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Long Walk Film

“Long Walk, A Navajo Epic Journey” by Lena Carr, Indian Summer Films

In June 2018, the Ortiz Center awarded funds to Navajo filmmaker Lena Carr for research on her new film, “Long Walk, A Navajo Epic Journey.”

From 1863 to 1868 the United States waged war on the Navajo people. Thousands of Navajo men, women, and children were marched, on foot, by the United States Army, 400 miles across Arizona and New Mexico. They were destined to be incarcerated at Bosque Redondo, Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Beginning in 1863, Brigadier General James H. Carleton commanded Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson to force the Navajo surrender and relocate them far from their homeland to a “reservation” in Fort Sumner. When the Navajos refused to surrender, Carson ordered a “scorched-earth” campaign against them. Thus, Navajo homes, crops, and orchards were torched; water holes and livestock were also destroyed. He further ordered that Navajo males be killed and women and children taken prisoners. At the campaign’s end in early January 1864, 11,500 captive men, women, and children were marched to exile. Thousands of Navajo people died on the walk and while imprisoned there.

“Long Walk, A Navajo Epic Journey” is a one hour film documentary for public television.

For the first time, descendants of Navajo “prisoners-of-war” have agreed to speak candidly on camera about their Long Walk experiences. The film will feature eight contemporary Navajo descendants of the prisoners of war who share their own unique perspectives, historical accounts, experiences, and stories handed down to them by their ancestors who made the Long Walk. Also assembled are a group of scholars, advisors, both Native American and non-Native American, to provide commentary and background for the historical narratives. The program creatively uses previously undiscovered archival material, diaries, photographs, letters, and newspaper articles, to enable viewers to share in the stark emotions of that time.

“Long Walk, A Navajo Epic Journey” is a work-in-progress.

Lena Carr, Emmy Award Winner, is Navajo Film Producer, Director, Writer.