Published on March 10, 2013 by Carol
This Navajo citadel was the scene of climatic events in the conquest of the Navajo Indians by the U.S. Army Colonel Christopher C. “Kit” Carson’s invasion of this bastion of Navajo defenses in the winter of 1863 – 1864.
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On January 12, 1864, Carson invaded Canyon de Chelly, attacking several Navajos with livestock, killing 11 of them and taking four captives, as well as a herd of sheep and goats. Over the next few days, a number of skirmishes were fought between the Indians and Carson’s forces. On January 16th, 150 starving Navajos surrendered and soon joined some 8,000 of their people in the tragic “Long Walk” across New Mexico to the Bosque Rendondo at Fort Sumner.
In 1868, after four years of exile, they were allowed to return to their homeland. The site is operated by the National Park Service. The Visitor Center is three miles from Route 191 in Chinle, Arizona.