The Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College continues its summer lecture series based on the theme, “A Year in the Life of the West,” with a presentation from Center director Shelby Tisdale, 1864: The Navajo Long Walk to Bosque Redondo, on Wednesday, August 9th at 1:30 p.m. in the Center’s Lyceum Room #120.
As the United States was expanding westward in the mid-1800s Americans began settling in and around Indian lands in the Southwest, which led to conflicts among the settlers and the tribes. The Navajo people in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico, in particular, also suffered from attacks by enemy tribes, such as the Utes, Hopi, Zuni, and Apaches, along with the loss of their women and children to New Mexican slave traders. Some Navajo warriors retaliated by killing settlers and stealing their livestock. As a result, the U.S. Army developed a plan to subdue the Navajos and to remove them from their homeland. This forced removal began in January 1864 and became known as the “Navajo Long Walk.” Eventually, more than 9,000 Navajos would leave their homeland for Bosque Redondo. Approximately 500 died from starvation, illnesses, exposure to the elements, or were shot and killed by soldiers along the way. Unfortunately, this is a tragedy that could have been prevented.
Dr. Shelby Tisdale is the Director of the Center of Southwest Studies, and has almost four decades of combined experience in museums, cultural resource management consulting, and university teaching. Dr. Tisdale has published over forty articles, book chapters, and books about American Indian art and culture, repatriation, and women in the West.
Parking is free in the summer months, and as always, the Center is pleased to provide free programming to the community thanks to the support of our Members.