Sunday, February 7, 2010

“A Song for the Horse Nation"

This link discusses one of the recent exhibits that have been shown at the National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibit relates to the Native American horse culture and its rise and fall. It is fairly unknown that the native horse culture only survived for around 100 years, even though it seems like all recreations of Indians include horses.

The article continues to talk about the origin of the native horse culture. It is believed the horse culture began to rise in 1680 after Spaniards fled Santa Fe and left behind hundreds of horses. At the beginning, Indians were afraid of the large animals, but soon became some of the best riders in the world. With the introduction of horses to the Native American culture hunting became easier, leading to more food, better shelter, and better clothing. Transportation became easier as well. All of this allowed tribes to expand and flourish. Unfortunately, horses also led to increased trades with Europeans for guns that allowed the Indians to fight other tribes more successfully.

The more interesting point I would like to point out deals with the horse’s use for transportation. Even though the horse culture was not around for very long, it had huge impacts on Indian life through simplified movement over the land. But today there is a very different usage for horses. Other than for farming, horse use seems to be completely recreational to the majority of people around the world, especially in the United States. The severe contrast is easy to point out but extremely interesting to think about. Technology has the ability to wipe out a major resource, in this case, transportation by horseback.

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