The following is a dramatic re-telling of the Stoney Nakoda Nation belief about Spirit Horses told to the playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, by Sykes Powderface, an elder from a Stoney Nation Reserve in Alberta. This is the story that Grandpa would have told to Jesse and Angelina in the play, Spirit Horse.
“A Spirit Horse is a magic horse. It comes from a magic place. A magic mountain. Our mountain. Wildwind Mountain, out there to the west, where your mother is buried. You see, the mountain belongs to our family. It is said by our elders that somewhere below the surface of the lake on its slopes, Spirit Horses run. And very rarely, one will come to the surface. Our belief says, if some person is lucky or strong enough to ride this Spirit Horse, the horse will return to the lake, giving up its power to whoever caught and rode it. That is the belief of our people. I believe this is such a horse.”
Spirit Horse is a Native American adaptation by Drew Hayden Taylor, based on the Irish play Tir na N’og by Greg Banks. Tir na N’og was made into a film called Into the West by Jim Sheridan. You may choose to watch this film and compare it to Spirit Horse.
*Art work by George Littlechild. Permission arranged with LEE & LOW BOOKS, INC New York.