The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 566
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Cover: Plains Indian Warrior in Blue, by Richard Petri, ca. 1851-1857.
Pencil and watercolor, 61 , x 4%/8 inches. Courtesy of the Texas Memorial Mu-
seum, Austin. Accession no. 2 197-I.
Ever since explorers came to the New World, the figure of the American
Indian has been a source of great interest and fascination. Indians have
been portrayed in endless variations-as Nobel Savages and just plain
savages, as hapless victims and ruthless destroyers, as innocent children
and sophisticated bearers of culture. Whether shown in a positive or
negative light, seldom have Indians been understood in all of their di-
versity and complexity. Artist Petri's romantic image of a plains warrior
captures the dignity and nobility that he and many others saw in Indian
An important source of Indian stereotypes was found in one of the New
World's earliest and most popular literary forms-the captivity narrative.
From New England to California, wherever Indians and whites encoun-
tered one another, there were cases of whites taken captive (and whites
leaving their own societies to live as Indians). The American fascination
with this phenomenon resulted in the enduring popularity of captivity
narratives for hundreds of years. Texas was no exception in this regard.
There were numerous celebrated cases of whites being taken captive,
most notably in the captivity of Cynthia Ann Parker, who became the
wife of a Comanche and was the mother of Quanah Parker, one of the
last great Comanche chiefs. Many popular books were written about
such cases. On the other hand, some notable Texans, including Sam
Houston, chose to spend parts of their lives outside their own culture,
living among Indians.
Two articles in this issue focus on the always complicated story of Indian-
white relations. Scott Zesch's article, beginning on page 515, tells the
story of Adolph Korn, a young German-Texan boy who was taken captive
by Indians and lived happily as a fierce Comanche warrior. Although he
was eventually returned to his Hill Country home, Korn never successful-
ly readjusted to white society. In a document edited by Elizabeth John
and translated by John Wheat (page 561), we see how Spanish officials
wrestled with the problem to how to deal with their Karankawa neigh-
bors. Both pieces make clear that there seldom were easy answers to the
ongoing conflicts between Indian and white cultures in Texas.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/566/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.