In the early 17th Century, when horses were first introduced to Northwest America, young Indian men took pleasure in finding ways to compete with one another. It was then that Indian Relay Racing was born. When Indian tribes lost their homelands and were forced to live on reservations the interest in horse racing waned.
Later, the Suicide Races of the Omak Stampede in Washingon state appeared and became world famous. These races were preceded decades earlier above the mountains of the San Poil River on the Colville Reservation. Thery were known to be even more treacherous and difficult than those that came later.
Today, these races have opened new avenues for the young of many Indian tribes in Northwest America. There are even some who live on remote and at one time considered poverty-stricken reservations. Now there is hope for better days and ways.
Lawney L. Reyes is an award-winning sculptor and author of B Street: The Notorious Playground of Coulee Dam.