Today we will be looking at the final testimony of SCR 4011. The last two pieces of documentation in this proposed resolution are from Bob Fjetland and Marylu Weber.
In Bob Fjetland’s letter submitted to the committee, he asked that it be noted in the North Dakota court that he was a lifetime resident of Minnesota. His biggest argument against the resolution was that the horses in the park were not called Nokota horses, as Leo Kuntz was credited with creating the Nokota name in 1990.
Yes, this IS confusing, since in 2009 he was asking the court to allow himself and others to register the horses that were being captured and sold from the park as Nokota horses. Passage of this resolution would have inadvertently labeled the horses in TRNP as Nokota horses.
To review, this resolution was being introduced as:
“A concurrent resolution urging the National Park Service to recognize the
historical value of the Nokota horse and provide for its appropriate management in
Theodore Roosevelt National Park. “
A newspaper article in The Jamestown Sun on October 29, 2007 states (full article is available to read in the library section of our website):
“Minnesota horse breeders Nola and Dave Robson and Bob and Deb Fjetland are among those who believe the horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park are descendants of horses owned by the Plains Indians. They call the breed Nokota, and are dedicated to its preservation.”
Bob Fjetland went on to state:
“The Nokota Horse Conservancy, and in particular Frank Kuntz, has demonstrated an ongoing effort to criticize, antagonize, and degrade management philosophies and efforts of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and it’s management of the horses. This action can only be suspect, when considering what his motives may be. As with all public servants, whether part of a Legislative Assembly, or a National Park Management Staff, you, and they, have a very difficult job to do. The adversarial relationship promoted by Frank Kuntz and the Nokota Horse Conservancy has no place in this already difficult balance and should not be encouraged. For the above considerations, I urge the Committee to fully research the issue, ask questions and Reject the Resolution “As Written”.
It should also be noted that Bob Fjetland was not only a resident of the state of Minnesota, but he was also a former president and co-founder of North Dakota Badlands Horse (NDBH) as well as the Nokota Horse Association before the birth of NDBH.
Marylu Weber, current president of North Dakota Badlands Horse, had her own letter introduced in opposition to this resolution. Some highlights from her letter include:
“I feel the park personnel are doing what they can to proactively and responsibly manage the horses along with the other large species within the park.”
“These horses are valuable historical assets to the park and to North Dakota because they are the last remnant of horse so essential to the livelihood of Native and immigrant people. Preliminary ancestral DNA testing has shown them to have a variety of bloodlines including Spanish, Irish Thoroughbred, Scandinavian, other European and Asian bloodlines, as well as the more recent American breeds, Quarter horse, Rocky Mountain Pleasure. They have survived in the badlands for over 100 years.”
“I would like to see them preserved and appreciated by the people of this great state and nation. However I urge you NOT to pass this resolution…”
Marylu went on to explain why, in spite of being a part of an organization dedicated to preserving the history of these horses, she was asking that this resolution be rejected. The entire transcript of this committee hearing can be found in the library section of our website.
Marylu ended her letter to the committee:
“If you want to recognize the horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, even promote them as “legendary,” I would applaud that, but please do not call them by someone else’s breed name. Let the Nokota people do their own promotion and quit harassing the park.”
If you are still as confused as we were when we read through all of this, meet us in the next blog post where we will discuss the outcome of this proposed resolution as well as the ramifications of this decision that was made in 2013 for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.