Running In The Past Essay, Research Paper
Nabokov, Peter. Running in the Past: Trade Networks and Messengers. Indian Running: Native American History and Tradition. 1981.
In Running in the Past: Trade Networks and Messengers, Peter Nabokov illustrates the importance running has played in the ability of Native Americans to keep up communications by showing the importance of runners in the Pueblo revolt in 1680, the reliability of the Cocomaricopa newsboys, as well as the efficiency of the Iroquois messengers.
In 1680, a Pueblo uprising was started in New Mexico. The leader of this revolt was a man they called Pope. He was a religious man who was enraged by the Spanish rule in their territory. Since the Spanish settled in the Pueblo territory, they had created havoc for the Indian religion. Therefore, Pope sent out runners, with the plans of the revolt, to all 70 tribes of the Pueblos. Some runners traveled over 300 miles to reach distant Hopi villages. After these messages were delivered, the runners were sent on a second mission. They were to deliver bundles of knotted cords, which were used as countdown devices. A knot would be untied each day, and when all the knots were untied, the Pueblos would attack. The plan worked out perfectly and the Pueblos defeated the Spanish, and gained their religious freedom back.
Another great example of the importance of runners was the Cocomaricopa newsboys. They were usually 25 to 40 year old men who trained with a strict diet and daily practices. These men were allowed through enemy territory, even in times of war, to deliver messages and keep up communications. The Cocomaricopa runners were legendary endurance runners. John G. Bourke, a traveler in the Colorado River area, reported that one runner covered a 200 mile distance in less than 24 hours. He also reported that he paid a runner two dollars to make a twenty-one mile trip through deep sand in which he completed in three and a half hours. With their endurance, the newsboys were able to connect California, Arizona, and parts of Mexico using just runners.
The Iroquois nation used the 240 mile Iroquois trail to keep its confederacy together. The Iroquois employed the relay tactic to improve efficiency, range, and time. They usually traveled in pairs and as Lewis Henry Morgan said, took their way through the forest, one behind the other, in perfect silence. The 240 miles of the Iroquois trail took up to 70 hours to navigate, some times done by the constellations of the stars.