Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner

 From the very beginning of European settlement, Native Americans have been pushed off our their lands, resulting in wars, massacres, broken treaties. and mass displacement. The first reservation was established in New Jersey in 1758 but it wasn't until 1830 when the Indian Removal Act was signed by Andrew Jackson that Native American were forced to move hundreds of miles from their homelands. The Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creeks who lived in the southeast US walked over 1000 miles to the Oklahoma plains. The removal took eight years and caused thousands of deaths from disease, malnutrition, and exposure- the result of poor  planning and negligence.  

 People moving into the interior of the US from both coasts caused more conflict. By the middle of the 1800s the Navajo who lived in western New Mexico Territory were involved in confrontations with Mexicans, rival tribes, and the US Army. In the spring 1864 the Navajo, who were being held south of their homeland at Fort Canby, were marched 300 mile to Fort Sumner. Hundreds died along the way and when they reached their new home at Bosque Redondo they found bad water, few trees and too little land for the number of people. Crop failures added to the misery. In June 1868 the federal government admitted that Bosque Redondo was a failure and the Navajos began the long walk home. This is one of the few instances where a tribe was permitted to return to their traditional homeland. 

The exhibits and video at the museum are excellent. The lives and traditions of Navajos and the Apaches, who were also held at Bosque Redondo, are covered along with the long walk, their time on the reservation, and the results of signing the treaties that allowed them to return home. 

A paved path leads to a reconstructed barracks. A sign and flagstone patio mark the spot where Billy the Kid was killed.

The museum is accessible. The paved path and the barracks are accessible. The path to the Billy the Kid site is dirt and wheelchair users may need assistance. 

RVs will fit in the museum lot if parked through the spaces or lengthwise across them. There's a dirt lot at the barracks where RVs will fit. The Chamber of Commerce which is located north of the museum on Route 272 also has a large lot where RVs will fit. A museum on Fort Sumner is in the works and Billy the Kids grave is in the small cemetery next door. It's surrounded by a cage because people kept stealing the tombstone. Bosque Redondo  34.40159, -104.19464


1 comment:

  1. I don't know if this museum was open when we were last here in 2012, but it looks awesome. We stayed at Bottomless Lakes St Pk and also Ft Sumner. Isn't NM fun?