Sacred Beings
Honouring the horse

Dress Proudly

Traditional saddle and woven blanket
Nlha7kápmx, c. 1900
Photograph by J. A. Teit
Royal British Columbia Museum pn 6708

People were proud of their horses because of their speed, intelligence, surefootedness, training and appearance. A horse's appearance was enhanced by the use of paint, feathers, and decorated equipment such as blankets, martingales, cruppers, saddles, bridles and masks. Many of the objects used to decorate the horse also served to protect it in warfare, the hunt and races, as well as during large intertribal gatherings. The horse was clearly a "special being", or sunka-wakan (holy animal).

Omak Parade
Omak, Washington, 1996.
Note the deer design on the bag behind the rider.
Photograph by Leslie Tepper, CMC K97-1890
Crow Fair, Women's Shell Dress category
Crow Agency, Montana, 1995
Photograph by Morgan Baillargeon, CMC K94-1511
Tse-Tsehése-stahase girl at a Tse-Tsehése-stahase Sundance, 1913

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Introduction | Dress Proudly | Horse Imagery | Horse Ritual | Adapting to a new way of life

Introduction | Buffalo and Deer | Dog and Coyote | Honouring the Horse