Friday, June 24, 2016

A Marked Woman

Mental Floss just did a 'retrobituary' (a short biography, really) on a very unusual girl: Olive Oatman.

Olive Oatman1.jpg

Unusual in that she was captured by Indians in her early teens.

     Treated as a slave.
     Purchased from the original Indian tribe by another tribe.
     Treated as a family member.  (And tattoed on the chin, so she'd remember who she was related to.)
Not willing to go back to her 'other' family, even though she had opportunities.

     She finally did -- reluctantly. She married a wealthy rancher and had a child, but doesn't seem to have been that happy.  (Here's her story on Wikipedia.)

Shades of Cynthia Parker -- the white captive who was the mother of one of the West's bravest and most notorious Comanche chiefs:  Quanah Parker.  

Cynthia Ann Parker.jpg
Here she is, with her daughter, Prairie Flower -- the nursing image was no doubt intended to shock.
He did not meet with her after she was recaptured and brought back to 'civilization.' But he never forgot her, either.  An intelligent, cunning and fascinating man.

Quanah Parker c1890.png
All images are antiques, pictured in Wikipedia

Both stories are interesting, and give you food for thought. What if they'd just been left alone, to live out their lives with their chosen tribe?
   But if I'd been the parent or sibling of either these 'captive' women, I wouldn't have felt that way...

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