In the early 1860s, Navajo people were stealing cattle and horses from whites in what is now New Mexico.
American militiamen, led by Brigadier General James A. Carleton, were sent out to stop them. After a series of bloody battles, the Navajo were defeated and forced to move to a reservation called Bosque Redondo to the east of their homeland.
The tribe’s grueling journey there became known as the Long Walk.
The living conditions at Bosque Redondo were terrible. Many people died of starvation and disease. The reservation’s arid land was nearly impossible to farm, so the Navajo had to rely on food rations from the U.S. government to survive. Deciding the rations were too expensive, the United States finally allowed the Navajo to return home.
After four years at Bosque Redondo, the tribe happily resettled on a 100-square-mile reservation in the heart of its original territory.