Updated: Aug 24, 2022
Osiyo, my name is Carey and I am working on a big project to highlight Native excellence in horse archery. Let me give you the breakdown. Below there is a link to a survey. This survey is for indigenous people who are tribal members. (If you are reconnecting and working on getting tribal membership, please indicate that.) If that's you, please take a moment of your valuable time to read this and fill out the survey. Please share this with other indigenous people you know!
Osiyo, my name is Carey and I do horseback archery. There are alot of native appropriation and stereotypes in this sport. One of the common ones is people dressing up as Native Americans and painting their horses in "war paint." People will frequently also reference "Comanche archery" as the Numunuu (Comanche) tribe is well known historically as incredible horse archers. Several months ago I reached out to the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center to learn more about their archery practices since I teach mounted archery and many people were asking. I got a lot of great information and got to connect with some wonderful people there. I also got a book referral to a history book about the Comanche Nation which detailed their bison hunting practices and highlighted the incredible skill and ethical hunting practices they used during that period. Here is a brief excerpt: "Each hunter rode upon the buffalo from the rear, coming in close on its right side and shooting at the soft spot between the protruding hip bone and the last rib. This was the only way to reach the vitals."(The Comanches, Lord's of the South Plains, E. Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel pg 58) (Picture of the book below) Soon after that I was purusuing the International Horse Archery Alliance website. The IHAA is the organization that governs Horse Archery worldwide. In mounted archery we use track formats to compete. For example, a standard Tower track is 90 meters long with 3 angled targets at 45 meters. These formats are replicated at clubs in 36 countries. I discovered an approved competition track on their website called the "Comanche Attack Course." And it only got worse after the title. In the course, the rider runs down and shoots at human shaped targets in a wagon. The course says this is meant to reference "teamsters crossing into Indian terrotory." Upon some research I discovered that the historical event this is meant to be referencing is actually an act of protest by chief Satanta of the Kiowa tribe when his people were forcibly removed to the reservation. They were promised weapons and ammunition and were not given them. They were also denied many other requests. Chief Satanta was well known as an incredible orator and diplomat. After this incident he was sentenced to jail, then to death, then pardoned. Later, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, even after begging for death instead. He ended up taking his own life. In the course description, it is difficult to say precisely which historical account it is meant to be referencing, however this seems to be the closest match for the description and play of the course. I have written a letter to the IHAA about the track asking for its removal, which I will send based on responses to the survey. I have also created a new track design intended to honor and highlight the incredible skill and ethical hunting practices of the Comanche. The track design is a 90 meter track with a zipline target. The zipline is set 10 feet ahead of the rider, with an decline that will set the target to move around 15 mph. The target is a 16 inch 5 zone target. The rider and target are released at the same time so the rider has to chase down the target. The riders goal is to shoot a single arrow into the bullseye and exit the track as quickly as possible. The rider receives 5 extra points for a one shot bullseye and loses .5 points for every additional arrow shot after 1. This is to heavily emphasize the ethical practices of hitting the Bison in a vital spot in one shot for a quick and painless death. It should be noted, that in the rules for this track, cultural apropriation such as dressing up as native americans or painting your horse in "war paint" is prohibited. The proposed name for this track is NET, Comanche Hunt, or Bison Hunt. NET stands for Native Excellence Track. I would love to hear any name suggestions. After I go through the survey, take feedback and make adjustments I will act accordingly and make another post for feedback based on any changes. If we moce forward, we will be testing the track out ourselves at Ridgeline, and from there send it to the IHAA for approval. My plan is to send the letter asking for its removal, and the proposal for a replacement track at the same time. I would love to hear feedback and thoughts on that as well. Thank you for taking your valuable time to read this and fill out the survey. Wado.
I have also included a link to the IHAA website where the track description is located in the course database. Below are pictures of the course as it appears in the database.