“…many children such as Jeff Smith were captured by the Native Americans in the mid-1800s, and though heartbroken, most were treated well. Most were returned as adults, where they faced the struggle of adjusting to a way of life they had forgotten, and the second heartbreak of having lost their Native American friends and a way of life they loved:
‘Eventually, most of the captured children were sent back to their families, often against their will. Usually, a federal Indian agent, working together with a friendly Indian chief, arranged their release. But the redeemed captives found it much harder to readjust to their own people's ways than it had been to adapt to Indian society. Jeff Smith put it best: 'Everything seemed mighty tame after I got back home.’
‘As adults, many of the former child captives lived in limbo between their original and adoptive cultures. A number of common characteristics set them apart. They were often reserved and did not talk much...”
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Amanda Lucinda Schucker
My paternal great-grandmother was one of the children that were captured by Native Americans and later returned. Recollections by my grandmother and great-aunts were that she never talked much about her time living with them, that she was quite reserved and stern, and while off tending the family’s flock of sheep she would carve small stones into decorative shapes. Dozens of her stones were dispersed through several family members over the years, and I am fortunate to have some photographs and photocopies of the stones.
|Just a few of the stones that she had carved over the years. |
These were in possession of a distant niece.
|My great-great-grandfather and Amanda’s father, Paul.|
How did he feel about his daughter being taken, and how she had changed years later upon her return?
|Tombstone in Valley View where she is buried with her husband and one of her sons. Elmer committed suicide at the age of 21 after years of battling epileptic seizures.|