False Step to Faithless

I have mixed feelings about the Wild Horse Monument called ‘Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies’ – a work that, if finished will depict the invented-myth to explain that the “Grandfather spirit” released horses in central Washington out of a large basket. On one hand, it’s an amazing piece of art. I absolutely love it. On the other, I’m not super cool with the artist’s brand of Native American fan-fiction.

He invented a myth for the Plateau Indians where a myth was unnecessary. They had always known where their horses came from. Large gatherings along the Columbia River were a thing dating back thousands of years. It’s likely that the horses were acquired in trade during one of these events.

They had no need to believe, as the artist wants to portray, that the “Grandfather Spirit” dumped a bunch of horses out of a gigantic space basket.

Horses were an incredibly important part of the pre-contact tribes in central Washington, especially the southern peoples. What need is there to invent such a story and attempt to pass it off as authentic? It’s just weird.


‘False Step to Faithless’

Camera: Crown Graphic (1962)
Lens: 127mm f/4.7 Rodenstock Ysarex
Film: Kodak T-max 100 (x-09/2003); 64iso
Process: HC-110B; 7.5min

Near Vantage, Washington


2 thoughts on “False Step to Faithless

    1. That’s so true. That horses beat the white man to Washington by two hundred years is pretty impressive. I had always read that horses proliferated “slowly” through the western US. I guess that’s all relative.

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