Treaty Days features re-enactment of treaty signing

(Special to the Times – Ravonelle Yazzie)

Cast members of the re-enactment of the Treaty 1868 were played by local community members during Treaty Days on Saturday in Fort Defiance.

By Lane Franklin
Navajo Times

FORT DEFIANCE, June 5, 2014

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(Special to the Times – Ravonelle Yazzie)

U.S. General Sherman played by Errol Valteau, U.S. Peace Commissioner played by Steve Fabina, and Chief Barboncito played by Bronco Martinez re-enact the signing of the Treaty of 1868 in Fort Defiance on Saturday.

Spectators lined the sidewalks of Kit Carson Drive with their families as they patiently waited for history to walk through.

An abundance of buckskin, feathers and turquoise adorned the actors dressed in traditional regalia as they prepared for the Treaty Days parade and re-enactment this past Saturday morning.

The Treaty Days parade began shortly after 9 a.m. with a police unit leading the way toward the old BIA compound in Fort Defiance.

The Twin Warriors Society led by Vice Commander Daniel Yazza's cadence marched forward in unison.

Following the color guard, the granddaughters of the late Zane Curley graciously carried the 10-by-25 foot American flag.

Next in order were the likes of Chief Barboncito, General Sherman and other important historical figures.

There was a mixture of appearances such as the stoic faces of the color guard, the shining smiles of the children carrying the flag and the boisterous cheering of the spectators.

The parade symbolized the Long Walk, a forced relocation of the Navajo people to Fort Sumner in 1863 by the U.S. government.

The parade participants made their way to the site of re-enactment in a mass migration under the warming sun.

Upon arrival at the old BIA compound, master of ceremonies Harold Wauneka welcomed the large crowd and began retelling history.

"On the banks of the Pecos River over 9,000 Navajos struggled in tilling the alkaline soils and caring for the small herds of sheep." he noted.

Introducing the historic plight of the tribe helped signify the importance of the treaty meeting between General Sherman and prominent Navajo leaders such as Chief Barboncito, Chief Manuelito and Chief Narbona. On stage, General Sherman, portrayed by Errol Valteau, stood ready for negotiation with Chief Barboncito, played by Bronco Martinez.

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