‘Echo’: Who Are The Lighthorsemen & How Are They Connected to Maya?


Following the release of ‘Echo,’ MCU now has one more prominent Native American anti-hero with tradition as a massive part of her character. Maya Lopez is a Choctaw tribeswoman whose bloodline goes way back to Chafa, the first Choctaw created. As it turns out, Chafa is not the only notable in-universe ancestor of Maya; she is also directly related to Tuklo, the first female member of Lighthorsemen, some viewers of the show who aren’t originally from the USA might find that term unfamiliar even in the real historical context, so today we’re going to analyze who exactly are Lighthorsemen and their connection to Maya Lopez & MCU.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Lighthorsemen were a tribe-organized mounted police force active in the 19th century.
  • They were organized to deal with property crimes and horse thefts by enforcing tribal law.
  • Lighthorsemen are connected to Echo because one of her ancestors, Tulok, was a member despite being a woman.

The real history behind Lighthorsemen

The Lighthorse, or Light Horse, was the mounted police force established by the Five Civilized Tribes in the United States. Organized into companies and assigned to different districts, the Cherokee Lighthorsemen from Georgia were particularly renowned. Disbanded when the tribes lost their lands and independence in the late 19th century and 1906, respectively, some tribes continue to use the Lighthorse name for certain police force components. Specific branches include the Cherokee Light Horse, Chickasaw Light Horse, Choctaw Light Horse, Creek Light Horse, and Seminole Light Horse.

But, in this post, we’re going to focus more on the history of Choctaw Lighthorsemen because they are directly related to Maya Lopez in the MCU.

In 1820, the Treaty of Doak’s Stand allocated US$600 annually to the Choctaw Nation for the establishment and maintenance of the Choctaw Lighthorsemen, granting them authority to apprehend, adjudicate, and penalize violators of tribal laws. Operational from 1824, the force was led by Peter Pitchlynn starting in 1825. After the forced removal of the Choctaws to Indian Territory during the Indian Removal (1831-1833), the Lighthorsemen reported to the tribal Chief.


Here’s When & Where ‘Echo’ Takes Place in the MCU Timeline

The Choctaw Constitution of 1838 outlined the responsibilities of the Lighthorsemen in election processes, emphasizing their role in maintaining order. Historian Carolyn Foreman noted that the treaty mandated an annual appropriation of $200 per district by the United States to cover the expenses of raising and maintaining the corps. This corps, serving as executive officers, ensured good order and compelled unauthorized individuals to leave the nation.

The Lighthorsemen, who rode their own horses and used personal weapons, played a crucial role in upholding tribal laws and order within the Choctaw Nation.

Echo got some of her powers from Tuklo, a female member of Lighthorsemen

We know that Echo’s superpowers stem from her heritage as she seemingly has the power of ancestral empowerment, meaning that her native ancestors “echo” through her and are willing to assist her in times of need or when she is in danger. In episode 2, aptly named ‘Tuklo,’ we meet one of Echo’s ancestors, a female Choctaw named Tuklo who was alive during the 1800s; we get a brief description of Lighthorsemen and what they stood for.

Tuklo wanted to join the police force but was rejected due to being a woman. Despite being skilled with horseriding and marksmanship, her role in the natural order was to create life and not to take it. In a moment of defiance, she braided her hair, which was usually associated with male warriors, and she continued to train and uphold the law in whichever way she could.

Tuklo’s father and her group were ambushed one day by, presumably, criminals; Tuklo managed to sneak up on the criminals and take them down by shooting them from an impressive angle. After this, she was allowed to officially become one of the Lighthorsemen, and Echo is later seen utilizing Tuklo’s powers of marksmanship to hit ever target while she was going up against Kingpin’s men.

Was Tuklo based on a real person?

Tuklo is a fictional creation, and she wasn’t based on anybody from real life, as far as the sources go. There is little written on the Lighthorsemen in general, so the information was scarce. Since the showrunners worked with Choctaw Nation throughout the production of the series, it’s possible that they have their own local lore regarding the individual of a similar name or something, but the official sources don’t mention her. It’s most likely that Tuklo is a fictional creation within the MCU to prove a point.

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