INTERPRETIVE CENTER/ MUSEUM
Sacred Way Sanctuary’s Interpretive Center and Museum offers a journey through the history of the horse in the Americas and its relationship with the Native Peoples. Our Interpretive Center has been designed in conjunction with our Governing Council of Traditional Knowledge Bearers and Scholars in order to provide a more up-to-date, complete, and accurate history, and to ensure that all items are cared for in a sacred manner and respectfully displayed.
Indigenous cultures understood the value of learning experientially – through sight, sound, touch, and using real-life experiences and stories to help solidify teachings. Our intent is that our visitors experience the history of the horse in the Americas in a completely new and life-changing way.
Our Interpretive Center and Museum story-line is based upon cutting-edge academic research conducted out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks by our Founder, Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin. In this research, Native Knowledge is utilized in conjunction with the best of Western academia to provide a more well-rounded education for our visitors.
Our journey begins before recorded time where we step into the last Ice Age period (13,000 to 11,000 years ago). From here, we fast forward thousands of years to meet the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors as they first step foot onto Caribbean soil. What was life like for them during this period in history? What was their perspective, and how did this perspective influence recorded history and the fate of Native Peoples?
To date, very little has been accurately portrayed regarding Native cultures during this period. Our main showcase includes authentic horse husbandry items from the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s. Many of the meticulously crafted horse quirts, braided horse-hair bridles, saddles, and other precious items housed in our Interpretive Center have been repatriated from museums in other countries.
From here, we journey forward to the mid-1800s, a time when the U.S government was trying to keep up with an ever-rising and disparate population and trying to avoid bankruptcy. During this period, we experience the U.S. breaking its treaties with many of our Native Nations, and evicting tens of thousands of our Southeast Native Peoples from their homelands during the Trail of Tears. The People and their horses continued to experience new challenges.
Today, we are blessed to be in a time where scholarly research is finally beginning to catch up with Native traditional knowledge and mankind can choose to turn the tide that was put into place in this hemisphere hundreds of years ago. Your journey “ends” with a call to action. Native cultures and their traditional ponies still remain, and with your help, the future is bright and filled with the peace, beauty, sustainability, and a spiritual grounding that was in place before two very different world views clashed in 1492.
If you wish to continue your journey, take a tour of our “outdoor Indigenous classroom,” in the form of a 100-acre nature preserve where you can observe these Native ponies in their natural family bands and learn about how we care for them in a manner aligned with our Native traditions.