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Navajo Chief Hush-Kaaney Hoskaninni (1828-1912)

Navajo Chief Hush-Kaaney Hoskaninni (1828-1912)

According to Hoskaninni-Begay, his father's independent "rule" of Monument Valley grew out of the 1863 roundup of Navajos in that region by Col. Christopher "Kit" Carson. Under orders from Gen. James H. Carleton to track down every Navajo, some 700 troops under Carson's command began in the summer of 1863 to attack the scattered Navajo enclaves, killing those who resisted and capturing the others.  8,500 Navajos made the "long walk" to Bosque Redondo on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico, there to be watched by troops at nearby Fort Sumner.  Navajos were allowed to return in 1868 to the area now encompassed by their reservation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

At the beginning of this campaign against the Navajos the 35-year-old Hoskaninni heard that some of his family members had been caught. In response, he and a small band of seventeen barely escaped capture and eventually reached the south end of Navajo Mountain where they came upon a little stream of water surrounded on all sides by green grass. There Hoskaninni's wife sat firmly upon the ground and refused to go any farther. As a result, the group made camp and remained there for the following six years.
In 1868 most Navajos were released from internment at New Mexico and returned to their lands where each was given two sheep and some seeds to start a new life. The following year when Hoskaninni and his band came out of hiding and moved into the heart of Monument Valley they were the strongest and richest Navajos in the entire region.

Utah Historical Quarterly 21 (July 1953): 219-26;


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