and it’s gruesome.
Mr. GWYNNE: Extremely.
GROSS: So I’m going to ask you to describe it, but first I’ll say if you don’t want to hear a gruesome description, this is your opportunity to tune out for maybe two minutes. Come right back.
(Soundbite of laughter)
GROSS: But, I mean, this is history. So – and I think it’s very important and interesting history. So please describe what happened.
Mr. GWYNNE: Well, what happened was what happened in every plains Indian raid going back for centuries. In other words, it was – this is what Indians did to Indians, and this just happened to be Indians meeting whites.
But the automatic thing in battle is that all the adult males would be killed. That was automatic. That’s one of the reasons that Indians fought to the death. The white men were astonished at it, but they were assuming – assumed that they would be killed.
The most – the small children were killed, very small children were killed. A lot of the, say, children in the, I don’t know, three-to-seven or three-to-10 range were often taken as captives. The women were often raped and often killed. And so it was an extremely brutal – and it was when – all of the people in the settlements back in those years knew what it was, knew what a Comanche raid meant, which was the same as a Kiowa raid or an Arapaho raid or another kind of raid.
But they were grim. They were grisly. Captives were usually involved, you know. and it’s an interesting kind of moral question that you have to – as an historian about plains Indians or about American Indians in general, you have to come to terms with this, with torture, which they did – which they practiced all across the West and, in fact, all across the East – and these kind of grisly practices that scared white people to death.
GROSS: I mean, you’re talking not only about scalping. You’re talking about various forms of mutilation, cutting off fingers and toes, gang…
Mr. GWYNNE: Torture by fire, torture by all sorts of different things – I mean, putting, you know, hot coals on your stomach. I mean, there were lots and lots of imaginative tortures that were, indeed, practiced by Indians all across the Americas.
GROSS: And this includes gang rape.
Mr. GWYNNE: It includes gang rape.
GROSS: And what I find provocative about this right now is that in American’s attempt to reconcile the atrocities that Americans committed against Native Americans, a lot of the Indian story was maybe rewritten a little bit to leave out some of those atrocities.
Mr. GWYNNE: Oh, I think absolutely.
GROSS: I mean, after focusing so much on, like…
Mr. GWYNNE: Yes.
GROSS: …you know, cowboys versus Indians in Western movies, I think so many Americans felt bad about that kind of, like, good-guy-versus-bad-guy description when white Americans were responsible for so much bad stuff themselves, that maybe – are you suggesting in your book that history maybe got rewritten a little too much in terms of leaving out some of the atrocities that Native Americans did commit in those wars?
Mr. GWYNNE: Oh, I think so. I think that’s a good point. And there was even an attempt at some point to deny that Indians were warlike. They were – Comanches were incredibly warlike.
They swept everyone off the Southern plains. They nearly exterminated the Apaches. They were warlike by nature. And, you know, if you look at, say, the Comanches, and then you look back in history at, for example, you know, Goths and Vikings or Mongols or Celts – or old Celts are actually a very good parallel.
In a lot of ways, I think we’re looking back at earlier versions of ourselves. It was we – we, being white Europeans – did all of those things. Not only that, but torture was institutionalized in things like the Counterreformation and the Spanish Inquisition. It was part of, you know, the Russian empire. I mean, torture is not the exclusive province of the Indians.
But I think you’re right. I think there was a certain wave of books, a certain type of book that wanted to kind of set the record straight in a different way. But yes, it was – life was extremely brutal, and it was extremely brutal on both sides. And in my book, I don’t – I try not to take sides. The whites were perpetrators of some of the most astonishing massacres in history, but so were the Indians.

Human nature does not change. I really, really want to read this book. If a film is made of it, I hope that Hollywood can avoid the Cameronization of the Comanches, and instead tell the story in all its human complexity.



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PDGM

posted June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am


Rod et al.,
On a related note:
The 1990s film made of Brian Moore’s novel, Black Robe, might interest you. It does not romanticize Native Americans; nor does it present them as only monsters.
It’s a tale of the Jesuit missionary priests in the French territories of North America. Also, unlike some of Brian Moore’s later novels (No Other Life, for example), it’s neutral to positive on Christianity and belief in the immortality of the soul.
I’d perhaps also balance out this presentation of Indian warfare with the counter truth of the practice of counting coup, which was not necessarily violent and involved respect for courage in getting up close to enemies and touching them with the coup stick. This was practiced in the more northern plains; probably elsewhere as well.
PDGM



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kenneth

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am


Yes, Virginia, there is a downside to tribalism…Native Americans had their savage instincts and had the full gamut of human behavior. They were no more or less noble or savage than the Europeans who ultimately ate their lunch.



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Polichinello

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:45 am


I second the recommendation for Black Robe.
As for the post, this is stock stuff in Larry McMurtry’s novels. Stone Age existence is tough and brutal. Steven Pinker did some comparisons of murder rates in contemporaneous Stone Age cultures and found their death worse than the worst of the 20th-century tyrannies.



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Charles Cosimano

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:48 am


The myth of the noble savage was created by those who never had to fight them.



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hlvanburen

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:56 am


“Human nature does not change.”
Perhaps the truest statement ever uttered on this blog. Whether motivated by the notion that God had ordained the expansion of US territory or by defense against invasion, human nature can and will migrate from the civilized to the barbarian in a matter of moments.
Yes, Hollywood has glamorized the “noble savage” for the past 25 years or so. But for how many years did Hollywood and other media outlets (school textbooks, newspapers, television, radio, stageplays, etc.) glamorize the brave prairie settler protecting his homestead from the dangerous red-skinned devil?
For a hundred years plus the truth was not told about the native American vs. settler conflict. Our society buried/overlooked the atrocities committed by the settlers.
For the past 25 plus years the truth was not told about the native American vs. settler conflict. Our society buried/overlooked the atrocities committed by the native Americans.
As we move forward and (hopefully) begin to tell a more balanced (and more accurate) story of this conflict, can we also drop the terms “politically correct” and “blame America first” from our reactions to those legitimate stories of atrocity committed in the name of American expansion across the continent?



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Chuck Bloom

posted June 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm


Here is the true sadness in all of this: In the small West Texas towns of Quanah (on U.S. 287 between Amarillo and Vernon) and Nocona (on U.S. 84 near Bowie), such history will be whitewashed from the Texas history books by the State Board of Education in its attempt to “purify” history in its hard-right ideology.
Instead of learning history as it was, and not through the tinted lens of politics, this subject and MANY others will simply not exist because it’s considered “heritage-based” education and will now be verboten except for that of the anglo Christian Republican.
In Texas, we will harvest a generation or 10 of half-educated children; raised to be made in his (the governor’s) image.



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MC

posted June 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm


“If ‘Empire of the Summer Moon’ hasn’t been bought by Hollywood for a feature film, somebody in California is not doing his job.”
Wasn’t “The Searchers” about Cynthia Ann Parker?



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Hector

posted June 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm


Couple of points here. I’m not a scholar of Native American culture or history, and I don’t live in the southwest, so I especially know little about the Comanche (though a good friend of mine is part Comanche). Let’s assume for the moment that the stories about Comanche savagery are true (though it’s always best not to take the testimony of one historian as gospel truth, and I haven’t looked into the literature to know if other historians agree with Mr. Gwynne).
It would be a mistake to take the Viking raiders as exemplifying the essence of Scandinavian culture (which was by and large a rural, poor, collectivist culture of fishermen and shepherds, not a culture of swashbuckling warriors wielding battle-axes) and it might be an equal error to take the Comanche raiders as exemplifying the eternal essence of their culture. Plenty of savagery happens all across the world, but it’s not always the case that that savagery is deeply rooted in the culture: sometimes violent elements within a society rise to the top, usually under conditions of stress, and draw that culture in a direction quite different from what it traditionally is like. In the sixteenth century, during the period of Portuguese influence in the Congo, there was a massive wave of cannibalistic atrocities in the southern Congo, carried out by a group of people called the Yakas. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that the culture of the Congo is essentially cannibalistic. The Yakas weren’t a tribe so much as (to use a modern analogy) a criminal gang, made up of the moral dregs of various tribes, and they recruited new members from the various tribes in the area. Their cannibalistic behaviour was as much a horror and an outrage to the Kongo Kingdom as it was to the Portuguese.
In short, I’d hesitate to reduce Comanche culture to gang-rape and chopping off fingers and toes. Chinese culture, Russian culture, and for that matter France in the early modern period were all known for creative and ingenious methods of torture (just read about the execution of Damiens for example) but it would be a mistake to reduce Chinese, Russian, or French culture to ‘cruelty & brutality’.



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Houghton

posted June 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm


Larry McMurtry’s wonderful series of novels on Texas Rangers Augustus and Woodrow Call does a great job of portraying the cruelty of the Comanches.



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Houghton

posted June 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm


Growing up in the Southwest, one’s knowledge and awareness of Indian cruelty in history is not muted.
If you haven’t been to the Llano Estacado, I highly recommend it.
And “The Searchers” is an incredible film – yes, it was based on this incident.



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Rod Dreher

posted June 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Yes, “The Searchers” was an amazing film, but I envision a film that explores the meeting of the Europeans (the Texas settlers) with Indians, as told through the story of Quanah Parker and his mother.



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CAP

posted June 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm


until 5 years ago, i sat in church every sunday morning next to a woman whose grandfather was killed by comanches. (not ‘great’ grandafather or ‘great-great’) it seems hard to believe, considering that we’re in the 21st century now. but my cousin (whipsmart til the day she died at age 103), could tell the story just like it was explained to her by her momma (whose father had been murdered.)
granpa joe had lost a pony, and gone out looking for it. despite the ongoing risk of raids along the red river in texas, he went out alone this time. when he didn’t return by nightfall, family became concerned. and being the place and time that it was, indian trouble was immediately considered. an armed search party of several friends and family members set out looking for signs of joe. or the lost pony. or any kind of sign.
within hours, they found joe. he had been murdered in a small valley. they stole his horse, and he had been scalped. the indians who killed him, had straightened him out on his back, and had covered his body with one of their blankets. there was no sign of the pony.
my cousin would still kinda choke up when she explained what had happened to her granpa. who is today buried in a little country cemetery nearby.



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Andrea

posted June 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm


American Indians are human beings and behaved as human beings have behaved throughout history when it comes to war. Sometimes they were kind to their captives; sometimes utterly brutal. Prettying up the history on either side actually dehumanizes them. They were ultimately on the losing end because of European diseases, technology and the sheer numbers of people who came here from Europe. I read a book a few years ago about the settlement at Roanoake that makes a pretty good case for the same thing happening to the Lost Colony as happened to Cynthia Ann Parker. The settlement was overrun, most of the men killed, and some, including the famous Virginia Dare, taken captive and forced to beat copper. Some of them intermarried with members of the Indian tribes and there were Welsh-speaking, light-eyed Indian tribal members encountered by some people about 100 years later.



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EHH

posted June 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm


I, too, thought of Black Robe upon reading this. It is also interesting in that it does nothing to romanticize the Europeans, either. I think to most contemporary Americans (and Europeans) they would seem as foreign as the Indians. No attempt was made to smooth anyone’s sharp edges and make him warm and cuddly. Not “Dances with Wolves” by a long shot.



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Jon

posted June 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm


Re: The settlement was overrun, most of the men killed, and some, including the famous Virginia Dare, taken captive and forced to beat copper.
Why were there no remains, or evidence of violence? I still the best theory is that the colonists had a hard go of it, cut off from England during the Spanish Armada period, and they ended up venturing inland where anything could have happened to them. Maybe they were killed, maybe they starved, maybe some of the survivors were absorbed by the local natives.



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Andrea

posted June 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm


This book theorized that the settlers initially joined a friendly tribe that was then later attacked by a hostile tribe a few years later. The surviving settlers and tribal members were sold as slaves to various other tribes and were scattered. There was a report about 20 years later of a young white girl and several English men and boys being forced to beat copper at an Eno Indian settlement. Virginia Dare was the only female child in the colony and the other women would have been many years older, so people have thought the report was probably about Virginia Dare. None of the surviving settlers/slaves were probably treated very well. The book is called “Roanoake: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony” by Lee Miller.



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Rich

posted June 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm


American Indians are human beings and behaved as human beings have behaved throughout history when it comes to war. Sometimes they were kind to their captives; sometimes utterly brutal.
Andrea is making the single biggest common mistake that most modern Americans make on this topic. It is a complete failure to make any distinctions. The millions of native inhabitants of the Americas are just all “American Indians”. It’s akin to telling the story of the First World War as one of Europeans fighting Europeans.
The Comanche are not the Cherokee are not the Narragansett are not the Makah are not the Inuit.
Many of the Comanche-Kiowa tribes were particularly violent. Comanche murder raids were not just an invention for “The Searchers”. They performed these raids as far south as central Mexico. As part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mexican government demanded a provision requiring the U.S. government to protect them from Indian raids and take revenge for any they couldn’t stop. They were famous for torturing captives to death, sometimes including by roasting them (even roasting a 6 year old girl in one case).



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Andrea

posted June 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm


Yes, Rich, I was lazy to not name specific tribes, but I thought that went unsaid. There are many different tribes, each with their own languages and cultural traditions and histories of interaction with each other and European settlers. But even if a particular tribe was violent, I don’t think it would be possible to say every individual in the tribe behaved a certain way or that they behaved the same way in every historical period. You can’t ignore those complexities or what prompted the various conflicts on either side if you want to give an accurate picture of history. I don’t believe in sugarcoating history on either side of the equation. Like people everywhere, they fought wars and there were atrocities on both sides, but most of the Indian tribes were ultimately outnumbered and the European settlers wrote the historical accounts that are widely taught.



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Siarlys Jenkins

posted June 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm


The galling part about the cruelty, all around, is that it was collective punishment. Some band of Indians killed some upcountry Virginia farmers, so a band of militia went and killed Logan’s family — the chief most friendly to the Anglo settlers. He sought revenge by killing every Anglo settler he could get his hands on. Neither the Indians responsible for the original murders, nor the militia who killed Logan’s family, ever paid the price. A bunch of other people who had similar culture, and skin color, and hair styles, suffered and died. One of the great atrocities was the Paxton Boys massacring the peaceful Indians settlement established by Moravian missionaries — which for the next generation was the object lesson to Indians that you can’t trust white men.
Of course most American racism between “white” and “black” has been on the same basis. There has been an occasional western in which the leader of a wagon train averts a massacre by identifying and hanging the young man who murdered a young Indian boy. Therefore, the boys father is satisfied, and doesn’t raid the entire set of wagons. But, that seldom if ever happened. Each community protected “its own” whatever the individual’s crime.
Nothing, however, gave Indians a collective sense of unity until Europeans showed up, presenting a common enemy. In fact, Cortez conquered Mexico because he had allies who hated the Aztecs. The U.S. Army fought the Commanches with the aid of Tonkawa scouts, known to the Commanche as Nermateka, “People Eaters.” That’s because they ate Commanches. Like most tribes, the Commanche name for themselves was “The People,” Nerm. All others were something other than “people.”



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meh

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm


http://www.isteve.com/Darwin-Enemiesonleft.htm
So what did Darwin say specifically about human biodiversity? In “The Descent of Man,” he wrote, “… the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other — as in the texture of hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body, the capacity of the lungs, the form and capacity of the skull, and even the convolutions of the brain. But it would be an endless task to specify the numerous points of difference. The races differ also in constitution, in acclimatization and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotions, but partly in their intellectual faculties. Everyone who has had the opportunity of comparison must have been struck by the contrast between the taciturn, even morose aborigines of South America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes.”
Darwin wouldn’t be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music.



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meh

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:43 pm


The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution
All this means that just as humans 40,000 years ago were signi?cantly different from their ancestors 100,000 years ago (much more inventive, in particular), humans today are different in many ways from our ancestors of 40,000BC, and, considering the accelerated rate of change, different from our ancestors of early historical times as well. We can empathize with the heroes of the Iliad (well, Odysseus at any rate)—but we’re not the same.



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Ollokot

posted June 29, 2010 at 4:35 am


Words fail me, as a Haudenosaunee, to begin to respond to this S.C. Gwynne with his sweeping over generalizations and astounding ignorance.
I’m well aware, not just from the history books, but also from the stories my Grandparents told me, of the violence and brutalities practiced on both sides during the wars; however historical events need to be understood in the context of their cultures and times, not weighed and found guilty from the 21st century armchair.
How is this guy even qualified to speak with authority on the Comanches? He wrote previously about bank corruption. If his interview is any indication, this book would not be worth the time to read if one is serious about learning what really happened.
With that kind of book endorsement, this will be the last Rod Dreher/Crunchy Con post I ever read.



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Quinault

posted June 29, 2010 at 5:04 am


You know that lovely book about the Ingalls; Little House on the Prairie? Do you recall that passage where they are surrounded by indians? I am sure when you read it you were thinking about how very threatening the tribes were. Ever wonder WHY the Ingalls were surrounded? They were on indian land. They were outside the land that was open to settlers. They were outside the domain of the US at that point.
Ever wonder WHY the Whitmans were massacred? Did you just think that the american indians were brutal? Did you know that the common practice of the “missionaries” in the NW was to coerce the tribes into conversion? They would place a box on the altar and say it contained smallpox. Then they would tell the tribes that unless they converted they would unleash the smallpox on the tribes. The natives converted and caught smallpox anyway. They were rightfully outraged. I will not defend the violence that was perpetrated against the Whitmans as right. But I can understand why the tribes did what they did.
If you are ever in WA you should stop by a little museum in Toppenish WA on the Yakama rez. The museum is pretty cool. But there is a part of the museum at the very back that everyone should see. American indian children in this area were forcibly taken from their families, beaten, raped and abused into becoming “less savage.” These children had their hair cut, were beaten if they spoke their language and were forcibly turned into the american ideal. Think “Rabbit proof Fence,” only set it in the Pacific NW.
As an Orthodox Christian you should KNOW about the atrocities that were done to Alaskan indians. If you don’t, you should really look into it. The way they were treated by the government is inexcusable. These are our Orthodox brothers and sisters that were treated this way!
These are good examples as to what my husband Ollokot is speaking about above regarding looking at the context of the historical events.
Rod- you really call into question your intergrity when you endorse a book/idea without researching it yourself. Your kneejerk reaction is understandable. Whiteguilt is stupid and offensive. But that doesn’t mean that you have to bring everyone to the same level. Unless a person is a cultural anthropologist, (or better yet, actually KNOW the culture yourself!) they really should stay away from writing/speaking about Native American issues.
[Note from Rod: Good grief, settle down. The book’s author discusses in the interview how complex human relations are, and how there was a lot of savagery on both sides. His point, though, was that in very recent times, we have in our popular history downplayed the cruelty of some Indian tribes, even as we observed (rightly) the particular cruelties of the whites. It wasn’t my impression that he was trying to demonize or canonize anybody, only try to see history as clearly as possible, the good and the bad, the noble and the ignoble. Pity that steps on your sensitive toes, but that’s life. — RD.]



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Rod Dreher

posted June 29, 2010 at 7:41 am


This post must have been linked from an Indian blog. Look, folks, be fair to Gwynne’s book. I have not read it, only heard the author on an hour-long interview. Read the entire transcript, to which I’ve linked. There is no sense that he’s written a book that’s unfair to Indians. In fact, he sounds somewhat sympathetic to Quanah Parker. It’s the historian’s job to do the best he can to relate the facts as they happened, and to say what they might mean. It does not detract from the meaning of white atrocities against Indians to note that the Comanches committed them against white settlers. Gwynne explains that the Comanches were infamous for doing the same things to other Indian tribes they fought. That was the nature of their culture. More to the point, that capacity for violence is inherent in all of us. Look at the Bosnia War of the 1990s, in which white people (Serbs) were committing incredibly brutal atrocities against other white people (Bosniaks), over land — same as the whites-vs.-Indians wars. Or look at the Rwanda genocide, in which blacks committed unspeakable atrocities against blacks, on ethnic grounds.
Again, I haven’t read the Gwynne book, so I can neither defend nor condemn it. But if the only thing you know about it is that he discusses the brutality of Comanche raids, then you will have judged it unfairly. The radio interviewer brought it up apparently because his account of the raid in which Cynthia Ann Parker was captured struck her as interesting. Read the whole interview. If you demand that history be told only from “your” side, then you are no better than the whites who only want the good things about white settler history told, and the bad things suppressed. History ought not be therapy.



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Quinault

posted June 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm


There is a problem with your argument; Gwyne is NOT a historian. He is a former editor that merely pieced together a story. If he actually WAS a historian this would be another issue. What he did was research this like an op-ed piece. One does not become a historian by researching from a specific slant. If that was the case I would be a Stonehenge historian because I wrote a piece on it. There are better books out there on the subject. I suggest you find a book with a more balance point of view. Try Hamalainen’s The Comanche Empire for a more through image of the Comanche people. (But even this I would read with a grain of salt since there are some inconsistancies) Basically if an author must descent into calling a people group “most savage” and other similar descriptive terms to make their point, they are a questionable source.
This blog post was not posted to an American Indian site. My husband and I have been longtime readers of your blog. We won’t be any longer.
What is the difference between Andrew Jackson and Hitler? answer: About one hundred years and better technology for genocide!



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Quinault

posted June 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm


This isn’t about my “sensitive toes.” Being American Indian I am well aware that tribes have their faults. I have seen it first hand. My great grandfather was the chief of the tribe, he was murdered in a political coup move. The current tribal system is quite corrupt and broken. I hate the “noble savage” romanticism. I take issue with the gross over generalizations and romanticism inherent in the interview. He providing a sensationalized view of a group. This would be akin to what “Braveheart: was to William Wallace. Sure, the information could be in part true, but the delivery is so over wrought that it causes the message to be placed in question.



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Tom Middleton

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:38 am


This book is fantastic, thoroughly researched and true to what happened. Get over it Ollokot.



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Sheena Roetman

posted June 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm


I found this blog post after reading the first 43 pages of Gwynne’s book and finally giving up after I decided I could no longer stomach the blatant racism of this so-called historical account. As a Lakotah/Creek woman, the dehumanizing language used in describing all Natives — not just the Comanches — is so incredibly offensive. It is especially maddening considering that the author’s biography on the book cover describes him as an “award-winning journalist.” As a working journalist and editor, it is particularly offensive that Gwynne so obviously disregards the integrity of his craft — fair and accurate reporting and detailed research. A quick glance through the bibliography/endnotes tells you that Gwynne took most of his information from secondary sources, and most of those originated from other white people. This book is poorly researched, shockingly offensive and certainly not worth anyone’s time if that person is serious about learning actual facts. Until a few minutes ago I knew nothing of this blog but I can say that an endorsement of this book, especially a blind endorsement, does little to aid any feelings of credibility I might have previously possessed.



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gerrit de boer

posted April 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm


I’ve read the book and it is indeed material for a movie. In fact after reading it I am suprised nobody ever made a movie of the life of Quanah Parker. But there are many more stories in the book that deserve to be made into a movie. It’s a goldmine for Westerns not only about the nineteenth century but also a century earlier when the French and the Spanish were in Mexico and the Comanches used to attack these parts endlesly.
After reading the book series like The Lonesome Dove cyclus and also a movie like Ulzana’s Raid with Burt Lancaster make so much more sense.
Indian Summer makes a great read and is an absolute diamond in Indian history writing. A recommendation to anyone interested in American history and especially that of the Comanches. I hope movie makers will pick up the book soon.



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