(A) SACRED HORSE
The three-part docuseries explores the origins, the contemporary fight for survival within the Navajo Nation and the future challenge of protecting and preserving the Dine Wild Horse.
Chapter One: A Sacred Horse
Filmmakers follow the capture, gentling and rehoming of a wild horse. A former National Rodeo Champion takes on a wild ride deep into a remote, scenic canyon in Navajo Country for a roundup of feral horses. Next, a Medicine Man gentles a wild horse using traditional songs and prayers. The gentled horse then moves on to a forever home on the Navajo Reservation to become a treasured and essential part of a family’s life.
Chapter Two: The Gift of Horses
Filmmakers explore how Navajos are coming together to preserve the Sacred Horse in the face of the unprecedented challenges of extreme climate change, decreasing economic resources and a global pandemic. A Dine Traditionalist shares the creation story with Tribal Youth and teaches that horses are a gift from the creator. Next, a Navajo Anthropologist takes us into the field to exciting new fossil evidence – the once thought to be an invasive species originated in North America. Finally, a Tribal leader charged with culturally appropriate wild herd management reveals the horses’ heartrending fight for survival.
Chapter Three: The Homecoming
Filmmakers look to the future of the Navajo Horse. A Navajo Medicine Man shares the ancient story of Turquoise Boy and his journey to see horses of many colors. A Navajo scientist shares the surprising results from Wild Horse DNA testing conducted across the Navajo Nation – 32 distinct breeds coming from around world to this sacred land. Next, Navajo experts propose an ambitious plan to use that genetic information to adapt horses to the changing climate. Finally, a Tribal Leader envisions a future, a rewilding if you will, of the Sacred Horse on a Navajo Nation preserve. We close on a note of hope and with gratitude to the Dine – the horse has returned home to claim its place within all of creation.
“This struggle between maintaining cultural traditions and being assimilated into contemporary culture is being played out on the range…
Not only the horses are threatened but it is also our way of life that is threatened. It is our understanding that the health and future of the horses are intricately tied to our own. That is why we are fighting so hard. We are fighting for our own future generations.”
— Navajo Tribal Elder