As legend has it, the sole survivor of the infamous Battle of the Little Big Horn was Comanche, Captain Keogh's horse. As the Members of the besieged group of soldiers from the Reno Hill picked their way through the dead and destruction on Custer Hill, they heard a faint whinny from what was left of Comanche. The blood and gore spattered horse had at least seven wounds, but none of them fatal, and Comanche lived for another 15 years. When he died, Comanche was stuffed and put on display at the Dyche Hall of the Natural History Museum in Kansas, where he still stands today.
While I have a problems with stuffing a hero (be it human or
animal) what it even more morbidly sensationalist is the series
of photographs documenting the process of stuffing Comanche.
In other words, Comanche has become what Judith Pascoe terms an "association object," that is, "a means of literal and imaginative transport" back in time to a particular moment or event. There is always something sensationalist in the association object especially if it - like Comanche - is on public display. Like tours to murder scenes or displaying the body parts of heros and criminals, Comanche is physical evidence of a real historical event and its human and animal players. But however real the Battle of the Little Big Horn was, Comanche like all souvenirs is laden with a culture's fantasies and reveries about what that particular event has come to embody.