Today the image of Indians on horseback is iconic. But Native Americans never set eyes on a horse before the 15th century when Europeans bring them to America as a weapon of conquest. The Comanche and other native peoples adapt the horse as a powerful ally in the fight to protect their land and way of life.
In four episodes, the PBS series Native America explores the stories, history, and current-day conversations of America’s First Peoples. This clip from the fourth episode, shared in this Sacred Stories collection, includes animated lore of the Comanche’s history with horses and the brutal targeting of Comanche horses by U.S. troops, circa 1875.
A note for sensitive viewers: The clip includes animated illustrations of horses being shot during wartime.
The video joins Comanche artist Jhane Myers and archaeologist Severin Fowles as they discuss the stories and history depicted in early Comanche petroglyphs in the Rio Grande Gorge in New Mexico. There’s also footage of the Comanche Nation Fair in Oklahoma.
2022 Update with a counterpoint article from Indian Country Today (via): “Yes world, there were horses in Native culture before the settlers came.”
Related reading: What are Petroglyphs? And why were petroglyphs made?
Watch more Native American and indigenous stories:
• Chief Oshkosh and a history of Menominee Forest conservation
• Native Hoop Dancer Performs Thunderbird Formation
• Buffalo Dance by the Serpent Trail Dance Group
• My Father’s Tools: The Indigenous art of basket weaving
• Hopi Dryland Farming: Growing corn with desert rainfall
• Different worlds: Wampanoag and Pilgrim women in 1620
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