Press Release: Navajo author to present a seldom heard Perspective on Hwéeldi (The Long Walk)


May 26, 2023      

Press Inquiries:
Mark Charles
336-462-8256 (text preferred)


Navajo author to present a seldom heard Perspective on Hwéeldi (The Long Walk)

Event location: Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock AZ

Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Time: 10:30 AM MT

WINDOW ROCK, AZ – On Wednesday, May 31, the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona will host the first lecture in a series commemorating the 1868 Treaty between the Diné (Navajo) people and the United States. The event begins at 10:30 am and features Mark Charles, internationally renowned Navajo presenter who will speak on a seldom heard policy and the contributors that made Hwéeldi, the Navajo Long Walk possible.

Historians note that Hwéeldi is how the Navajo people refer to the Bosque Redondo Reservation at Fort Sumner and the Long Walk. On the website for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, in a section titled “Native Knowledge 360° Education Initiative” there is an online exhibit detailing The Long Walk: “Major General James H. Carleton ordered Christopher (Kit) Carson to defeat the Navajo (Diné) resistance by conducting a scorched earth campaign across the Navajo (Diné) homelands. Carson burned villages, slaughtered livestock, and destroyed water sources in order to reduce the Navajo (Diné) to starvation and desperation. With few choices, thousands of Navajo (Diné) surrendered and were forced to march between 250 and 450 miles to the Bosque Redondo Reservation.”

Hwéeldi – The Long Walk” on the Diné Nihi Kéyah (Our Land) Project website states “Fort Sumner (Bosque Redondo) is synonymous with misery, starvation, disease, and death to the Navajo people. Over 2,000 Navajos died at Fort Sumner.”

Chapters 9 and 10 of “Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery,” a book co-authored by Mark Charles, examines the adage which states “the victors write the history” and applies it to the historical narrative of the United States. These chapters go on to demonstrate that, since its founding, the United States has lost very few major military conflicts and as a result the USA has been able to write much of its own history. According to the book, this has resulted in many of the injustices committed by the United States being minimized historically and in many instances even forgotten. This is most clearly seen in the recorded history between the United States and the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

When asked about his presentation at the Navajo Nation Museum, Mark said “Much of the blame for horrors of Hwéeldi is cast on General James Carlton, who gave the orders for the removal of our Navajo people, or on Army Colonels like Kit Carson, who carried out those orders. But whether its talking about the hanging of the Dakota 38 in 1862, the Bear River massacre of 1863, the Sand Creek massacre in 1864 or the Long Walk in 1863 and 1864, most of the United States, and many historians, conveniently forget that Abraham Lincoln was elected President and served as the Commander in Chief of the US military from 1860-1865, the very period when all of these atrocities took place.” 

“Hwéeldi: A Policy of Abraham Lincoln.” is the title of the lecture presented by Mark Charles at 10:30 AM MT on Wednesday, May 31. The event, commemorating the Navajo Treaty of 1868 will be held at the Navajo Nation Museum and is free and open to the public. The event will be livestreamed on the Navajo Nation Museum Facebook page.

The presentation by Mark Charles will be the first presentation in the “Long Walk Speaker Series” hosted by the Navajo Nation Museum from May 31- June 2, 2023. More information on the entire series, which also includes presentations by “Shíma Storytelling” and Dr. Jennifer Denetdale (PH.D) can be found at the Navajo Nation Museum Facebook page


Speaker Bio: Mark Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker, author, and consultant. Mark is a dual citizen of the United States and the Navajo Nation, He teaches with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and conciliation for the nation. He is one of the leading authorities on the 15th-century’s Doctrine of Discovery and its influence on US history and its intersection with modern-day society. Mark co-authored, along with Soong-Chan Rah, the book entitled “Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery” (IVP, 2019). He has given a popular TEDx  Talk and has been interviewed and featured on numerous magazines and media outlets including Esquire, Democracy Now and The Guardian. Mark ran as an independent candidate for the US Presidency in the 2020 election.  His website is

Navajo Nation Treaty Day and Treaty of 1868: The Navajo Nation commemorates the signing of the Treaty of 1868 each year with a four-day celebration in Window Rock, Arizona, the Capital of the Navajo Nation. More information on the historical significance can be found here:

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