JUNE 18, 1868

NAVAJO LEAVE FORT SUMNER ON “LONG WALK HOME”

On this date, the Navajo left the Bosque Redondo reservation in eastern New Mexico on a 300-mile trek called the “Long Walk Home.” The journey mirrored 53 separate marches that disparate Navajo bands endured between the spring of 1864 and 1866 that constituted the Navajo “Long Walk,” also the southwestern “Trail of Tears.” To end friction between Navajo, Mexican, other tribes, and Americans, Colonel “Kit” Carson employed a “scorched earth” policy to round up and move the Navajo.  Exhausted and malnourished when captured, they were shown no mercy along the way. Hundreds died on the 18-day journey. For those who survived, the reservation situated the Navajo alongside their rivals, the Mescalero Apache.  When allowed to return, the Navajo knew where they were going–back to their traditional homelands.  Also, given the collective trauma of the “Long Walk,” they were walking home not as disparate bands, but as one Navajo people.

Source:  John Burnett, "The Navajo Nation's Own 'Trail Of Tears,'" NPR All Things Considered, 6/15/2005.  Retrieved 7/3/2019,   https://www.npr.org/2005/06/15/4703136/the-navajo-nation-s-own-trail-of-tears
Photo:  Author and date unknown.  Most likely taken in 1860s.  Likely Public Domain in U.S.:  Most likely Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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