“The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
To resolve the situation of the Wild Horses of today, to form an informational basis to establish the American Wild Horse (i.e. currently the Mustang) in the Western United States as an Indigenous Species, remains the objective of this series of articles. Ultimately, upon resolving the issues of Indigenous Species we can then, and only then, establish an Endangered Species status for the Wild Horses on America’s Public Lands. This will defend America’s Heritage, from greed and destruction — The Wild Horse.
This series of articles will aspire toward intellectual history as well as develop a literary analysis or cultural history of the Mustang. The basis for this two-fold:
1. Much of the literal history of the Wild Horse in the Western United States has been, and continues to be overlooked, or simply passed off as innuendo;
2. Modern industrial agendas and economics remain definitive within the scope of “Uncceptability” or to not place the Wild Horse within the category of Indigenous, due to unsound and irresponsible monetary reasoning that prohibits their inclusion.
The arguable situation, most often quoted in reports, legends, and research: Ancient species of horses had existed in North America many thousands of years ago, but they became extinct long before the ancestors of American Indians arrived on the continent. Thousands of years later, modern horses were brought to North America by Europeans.
This type of innuendo lacks credibility and definition in the matter of Wild Horse history in the United States. It also contradicts many references, whether bones, hieroglyphics, etc., found in areas within the Western United States,
Counter to Present Day Perspective: Today, as usual with myth and misinformation, the perusal of documents, research, and articles of the history show beyond a doubt Wild Horses existed within the United States (the Americas) much earlier than thought. The European’s were not the ambassadors of the Wild Horse’s as claimed, rather their breeds (i.e. Arab, et al.) simply intermixed with the Wild Horses already in Western America, well referenced but ironically the material ignored.
In reality Wild Horses’ already populated the Western Americas in the 6th century thru the 16th Centuries. The 16th century is when humankind began to write about horses, but indirectly; yes written records only, rather than the American Indian’s form of history (oral history passed from one tribe historian to another, and drawings, etc.), was recognized back then. Unfortunate for the history of the horse, most of the historical attributes of that era were either in error, totally fiction, or totally true – no gray areas. As usual in cases such as this, the untruth is often more glamorous, dramatic, or useful to those who profit from information manipulation. History never changes within this aspect of record keeping over the ages.
Within an irresponsible manner, severe prejudice and ignorance stepped forward, and the history of the Wild Horse recorded by (or socially acceptable and classified) civilized human’s only (historical description, not mine); this simply developed into written records and history from only a select few writer’s, whether credible or not, as long as they were of a civilized human writing the information — (note: makes one wonder about much more of our history in America, judging what’s acceptable compared to unacceptable, or what was considered humane compared to savage). After reading much of the historical records, and background of record origination, this situation alone, it can be said, decimated the history of Wild Horses, that is, until today.
Petroglyphs and Cave Paintings
Cave paintings’ as well as rock carvings and hieroglyphs’ remain common-finds within the Western United States. Many people who hike trails, explore caves, and spend time on rivers or hiking the banks of rivers and streams, often locate American Indian signs – communications – their history.
This subject is not contained within this article, but will be the subject of a later article, as references plentiful but require interpretation and a little positive limelight for a change. The significance of the American Indian history, accomplished in art-form, drawings, and carvings remain a substantial reference to the items within all articles on Wild Horses. These references mirror one another quite responsibly and ironically mostly ignored. Why? Hopefully, this question will be answered soon.
But one item, of many, is assured, that the American Indian form of communication is a wholesome and true exhibit of history. There exist no manipulative agendas or ideologies, nothing but the truth. Horses are a significant part of Indian history, just as in the land-growth aspects within American history – a Heritage that should not be passed-off or forgotten, but placed within an iconic prestigious element of our humane growth as a people on this planet.
“. . . he surveys the human relationship to nature, from 10,000 B.C. until 100 A.D., and concludes that, in contrast to totemic hunter society, the Judeo-Christian world view was “a virtually perfect rationalization of agriculture” as a system of production and ground of existence.” (Max Oelschlaeger. The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991, 353 pp. + notes.)
So if we assume that something used so robustly, as the horse was used within farming, industry, and day to day use as we would an automobile or any other tool, then we only begin to understand the problem of establishing the Wild Horse as indigenous and within a literal as well as an Iconic circumstance.
“. . . to the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, which he characterizes together as “modernism.” As used here, this term roughly means instrumental thought after Galileo and Descartes, as developed by classical physics and laissez-faire economics . . .” (Ibid. . .)
Standards of Our Industrial Nation
A Contemporary Wilderness Philosophy” attacks the “resources” rampant in western society, which treats nature as raw material, and offers a range of alternative philosophies: preservationism, biocentrism, ecocentrism, and deep ecology. We can bring together these strains into “a postmodern wilderness philosophy” that can, indeed, help develop a more humane venture for a true civilized society. This type of situation can build upon compassion, respect, and kindness toward fellow human’s, domestic animals, and wildlife alike. The Wild Horse then becomes a significant Icon within this perspective.
In this account national differences are of little significance; the American experience was, in the 16th century especially, seen as an extension of European developments until the twentieth century, and when the voices of Thoreau and Muir were first really heard – thought essentially become more free, becoming that of ideology turning into reality. Not so coincidental with the Wild Horses, English carry-over mostly neglected the history of the horse as bland and even perhaps redundant and insignificant.
Then the growth spurt of the American west, gold and oil; which before then only moderate growth experienced; it was the horse, not inclusive of the Wild Horse Herds yet, that were considered iconic within a necessity-perspective for transportation and farming, similar to the car or tractor of the later period of industrialized America.
Conclusion to Part 1 Nature
The Wild Horse remained symbolic of nature, an uncontrolled freedom, not to be tamed or harnessed, but allowed to roam. This eventually turned into another ideology, modernism rears up again to capture nature, to suspend freedom and at the same time grasp and destroy if not able to control — toward utility or profit.
The wars started over land-grabs, railroads, timber, highways, industrial use over farms, cities to be made to develop enough people gathered into one place to work at these industries, and on and on — simply overwhelmed nature, and especially the Wild Horse – and the fact is, quite obvious, no one cared about the Wild Horse enough to establish a detailed history.
This was the stuff of poetry, the ideology of what Nature was back then — and then industrial society reared its tarnished ideologies of profit, of industrialized corporate structure, of modernism, of elitist society, of criminal politicians. The Wild Horse becomes a non-virtue and unneeded any longer, a throw-away to be sacrificed — and many people, at that time, simply assumed they were in the way of modernism or progressive behavior. The Wild Horse shunned in an odd contempt within the virtues of the Pioneering Past versus America’s Evolutionary Future.
This article as well as the articles to follow, strongly suggests a new epoch in human thought is upon us. It is solely based upon a vision rooted in earth consciousness, a rediscovery of the wisdom of the ages, known to primal peoples across the face of the earth during the Paleolithic era … a world in which computer technicians might walk in autumn with migrating elk.”
We, as a people within this society, within this social spectrum of ongoing event, must contend that the wilderness ideology is not a romantic anachronism; rather, it is the idea of wilderness necessary to help us all, as a society, to transcend the ideology of “modernism” and reestablish an organic connection to nature. Wild Horses, among much other wildlife, do this quite well.
To preserve the Wild Horse as an icon, allowing them to run free over America’s Public Lands, is merely an image currently. We can make this a reality with a little work, and a little perseverance, but above all, with a lot of intelligence and a lot of American’s to speak up and preserve our National Heritage – The Wild Horse. . .
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