Navajo Long Walk – American history

Home » Navajo Long Walk – American history
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
A lot of Navajo people sitting together

Navajo people on the Long Walk

In 1804, more and more Spanish people lived in New Mexico. So the Spanish government decided to stop the Navajo raiding. The Spanish army attacked the Navajo. The Spanish killed many people with their new powerful rifles (guns). But in 1823, Mexico became independent of Spain. The new Mexican government had other things to worry about and left the Navajo alone. So the Navajo went back to their raiding. In 1848, the United States government took Arizona and New Mexico away from the government of Mexico. But they still let the Navajo go on raiding Spanish settlers.

But now English settlers moved into Arizona and New Mexico. When Navajo raiders took their horses and their sheep, these new settlers complained to the United States government. They wanted their government to stop the Navajo raids.

Kit Carson

Kit Carson, who forced the Navajo off their land

In 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, the United States government decided to stop Navajo men from raiding European settlers in Arizona. They were also worried that the Navajo, who were great fighters, might fight on the Confederate side. The army sent the general Kit Carson to stop Navajo raids.

Carson brought many Spanish troops with him. They hated the Navajo because of their raids. And he brought many Ute and Pueblo men, who had also suffered from Navajo raids. Carson’s army killed many Navajo men and destroyed their houses, orchards, and crops. Carson and his army killed or stole all the sheep. They often captured women and children to sell into slavery in Mexico. Soon people were starving. They had to surrender to Kit Carson. He forced all the people who surrendered to walk to a camp in the desert at Bosque Redondo in 1864.

Barboncito

Barboncito, a Navajo leader on the Long Walk

People call this the “Long Walk.” Many Navajo people died on the way, and many more died at Bosque Redondo of smallpox and of hunger. Finally in 1868 the Navajo chief Barboncito managed to make a treaty with the United States government. The treaty said that the Navajo could go back to their own land if they promised they would never fight with their neighbors again.

Finally the Navajo were back on their own land. The Navajo reservation is the biggest one in the United States, with 140,000 people living on 16 million acres of land, mostly in Arizona. Many Navajo still keep sheep and weave cloth from the wool.

Early Navajo history
More about sheep and wool

Bibliography and further reading about Navajo history:

   

Early Navajo history
Pueblo people
Apache people
American History
Quatr.us home

By |2017-08-13T22:46:08+00:00August 13th, 2017|History|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Navajo Long Walk – American history. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 13, 2017. Web. January 23, 2019.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.