National Archives Confirm Authenticity of Third and Last-Remaining Copy of Treaty of Bosque Redondo
May 2nd, 2018
(Santa Fe, NM)—The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and the Bosque Redondo Memorial, a New Mexico Historic Site and an International Site of Conscience, announce that the third and last-remaining copy of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo has been found in Manchester, Massachusetts. The authenticity of the 150-year-old, 17-page, handwritten document was confirmed by the National Archives last month, its owner stated.
The treaty’s owner is author and historian C.P. “Kitty” Weaver, great-grandniece of Indian Peace Commission officer Samuel F. Tappan (1831–1913), who, along with William T. Sherman, negotiated with Navajo leader Barboncito to draft the 1868 Treaty of Bosque Redondo. The historic treaty ended the forced internment of Navajos and Mescalero Apaches at the Bosque Redondo Reservation near present-day Fort Sumner, allowed them to return to their homelands, established the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation, and effectively ended the period of history from 1863 to 1868 commonly known as the “The Long Walk.” During this time, the U.S. Army removed 9,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache people from their homelands and forced them to walk 400 miles to an internment camp known as the Bosque Redondo Reservation. Though considered “prisoners of war” many were, in fact, elders, women, and children. Many died on the way; more died of starvation and disease at the camp.
In 1868, Sherman and Tappan arrived at the Bosque Redondo Reservation with instructions to relocate its captives to Oklahoma’s Fort Sill. Instead, Barboncito proposed that the people be allowed to return to their homelands—and the representatives from the Indian Peace Commission listened. This landmark decision greatly influenced the recovery of both tribes and their autonomy today. In the time period since the Treaty of Bosque Redondo was signed, the Navajo Nation has grown to a population of 250,000 and the Mescalero Apache to 4,000.
This June 8 and 9, 2018, events at the Bosque Redondo Memorial will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the treaty and the 50th anniversary of the memorial. Weaver and her husband, David, will be present with the 17-page treaty, portions of which will be on view. The mood is expected to be both reverent and celebratory with plans for a new exhibit on display, 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.
“What I’m finding interesting and pleasing is that it is today’s Navajos that are bringing Tappan out of the woodwork,” said Weaver, who is presently compiling a book on her ancestor who was also a journalist, Union Army captain, and abolitionist, who continued to be a voice for Native American rights after his work at Bosque Redondo. “Tappan was a very strong, willful individual, but he’s been in the background of so many things,” she said. “I think he would be pleased that today’s Navajos are making his life known, and I think that’s wonderful.”
Weaver also notes that she has been sharing her primary source material on Tappan with Navajo filmmaker and playwright Lena Carr, of Albuquerque, who is also researching and writing about The Long Walk.
“I wish Americans of this nation would care more about the Native Americans,” Weaver said. “This information needs to be out there now. That’s why I’m letting go of materials I’ve been harboring for a while.”
Weaver lives in Massachusetts in the Tappan family home, where Samuel F. Tappan returned after a life out West with a trunkful of what would become artifacts—including journals, letters, notes about treaty proceedings, and of course, a copy of the treaty itself. Three copies of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo were made. The first was presented to President Andrew Johnson (1865–1869), and remains in the National Archives. The second was presented to the Navajo Nation, and its whereabouts are unknown. It is widely believed to have been buried with Barboncito upon his death in 1871. Weaver’s copy, the Indian Peace Commissioners’ copy, is the third.
Weaver said she was aware she possessed the treaty, but didn’t know if its rarity until a colleague, a historian at the Library of Congress, inquired about it.
“I knew I had it all along,” she said with a laugh. “I just didn’t know anyone else was interested.”
Weaver notes that the treaty was rolled into a scroll and tied with a red ribbon as was the custom in the 1800s. It is also the origina of the expression "red tape" to describe government bureaucracy.
Media Contact: Tricia Ware firstname.lastname@example.org 505-603-0356
About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs: Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs represents New Mexico’s dedication to preserving and celebrating the cultural integrity and diversity of our state. The Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico’s arts and cultural heritage agencies. These include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services. Among its primary functions is the management of the largest state sponsored museum system in the country. New Mexico’s historic sites and state-run museums are located across the state and include: New Mexico Historic Sites, Statewide; New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe; Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque; New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque.
About New Mexico Historic Sites: http://nmhistoricsites.org/ On March 14, 1931, the New Mexico Historic Site system was established by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Under the direction of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, six of seven sites are active and open to the public: Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial, Coronado, Fort Selden, Jemez, Fort Stanton and Lincoln. The El Camino Real Historic Trail Site closed in 2016 until further notice. In 2004, the historic Barela-Reynolds House and Property in Mesilla, was designated a state historic site upon its donation to the state by the John Paul Taylor family. Mr.& Mrs. Taylor will retain a life estate on the property that will not be open to the public until their deaths. Events, news releases and images about activities at New Mexico Historic Sites, and other Department of Cultural Affairs divisions can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.
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