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“Now You Are Beginning Again”

by Barboncito

Barboncito was a Navajo leader who, like Manuelito, refused to give up when Kit Carson’s troops rounded up the Dineh in 1864. His people remained free but their livestock were starving so Barboncito surrendered to try to save the animals. In April 1868, Barboncito and his headmen were taken to Washington, DC to plead their case to President Andrew Johnson. In June the People were at last released from Fort Sumner. The American government gave them 14,000 sheep to take with them; by the end of the century, the herds had multiplied to 1,000,000. Here is Barboncito’s statement to his people, at last returning home.

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Navajo Sheep Grazing in Canyon de Chelly“Navajo Sheep Grazing in Canyon de Chelly,” W.T. Mullarky (Photographer)

“Now you are beginning again. Take care of your sheep, as you would care for your own children. Never kill them for food. If you are hungry, go out! Find the wild plants, find the wild animals, or go without food, for you have done that before! These few sheep must grow into flocks. So that we, the People, can be as we once were.”