Missoula, Montana (March 20, 2017) – AHP member Janet Rose is proud to announce that the Native American Humane Society (NAHS) is partnering with the EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival ® and conference, September 15-17, in Missoula, MT, to honor the bond between horses and Native American societies.
Horses have long been regarded as animal healers and guides in tribal tradition. EIFF ® and NAHS will present a panel featuring two key figures behind the groundbreaking work being done in tribal communities using horses as partners in healing: Thomas Smittle (Navajo, Shoshone) of Red Horse Nation and John Spence (Gros Ventre Sioux) of Native American Therapeutic Horsemanship, LLC. The panel will discuss the role horses play in the traditions and cultures of North American tribal communities and how “sacred connections” between horses and owners have been lost as new values—religious, social, and economic— have been imposed on Native nations.
“These inspiring leaders, who are working to restore these traditions with horses, will talk about the healing that happens in their programs for tribal youth, veterans, victims of violence, and community members in treatment,” Rose said.
NAHS founder and CEO, Diana Webster, who was raised in an extended Anishinaabe family, will also join Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Director of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples’ Studies at North Dakota State University on the panel, ‘What Equines Can Teach Us About Mindfulness.’ “Chi miigwetch or, ‘thank you,’ for this chance to bring horses and native peoples to the forefront of discussion,” said Webster.
“Tribal nations have practiced traditional ceremonies since time immemorial in ways that honor their own unique spiritual beliefs and understandings,” said Dr. Yellow Bird, who has made it his journey to research the connections between Indigenous ceremonial practices and mindfulness meditation and has created a new field of study around therapeutic mindfulness practices that he terms, “De-colonizing the Mind.” Through traditional contemplative mindfulness practices, he helps people eliminate trauma, toxic experiences, habits, and behaviors from the brain (especially those associated with colonization) and believes such practices are supported by a connection to all living beings, including companion animals such as horses, dogs, and cats.
NAHS is composed of tribal members and allies assisting tribal communities to resolve challenges with animals. Its mission is to empower Native communities to become healthier, happier and safer through support and resources for animal care programs. NAHS works with tribes to improve the lives of members and animals through regular care, population management, and programs that honor diverse cultures and traditions, and the sovereign status of Native communities. NAHS is honored to have the support of the Pegasus Foundation to participate in the EQUUS INTERNATIONAL ® Film Festival.
Please join EIFF ®, an official outreach project of Horse Haven Montana, as a sponsor and join such generous supporters as the Paws Up Foundation, SpeedConnect Internet Services, William E. Rideg - Attorney and Equine Legal Specialist, Big SkyWriting.com, the Pegasus Foundation, and the Native America Humane Society. Special thanks to internationally renowned photographer Antonia Wolf for her poster from the Images by Antonia series embodying the 2017 EIFF theme, ‘Icons of the American West – the Global Impact of the Horse.’ Learn more at www.equusinternationalfilmfestival.com