Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Bosque Redondo Memorial: Commemorating 150 Years since the Treaty of 1868

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner

January 03, 2018


(Santa Fe, NM) – This summer marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo between the United States and many Navajo leaders which will be commemorated at the Bosque Redondo Memorial in June.  This free event is hosted by the Navajo Nation, the Mescalero Apache Tribe and by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs parent agency of New Mexico Historic sites which includes the Bosque Redondo Memorial.

“This is a pivotal moment in time, where the stifled voices of the past will shed light on a dark chapter in American history.  It is time the truth is told,” said Aaron J. Roth, Historic Site Manager Fort Sumner Historic Site.

On the second weekend in June 2018, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is hosting several events in partnership with the Navajo Nation and the Mescalero Apache Tribe to celebrate 150 years since the signing of the Treaty of 1868 between the United States government and the Navajo Nation at Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial.  On June 8, DCA will reveal a sneak peek of the upcoming permanent exhibits of Bosque Redondo Memorial.

“We are revealing this new permanent exhibition at this time to allow stakeholders to provide direct feedback to guide the design and to essentially take ownership of the history,” Roth said. “Visitors will also have opportunities to contribute their oral traditions at the site, which will be incorporated in the final design.

“We are also hosting several speakers this weekend, to talk about the future of the Memorial’s exhibits and the importance of the Treaty of 1868,” Roth said.

Friday June 8 will offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for Navajo and Mescalero Apache visitors to shape a museum’s interpretation of their cultural history. On Saturday, June 9 visitors will have a chance to participate in a recreation of the Navajo return to the homeland to promote solidarity and reconciliation. This portion of the program is developed and lead by the Navajo Nation.

Also on Saturday, the 150th Treaty celebration will host cultural dances, respected speakers from tribal and state government, along with tribal elders sharing their oral traditions as they pertain to the hardships and resilience of life both during the reservation era as well as the post reservation era. Traditional foods and artisans will be on site in support the event and the culture.

After the event, visitors will have the option to participate in a 6.5-mile walk/run, led by DCA from Bosque Redondo Memorial to Fort Sumner High School in honor of the Navajo return to the homeland. Upon arriving at the high school, visitors can choose whether to continue the 350-mile walk back to Window Rock lead by the Navajo Nation, or remain at the high school for refreshments.    


About the 1868 Treaty of Bosque Redondo: The Treaty of Bosque Redondo between the United States and many of the Navajo took place at Fort Sumner on June 1, 1868. Some of the provisions of the Treaty included: establishment of a reservation; placed restrictions on raiding; installed a resident Indian Agent and agency; mandatory education for children; supplied seed and agricultural implements.  The Treaty protected the rights of the Navajos, established railroads and forts, compensation to tribal members, and arrangements for the return of Navajos to the reservation.

The Navajo agreed for ten years to send their children to school and the U.S. government agreed to establish schools with teachers for every thirty Navajo children. The U.S. government also promised for ten years to give to the Navajos annually: clothing, goods, and other raw materials, not exceeding the value of five dollars per person, that the Navajos could not manufacture for themselves.

About New Mexico Historic Sites:  On March 14, 1931, the New Mexico Historic Site system was established by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Under the direction of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, six of seven sites are active and open to the public: Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo MemorialCoronadoFort SeldenJemezFort Stanton and Lincoln. The El Camino Real Historic Trail Site closed in 2016 until further notice. In 2004, the historic Barela-Reynolds House and Property in Mesilla, was designated a state historic site upon its donation to the state by the John Paul Taylor family. Mr.& Mrs. Taylor will retain a life estate on the property that will not be open to the public until their deaths. Events, news releases and images about activities at New Mexico Historic Sites, and other Department of Cultural Affairs divisions can be accessed at

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