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Healing through horses

Jon Eagle, Sr. talks about his life’s work to bring healing through horses. Plus we have Thomas Manglona who just finished a 41-minute documentary, 'The Ocean is the School: Pacific Islanders Transforming Higher-ed'

The Hunkpapa leader Sitting Bull was a star in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885. The horse he rode was trained to dance at the sound of gunshot. In 1890, Sitting Bull was killed outside his cabin by Indian agents.

Legend has it that the horse danced and fell to the ground when Sitting Bull was assassinated.

The legacy of Sitting Bull’s horses lives on today. Jon Eagle, Sr. has made it his life’s work to bring healing through horses. Eagle and his family started a breeding and equine therapy business called Becoming one with the Spirit of the Horse.

Many are familiar with key fields in academia like Native American studies or ethnic studies, but what about other disciplines like oceania or Pacific Islands studies that allow studies to explore the cultural histories of the many Indigenous people in the Pacific Ocean?

Thomas Manglona, Chamorro and a graduate from Stanford University's journalism program, just finished a 41-minute documentary, “The Ocean is the School: Pacific Islanders Transforming Higher-ed".

A slice of our Indigenous world 

  • Indigenous land protector’s are calling on President Biden to stop what they call Trump Pipelines. 
  • Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland says she and the Biden-Harris administration have a responsibility to bring the boarding school trauma to light. 
  • A part of a carousel at a park in Colorado is being removed because it has a racist carving. 
  • A new law in Oregon is giving Native students the right to wear their regalia when they graduate from high school. 
  • Peruvian Indigenous leaders are calling for leftist Pedro Castillo to be confirmed as the country's next president.
  • An activist group is providing food aid to Brazil's hard-hit Indigenous community.

Some quotes from today's show  

Jon Eagle, Sr. 

“When you think about Lakota people, we've been studying our trauma for decades now, trying to understand the social conditions that we live in. And we talk about the Indian wars. We can talk about the forced assimilation of the boarding schools and failed U.S. Indian federal policy. But what we seem to have forgotten was how traumatic the loss of the horse world was. So when you think about what we're about ready to celebrate on June 25th and our great ancestors great victory at the Battle of the Greasy Grass when they were defeated. Then Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custard, and a Seventh Cavalry, a response to that by the United States government, General Sheridan at the time, gave an order to the army to disarm and dismount the Lakota. And the unfortunate part of that is they went after the peaceful low quarter, the ones that were already settled onto the reservations and disarmed and dismounted them.”

“When you think about that, though, what that really means is that they cherished who they were. They cherish their way of life and they cherish each other so much that they wouldn't allow a foreign people to dictate where they can go and who they can be. So the hostiles traveled into Canada and there was an event in July, 1898 of that year, where they came out of Canada. And this is where the story of that horse really begins. When they came into the United States and reentered, their horses were confiscated.”

Thomas Manglona

"So the documentary follows four Pacific Islanders and is woven by poetry reported by award-winning poets, Theresa and Steve Caetano. It tells the different stories about critical Pacific island and Oceania studies and how it came to be along the Western United States. I visited three different places. Utah, Washington and in California to interview different students, professors and experts about their motivations, to continue the field of critical Oceania and Pacific Islander studies. But also there are deeply personal narratives too.”

“The documentary opens up with a poem by Theresa Sega Tanu named Cold Atlas. And in the opening line, she says if you look at any map of the Pacific, any map of the world, most maps cut the Pacific ocean in half the largest body on earth. And I thought that was a really interesting way to frame the documentary because most of the time we're written into stereotypes, of being extinct or not, not existing anymore, or being erased completely from narratives. And so through Theresa's poetry and these different narratives, we're able to see the vastness that is Oceania and the experiences of Pacific Islanders and education that goes beyond seeking institutional validation and really wants to center the ocean in their lives beyond any institution.”

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix.

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider

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