The Long Walk (1,674 Days) is Delbert Anderson’s first solo composition for instruments in any key.
Towards the end of 1863, there were many Navajo tribes beginning to surrender to the US Military. The Navajo people were relocated to the Bosque Redondo (Fort Sumner, NM). From 1863 to 1868, there were about 9,500 to 10,000 Navajos forced to make the Long Walk. It can be estimated, there may have been up to 12,000 Navajos who had to endure the Long Walk if all reports were documented and accounted for. Due to the inaccurate reporting of deaths, it is estimated around 1,500 to 3,000 lost their lives. Research still continues and the numbers begin to rise as new information is uncovered.
[Bosque Redondo Memorial Staff]
There are 1,674 days between November 1, 2023 to June 1, 2028. 1,674 days represents the duration of The Long Walk from the first surrenders in 1863 to the signing of the Bosque Redondo Treaty of 1868. The piece requires planning and focus. On performance days, please go live or share on social media. Complete reading the facts and take part in the activity sheet. By putting these activities into action, we remember and honor the Navajo people. During the piece, I ask the musician to treat each performance with honor by being on time and dressing up. If you have a performance during one of the notes, add the note to your program. Not only are we creating awareness of a historical tragic event, you are a part of a movement honoring the Navajo path of peace, harmony and balance.
Anderson says of the piece, “I hope those performing the piece are inspired to continue with their respective instruments. Creating awareness is very important to the history of the Long Walk and the Navajo. By existing and performing the Long Walk in a space, you attack colonization practices of the US government and military. Your stand for the Long Walk will honor those who endured and lost their lives. Your performance honors our Diné people forever. Thank you.”
For the inaugural performance of The Long Walk, each “sounding” of the melody is meant to occur at a specific date. It is intended that the time for each note to sound occur at 7:30pm MST (this is, of course, just a suggestion, as it is understood people have real lives and real conflicts, and it is better for the note to sound on the appropriate date regardless of the time).
The piece may also be played in a more localized, brief version (say, quarter note equals 60; tempo can be variable, though the idea is for it to be as slow as possible). The piece should evoke a reflection on the atrocities inflicted towards native peoples, and be meditative and spiritual in nature.