The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Event to commemorate Treaty of Bosque Redondo

 


FORT SUMNER — A dark and rarely discussed period of eastern New Mexico’s history will be in the spotlight this weekend at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner State Monument.

Several events are planned today and Saturday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo — signed in 1868 — and the preceding 25 years of hardship the Navajo and Mescalero Apache people faced.

Historic site manager Aaron Roth said the purpose of the event is to draw more attention to the 25 year-long internment of thousands of Native Americans at Fort Sumner and how they responded.

“Yes this is the commemoration of the treaty but it’s also a celebration of the people’s resilience and strength,” Roth said.

Roth said today’s events will largely be focused on the new exhibit at the Bosque Redondo Memorial, developed in part by Navajo and Mescalero Apache people.

Roth said the exhibit will include one of the three original copies of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo and members of the Navajo and Mescalero Apache tribes in attendance will be invited to share their stories, which will then become a part of the new permanent exhibit.

“This was the first time we’ve really sat down together at the same table for a good two-year period and we’ve really developed something that’s for the people and by the people,” Roth said.

Roth said Saturday’s events will largely be focused on commemorating the 150th anniversary of the treaty and will also include several speakers and cultural dances.

The final event on Saturday will be a seven mile walk from the Bosque Redondo Memorial to Fort Sumner High School to honor the journey the Navajo people took home after the signing of the treaty.

Roth said signs along the way will point out landmarks that would have been visible during the Bosque Redondo era, including cottonwood trees planted at that time, which are still standing, and an irrigation ditch known as the acequia madre that is still in use today.

Admission is free.

Roth said the two days of events at the Bosque Redondo Memorial will be a great time for people to come out and learn about something that’s often reduced to just a paragraph in the history books.

“We’re in danger of losing that history and the struggles of the people who went through that event,” Roth said.

The village of Fort Sumner will also play host to several activities over the next three days as a part of the 43rd Annual Old Forts Days Celebration.

Events include the annual parade and the Billy the Kid Tombstone Race.

“We’re really proud of the fact it’s family friendly and most of the events are free,” Fort Sumner Chamber of Commerce member Melanie Ratliff said. “We just encourage folks to come out and bring your lawn chairs, your family and sunscreen.”

 

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