Monday, February 14, 2005

Nez Perce

While I was preparing to go out on Saturday morning I happened to catch a program on A&E about horses. It was called In the Company of Horses. I love all animals, but I can't say that I was ever one of those young girls who was just crazy about horses. I read Black Beauty when I was a kid and thought it was a nice story and all, but it never moved me the way Little Women did.

This program was very well done and I learned a lot. One segment of the program was about the Nez Perce tribe. I knew a little bit about these proud people, mostly about one of their 19th century leaders Chief Joseph. However, the fact that had escaped me was that they were excellent, revered horseman. One of the things that the government did to punish the tribe was to kill all of their gorgeous horses.

Now the Nez Perce tribe has begun a breeding program. This program was financed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (ony fitting), the Nez Perce tribe and a nonprofit group called The First Nations Development Institute. This program is a way for the Nez Perce tribe to re-establish their proud horsemanship that was so wrongly taken from them in the 19th century. The tribe are crossbreeding the Appaloosa Horse with a Central Asian breed called Akhal-Teke.

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