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RTXCTWR4
Indigenous tribes revive horse heritage with bareback races in Oklahoma
Indigenous tribes from the United States and Canada converged on Oklahoma for the Indian Relay Horse Race this weekend, helping to revive horse heritage in the state and symbolizing a return to normal after pandemic restrictions.

Competitors race three different horses bareback around a one-mile track, jumping off one horse and onto another between laps, often in tribal regalia including war bonnets, with the horses painted in traditional style.

Horse relays are one of the most popular pastimes in Native American culture to have survived the U.S. genocide, and horse heritage remains strong with many tribes in the western United States.
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW94
May 31, 2021
A rider is covered in mud as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider is covered in mud as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7O
May 31, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCRB4W
May 29, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S., May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCRB3L
May 29, 2021
A woman from Dancing Eagles dance troupe from the Osage and Creek tribes performs a dance at an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A woman from Dancing Eagles dance troupe from the Osage and Creek tribes performs a dance at an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S., May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7Z
May 31, 2021
A rider mounts his horse during the "horse exchange" at an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider mounts his horse during the "horse exchange" at an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7J
May 30, 2021
A rider crosses the finish line as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider crosses the finish line as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race at Osage County Fairgrounds over Memorial Day weekend in Pawhuska, U.S. May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7K
May 30, 2021
A rider from the Arrow Lakes team jumps onto a bareback horse while Native Americans from all over the...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider from the Arrow Lakes team jumps onto a bareback horse while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW80
May 31, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW66
May 30, 2021
A girl paints on a horse as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A girl paints on a horse as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7W
May 31, 2021
Michelle Whitehorse from the Navajo Nation paints her face before participating in an Indian relay race...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Michelle Whitehorse from the Navajo Nation paints her face before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7V
May 31, 2021
Michelle Whitehorse from the Navajo Nation paints her horse before participating in an Indian relay race...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Michelle Whitehorse from the Navajo Nation paints her horse before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW64
May 30, 2021
A young boy gets his face painted for competition as Native Americans from all over the United States...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A young boy gets his face painted for competition as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW3S
May 29, 2021
Jesse James White from the Bad Nation Indian relay team takes care of his horse after racing in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Jesse James White from the Bad Nation Indian relay team takes care of his horse after racing in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7Q
May 31, 2021
Violet Carson,13, waits in the horse barn until her time to ride during an Indian relay race over Memorial...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Violet Carson,13, waits in the horse barn until her time to ride during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCRB3K
May 29, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S., May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW6E
May 30, 2021
Audience members applaud while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Audience members applaud while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska,Oklahoma,U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW3R
May 30, 2021
Kaden Bringsplenty brings his horse to the starting line as Native Americans from all over the United...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Kaden Bringsplenty brings his horse to the starting line as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW67
May 29, 2021
People stand for the pledge of allegiance as Native Americans from all over the United States participate...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
People stand for the pledge of allegiance as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW84
May 31, 2021
A rider from the War Chiefs team mounts his horse during the "horse exchange" at an Indian relay race...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider from the War Chiefs team mounts his horse during the "horse exchange" at an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW85
May 31, 2021
A rider from the War Chiefs team walks in the mud after losing his mount during the "horse exchange"...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider from the War Chiefs team walks in the mud after losing his mount during the "horse exchange" at an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW68
May 30, 2021
Women riders pull into where they exchange horses during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Women riders pull into where they exchange horses during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 33, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7I
May 30, 2021
Crystal Dove (R) smiles at her daughter in a camp of Native Americans from all over the United States...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Crystal Dove (R) smiles at her daughter in a camp of Native Americans from all over the United States who are participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7N
May 30, 2021
A rider from the Blue Blossom team competes during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider from the Blue Blossom team competes during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7D
May 29, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 29, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW83
May 31, 2021
A rider tries to mount his horse during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider tries to mount his horse during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7G
May 30, 2021
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW6D
May 30, 2021
People navigate a muddy track as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
People navigate a muddy track as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW65
May 30, 2021
A man lights sage on fire to bless the horses as Native Americans from all over the United States participate...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A man lights sage on fire to bless the horses as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7Y
May 31, 2021
Bad Nation team members paint their horse before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Bad Nation team members paint their horse before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7U
May 31, 2021
Bad Nation team members "smudge" themselves and their horse before participating in an Indian relay...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Bad Nation team members "smudge" themselves and their horse before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7X
May 31, 2021
Bad Nation team members "smudge" themselves and their horse before participating in an Indian relay...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Bad Nation team members "smudge" themselves and their horse before participating in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW6C
May 30, 2021
Kaden Bringsplenty brings his horse to the starting line as Native Americans from all over the United...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Kaden Bringsplenty brings his horse to the starting line as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7M
May 30, 2021
Audience members watch as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Audience members watch as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7F
May 30, 2021
A rider from the Arrow Lakes team jumps off of a bareback horse while Native Americans from all over...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider from the Arrow Lakes team jumps off of a bareback horse while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7H
May 30, 2021
A rider jumps on a horse an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
A rider jumps on a horse an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW81
May 31, 2021
The Paha Sapa team poses in the winners area during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
The Paha Sapa team poses in the winners area during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7R
May 31, 2021
Jim Stevens (L), organizer of the event, speaks to a member of his team during an Indian relay race...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Jim Stevens (L), organizer of the event, speaks to a member of his team during an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7E
May 30, 2021
Audience members watch while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Audience members watch while Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7L
May 30, 2021
An audience member watches as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
An audience member watches as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
USA-INDIANS/HORSES
RTXCTW7T
May 30, 2021
Audience members watch as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay...
PAWHUSKA, UNITED STATES
Indian relay race is run in Oklahoma
Audience members watch as Native Americans from all over the United States participate in an Indian relay race over Memorial Day weekend at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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