A Grim, Long-Hidden Truth Emerges in Art: Native American Enslavement
Two exhibitions highlight stories of Indigenous bondage in southern Colorado, in an effort to grapple with the lasting trauma.
Chip Thomas, a physician on the Navajo Nation, is also an artist who created two installations, about 50 miles apart, based on an 1865 census of enslaved Native people in Conejos County and Costilla County, Colo.
The New York Times
By Patricia Leigh Brown
FORT GARLAND, Colo. — On a bitter, windy day, a long-overdue reckoning took place in the commandant’s quarters at Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center, a former military outpost. For most of its history, the museum has celebrated the frontiersman Christopher (Kit) Carson, who briefly commanded this far-flung garrison built during American westward expansion to protect settlers from raids by tribes.
But now the museum was telling a far different story in an exhibition titled “Unsilenced: Indigenous Enslavement in Southern Colorado” — one of the first dedicated to highlighting details of the little-known and centuries-old system of Indigenous bondage that the historian Andrés Reséndez called “the other slavery” in his landmark 2016 book.