Subject: precolumbian Amerindian horse? From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yuri Kuchinsky 17784) Date: 1997/09/10 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology,rec.equestrian [this is the second part of my article] FRANK GILBERT ROE ON VERY EARLY INDIAN HORSES. (Part 2) By Yuri Kuchinsky. THE INDIAN AND THE HORSE, 1955, by Frank Gilbert Roe, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. And now, let's look at some of the Northern tribes. A very interesting account was supplied by an explorer Jacques de Saint-Pierre in 1750-52. He describes some tribes in the far interior in the Rocky Mountains area that were expert horse breeders and traders (p. 97). No Europeans had penetrated there at this point! Another account comes from Antony Henday in 1754. He was the first European in some of the territories of the Sarcee Indians west of Hudson Bay. He describes ... the friends and neighbouring allies of the Sarcee, the Blackfoot, as possessing horses in 1754, and "well supplied". (p. 106) Roe reports further, For this declaration he was denounced and discredited as a mere liar for nearly twenty years, until vindicated by the testimony of Matthew Cocking, 1772-73. The "Archithinue" (Blackfoot) were not even the first horse Indians whom Henday met. (p. 106) The interesting thing here is that it seems that the early European arrivals already were disputing at that very early time whether or not the Indians had the horse previously to the European arrival! And if _they_ were not so sure, how can we be? This to me is extremely revealing... The author says this about the Snake Indians, We should in any event be compelled to date the Snake [Shoshoni] horses not later, and very probably much earlier, than 1700. (p. 128) Roe says the following of the situation in the North-West in general, In view of the conventional application to Plains tribes, par excellence, of such terms as "characteristic" or "typical" horse Indians, it is curious to note that among those who were apparently the earliest to possess horses in really large quantities -- which perhaps implies, among the earliest to possess them at all -- were some of the more northerly tribes living to the westward of the first (main) range of the Rocky Mountains. (p. 123) I think this is quite significant as well... Another big problem Roe tries to deal with is What kinds of horses did the Natives have? What was the breed of the Indian pony, and how did it emerge? Again, he seems to be quite confused about possible solutions to this conundrum, There is one problem that may never be solved. It would be of immense interest and value, both to the historical student and to the zoologist more purely, to learn what agglomeration of European, Asiatic, or Hispano-American breeds combined to produce the wild or "Indian" pony of the North American continent, with its hang-dog appearance so little suggestive of its almost inexhaustible stamina, and its inescapable "pinto" coloration. (p. 135) And yet, he himself, provides an interesting clue to the possible solution: There is also a small and very ancient breed which was indigenous to Europe in prehistoric times, the Polish "Konink". This creature ... certainly presents a very striking resemblance to the Indian pony in its disproportionately large, hang-dog head...(p. 139) The author also deals at some length with the situation with horses in South America. It is very clear, according to him, that the S. American feral or wild horses were very different from N. American. The author remarks that earliest horses of S. America were much more like the Spanish horses. In N. America, earliest horses were different, they were pinto, or piebald. Yet in one most important characteristic, the historical wild horses of S. America (baguales) and those of the northern continent were or are fundamentally different. The difference is one of colour. In the Northern Plains area the Indian pony is almost typically a pinto. (p. 144) The author is really puzzled, Once again, why in the north and not in the south? ...why ... in the north exclusively ... should these peculiar coloration phenomena occur in such large numbers? (p. 151) The author quotes from a noted authority on American horse, Francis D. Haines (THE APPALOOSA HORSE, 1951) and says, Haines has very skilfully summarized a mass of evidence tending to support his conclusions that the ancestors of the Appaloosa reach back in a very similar (and readily identifiable) form and colouring to a great antiquity across an enormous Eurasiatic territory, stretching from far eastern China to the Adriatic. (p. 153) This conclusion by Haines is extremely important. Haines clearly thinks that the Indian pony derived from the Asian, or old European horse somehow. Now, guess what was the theory of Haines as to how that ancient Old World horse reached America? Believe it or not, he thought it ...was brought over by the Spanish -- from the Netherlands! Myself, I think this is rather unbelievable. If it indeed came from Europe, the Vikings were far more likely to bring it than the Spanish who were very particular that their horses should be of uniform colour. What are my conclusions to all this? It seems to me that the Indian pony derived from the ancient Old World stock, and very early on. Whether that pony was brought over by the Vikings, or by other North Europeans, or by the Chinese from the West, or by both, is anybody's guess at this point, I suppose. It is very clear to me that the derivation of the Indian pony cannot be considered as settled at this point in time. Perhaps some more recent literature casts additional light on these matters, but I have not been able to look at it as yet. Now we already do have one seemingly solid case of horse remains in a very early precolumbian context in Milwaukee, as posted by Hu McCulloch in articleClick here to go one level up in the directory.
. [begin quote:] : In the Milwaukee Public Museum there is the skull of a mustang : excavated in 1936 by W.C. McKern from a mound on : Spencer Lake in NW Wisconsin (47BT2), and vouched for by : McKern in the _Wisconsin Archaeologist_, Vol. 45, #2 : (June 1964), pp. 118-120. Says McKern , "there : remains no reasonable question as to the legitimacy : of the horse skull that we found as a burial association placed : in the mound by its builders." [end quote] I believe there are other such cases also, not posted here as yet. Best regards, Yuri. Below are some of the sources that Roe mostly relied on in the above analyses: Denhardt, Robert Moorman, HORSE OF THE AMERICAS, Norman, 1947 Haines, Frances D., HOW THE DID THE INDIANS GET THEIR HORSES? American Anthropologist, Vol. XL (1938), 112-17 Haines, Frances D., THE APPALOOSA HORSE, Lewiston, Idaho, 1951 Roe, Frank Gilbert, THE INDIAN AND THE HORSE, 1955, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Webb, Walter Prescott, THE GREAT PLAINS, New York, 1931 Wissler, Clark, INFLUENCE OF THE HORSE, American Anthropologist, Vol. XVI, 1914, 1-25 Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.io.org/~yuku It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith _________________________________________________________________