To the Arapaho, the coming of the horse improved our way of life vastly. The horse, woxhoox, was ridden into battle and in the hunt for buffalo. They helped us move camp and were traded for brides. When a young warrior died, his favorite horse was often buried with him.
After moving to the Wind River Indian Reservation, the horses remained important to the people and by the age of four, most children had a horse to call their own. The students in the boarding schools were homesick for both their families and for their beloved horses as is evident from their essay answers of what they would like to do when they were grown and out of school.
This is the final section from the 1897 newspaper article highlighting the goals and dreams of the Arapaho and Shoshone students on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Excerpt from The Indian Guide no. 4, September 1, 1897, page 3
Expression by Language
The pupils of Fourth Grade, Mr. Betz teacher, were asked to give a short answer to the Question, “What I will be when I am a man or woman?” and following are the uncorrected answers:
James Munroe, Arapahoe, aged 18
It is not so very long till I will be a man. I will work and ride horses.
Walter Waters, Arapahoe, aged 18
When I go home I will work hard. I will have lots of horses and three wagons. I am strong and well and I don’t want to go to school again. I can read and writ and talk English. I have been at school some 9 or 10 years. I don’t want to stay here next vacation.
Willie Ground Bear, Arapahoe aged 12
When I go home after school I will go to work on our farms and I will ride on horse back.
Fred Anandoah, Shoshone, aged 15
I will go home after this school is out. I try to work the farm.
Martha Eagle Chief, Arapahoe, aged 15
I want to live in a house. I will go to live on Big Wind River.
Thomas Striker, Arapahoe, aged 16
When I am a man I will work hard. I will make a house. I will try to talk English. I will ride my horse.
Veda No Name, Shoshone, aged 16
I will try hard to talk English. I never talked English before I came to school. I have been here a long time. I will live by myself and hard at every thing I will work in my house. I will clean it and cook and make bread.
Stanley Antelope, Shoshone, aged 16
When I go home I will stay home and work.
Alice Running Water, Arapahoe, aged 15
I will go to stay with mother. I will go way from this school. I not go to school any more. I like to stay in my home. I will work hard in my home I go to building my house after vacation.
Willie Smith, Shoshone, aged 20
I want to go home I want to stay with my father.
Nettie Gerero, Shoshone, aged 13
I am going to stay with my mother and keep house. I am going to work out and when I am 20 I am going to go off.
Cromwell Iron, Arapahoe, aged 14
I will go home and we will work. When I am a man I will not come back to school.
Nora Le Clair, Shoshone, aged 15
When I go home, I will work in my mother’s place, helping my sister doing the house work and let my mother rest and then I will try to work someplace else and try to earn some money for myself.
Editor’s Note at the end of the essay answers….
Several years ago, along about 1892 the Indians were issued corn, beets, lettuce and other garden seeds and they mixed them together and planted in some instances enough seed for 5 acres on a ten by twenty foot patch. It seems improbable that the above should have happened only four or five years ago.