Hweeldi: The Woven Tribute Commemorating The Long Walk
(Santa Fe, New Mexico) -- The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, signed June 1, 1868, by displaying an extraordinary wool rug woven in tribute to the Long Walk. Created in the early 1900's, the rug is an impressive 9 ft. by 15 ft., last displayed at MIAC in 1996.
While the identity of the weavers of the piece remains unknown, Navajo oral history – and likely some first-hand accounts – informed the weavers along the way with their design.
In 1868, the Long Walk was initiated by the United States military as part of Manifest Destiny, the concept that expansion of the United States in the 1800's was both justified and inevitable. Only the 1868 treaty allowed the Navajo to return to their Diné Bikéyah (Navajo sacred lands) in northwestern New Mexico, where they rebuilt as a nation of herders, farmers, and weavers.
“The Long Walk is the most tragic historical event among the Navajo people,” said Joyce Begay-Foss, curator and director of education. “Among most tribal members it is not spoken about due to the sensitive nature of the historical trauma.”
“Other tribal members feel though that we must never forget what the people who came before us suffered and endured,” Begay-Foss added.
Hweeldi: The Woven Tribute will be open for viewing on Friday, June 1 with a panel discussion about Navajo weaving at 1 p.m. A special public opening on June 3 from 1- 4 p.m. is scheduled and will include remarks, a lecture with UNM Professor Jennifer Denetdale (Navajo) (UNM), refreshments, dancers, and intimate guided discussions about the rug with docents and staff. The event is free to New Mexican’s with ID because it falls on the first Sunday of the month.
About the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture: http://miaclab.org/
As the 19th century closed, one of the Southwest’s major "attractions" was its vibrant Native American cultures. In response to unsystematic collecting by Eastern museums, anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett founded the Museum of New Mexico in 1909 with a mission to collect and preserve Southwest Native American material culture. Several years later, in 1927, John D. Rockefeller founded the renowned Laboratory of Anthropology with a mission to study the Southwest’s indigenous cultures. In 1947 the two institutions merged, bringing together the most inclusive and systematically acquired collection of New Mexican and Southwestern anthropological artifacts in the country. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. 710 Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87504, Phone: (505) 476-1269. Events, news releases and images about activities at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and other in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.
Image: Rug Navajo, ca.1920’s Gift of Earl C. Kauffman 45506/12. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts and Culture