FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2023
Fort Sumner, NM – New Mexico Arts (NMA) and New Mexico Historic Sites (NMHS) announce DezBaa’ and her father David Henderson for the first artist residency at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site (BRM). Their residency runs until May 6, and at its conclusion, they will premiere a documentary featuring David’s journey of self-discovery, as well as a series of interviews with Memorial staff, historians, medicine people, and more.
“The seed for this residency program was planted more than three years ago on a road trip to various New Mexico Historic Sites,” said Michelle Laflamme-Childs, executive director of NMA. “It is truly exciting to see it finally come to fruition, especially with the incredible artists and projects selected for these inaugural residencies at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site.”
“My father and I are grateful and excited to see what this will bring,” said DezBaa’. “That we can use film as a vehicle to connect with others, to move us forward in our healing process, reconnecting our lives as Diné where we were once disconnected and traumatized, to heal the wounds our relatives endured for us to survive, to be able to listen to and tell their story now—it’s taken us far too long, but now is better than never.”
DezBaa’ is an accomplished artist in the film industry, including as a SAG-AFTRA actor, a WGA screenwriter, and an indie producer. Currently, she is a Staff Writer on the AMC series Dark Winds. David Henderson, her father, is a septuagenarian Navy veteran, Los Alamos National Labs retiree, and Film Digital Arts student at Northern New Mexico College.
For the documentary, DezBaa’ will film Henderson while he documents his past, which is part of his Northern New Mexico College class projects. Neither of them grew up within the Diné culture or with the language—a reflection of both circumstance and survival. They are now both cultivating language revitalization and cultural teachings in their respective homes, as well as for Henderson’s grandchildren, who are Navajo Nation citizens. Together, DezBaa’ and Henderson will interview historians, scholars, and NMHS staff about Bosque Redondo Memorial and the Navajo Long Walk. They will also consult with Diné medicine people and seek out a Diné musician for the documentary’s score.
In 2023, NMA will hold two artist residencies on the grounds of BRM. The agency sought proposals that responded to the history and culture of the Memorial. Participants will receive $14,000, covering living expenses and project-related materials, and a one-bedroom lodging on the Memorial’s grounds. They are also expected to generate work that can be presented in public, such as an exhibition, workshops, or performances.
About New Mexico Arts
New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico.
About Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site
The Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site delivers visitors into the heart of history and tragedy. 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 Ndé were also interned there. Bosque Redondo Memorial was created in 2005 and revitalized in 2021 with strong support from the Diné and Ndé and designed by Diné architect David Sloan in the shape of a hogan and tepee. The permanent interpretive exhibition features evolving interactives, an interpretive trail, and programs for visitors.