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Cynthia Ann Parker
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Victim
    (1825-March 1871)
    Born in Crawford County, Illinois
    Mother of Comanche leader Quanah Parker
    Kidnapped around the age of eleven by Comanche warriors, in 1836
    Assumed the adopted Comanche name of Naduah, or Narua
    Lived among the Comanches for an estimated 25 years
    Returned to white society by the Texas Rangers, following the Battle of Pease River (December 18, 1860)
    Dealt with depression following her return to her family; later caught influenza and died of pneumonia at Fort Anderson
    Served as the template for the Natalie Wood-character in John Ford's 'The Searchers' (1956)
    Also served as the template for Mary McDonnell's character 'Stands With a Fist' in Kevin Costner's 'Dances With Wolves' (1990)
    She was nicknamed 'The White Squaw.'
    She inspired an unsuccessful one-act opera by musician Julia Smith.
    There is little documentation to accurately pinpoint either her date of birth or death.
    She resisted attempts to help her assimilate back into American culture following her 'rescue.'
    She, on at least one occasion, escaped her Texas home in an attempt to return to her Comanche tribal family.
    Historians of the period tried to put a pretty bow on the situation, with one claiming that she 'developed the charms of captivating womanhood' and fell in love, 'as the years went by.'
    She allowed herself to be photographed breast-feeding her infant daughter while visiting a relative at Fort Worth (the photo was circulated throughout the frontier and beyond, including to schoolchildren).
    Her remains were reinterred twice (moved from Foster Cemetery in Anderson County to to Post Oak Mission Cemetery, in Oklahoma, on her son's orders; then both of their remains were reinterred at the Fort Sill Post cemetery).
    Her parents, and most of her family, were butchered in front of her by the Comanches.
    As was often the case with Indian captives, she integrated into the tribe and came to love them as her family.
    She enjoyed a happy marriage with the venerable Chief Peta Nocona, who took no other wife but her (considering that Comanche men usually took multiple wives, this said a great deal).
    She was returned to the Texas Rangers (who had spent 25 years searching for her), after several failed attempts to barter for her freedom.
    During the struggle prior to her capture, her husband was shot and killed by the Rangers.
    Her reluctance to return to white society puzzled her 'rescuers' but she had not only forgotten most of her English and assimilated into Indian culture, but was now a widow forced to leave two of her orphaned sons behind (who wouldn't be upset?)
    Unbeknownst to her, she had become a symbol to those in frontier life, many of whom had lost their children to Indians and hoped to eventually be reunited.
    She received little assistance adjusting to white society from her surviving family members, who usually punished her and her daughter when they were caught reverting to their Comanche language or customs.
    Her emotional grief got to be serious enough that she not only hacked her hair off with a butcher knife, but slashed her arms and breasts with the knife, as well. In the final months of her life she had stopped eating.
    For all the tragedy in her life, her son, Quanah Parker, grew up to be the most effective emissary on behalf of the Comanche Nation, heading into the 20th-century when most Indian communities were wasting away (he kept her picture on his mantle his entire adult life).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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