I recently discovered a bit of a gem on Amazon Kindle best sellers list. I was lucky enough to get it free but now it is $2.99 digital or $24.98 hard cover. See why I love Kindle? What a price difference.
Anyway I was delighted when "Spirit Horses" by Alan Evans turned out to be a wonderful read. It is an interesting story about present day American Indians and a white, professional horse trainer trying to regain his reason to live. It is a well told story of a love that death can't dim, impossible pain of loss, greed, cruelty and redemption.
As Mr. Evans is a horse trainer by profession, he knows of what he writes. It is a work of fiction with a "didn't see that coming but maybe should have" twist and is one of those books you think about even after you have turned the final page.
I was curious about the "spirit horse legend" aspect and searched the Internet. Alan's "spirit horses" are a band of wild horses kept on a reservation in Wyoming. The Indians keep meticulous lineage records on each horse and its relationship to Indian lore. These horses are thought to be the Indian's vehicle to the after life when they die.
About 30 years ago, Precious was training me on a meter route that covered the Indian Reservation in Okeechobee. We were miles deep into the range land to locate a pump meter when we were startled to see, as if from no where, a beautiful white stallion explode from a live oak hammock. He stared at us, reared high, squealed shrilly, then disappeared back into the stand of trees, not to be seen again.
|Tull Chee Hah, an Indian Warrior. The photo was created in 1905 by Edward S. Curtis. When I think "Indian" this is the type of face I visualize.|
The legends I found most interesting. I love a good story and they are master storytellers. I was surprised that most all tribes have stories of a great flood in ancient times. Sound familiar?
I was especially drawn to the quotes from their important leaders. Here are just a few I got from the site that struck a nerve.
Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man! Ohiyesa, Sioux
Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you only have a physical presence, and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range....Chief Dan George of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, B.C.
We send our little Indian boys and girls to school, and when they come back talking English, they come back swearing. There is no swear word in the Indian languages, and I haven't yet learned to swear. Zitkala-Sa - Yankton Sioux
The greatest object of their lives seems to be to acquire possessions - to be rich. They desire to possess the whole world. For thirty years they tried to entice us to sell our land to them. Finally, their soldiers took it by force, and we have been driven away from our beautiful country.
Charles Alexander Eastman's uncle - Santee Sioux
They made us many promises, more than I can remember. They kept but one --They promised to take our land...and they took it. Chief Red Cloud - Sioux
Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book. Red Jacket (Sogoyewapha) - Seneca
When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself...Tecumseh - Shawnee
And of course on the humorous side--
The white man who is our agent is so stingy that he carries a linen rag in his pocket into which to blow his nose, for fear he might blow away something of value. Piapot - Cree Chief
Their wise words also shine a light on our shameful treatment of the Native Americans in our history which often makes me embarrassed by my white ancestors.
White man's early treatment of the Native American could never be called fair or decent even by the best political pundits we have today. We are still a work in progress in that area today.
Hope you enjoy the book or the site--- I certainly did and still am.