Persons captured in an Indian raid usually were considered the property
of the man or men who had actually captured them. If several claimed
a prisoner, he might be owned by them all, or if there was much argument
about ownership the prisoner was tortured to death.
White women captives were well treated
by tribes east of the Mississippi river, but the opposite often was true
when they were taken by tribes west of the river, on the Plains, and in
the Southwest. Children commonly were treated tenderly and often
adopted into the tribe. Indians, as a rule, loved children.
When some tribes were at war and warriors
of the enemy side were captured, they were usually made to run the gantlet,
or they were tortured to death, and sometimes even eaten. often the
captive's fate was decided by the warrior who had made the capture.
he might want to adopt the prisoner or make a slave of him. As most
tribes disowned a man who had been taken prisoner, a captive would gladly
become a member of the tribe of his captor. If a prisoner was adopted
it was usual to give him the name and allow him to fill the place of some
kinsman who had died. He brought this person "back to life" in the
eyes of the relatives.
within this Site
Names ][ Papoose ][ Slaves
][ Torture ]