Long Walk Research Paper

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From 1863-1868, the Navajo, or Diné, found themselves the target of a major campaign of war by the Union Army and surrounding enemies in the American Southwest, resulting in a program of removal and internment. This series of events is known to the Navajo as the “Long Walk” , where as a people the Navajo were devastated by acts of violence from multiple factions of enemies. The perspectives of the Navajo regarding the “Long Walk” can grant context to the changes occurring in the American Southwest during the American Civil War, where the focus of the Union’s military might fell upon Native Americans instead of Confederate forces. Rather than as a program of Indian removal resulting from the Civil War militarization of the Southwest, the Navajo…show more content…
The immediate effect of the Civil War was the relocation of military personnel away from New Mexico, as officers sought to aid the cause back in the eastern states. However, the Civil war would eventually lead to the introduction of two prominent figures responsible for the Long walk; Kit Carson, a veteran Indian fighter, and Colonel James H. Carleton, who had in his prior service fought against the Navajo. Along with the transfer of Carleton came a brigade of California volunteers, the “California Column”, who upon arrival played a part in the Battle of Glorieta Pass 1862, which pushed back a Confederate invasion from Texas. The invasion of Confederate forces into the Southwest had caused a diverted the attention of the Union forces in the area away from the affairs of Native Americans. Without the military’s active attention, many groups of Native Americans engaged in raiding on a scale that caused the people of New Mexico to look for assistance from the United States army. In the fall of 1862, James H. Carleton had been promoted to Brigadier General and oversaw the Union’s military efforts in the Southwest. James H. Carleton would concern himself with dealing with the threats Native Americans posed to the people of New Mexico, and from 1862-1865 would oversee the military efforts which would become responsible for the Long Walk of the…show more content…
You have a strange cause of war against the Navajos. We have waged war against the New Mexicans for several years…We had just cause for all this. You have lately commenced a war against the same people…You have therefore conquered them, the very thing we have been attempting to do for so many years. You now turn upon us for attempting to do what you done yourselves. We cannot see why you have cause of quarrel with us for fighting the New Mexicans on the west, while you do the same thing on the east. We have more right to complain of you for interfering in our war, than you have to quarrel with us for continuing a war we had begun long before you got here.” Reclaiming Dine

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