It is a stain on the tapestry of New Mexico’s history. The Long Walk, which led to the imprisonment of Navajo and Mescalero Apache in Fort Sumner, claimed the lives of hundreds between 1863 and 1868.
That suffering is memorialized at the Bosque Redondo Memorial. However, the narrative told there now hasn’t always been in place.
In the early ’90s, a group of Navajo students visited what was then the Fort Sumner Historic Site. The students were appalled at the lack of representation of their people, saying it had more to do with Billy the Kid than what had taken place more than a century before. They sent the site managers a letter, sharing their thoughts, their concerns, and their hopes for what the site would represent.
Fast forward to 2019, and many of those changes have been implemented, and are still in planning. Aaron Roth, site manager for Bosque Redondo Memorial says that letter will actually become a tipping point in the growing exhibition. An exhibition that aims to honor those who suffered and those lost during this terrible chapter of New Mexico history and prevent similar actions from ever happening again.