Comanche Captors Analysis

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Comanche Captors: Fact or Ford’s Fiction? Located in the southern region of the Great Plains, the Comanche conglomerate occupied a formidable existence. They hunted buffalo, resided in in “tepees”, and experienced a tumultuous relationship with white settlers (“The Comanches”). However, much like how the Comanche tribe eventually were forced to surrender their land, they have been forced to surrender to stereotypes formed around their culture. The primary propagator of these generalizations appears to be the film industry, with John Ford leading the movement. While Ford’s films bear many inaccuracies, there is documentation that corroborates his portrayal of the Comanche included some unsavory truths. For starters, Ford’s aim in his films…show more content…
During the exposition, the iconic scenario unravels where the white Edwards family prepares for the impending, and seemingly inevitable, Comanche attack. The majority of the family is immediately murdered, and the two sisters are missing, with the older sister’s corpse being discovered later defiled in a canyon. As a result of these atrocities, an obvious sense of perversion characterizes the Comanche in the film. This malicious depiction continues when the uncle, Ethan Edwards, visits a camp of women who were taken by the Comanche and then ‘saved’ by the cavalry. Each woman that Edwards interacts with is more deranged the last. They wail and exhibit personalities synonymous with those of people who have been traumatically tortured. Their conduct is indicative of the debilitating effect the Comanche has had on them, and further portrays the Comanche as so vicious that simply being with them causes a corrosive psychological impact. Consequently, this further contributes to the notion that the Native Americans are so devoid of morals, that they would even be malicious towards young women. Eventually, the remaining daughter is found residing in a Comanche tepee where she seems to have completely assimilated, and lives as a servant fetching scalps for the Comanche chief…show more content…
Specifically, while the Comanche were still “equestrian nomads”, the gender of preference for captives was male, because of the warrior element (Rivaya-Martinez 45). However, when the Native Americans were moved to reservations, the preference dramatically veered in the female direction. The most notable captivity case being that of “Cynthia Ann Parker, the daughter of early Texas settlers”, however she was far from alone (“The Comanche”). Specifically, there was such an influx of captives that were girls, that the Comanche were able to embrace their interest in “polygynous” relationships (Rivaya-Martinez 47). Comanche men proceeded to accumulate as many wives as they desired, often as many as six, with the majority being captives (Rivaya-Martinez 48). Concisely stated by New Mexico Governor Velez Cachupin, the “Comanche instinct was to have an abundance of women to generate as much offspring as possible, stealing them from other nations in order to increase their own (Rivaya-Martinez 48). Furthermore, the existences that these women endured were far from pleasant. While boys taken for warrior purposes could be adopted by the tribe, women were generally treated with “brusqueness and surliness as if they were some slaves.” (Rivaya-Martinez 48) This circumstance of slavery indicates that, in some cases, Comanche captivity could cause a corrosive psychological effect and an overall unhappy existence,

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