Native Americans owned horses from an early age

Native Americans owned horses from an early age

Native Americans in the Great Plains of North America had more horses than previously believed. The horse was already “deeply integrated” into their way of life in the first half of the seventeenth century, long before they came into contact with European settlers in their area.

That A large group of American researchers write In the journal Science. The researchers, who included anthropologists, geneticists, zoologists, and representatives of the tribes Lakota, Comanches, and Pawnees, relied on archaeological and genetic research and indigenous oral histories.

Historians often assume that Spanish horses spread throughout the American Southwest in the century following the conquest of Mexico (1521)—by fleeing, trading, or looting. The indigenous people of the northern plains did not have horses until the late seventeenth century. Nomadic groups like the Comanches would have been drawn south because of the presence of horses there.

Horses available to Native Americans are of Spanish origin

In Science Researchers, led by an anthropologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, are now pushing those dates back more than half a century. According to archaeological and genetic data, horses were also kept and used in the northern plains in the first half of the seventeenth century. Also, according to researchers, the Comanches already had horses before migrating to what is now Texas.

The introduction of the horse sparked an economic and cultural revolution among the indigenous peoples of the plains between the Missouri and the Rocky Mountains. The movement of equestrian peoples such as the Comanches and Lakota increased not only their hunting yields but also their military and political power.

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However, the basis for the researchers’ conclusion that the horse was early integrated into tribal societies in the northern plains seems still narrow. It mainly consists of examining the remains of three or four horses dated between 1597 and 1657: a foal buried in Wyoming, a skull from Kansas, and skeletons in New Mexico and Idaho.

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Yet, combined with other archaeological knowledge and oral traditions, researchers find enough evidence to believe that the tribes in those regions domesticated and used horses long before contact with Europeans. This is consistent with the desire to ‘decolonize’ Native American history and emphasize the power of Native American cultures. According to the researchers, colonial sources about the horse were often “full of errors” and “prejudiced against the tribes”.

Paleontologists believe that horses existed in North America during the Pleistocene, but died out due to natural causes and human hunting. The study also undisputed that the later native horses were of Spanish origin (and not of Northern European origin): DNA research confirms this.

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