James Peshlakai – “We have forgotten our Navajo way of taking care of horses.”

I’m here at Navajo Nation Horse conference at Twin Arrows Casino & Resort.

about 8,900 horses removed from Navajo rangeland from Aug. 2013 to now. over 16,000 removed over a multi year period.

must have valid grazing permit with proper owner present. proof of ownership does not assure return of confiscated livestock.

if not able to get branded animal back in two days then have right to file for claim of proceeds. non-branded horse go immediately. we feed twice a day, clean water. only thing don’t do is check for parasites.

rangers don’t stand with hands on guns during roundups. we try to help public get horses/livestock back. we try to educate them. but our own people are attacking workers. that is problem we have and we have to protect workers and we have to arrest people interfering with roundups. i have been attacked at roundups, assaulted. Office Begay and me have retained people for interfering in roundups, driving drunk at roundups with kids on ATVs. this often does not get in newspapers.

why are we fighting about a species that are about to go away? why are we fighting about horses? what aren’t we fighting for our women and children?

all of us came in vehicles. all of us are dressed like white people. universities are researching daily. our children are told to go get educated. so how do we blend western education and navajo culture.

James Peshlakai from Cameron, Ariz., is introduced and greets everyone. Radmilla Cody is my young daughter clan wise. the story i am talking about is horses.

a lot of pple ask me if i support or don’t support horse roundups. i say i don’t take position but people gossip about what i say. it’s good that navajo people get information.

i was told to talk about Ray Feral, my grandfather. nine years ago i went to horse symposium and from my personal viewpoint, ihad wild horses and my horses herding together. the symposium taught about horse care.

i was also chapter president for cameron and during that time pple told me that there were a lot of feral horses. And late Seymour Tso said it takes a wild horse to catch a wild horse.

for the horse roundup in 70s they brot quarter horses which couldnt’ keep up with wild horses so they rounded up 50 wild horses and put in corral and those horses knocked down corral. horse buyers came. Auctioner came from Thoreau, Bronco Martinez. people themselves ordered the roundup. the people shud order these roundups. i am for that. my people were for it.

i’m not here to get everything off my chest. i support the horse individually. when i go to ceremonies for healing people, we talk about history of Dine’ horse.

within the four sacred mountains is where horses emerged and they were as small as dogs. my grandfather told me that we get strength from horses.

we had a story on Sun’s journey. the sun asked that every day he traveled across the sky that he would reduce their suffering by giving the people a horse. today we mimic what the Sun does. The Sun represented the horses and why Navajo pple look at horses as livelihood. there are names of horses, White Shell Horse.

i know my horses. when i whistle, my horses come and i feed them. people misuse my personal horse herd. pple whistled at my horses and now my horses don’t come to me anymore.

today we don’t know about the horses anymore. we don’t eat horses anymore for meat. maybe the Holy People took horses back, and away from us which is why we no longer have horses.

during Creation, our first meat was deer and we had to learn how to hunt in sacred way and we learned how to eat deer which included the breaking of the bones and then we laid them aside. that was before the coming of the horses.

so from there on, the horses came among us. you must know horse song to get horses. this is song you sing to horses for them to come to you. song lyrics, the horses come in different colors, different textures, some are shining, some are glistening. the horses are in beauty.

today you talk about taking care of horses, and you listen to white man care of horses. don’t listen to them. we have forgotten navajo care of horse. there are two prayers, Beauty Way and Protection Way. so we have Beauty horses, which are for herding livestock. so if use protection way/warrior horse then they will kill livestock.

long time ago, my dad had ceremonies and we butchered horses and feasted. that was about 1945, 1950s. my grandfather was on warrior path with horses. they used horses in many ways. they wud grind horse meat with medicinal herbs, for nurishment.

the navajo people traveled to east and west coast. navajo men fed certain medicinal plants rolled into ball for horses to travel long distances.

to improve performance of animals/livestock/horses is done through hand trembler. the purpose of horse way back was to eat them.

there are two categories of food – vegetation and meat. we use to eat dog but they pleaded with us to spare their lives because they see enemies that Humans don’t see. the dog will see things that are bad/evil in the dark. and that is why Navajo people don’t eat dogs anymore but we still eat horses for medicine. we use Blue Bird flour sack and stuffed with horse meat. horses naturally eat vegetation from Mother Earth. if you butcher wild horse, they have no tape worms but horses fed with grain, have tape worms. in navajo tribal law, you need permit. you can’t just shoot anything, hunt. you have to have permit.

we use horse for transportation.

we are trying to do something about our horses. now a days, we abuse horses. we have cowboys who abuse horses. it’s the grandpas and grandmas who buy feed. there are a lot of horses from reservation that are not being cared for. some horses are eating their manure.

there is a Corn Song and sand painting with horse, buffalo hide, horse sitting with sacred shells, horse with abalone, turquoise, and other sacred stones in wedding basket; horse with mountain lion. he sings Horse Beauty Way Song.

Buffalo hide represents domestic affairs. the one with Shells represent tribal affairs. those little white sea shells tied with turquoise and abalone is our belief. our horse is in our belief. those little turquoise, little sea shells are most sacred, not these big turquoise and shells. the little turquoise and shells are used for offerings. The Mountain Lion is our Protection.

i saw this mural in Grey Hills High School and this is the Protection Warrior Horse. The sixth sense premotion. the rider and horse have one mind. In 1974, i went there. i don’t know who painted this. find out who painted it, who has that knowledge. he has a lot of knowledge.

Care of Dine’ Horse – when u have horse, love it, tell it. talk to your horse. we’re only supporting corporations by feeding our horses with feed, grain which is contaminated with genetically modified organisms.

i still have my sheep, my horses. take care of your sheep and horses. people say that grazing permits are just a piece of paper. that’s not right. navajo pple value grazing permit.

supplemental feeding for performance horses includes Songs. I learned many Horse Songs from Taylor Dixon.

i have computer that i talk to and people think i’m crazy cuz i talk to my computer.

the female take much better care of horses and maybe cuz they have children. men are different. when i was young, i went to powwows and i use to race horses.

when we talk and listen to candidates we have to remember that this land can carry life is managed right. go to grand junction and even with all those cows, the land is healthy. if we take care of horse and pray to Mother Earth. we are children of Mother Earth and Mother Moon, our Mother will take care of us.

instead of calling each other names, let’s down together and hash this horse roundup out.

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