Many Hands and Minds
Celebrating Collaboration at Bosque Redondo
When the Bosque Redondo Memorial finally celebrates its public Grand Opening on May 28, says New Mexico Historic Sites Director Patrick Moore, “It’s going to be a big deal.”
Call it an international affair, as the long-delayed Memorial Day weekend festivities will include the Navajo Nation and Mescalero Apache tribes at the designated International Site of Conscience. The tribal groups were unable to gather with Historic Sites and other exhibition partners at last fall’s projected celebration due to COVID-19.
“We didn’t want to do it without having our international partners,” Moore says, outlining plans for a large-scale afternoon event. Speakers and representatives from the New Mexico governor’s staff, as well as dignitaries from state, federal and tribal governments, are scheduled to attend.
The collaborative spirit of the event, which includes Indian dances and an auction, is an acknowledgment of the many hands and minds who reimagined the exhibition Bosque Redondo: A Place of Suffering, A Place of Survival. The display commemorates the Long Walk, the forced relocation of Diné (Navajo) and N’de (Mescalero) peoples across more than 400 miles between 1863 and 1868.
“What we have created there is truly collaborative,” says Moore. “There is not a single thing, down to the way we crafted new floorboard pieces, that has not been done in concert with our partners. We don’t do anything in a vacuum, and that’s what makes this exhibit so remarkable.”
The participatory nature of the exhibition impacts how visitors perceive and respond to the painful histories recorded about the Long Walk. Intentional spaces for contemplation and response, such as an outside smudging room, are meant to soothe and spark reflection from the visitors who experience these spaces.
“It’s an exhibit that will never be finished, intentionally,” says Moore. “We want it to be part of people’s collective psyches when they’re done. There will be a lot of building and considering the future.”
To that end, Moore emphasizes the ongoing “enormous need” for private funding at Bosque Redondo and all of the New Mexico Historic Sites. Gifts to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Campaign for New Mexico History “can go a long way,” he says.
“We are dealing with things that should have been dealt with years ago, decades ago,” Moore continues. “If people really want to mare a difference, there is a high-impact opportunity.”
To support the New Mexico Historic Sites, contact Yvonne Montoya at 505.216.1592 or Yvonne@museumfoundation.org
This article is from Member E-News March 2022.
Image Bosque Redondo Billboard by Joseph Bergen