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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Diversity And The Thorny Legacy Of White Wolf, Bloodiest Indian Chief In American History

Sarah Parker Fields, granddaughter of Quanah Parker, 'White Wolf', Comanche Chief who wrought fear in every Union soldier who crossed his land was proud of her Native American heritage but refused membership in Native Americans For Reparations, a militantly political group demanding restitution for the genocide of her people.

White Wolf was no victim.  In fact he was a true American hero, defending his land against foreign intruders, brilliant chieftain, and as bloody a warrior as Genghis Khan. White Wolf knew that a purposeful barbarity would intimidate the enemy.  Just as Genghis Khan posted severed heads on roads leading to conquered villages, gruesome warnings to the next settlements in his sights, so did White Wolf use unconscionable savagery as a tool of war.  He knew that the Christian soldiers would see his tribal, animist, ferocity, understand that they were up against a frightening, unfathomable enemy with no moral restraint and would turn tail. 

Jonathan Foreman, writing in The Daily Mail (12.8.13), said:

S C Gwynne, author of Empire Of The Summer Moon about the rise and fall of the Comanche, says simply: ‘No tribe in the history of the Spanish, French, Mexican, Texan, and American occupations of this land had ever caused so much havoc and death. None was even a close second.’

He refers to the ‘demonic immorality’ of Comanche attacks on white settlers, the way in which torture, killings and gang-rapes were routine. ‘The logic of Comanche raids was straightforward,’ he explains.

‘All the men were killed, and any men who were captured alive were tortured; the captive women were gang raped. Babies were invariably killed.’

‘One by one, the children and young women were pegged out naked beside the camp fire,’ according to a contemporary account. ‘They were skinned, sliced, and horribly mutilated, and finally burned alive by vengeful women determined to wring the last shriek and convulsion from their agonized bodies. Matilda Lockhart’s six-year-old sister was among these unfortunates who died screaming under the high plains moon.’

Not only were the Comanche specialists in torture, they were also the most ferocious and successful warriors — indeed, they become known as ‘Lords of the Plains’. They were as imperialist and genocidal as the white settlers who eventually vanquished them.

When they first migrated to the great plains of the American South in the late 18th century from the Rocky Mountains, not only did they achieve dominance over the tribes there, they almost exterminated the Apache, among the greatest horse warriors in the world.

So Sarah, now a young adult, fought hard for recognition of Indian valor and the imposition of the insulting claim of victimhood.  Her grandfather and other tribal chieftains were far more deserving of recognition than the black man, servile and complaisant from the very beginning to the end.  Mandingo, Yoruba, and Igbo were taken as slaves by tribal victors, sold to Arab middlemen who in turn sold them to Portuguese and English traders.  Sold on the block in Savannah and Charleston, these Africans were bred for strength and reproductivity, dismissed, and disregarded. 

White Wolf, the Comanche, Apache, and Piute were proud, rebellious, militantly defiant warriors who refused to be subjugated and fought with terrible ferocity against the Union Army, mercenaries, and white settlers.  Although they were outmanned, outgunned, and outmaneuvered by the invading armies of the east, the fought the good fight.  The American Indian was noble, proud, and dignified.  His savagery, condemned by the white soldiers crossing his land, was to him nothing of the sort.  There was no such thing as 'savagery', a term implying amorality, primitivism, and an unevolved cultural core.  Savagery was no more than a legitimate expression of honor. 

Sarah had been approached by many progressive groups anxious to use her in their cause for reparations and most importantly an admission of guilt by the white man for the genocide of Native Americans. Such an admission would lead to similar confessions about his equally amoral, profoundly barbaric role in the slave trade; and by extension his complicity in the subjugation of women, gay men, and the poor.  Coming clean about the Indians would be the first step to cleansing the Augean stables of white supremacy. 

Not only would Sarah's storied heritage make her the ideal spokesperson for deprived Indian rights, she, a stunningly attractive, raven-haired, classically Indian-looking beauty, would be the movement's poster girl.  This is what Indian removal and wanton slaughter of the red man meant - it deprived white Americans of true natural beauty - a beauty borne of the land, the environment, and the big sky. 

The progressive movement for Native Americans was of course lily white.  Most Native Americans wanted nothing to do with the neutering of their ancestors, reducing them to 'people of color' and linking them with black slaves, gay men, and transgender women.  They saw white liberal hysteria as destructive, the last straw, the final burial of the American Indian's storied past.  They were nonplussed at the removal of Indian icons, mascots, and images - another attempt to remove them from sight, to marginalize them in a baldly transparent and politically venal program of 'inclusivity'.  Indians were once again being railroaded by the white man, corralled, and forced into cultural isolation and reservation. 


So instead of being the progressive movement's shill, Sarah Fields became its fiercest, most outspoken opponent.  She championed the American Indian for their valor, their courage, and their indomitable, fierce attachment to the land. They were the first American anti-imperialists, the American anti-heroes, the Nietzschean √úbermensch.  They in their native patriotism, and all-out defense of their territory, were the forerunners of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, enemy cities leveled to help end the war and as importantly to show all American adversaries that the United States meant business. 

Of course she ran into opposition, for the cult of the oppressed did not account for such unmitigated savagery and conquest.  In order to castrate the white man, a trail of his victims had to be shown.  He was a creature beyond redemption.  His armies rolled over innocent Native Americans, moved them across the Mississippi and into reservations, unmanned them, dismissed and forgot them.  The occupation of native lands could not be cast as struggle between opposing interests and forces - that would simply be a reflection of general imperialism.  This was genocide, pure and simple.  It had to be to fit within the liberal canon. 

Needless to say, Sarah's was a losing battle. Her cohorts were too few and far between to coalesce into an activist movement, and the progressive ethos showed no signs of weakening.  Unless and until a new conservative government took power - an administration which admired and honored native courage, ferocity, and will and applied the ethos to its foreign policy and military strategy. Such a change was on the horizon, and no one was more pleased than Sarah Parker Fields. 


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