Captivity Tale

According to Bradsby's Vigo County history (which may be incorrect) Michel faced an agonizing and slow death -- being burnt at the stake. At the last minute, an Indian woman saved him. She wanted to adopt him. It was customary for Native Americans to adopt white captives to replace family members who had been killed. As a result, Michel was only forced to run a gauntlet. Yet such gauntlets had claimed the lives of many. Nonetheless he was quick, strong and agile. He survived and was supposedly adopted by this unknown Indian woman.

If adopted, a Woodland captive typically underwent cleansing to make the captive acceptable to the family and community. The captive was roughly washed in a river or lake with sand and grit to remove his "whiteness" and make the skin "red."

Following this ritual cleansing an adoption ceremony would be carried out including a feast and gifts. Of all possible outcomes of becoming an Indian captive (except sucessfully running away) an adoption was the most desirable. Once adopted the captive was treated with  regard similar to that of other community members.

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