Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Relationship Between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and the Horse: Deconstructing a Eurocentric Myth
by Collin, Yvette Running Horse, Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2017, 245; 10266897
Abstract (Summary)

This research project seeks to deconstruct the history of the horse in the Americas and its relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of these same lands. Although Western academia admits that the horse originated in the Americas, it claims that the horse became extinct in these continents during the Last Glacial Maximum (between roughly 13,000 and 11,000 years ago). This version of “history” credits Spanish conquistadors and other early European explorers with reintroducing the horse to the Americas and to her Indigenous Peoples. However, many Native Nations state that “they always had the horse” and that they had well established horse cultures long before the arrival of the Spanish. To date, “history” has been written by Western academia to reflect a Eurocentric and colonial paradigm. The traditional knowledge (TK) of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, and any information that is contrary to the accepted Western academic view, has been generally disregarded, purposefully excluded, or reconfigured to fit the accepted academic paradigm. Although mainstream academia and Western science have not given this Native TK credence to date, this research project shows that there is no reason—scientific or otherwise—that this traditional Native claim should not be considered true. The results of this thesis conclude that the Indigenous horse of the Americas survived the “Ice Age” and the original Peoples of these continents had a relationship with them from Pleistocene times to the time of “First-Contact.” In this investigation, Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies (CIRM) and Grounded Theory (GT) are utilized in tandem to deconstruct the history of the horse in the Americas and reconstruct it to include cross-cultural translation, the TK of many Indigenous Peoples, Western scientific evidence, and historical records. This dissertation suggests that the latest technology combined with guidance and information from our Indigenous Peoples has the power to reconstruct the history of the horse in the Americas in a way that is unbiased and accurate. This will open new avenues of possibility for academia as a whole, as well as strengthen both Native and non-Native communities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barnhardt, Ray, Leonard, Beth G.
Commitee: John, Theresa A., Oviedo, Marco A.
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department: Cross-Cultural Studies
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: DAI-A 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Paleontology, History, Native American studies
Keywords: Equine science, Ice Age extinction, Indian pony, Indigenous American horse, Native peoples, Traditional knowledge
Publication Number: 10266897
ISBN: 9781369728736
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