Throughout the world, the cowboy is an instantly recognized symbolof the North American West. Legends of Our Times breaks thestereotype of 'cowboys and Indians' to show an almost unknownside of the West. It tells the story of some of the first cowboys --Native peoples of the northern Plains and Plateau.
Through stories, poetry, art, and reminiscences in this lavishlyillustrated work, Native people invite the reader on a fascinatingjourney into the world of ranching and rodeo. The book also presentsthe special relationship between Native people and animals such as thehorse, buffalo, deer, and dog, which have always played an importantrole in Native spiritual and economic life.
By the mid-nineteenth century, Native people were highly valued fortheir skills in horse breeding and herding, and could take advantage ofnew economic opportunities in the emerging ranching industry. Facedwith limited resources, competition for land, and control bygovernments and Indian agents, many Native people still managed todevelop their own herds or to find work as cowboys.
As the ways of the Old West changed, new forms of entertainment andsport evolved. Impresarios such as Buffalo Bill Cody invented the WildWest show, employing Native actors and stunt performers to dramatizescenes from the history of the West and to demonstrate the friendlycompetitions that cowboys enjoyed at the end of a long round-up orcattle drive. The popularity of rodeos also grew within Nativecommunities, and arenas were built on many reserves. Native rodeos arestill held, while many Native competitors ride in professional rodeosas well.
Today, Plains and Plateau peoples proudly continue a long traditionof cowboying. Legends of Our Times is a celebration of theirrich contribution to ranching and rodeo life.