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Native American Attitudes to the Dog

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  • Native American Attitudes to the Dog

    Where Did the Domesticated Dog Come From?

    Recent research by the University of Chicago suggests that the ancestry of dogs is rather more complex than previously imagined. The genetic evidence suggests that dogs and wolves evolved separately from a common ancestor between 11,000 and 34,000 years ago. Modern breeds of dog (regardless of geographic origin) are much more closely related to each other than to wolves and the genetic overlap observed between some modern dogs and wolves is largely the result of interbreeding after dog domestication – rather than indicative of a direct line of descent from wolves. The popular story of early farmers taming and adopting a few docile, friendly wolves that later became our modern canine companions appears to be incorrect.  Instead, the earliest dogs may have already split from the wolf branch of the tree and lived among hunter-gatherer societies before ultimately adapting to agricultural life and bonding with humans.

    [ref: Genome Sequencing Highlights the Dynamic Early History of Dogs – Freedman et al. January 2014 – PLOS Genetics]


    Native American Folklore Concerning the Origins of Dogs

    There’s a collection of “Native American Dog Mythology” information here:
    http://www.native-languages.org/legends-dogs.htm

    The website includes links to information about:

    How Dogs Came To The Indians (Ojibway legend about the origin of dogs.)
    Why Wolves and Dogs Fear Each Other and A Dog Tale (Lenape and Menominee legends about Dog defecting from the Wolf people to the humans.)
    A Little Boy Who Brought Good Luck (Passamaquoddy Indian story about a magical dog that rewarded a pair of kind foster parents.)
    Glooscap and Winpe and Gluskabe and the Monster Moose (Stories about the Wabanaki culture hero Glooskap was usually said to have either one or two faithful dogs.)
    Iyash and the Dog (Severn Ojibwe legend about a hero tricking a cannibal's dog.)
    The Legend of Nanabozho and the Dogs and Why Dogs Sniff Each Other (Funny Algonquian folktales about the tails of dogs.)
    They That Chase After The Bear and Chasing the Bear (Fox Indian legend about three hunters and their dog that became stars.)
    The Hunting of the Great Bear (Iroquois legend about four hunters, a dog, and a bear who turned into stars.)
    The Stubborn Girl (Lenape legend about a young girl punished for pestering a dog.)
    Lenape Dog Story (Lenape Indian legend about a magical dog.)
    The Foolish Dogs (Narragansett story of how dogs lost their voices.)
    The Deserted Children (Gros Ventre legend about a dog who rescued two abandoned children.)
    How the Indians Obtained Dogs (Cree story about a friendly wolf pack that became the first dogs.)
    The Girl Who Married A Dog (Cheyenne legend about a woman who became the mother of the Pleiades.)
    Legend of the Crazy Dog Society (Blackfoot myth about magical Little People who teach powerful war medicine to a brave boy.)
    The Search for Fire and Flint-Man, Fire and Loon-Woman (Pit River legends about how Dog stole fire from Fire-Woman.)
    Why Dogs Have Long Tongues (Caddo legend about how dogs were punished for tattling.)
    Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 11:14 AM.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

  • #2
    Relationship with Dogs

    A Human’s Best (and Oldest) Friend

    “The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first man and woman from the rest of the animal kingdom.  As the chasm grew deeper and wider, all other creatures, afraid for their lives, returned to the forest – except for the dog, whom after much consideration, leapt the perilous rift to stay with the humans on the other side.  His love for humanity was greater than his bond for other creatures, he explained, and he willingly forfeited his place in paradise to prove it.” - Native American folk tale (DeMello 2012: 84).

    There’s a short summary of the relationship between Native Americans and dogs (from which the quote above is taken) here:
    http://www.jefpat.org/curatorschoice.html

    The summary is provided by Rebecca Morehouse, State Curator, MAC Lab, Jefferson Patterson Park -and- Museum, Maryland.


    Also a brief “History of Dogs and Native Americans” here:
    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/the-his...ans/page1.aspx


    Dogs of the Northeastern Woodland Indians

    This extract is from “Dogs of the Northeastern Woodland Indians” by Eva M. Butler and Wendell S Hadlock:

    “Wissler observed that the New World dogs served at least four purposes, “transportation, hunting, guarding and companionship or food, according to the locality.” The collected data indicates that the Indians of the Northeastern Area kept dogs for all of these purposes, except transportation. Dogs also were accessories to ceremonial and shamanistic procedures, and dogs frequently played an important role in Indian mythology.”

    The article was published in the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society in January 1949, which can be downloaded here (the article is on pages 17-35):
    http://library.bridgew.edu/exhibits/...MAS-v10n02.pdf


    Treatment of Dogs in Florida

    Here’s the abstract for “Native Americans’ Treatment of Dogs in Prehistoric and Historic Florida” by Jessica Zimmer, submitted to the Department of Anthropology as a thesis in 2007 for her M.Sc at Florida State University:

    “This study shows how Native American groups in Florida used dogs between the Early Archaic and First Spanish periods. The study relies on data from 89 archaeological sites which contained representations of dogs and dog bones. A comparison of data between the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian periods reveals that Native American groups most often used dogs as occasional sources of food. This pattern of use of dogs as food was initiated in the Archaic period in the St Johns River Valley, spread throughout Florida in the Woodland period, and continued to a slightly diminished extent in the Mississippian period. During the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian periods, Native Americans also created ritual roles for dogs. Spanish colonization ended Native Americans’ independent development of roles for dogs. Catholic clergy members, Spanish settlers, and Spanish military forces persuaded Native Americans which moved to missions and military/urban areas to adopt Spanish ways of using dogs.”

    The full paper can be downloaded here:
    http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/cgi/view...70&context=etd
    Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 11:15 AM.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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    • #3
      Domestication of Dogs

      Here’s an extract from “Domestication of Dogs and Their Use on the Great Plains” by Ruth Callahan (1997) from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Department of Anthropology.

      “More than 12,000 years ago a bargain was struck between two species that not only benefited both parties, but changed their futures drastically. Whereas wolves and humans had once been independent hunters in competition with each other, now they were partners who shared the kill and helped each other survive in the harsh environment. We will never know which side initiated the pact, but the wolf was the first animal to cast its lot with humans and the evolutionary advantages that came with this choice were tremendous.”

      The full article can be downloaded here:
      http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/vi...text=nebanthro

      Here’s another link, to “Native American Treatment of Dogs in Northeastern North America: Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Perspectives” by Jordan E. Kerber, published in Archaeology of Eastern North America Vol. 25, (1997), pp. 81-95.

      You can view it free on-line here by registering with JSTOR (but it’s not a free download):
      http://www.jstor.org/stable/40914418
      Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 11:16 AM.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

      Comment


      • #4
        Burial of Dogs in Native American Grave Contexts

        There is evidence from several sites of dogs being buried in graves. This extract is from the Illinois State Museum website:

        “The remains of at least four domesticated dogs were buried by Early Archaic people at the Koster site more than eight-thousand years ago. Each dog was laid on its side in a shallow grave and then covered with dirt. None of the graves appear to have been marked. The dogs were buried in an area of the village where residents also buried the remains of adults and children.”

        The link to the full article is here:
        http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslin...a_animals.html

        There’s a good summary of evidence in “Early Holocene Domestic Dog Burials From the North American Midwest” by Darcy F. Morey and Michael D. Wiant, published in Current Anthropology Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 224-229.

        You can view it free on-line here by registering with JSTOR (but it’s not a free download):
        http://www.jstor.org/stable/2743849

        There’s another example described in detail in “An Unusual Dog Burial Feature at the Lambert Farm Site, Warwick, Rhode Island: Preliminary Observations” by Jordan E. Kerber, Alan D. Leveillee and Ruth L. Greenspan. The paper is from Archaeology of Eastern North America Vol. 17, (Fall 1989), pp. 165-174.

        You can view it free on-line here by registering with JSTOR (but it’s not a free download):
        http://www.jstor.org/stable/40914311

        It was also reported as “Eastern Woodland Mortuary Practices as Reflected in Canine Burial Features at the Lambert Farm Site, Warwick, Rhode island” by Alan Leveillee. His article in the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society Volume 54(1).

        The Bulletin can be downloaded here (the article is on pages 19-25):
        http://library.bridgew.edu/exhibits/...MAS-v54n01.pdf

        And another example described in “A Baumer Phase Dog Burial from the Kincaid Site in Southern Illinois by Heather” A. Lapham for which the abstract reads:

        “The 2003 excavations at Kincaid found a dog burial in the bottom of a Baumer phase pit. This article describes the find and how the Baumer dog compares with other documented prehistoric dogs. This article originally appeared in Vol. 22, no.2 (2010) of the journal Illinois Archaeology. It is made available here with the permission of the publishers, the Illinois Archaeological Survey.”

        The full article can be downloaded here:
        http://www.kincaidmounds.com/Library...aid%20KMSO.pdf
        Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 11:17 AM.
        I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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        • #5
          DOGS AS FOOD

          Pre-Columbian Mexico

          In Aztec times in central Mexico, Hairless Dogs were bred principally for their meat, but for other purposes too. When Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519, he noted "small gelded dogs which they breed for eating" were being sold in the city markets. These dogs – known as Xoloitzcuintles, were often depicted in pre-Columbian pottery from Mexico.

          Native Americans

          Native American attitudes to eating dog meat varied from tribe to tribe. In some cultures it was regarded as a delicacy. Natives of the Great Plains such as the Sioux and Cheyenne consumed it, providing it was not from wild dogs – which were excluded on religious grounds. For others, such as the Comanche, consumption of any kind of dog meat was utterly abhorrent.

          During the Lewis -and- Clark expedition of 1803/4–1806, the rations of the expeditionary party were supplemented at times with dog meat supplied by Native Americans that they encountered. They made contact with about two dozen tribes during their journey through what are now the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Tribes who supplied them with dog meat are mentioned in the Lewis -and- Clark diaries as the Paiutes, Wah-clel-lah (a branch of the Watlatas), Clatsop, Teton Sioux (Lakota), Nez Perce and Hidatsas.

          Dog puppy meat is also a traditional festival food for the Kickapoo people of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
          Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 11:17 AM.
          I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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