Nokota story – 1

This was supposed to be an update or revised version of the “Background story” page, telling the story of how the Nokota horse came to be, starting from scratch. It’s kind of a way to try and figure out how the actual history might well have been and what conclusions that can be drawn from it, but it’s more of a concept right now than a final version, so I’ll post it here instead. This is the first part.

The story of the Nokota horse

There is so much to tell and find out about the Nokota horse and it’s a long story on several levels with no distinct beginning and no definite end, so it’s kind of difficult to know where to begin without making the proverbial “you” utterly confused before you reach the end of this page.

Before we dig into the forage it would be appropriate to clear out some details so that we won’t have to brood over some nomenclatorial discrepancy.

Definitions

One thing is the difference of a “wild” horse and a “feral” horse. In some circles a wild horse is a horse breed that has never been domesticated, meaning the Przewalski’s horse. Since all other wild horses are extinct you might as well call it Przewalski’s horse, right? According to the same experts a feral horse is a horse belonging to a domesticated breed, but living free-roaming in the wild. From the free-roaming horses point of view it does not matter whether her ancestor, one or several hundred years ago, was domesticated or not. The only reason for walking around the bush and call a horse “feral” is to degrade her rights from being a part of a wildlife that is worth protecting, to being a runaway nuisance. Maybe I’m too old and too fat, but the way I see it a wild horse is a wild horse, and there is nothing more to it.

Another thing to clear out before we begin is what the original American inhabitants would like to be referred to as a group. Some say Native Americans, some say American Indians. Some say that Indian is inappropriate, some say the same about Native, some say Native American is a wider concept that also includes Hawaiians, Inuit’s, etc. Some might even say they are individual nations, very different from each other and they do not want to be clumped together; neither does some of us Europeans given the present financial situation, but hey! we’re all in the same boat and the sea is mighty big. According to an investigation in 1995 made by the US Consensus Bureau; most of the respondents prefer to refer to themselves as American Indians, or Indians. So if I use the term Indian in this text you know whom to blame.

By the way, this story is as you would expect based on information from different sources, but the conclusions are mine and I don’t intend to be unreservedly accurate about every little thing so I’ll just write down some of the references I remember by the end of the last part of this text, feel free to comment.

So now it is all set and I’m ready to begin this story and I might as well start from the very beginning, or as one William once wrote; “Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit and tedious the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.”

Rise and fall of the horse

The history of the Nokota horse began at the beginning of time 13 billion and 750 million years ago, give or take a hundred million years. Not until the third generation of stars formed out of giant collapsing gas clouds in our galaxy almost five billion years ago, enough heavy elements and compounds from previous supernovae gathered in the accretion disk that surrounded our newborn Sun, to form what in time would be a life bearing planet. As recent as 50 million years ago a small horse-like fellow (Eohippus) appeared in North America out of the haze of history,  as it is revealed by fossils “recently” found in the Big Horn Basin in Wyoming, as luck would have it, less than an hour on horseback from the present day Mustang settlement at Prior Mountains.

Round and about 12 000 years ago the first Humans wandered over the frozen Bering’s sound from Siberia to Alaska. The way I picture it they came in late spring by dogsled pulled by a span of Siberian Huskies, looking for better hunting grounds since the Mammoths were running out. As they came down by the rim of the ice sheet south of the Seward Peninsula and looked out over the tundra that was covered with a thin layer of snow, they spotted the first horses scratching the ground with their hooves to get to the grass. A familiar animal they’ve been hunting for food as long as anyone could remember. They switched the dog sled for a travois and carried on into their new home by the shores of the Yukon River.

Three hundred years later the horse was extinct in America. (The youngest horse fossil found in America is 11 700 years old.) So does that mean that man ate all horses? Can a few thousand human spear hunters catch and eat millions of horses? Could they even catch more than the annual growth of horses? Not long ago horse exterminators used trucks, helicopters and semi-automatic rifles, and there still exists wild horses in America today. In the same period the Mammoths and other large animals also disappeared, so some believe it was due to climate change. What climate change could extinct all horses from Alaska to the southernmost point in South America, Tierra del Fuego? Must have been a major global one, but why didn’t the horses in Europe and Asia disappear, why didn’t life on this planet disappear altogether? There are many loose ends here; someone who wants to pick up the lead rope?

So it seems that during more than 11 000 years the nomadic Native American peoples lived their lives with dogs, but without horses. Back in the old world some smart human being made the first successful attempt to befriend a horse (Equus Ferus Caballus) not on Facebook but in real life, about 6 000 years ago somewhere in Eurasia and was enough overwhelmed about it, as to carve out a painting on a rock to verify it. (At that time the horse had already been extinct on the American continent for almost 6000 years.)

The first horseback riders were on to something big that has not been recognized enough, I think. The befriending of the horse is just as big as the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel. The human being is the link between the dog (or wolf) and the horse. These three species have two things in common and that is that they are all mammals and they are all herd animals, so they speak the same kind of language, but in three quite different dialects, if you get what I mean.

The wolf is a predator, on top of the food chain. The horse is a prey animal, at the bottom of the food chain. The human being is somewhere in between. Deep inside us humans there is an age old need to live among these other species and learn by them; because it helps us to feel that we are surrounded by reality, we are not on top of it. Knowledge is not about collecting information; it‘s about understanding the world around us. That was central in many Indian horse cultures.

So where did we lose that trail?

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3 thoughts on “Nokota story – 1

  1. i was taught in school that “Native American” was correct, then surprised to learn first hand from several American Indians that they preferred this name, not because of the “Indian” half but instead because it put the land first and the person second, as they saw most fitting 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: Wild and Native Horses | Stable Thinking

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