Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

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Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial

A Powerful Acknowledgement of the Colonization of the American West

The Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site delivers visitors into the heart of history and tragedy.

Manifest Destiny, the doctrine that a dominant culture has the God-given right to spread, regardless of preceding cultures, steered American policies in the 1860s. In New Mexico, such policies were directed against the Navajo and Mescalero Apache peoples.

In 1863, some 10,000 Navajos were forced to make the “Long Walk,” 450 miles across New Mexico to the Bosque Redondo Indian Reservation, or H’weeldi, meaning place of suffering. Hundreds of Mescalero Apaches were also interned there. The Navajos lost 20 percent of the tribe due to the insufferable conditions.

Determined a failure in 1868, the reservation closed. It was here that the Navajo Treaty was signed on June 1 of 1868, creating a sovereign Navajo Nation. An audio tour and signed trail guide visitors between the memorial and Fort Sumner.

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