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Enrique Alonso García
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History, Science and Knowledge of Native American Horse Culture: A Review of the Historical Scholarly Records, Current Popular Culture, and a New Approach Based on Traditional Knowledge and Oral History that Claims that the Current Narrative on the Origin of the Relationship between North American Horses and Natives is a Eurocentric Myth. Part One. (RI §423056)  


Historia, Ciencia y Conocimiento de la Cultura del Caballo de los Nativos Norteamericanos: un Repaso a la Historia del conocimiento académico, de la cultura popular actual y del nuevo enfoque basado en el Conocimiento Tradicional y la Literatura Oral que Defiende que el Relato Actual del Origen de la Relación entre los Nativos Norteamericanos y sus caballos es un Mito Eurocéntrico. Primera Parte - Enrique Alonso Garcia, Coby Bolger, Irene Sanz Alonso, Beatriz Lindo Mañas, Sitao Wu, Noemí Gámez Moll, Maofang Hui, Bernice Franssen y Laura Sandhill

El presente trabajo pretende introducir al lector en la complejidad que supone tomar decisiones legales o de políticas públicas basadas en datos científicos y fuentes clásicas del conocimiento de las ciencias duras, las ciencias sociales y las humanidades cuando nuevas "evidencias" que pretenden introducir un nuevo paradigma se basan en conocimientos tradicionales e historia oral que desafían lo asumido como "ortodoxo" por las metodologías científicas del mundo occidental. Estas ideas, algunas veces basadas en precariedad de pruebas, deviene cultura colonial prevalente impidiendo, y privando, al conocimiento tradicional de una adecuada representación en la formulación de nuevos paradigmas. La primera parte del trabajo intenta resumir, desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria, las diferentes fuentes en que se basa la narrativa occidental sobre la presencia de caballos en Norteamérica, tal y como es corrientemente aceptada por la historia y la cultura popular en España y en Estados Unidos y por la historia en general; un status quo con claras consecuencias para el derecho y las políticas públicas (inversiones en paleontología, técnicas de cuidado responsable y entrenamiento de caballos, su estatuto como patrimonio histórico, incluyendo el turismo y otros servicios accesorios, o incluso las normas y estándares actuales o futuros de zootecnia ...). Incluye un resumen del entendimiento usual de esa historia por los propios nativos de Norteamérica que concluye con un repaso del arte, la literatura (ficción y no-ficción, historias orales y creencias religiosas recolectadas por antropólogos y etnozoólogos) de los propios nativos, y exposiciones culturales tales como la exposición, durante 2011-2013, en el Museo Nacional de los Indios Americanos, del, "Un Canto por la Nación de los Caballos: Los Caballos en la Cultura de los Nativos Americanos." La segunda parte, mucho más breve, describe el "nuevo enfoque" que han supuesto los argumentos utilizados por la tesis doctoral en la Universidad de Alaska de Yvette Running Horse Collin: The Relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and the Horse: Deconstructing a Eurocentric Myth (2017) [La Relación entre los Pueblos Indígenas de las Américas y el Caballo: Deconstrucción de un Mito Eurocéntrico], así como su impacto en las comunidades científicas y redes sociales (y, todavía más brevemente, en el mundo institucional de los EE.UU). Concluye sugiriendo que quizás los paleontólogos, arqueólogos y otros científicos deberían ponerse de acuerdo en reproducir el debate, dedicando esfuerzos adicionales para evitar los supuestos prejuicios en que se basa la primera parte, tales como por ejemplo datar o volver a datar muestras, o añadir más muestreos a los ya existentes de restos comprendidos en el periodo que media entre los 11.000 años A.C. y 1.540 D.C., o escuchar las historias orales desde una perspectiva diferente, en vez de rechazar sin más, y sin análisis alguno, los argumentos en que se basa. Si permitimos que este “nuevo enfoque” caiga en el olvido mediante el silencio arrogante del egocentrismo científico o por “corrección política” permaneceremos irremediablemente en el “enfoque de autoridad científica” que puede no llevarnos necesariamente a una mejor comprensión de la verdad. En último extremo, ¿no es un debate más amplio e integral acerca de lo que significan los Mitos en las culturas de los Nativos norteamericanos lo que realmente está reclamando este "nuevo enfoque"?.

Palabras clave: historia; caballos norteamericanos; nativos americanos; Cultura del Caballo; caballos españoles.;

This work is intended to introduce the readers to the complexity of law and policy decisions based on scientific data and classic sources of knowledge of hard and social sciences and the humanities, when new evidence claiming to introduce a new paradigm is based on traditional knowledge and oral history that defy the assumptions of "orthodox" scientific methodologies of the western world. These ideas, based on precarious proof often become accepted into mainstream colonial culture with little questioning, thus preventing or depriving, as a consequence, indigenous knowledge from adequate representation in the formulation of new paradigms. The first part of the work attempts to summarize, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the different sources upon which the western narrative related to the presence of horses in North America is generally accepted both by ordinary U.S. and Spanish history and popular culture, and history in general; a status quo with clear consequences for policy and the law (investments on paleontology, techniques for caring and training of horses, their status as cultural heritage, including tourism and ancillary services, or even current or future zootechnical rules and standards...). It includes a summary of the usual understanding of that history by Native Americans themselves, concluding with a review of contemporary Native American art, literature (fiction and non-fiction, oral stories and religious beliefs collected by anthropologists and ethnozoologists) and cultural exhibits such as the 2011-2013 “A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures" at the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the U.S. Smithsonian Institution. The second part, much more brief, describes the "New Approach" by looking at the arguments put forth in Yvette Running Horse Collin´s PhD Dissertation at the University of Alaska: "The Relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and the Horse: Deconstructing a Eurocentric Myth," (2017) and to its impact in the scholars´ and social networks (and, even more briefly, on U.S. institutions). It ends by suggesting that paleontologists, archeologists, and other scientists, should return to the debate, by dedicating more effort at overcoming the bias of the initial interpretation that is being challenged, for example by dating or re-dating samples, or adding many more samples, to the 11,000 B.C. - 1,540 A.D. period, or widely increasing samples, to the 11,000 B.C. - A.D. 1,540 period, or documenting oral histories from a different perspective, instead of immediately rejecting them without any analysis or reconsideration whatsoever of the arguments presented. If we let this "new approach" fall into oblivion through the arrogant silence of scientific egocentrism or “political correctness” we will once again be drawn into a typical academic "authoritative approach" that might not lead us to a closer understanding of the truth. Ultimately, is it not the broader and more integrated dialogue about what Myths are In Native American cultures what this “new approach” is really asking for?

NOTE ABOUT TERMS AND NAMES. INTRODUCTION. PART ONE. THE TRADITIONAL WESTERN NARRATIVE ABOUT WHEN HORSES ARRIVED IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE CREATION, EXPANSION AND CURRENT HORSE CULTURE OF NATIVE AMERICANS. I. EVOLUTION OF THE HORSE: THE NORTH AMERICAN ORIGIN OF HORSES AS A SPECIES AND THEIR EXTINCTION IN AMERICA BY THE END OF THE PLEISTOCENE. 1. Paleontology science. 2. Human hunters arrive to America, climate change and vegetation, epizooties, . . . and the extinction of horses in North America. 3. American versus Eurasian ancient horses: why did the latter survive? 4. From paleontology to archeology and rock art. 5. Concluding remarks. 6. Pre-historic Native Americans´ Sacred Loop: myth, oral stories, spirituality/religion and the Cheyenne world view of Holy Man Sweet Medicine - Motsé'eóeve. II. THE NEW ARRIVAL IN THE EARLY 1500s: FROM CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND HERNÁN CORTÉS TO THE EXPANSION OF THE HORSES IN THE WESTERN PLAINS. III. OTHER EUROPEANS ARRIVE: COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND AND CHESAPEAKE BAY AND VIRGINIA NATIVES. IV. NATIVE AMERICANS OF THE PLAINS: ADAPTATION TO THE SPANISH HORSES AND CREATION OF THE HORSE CULTURE IN THE PLAINS. V. THE FIRST ENCOUNTERS ONCE THE U.S. WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1787: THE EXPEDITIONS OF LEWIS & CLARK AND PRINCE MAXIMILIAN & KARL BODMER; GEORGE CATLIN´S PICTOGRAPHS. 1. The 1803-1806 expedition of Lewis & Clark. 2. The Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer 1832-1834 expedition. 3. The Pictographs of George Catlin. VI. HORSE CULTURE AT ITS PEAK: REALITY VERSUS SPLENDOR? 1. The reality of the socioeconomy of Plains tribes. 2. The reality of the technological advances of Horse Culture. 3. What about spirituality? 4. The traditions of horse breaking: establishing the human-horse relationship. 5. Horse traits: Were the Native American horses so superior to the non-Spanish European horses as history reflects? 6. Horse Culture officially summarized: “A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures” at the National Museum of the American Indian and the splendor of Horse Culture. 7. Art as a primary source of historical research on Horse Culture: the scientific value of Ledger Art "discovered" in the late 20th century. 8. The linkage between ledger art and oral stories: the Horse Dance. VII. THE DECLINE OF HORSE CULTURE IN THE 1880s. THE ERA OF THE RESERVATIONS: RESILIENCE, REVIVAL AND "SURVIVANCE" OF HORSE CULTURE. 1. The mystification of the religious expressions of the horse symbolized by the doctrines of Black Elk. Contemporary Lakota religion and Horse Culture. 2. Myths, oral stories, Native American intellectuals, and the fiction literature depiction of Horse Culture. 3. The horse depicted by new technologies for story-telling: Photography and cinema. 3.1. Photography. 3.2. Cinema. 4. The final expansion of "The Mustang" as an All-American symbol in 1971 after the “dark age” of the Indian horse in the new Euro-American culture of the Plains. 5. Horse breaking, horse training and "gentle" riding. 6. Museum representations and the incorporation of Native women to Horse Culture art: from abstraction to realism. 7. Continuity in Native Americans´ classic artistic expressions: Horse Culture in contemporary rock art, Haida art and ledger art. 7.1. Rock art. 7.2 Haida Art. 7.3. Totem Poles. 7.4 Ledger art and Survivance. 8. A final word: Mount Rushmore vs. Crazy Horse, First Thanksgiving and other Oñate "fantasies," Trail of Tears vs. On the Human Love of Horses in Linda Hogan´s literature. Methodological cautions needed when approaching potential Eurocentric myths: ledger captions, ana-ethnography and the “selling (not telling)” of Horse Culture by Native Americans. Annex I: Summary of the Pleistocene and early Holocene Equidae family species that were in North America before their extinction (Jaime Lira-Garrido). Annex II: Linda Hogan´s Trail of Tears: Our Removal. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Keywords: history; North American horses; Native Americans; Horse Culture; Spanish horses.;

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