To acknowledge the Navajo people who endured The Long Walk 150 years ago, Edison Eskeets will run from Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a distance of over 330 miles. Eskeets will start running May 18 and arrive in Santa Fe on June 1, 2018—the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, which allowed the Navajo people to return to their homelands.
This event, known as The Message | The Run, is an official program of Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service (NPS). Edison works for WNPA as the trader at Hubbell Trading Post. Hubbell Trading Post (affectionately known as Hubbell’s) was established 142 years ago and is the oldest continuously-operating trading post in the American Southwest. Hubbell’s was designated a National Park Service National Historic Site in 1965 and has been operated by WNPA since 1967. Hubbell’s is located in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Nation.
Edison has asked that donations to assist with The Message | The Run be made to WNPA. These donations will help to pay for the cost of The Run, to produce a documentary film about The Run, and to support Hubbell’s educational programs. These programs provide outreach and awareness of the trading post, The Long Walk, and Navajo weaving and jewelry. Hubbell’s also sells arts and crafts by other Southwest American Indian artists.
The Long Walk
In 1863 Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson was ordered to establish a military post in Navajo country and round up the Navajo population. The Navajo fled, hiding while Carson’s troops burned their crops, killed livestock, and massacred men, women, and children. Faced with starvation and so much loss, many Navajo surrendered during the winter of 1863–1864.
More than 9,000 Navajo were forced to march over 300 miles to a reservation in New Mexico known as Fort Sumner or Bosque Redondo. This is now called “The Long Walk.” They were held for four years, and thousands died from diseases, starvation, and exposure.
In May 1868 a federal peace commission headed by General William Sherman arrived at Fort Sumner to investigate complaints. Three days later the Treaty of 1868 was signed, and the Navajo were allowed to return to a portion of their land.
On June 18, 1868 the Navajo began their long walk home. Upon their arrival, they found their way of life destroyed; their sheep and cattle were dead and their fields were decimated. Trade with men such as John Lorenzo Hubbell was one of the only ways to survive, and Hubbell Trading Post’s influence and reach was extensive.
The Hubbell family continued to run the post until 1967, when it was sold to the National Park Service and became a national historic site. Today WNPA is proud to operate Hubbell Trading Post, keeping this important part of history alive.
The memories of the suffering of the Navajo remain a dark cloud in history to this day.
Why are these educational and outreach events so important?
Hubbell’s is the oldest continuously-operating trading post in the American Southwest. It provides a source of goods for the local community and, even more importantly, it’s a place where weavers and other artisans can sell their items. Many artists rely heavily or solely on this income, and many use it to support their families as well.
The Message | The Run provides an opportunity to educate a wider audience about the history—and the future—of Hubbell Trading Post and the need to support this important program!
WNPA has been a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service since 1938. WNPA supports parks across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience.
The Message | The Run budget:
Expenses (logistics, planning, support) for The Message | The Run – $10,000
Run events (Hubbell Trading Post, June 1st & 2nd events in Santa Fe, NM) – $5,000
Production of a short documentary about The Message | The Run – $15,000
Hubbell Trading Post outreach and educational events – $60,000
Total = $90,000