Friday, April 15, 2005
5000 New Mexicans Dead At Hands Of U.S. Army
FORT SUMNER & BOSQUE REDONDO, NM--I went to Fort Sumner today and saw a whole lot. But first things first. Please click on the above picture and read the inscription on the plaque. What heartache.
I have been to Bosque Redondo before. I have written about it before. But the magnitude of the death and suffering still stun me. For those of you who are not familiar with New Mexico and its history, in 1863 Kit Carson and the U.S. Army, under the command of General James H. Carleton, rounded up 10,000 Navajos and about 400 Mescalero Apaches and marched them to a concentration camp on the other side of the state. 2000 are supposed to have died on the winter march of 450 miles. The destination was an encampment on the Pecos River called Bosque Redondo and its accompanying quarters for the soldiers guarding their prisoners, Fort Sumner. By 1868, 3000 more had died, many of starvation. The remaining Navajos were allowed to return home on June 15, 1868. The Apaches had departed earlier, eluding the soldiers in November of 1865.
It is unimaginable that Gen. Carleton could have watched as 5,000 Navajos in his charge died. But it happened. It happened here.
The incredible savagery of Gen. Carleton and the U.S. Army dwarfs anything else of importance in my mind today.