History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 2-28-2017


The Bosque Redondo Indian reservation held nearly 10,000 Native prisoners through much of the 1860s. Navajo captives outnumbered the Mescalero Apaches who were imprisoned there by about ten to one, until the Mescaleros escaped in November, 1865. Americans interned the Navajo at Bosque Redondo for another three years before negotiating a treaty that allowed for their release and return to their homeland, Dinétah.

The physical environment’s role was seemingly all encompassing for Natives confined on the Bosque Redondo reservation. However, the environments in their homelands were different; they were distinct landscapes that illustrated the intimate connections people have with place. This work investigates alterations of lifeways based on three key elements of well-being for Natives during their detention: food, disease and medicine, and material culture.

The indigenous peoples of the American Southwest have long adapted to changing environments by adopting material things, and ideas, from the peoples around them. The intensity of the incarceration on the Bosque Redondo transformed Native outlooks with a trauma so strenuous it endures through multiple generations. This thesis sheds light on some of the causes of that suffering.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Margaret Connell-Szasz

Second Committee Member

Durwood Ball

Third Committee Member

Paul Hutton




Navajo, Diné, Mescalero Apache, Bosque Redondo, Environmental history, Long Walk

Document Type