How the Horse Impacted the Plains Indians
By | June 27, 2019
One of the most common images in historical memory is that of an American Plains Indian sitting astride a mustang ready to hunt a herd of buffalo. Curiously, the horse was a relatively modern introduction to Plains Indian culture and demonstrates how the addition of a single new element can revolution societies.
Before the Horse
Horses originated in the Western Hemisphere but became extinct at some point between 8 to 12 thousand years ago. Nomadic Indians, who lived on the wide expanses of the Great Plains, relied on their feet to travel and hunt while some sedentary tribes scratched a living through agriculture and seasonal hunting. To haul items and supplies, Indians either carried it themselves or employed an A-shaped travois pulled by a dog or human.