Thursday, March 18, 2010

Native American representation in the public art square of Chicago - IV

Sometimes small clues can lead to interesting discoveries. There are very few art work on the theme of Native Americans, but looking at these very few that exist, one animal stands out - dogs.
- Native Americans had lived here for more than 10,000 years before European explorers arrived. And before the Europeans arrived, the only animal that Native Americans had domesticated was dog. There are images of Native Americans with horses. But the first horses came to America, the "New World", aboard ships from Spain in the 15th century. The wild mustangs of the American West, were descendants of the Spanish horses..
- Interestingly, dogs were common to all the Native American tribes..
- It is not exactly clear when dogs were domesticated, but it is believed that about 14,000 years ago, people had domesticated dogs. All Native American dogs were descendants of wolf-ancestry.
- Many believe that the true Native American dogs have been driven to extinction.

Dogs became an integral part in the lives of Native Americans and were used for obvious reasons..
- hunting.. There are evidences to suggest selective breeding of dogs that showed good hunting traits, like speed, stamina and strength.
- "beast of burden". Dogs were used to haul fire woods and kills from hunting, on wooden frame called travois..
- protection and guarding..
- Sometimes dogs were used as food, on special occasions...
- And of course dogs were used as loyal and devoted companions.. the importance of their companionship is reflected in the caring way in which dogs were buried, near or with humans. "They were carefully placed in a curled or sideways position, as if they were asleep - A testament to the friendship that dogs offered in life"..

I have had this photo of a wolf-dog for a long time. Any dog with wolf heritage within the last five years is a wolf-dog.. Although true Native American dogs are believed to be extinct, this is close to what they might have looked. Many states forbid the ownership, breeding or importation of wolf-dogs.

I had never thought I would be writing about dogs, but here it is.. a small post devoted to not only man's best friend, but to one of the oldest friends of mankind..

Images shown above:
# Indian Alarm..
# Plaque in honor of LaSalle & Henry Tonti on the Michigan Avenue bridge..
# Relief sculpture at 333 N Michigan Bldg...

Prehistoric American Dogs..


Mike said...

It's interesting to see what you would come up with next. Who would have guessed a tribute to dogs here.

Brandon said...

Wanted to let you know,
my girlfriend loves dogs and she liked this article very much.
Thank You.