Unparalleled cultural adaptation

The void that loomed before the pitiable remnant of the Comanches was for Quanah Parker a grand opportunity. He would remake himself as a prosperous, tax-paying citizen of the United States of America who dressed in wool suits and Stetson hats and attended school board meetings.

And he would try to haul the rest of the Comanche nation along with him. In the dreary, hopeless winter of 1875-76, the notion of bourgeois citizen-Comanches was just short of the ridiculous; no one would have wanted it anyway. But Quanah saw the future clearly.

On the high and wild plains he had been a fighter of jaw-dropping aggressiveness; now he would move just as resolutely from the life of a late Stone Age barbarian into the mainstream of industrial American culture.

– S. C. Gwynne, from “Empire of the Summer Moon”

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