Friday, March 5, 2010

Indians and Dogs and Horses

Just a quick post today, as it's once again sunny and while I have a break in desk work, I need to go out and tackle some of the tons of yard work that need doing.
There was a long article about wild horses in the March issue of Smithsonian. That in itself was interesting, but one line really caught my eye: "By the mid-1600s, Plains Indians were capturing and taming horses--which the Lakota called sunka wakan, or sacred dog. . ."
It's pretty obvious what the sudden availability of horses meant to Native Americans, but calling them "sacred dog" certainly brings up the thought, just what did DOGS mean to them? Dogs were used for many things, from pulling travois from camp to camp, to helping keep predators out of camp, as a food source, as a clothing source (wool dogs were specifically bred, separate from camp dogs, for their coats, which were shorn like sheep). Truly fearless braves were called dog warriors. So it appears that dogs were held in high esteem (despite their ending up in the stewpot at times), and invoking their name to give to the horse just makes that even more evident.

No comments:

Post a Comment