On the Yakima Indian Reservation, as on all Reservations, the US Government has little or no sway on tribal decisions. This is good, but bad at the same time. For the horses anyway….
Once rounded up off of a Reservation, Mustangs are not protected. They can and are shipped directly to Canada for slaughter in many cases. No notice, no auction – just shipped. We are very fortunate that we have several “watchdog” groups who are concerned and are actively negotiating with tribes for the purchase and saving of these Mustangs. The members of these Watchdog Groups vary and are committed as a whole to work diligently to preserve these Mustangs. Many of the most hard working members are tribal members and living on the Reservations.
Of the 51 Mustangs captured on this day, we were only able to take four. Hence, “The Yakima Four”. Driving away from there that day with only four in my trailer was one of the saddest and most shameful moment of my life. Why couldn’t I take all 51? Why leave 47 behind ?….to a fate I can only toss and turn about for too many nights to mention. I guess I could pull on the Starfish Fable, “Well, for those Four we made all the difference….” Somehow it’s just not good enough. But it’s what I am left to hold on to.
So, for these Four, I will go beyond due diligence. I will pull into emotional and financial reserves yet untapped, and will do everything I can for you……because I could not do it for the 47 left behind. – Anna Clay