Programs & Services

150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo

Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo and Creation of the Navajo Nation

The Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site interprets a dark period in the history of the United States just after the Civil War, when Manifest Destiny was the doctrine of the land. From 1863 to 1868, the U.S. Army removed 9,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache people from their homelands and forced them walk 400 miles to an internment camp on the Bosque Redondo Reservation in eastern New Mexico.

At the reservation, the people—many of them women and children—were held as prisoners of war and suffered deprivation, disease, and death. Today, the Bosque Redondo Memorial, an International Site of Conscience, ensures that we never forget the injustices of this period of suffering commonly known as The Long Walk.

This June marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo between the U.S. Government and the Navajo, which allowed those imprisoned to return to their homelands and established the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation. The anniversary will be commemorated through a series of events at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site outside the present-day town of Fort Sumner. Ceremonies June 8–9, will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this important site and the 150th anniversary of the Treaty.

Plans for a new exhibit will be on display, and there will be ceremonial activities and tribal dances. Native artisans will be on-site offering traditional jewelry, weavings, and food. On June 9, a seven-mile walk from the memorial to Fort Sumner High School will honor the memory of The Long Walk. Visitors are encouraged to participate.

While The Long Walk and confinement at Bosque Redondo remains one of the most tragic episodes in U.S. Government’s mistreatment of Native Americans, the overriding theme of the historic site is one of survival and triumph of the human spirit. Today, the Navajo Nation encompasses 27,000 square miles in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah with a population of more than 250,000. The Mescalero Apache Nation is comprised of 720 square miles in south central New Mexico and has 4,000 members. The memorial celebrates the strength and endurance of the Navajo and Mescalero Apache peoples.

Wednesday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission.

The Bosque Redondo Memorial is one of 175 International Sites of Conscience in the United States. Established in 1999, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, sitesofconscience.org, honors the need to remember which often competes with the equally strong pressure to forget.

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