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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Long Walk Re-Enactors Recall Centennial
by Noel Lyn Smith - Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, AZ - Dianne Livingston was 15 when she participated in the Long Walk reenactment in the summer of 1968.

Livingston, now 56 and living in Church Rock, N.M., was one of the many re-enactors who attended a reunion Saturday at the Window Rock Sports Complex during the Treaty Days Celebration.

Approximately 300 Navajos from throughout the reservation participated as re-enactors, camp crew, horse wranglers, cooking crew and security staff.

On June 29, 1968, the group re-enacted the signing of the 1868 Treaty of Peace at Fort Sumner, N.M., then participated in parades in Fort Sumner, Santa Rosa, Albuquerque, Grants, Gallup and Window Rock over the following week.

Livingston remembers marching in those parades and riding the bus from Window Rock to Fort Sumner.

"It was a good experience, learning about Navajo history," she said.

Among the older participants were Morris Denetdale of Fort Defiance; Tulley Mitchell of St. Michaels, Ariz.; Sonny Tsinniginnie of Tonalea, Ariz.; and Yanabah Winker of Ganado, Ariz.

There were black and white photos displayed on one side of the sports center, which offered the opportunity for family members to see portraits of their relatives, some for the first time.

For LaViena Rajan, 33, of North Brunswick, N.J., seeing photographs of her great-grandfather Holtsoi Yazzie and her uncle Jay Sherman, both of Twin Lakes, N.M., was a first. Both died before Rajan was born.

"I never met my great-grandfather and my uncle so it was nice to see their photo," she said.

Dakota Bitsui knew his father, Benson Bitsui, was 12 when he participated in the enactment along with five other family members, but Dakota had never seen a picture of his father as a child growing up in Piñon, Ariz.

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal but it's impressive," Dakota said as he looked around at the crowd.

Benson, now 54, said he joined the reenactment because of the $75 each person was paid at the end of the event.

"The main reason I went was to buy a bike," Benson said. "By the time I came back, I had to buy clothes for school."

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