Date: January 30, 2023 06:46AM
Climate change at the end of the last Ice Age killed off large numbers of the large grazing animals in North America. The steppe died off, the animals that ate that vegetation died off, and the specialized predators that ate those animals for food died off. Species couldn't recover because of a new predator they didn't evolve with — humans. Ancient native people didn't ride horses. They ate them.
You can't declare that something is true when it is not — no matter how badly you want to.https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20230126-the-return-of-the-spirit-horse-to-canada
The commonly accepted story is that colonisers introduced horses to North America. But some people believe there was a surviving native breed of horse when the Spanish arrived.
It was a bright day in December 2021 and snow was lightly falling over Mādahòki Farm, an Indigenous visitor attraction and event space just outside Ottawa, Canada. I was at the Pibón (winter) festival, and the Anishinaabe artist Rhonda Snow stepped on a small stage that still seemed to tremble from the exuberant footsteps of just-departed pow wow dancers. Nationally renowned for her vivid Woodlands-style paintings, Snow was here to talk about her lifelong work preserving the endangered Ojibwe spirit horse; the breed, also known as the Lac La Croix Indian pony, is the only known indigenous horse breed in Canada.
Snow explained that she was a young girl living in north-western Ontario when she overheard some elders talking about these small, hardy horses that lived free in the boreal forest. She was captivated.
"I thought to myself, someday I'm going to find them," she said.
She travelled around Indigenous communities and heard many stories of Indigenous peoples' reciprocal relationship with the Ojibwe spirit horse, seeing the animals as guides and teachers. Such as the Métis fishermen who partnered with the horses each winter to haul fish off frozen lakes – although the horses were never domesticated back then, they would use their hooves to create ice fishing holes in return for food and shelter from the fishermen. But, having been culled to near-extinction by European settlers who considered the wild animals a nuisance, the horses themselves were few and far between.
That the breed has survived is due to an event Snow depicts in her painting titled The Heist Across the Ice by the Light of the Moon. It's a story that could have been written in Hollywood.
In 1977, only four mares remained on an island in Lac La Croix, north-western Ontario. Having deemed the wild animals a health risk, Canadian health officials made plans to slaughter them. But, before they could do so, four Ojibwe men staged a daring rescue. They rounded up the mares, put them on a trailer and spirited them across the frozen lake and over the border to Minnesota, where they were bred with a Spanish Mustang. Careful management and selective breeding has since revived the Ojibwe spirit horse, which now numbers around 180 and is back in Canada.
The stories Snow heard of the Ojibwe spirit horse's long and close relationship with Indigenous people counter the commonly accepted history of horses in North America. That story goes that horses once ran freely across the continent before going extinct during the last ice age thousands of years ago, and that they remained absent until Europeans arrived. According to Indigenous oral histories and spiritual beliefs, however, horses have always been on the continent they know as Turtle Island, and recent research – though contested by mainstream science – may back them up.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2023 06:47AM by anybody.