Saturday, April 2, 2016

Native American Biography: Navajo During the Navajo War and Bosque Redondo: Narbona, Manuelito, Delgadito, Barboncito


Manuelito was war chief during the time of the Navajo War.  The Navajo were generally peaceful to the Whites, but this attitude began to change.  Narbona was an influential medicine man who sued for peace when a force from New Mexico came to Navajo country under the command form Colonel John Washington.  After signing the treaty, a volunteer from new Mexico felt he recognized his stolen horse among the Navajo.  He insisted on its return, but the current owner had not stolen the horse.  He left.  Colonel Johnson, siding with the New Mexican said he could take any horse.  So the rest of the Navajo warriors began to flee as well.  Johnson order his troops to open fire.  Seven Navajo were killed, among them Narbona, who was scalped as he lay dying by one of the New Mexico volunteers.   More warlike Navajos such as Manuelito began to have greater influence as a result.  Manuelito was born in southeast Utah and became a war chief when his father-in-law was killed by federal soldiers.
As part of the treaty, the Americans began to establish forts.  One of these was Fort Defiance.  During a time of drought, the Navajo asked the Americans not to grace their animals on prime agricultural land close to the fort.  The Americans insisted and killed several cattle and horses belonging to Manuelito.  The Navajo responded by killing some of the Americans.  This is known as the first battle of Fort Defiance.
In the second battle of Fort Defiance, Manuelito had a group of 1000 attack the fort.  He was helped by Barboncito, and Barboncito's brother Delgadito.  Both Barboncito and Delgadito were medicine men.  Delgadito would learn silversmithing from a Mexican craftsman.  He would also learn metal techniques from an American.  he then turned around and taught others silversmithing and metal work.  This is now the most important source of income to the Navajos.
During early periods of the Civil War, as the attention of many of the federal resources were turned elsewhere, the Navajo were able to increase their raids.  However, in 1864, the governor of New Mexico told all the Navajo chiefs, they must cede their lands and move to Bosque Redondo, and area in New Mexico so named because of a small forest.  This was an area forty square miles on the Pecos River where the Native Americans, Navajo and Apache, were to learn farming.
Kit Carson carried out the campaign to move the Navajo to the reservation; a 300 mile walk from their homeland.  To convince them to go he engaged in a scorched earth policy.  The corn fields and cattle of the Navajo were destroyed, until starvation was the norm.  Slowly the warring parties were forced to surrender first in 1864.  The last was Manuelito in 1866.  They had been told the stay would be for but a few months, but months turned into years.  Many Navajo dyed on "The Long Walk" to the reservation, and many more dyed after arriving their.  The water from the river was brackish, and quickly the wood supply was exhausted.
William Sherman was sent to investigate poor conditions in 1868.  He negotiated a treaty which allowed the Navajo to return to their homeland, the four corners area, but with a reduced size.  Upon given this privilege Barboncito said, "We do not want to go to the right or the left, but straight back to our country."
Ganado Mucho also played a prominent part in first attempted to keep the peace, and then making the march to Bosque Redondo.  He had attempted to move his people north, the the Grand Canyon area but they could not feed themselves, so the surrendered to the army.  During the long walk, two of his daughters were kidnapped by Mexicans; and while at Bosque redondo one of his sons was killed by Comanche.  He was part of the negotiations which allowed the return home of the Navajo.

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