Subject: Indian horses From: email@example.com (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 1997/09/17 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,rec.equestrian,soc.history,alt.native Greetings, I have a few more comments to make about these interesting horse theories, and also can offer some more items of useful bibliography. First of all, it really seems like our evidence indicates that, with few exceptions, at this time we don't have any sort of a trustworthy likely chronology for when which tribe of Indians got the horse, what kind of horse, and from where. So, it seems, there are many problems in this area of historical research, any way you look at it. The assumption among historians is nearly universal that there were no horses in America before Columbus (except, of course, for those that became extinct very early on). I certainly cannot claim at this point that this assumption is incorrect. I can only say that there seem to be some assorted problems with this view, as well as a few troubling items (such as the horse skull) found in good precolumbian contexts. There are of course a number of Native tribal historians who claim that they had the horse since before Columbus. But such assertions are not usually given much, if any, weight by our scholars. There are also indications that the horse was possessed suspiciously early by many rather remote tribes. But I think the really big puzzle at this time is about _the kind of horse_ the Indians had, and still have in some cases -- the Indian pony. These questions about how and when this pony came to America seem to be very obscure, and indeed surprisingly so. I have been unable to find much literature about this at all. We know that this pony was very widespread among various tribes, and yet we have no idea about how it derived. The irregular colour of this pony, pinto, was seemingly quite prized by the Indians, and despised by the Spanish, and also I think by the British. Also there are some question about the Native breed known as the "Chickasaw horse". This horse was apparently very famous in the Old West, and these horses were highly prized. The Chickasaw Indians apparently had the horse from very early time. I have looked up the annotated edition of James Adair, THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS, originally published in 1775. (There are also many facsimile editions out there that don't have any sort of annotation.) AUTHOR: Adair, James, ca. 1709-1783. UNIFORM TITLE: History of the American Indians TITLE: Adair's History of the American Indians / edited under the auspices of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, in Tennessee by Samuel Cole Williams. PUBLISHED: New York : Promontory Press, [1974?] PAGING: xxxviii, 508 p. : maps (on lining paper) ; 24 cm. NOTES: Reprint of the 1930 ed. published by Watauga Press, Johnson City, Tenn. Originally published in 1775. Includes bibliographical references and index. Adair was an independent trader very close to the Chickasaws, and even apparently adopted some of their ways. In this edition there's an interesting longish note about the Chickasaw horses (p. 340). According to the editor of this edition (Williams?), the Chickasaws seemed to have the horse surprising early. The horse, it seems, was not introduced among the Cherokees until the beginning of the seventeenth century, and then probably from the Chickasaws. Also it says the following, Barton in his "New View" says: "It is a well established fact that the Chickasaws brought with them from the West those beautiful horses called Chickasaw breed". >From the West? Where would that be? I suppose "the West" can have various interpretations here? The exact description of this breed was something that I was quite interested in investigating, since I came across the following in Thompson. I mentioned before the book by Robert W. Howard, THE HORSE IN AMERICA, Chicago, Follett Publishing Co., 1965. I don't have access to it, and yet I have a quote from it (coming from Gunnar Thompson, AMERICAN DISCOVERY, 1994). The Chickasaw horse emerges as the first domestic breed evolved in America; its origins may never be determined. (p. 28) This is what Howard thinks. This seemed quite promising to investigate this Chickasaw horse. Was it really such a unique and special breed? I tried to look it up, and this is what I found in the above mentioned note in Adair. Smyth (1774) in North Carolina "purchased a beautiful Chickasaw horse, named so from a nation of Indians who are very careful of preserving a fine breed of Spanish horses they have long preserved, unmixed with any other." A TOUR, I, 139. So, there we go. So now it seemed like this Chickasaw horse was not so unusual, according to Smyth -- it was very close to the Spanish horse! So who is right here, Smyth or Howard? I dare not to guess as this point... A fine puzzle, this... And yet we know that the Indian pony was definitely unlike the Spanish horse, and probably was not introduced by the Spanish. This seems reasonably clear. In any case, here's another bibliographic item that may be useful. Thompson includes in his book a couple of illustrations from the book by Gloria Farley, IN PLAIN SIGHT, Columbus, GA, ISAC Press, 1994. These illustrations show some portrayals of horses that she says are precolumbian. One item is what looks like a fine horse statuette. It is now housed in the Columbus Museum of Arts and Science, Columbus, Georgia. In Thompson it says that it is "ancient". More about this I don't know. Farley probably discusses this matter further in her book, which I don't have access to. I would like to add this also. As many people in these ngs know, for some time now I have been researching many various items indicating transoceanic contact with America in ancient times. There's a large number of such items, and many of them seem to provide solid indications that such contacts were real. And in all such cases so far I mostly relied on the work of reputable scholars who investigated these items previously. As most of us know, there's a significant "academic counterculture" consisting of scholars who do this sort of very challenging but difficult research. But one thing that really surprises me at this time is that not only is this area of research about the early horse almost completely neglected by the mainstream scholars, but it ALSO seems to be rather neglected even by these scholars who usually would do this sort of research... We are talking about _really obscure_ now. Here's an example. In the book MAN ACROSS THE SEA, Carroll L. Riley, et al. eds, U. of Texas P., 1971, which is sort of a Bible of this "countercultural research", the book filled with all kinds of valuable info, the precolumbian horse is not even mentioned! Not only that, one noted "diffusionist", D. Frazer (1965: 460-1) doesn't even seem to be aware that horses were in Norse Greenland way before Columbus, a well established fact! Here's Frazer, The absence of horses and other beasts of burden in the New World may be attributed to the same difficulties of transport across open sea that prevented Norsemen who colonized Newfoundland from successfully introducing such animals in this hemisphere...(p. 49) How's this again, Mr. D. Frazer? No animals in this hemisphere? Really... So I really don't know what to make of this... Obviously the amount of misinformation and a lack of information about this seem to plague even "the usual suspects" who should have known better... So are these theories so completely wacky that even the scholars who are known as "(semi-)respectable diffusionists" wouldn't come close to them? Who knows? Who can tell? Best regards, Yuri. 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 _________________________________________________________________Click here to go one level up in the directory.