Barboncito, Navajo political and spiritual leader

Barboncito,  (1821-1871) was a famous Navajo political and spiritual leader who lived in Canyon de Chelly, had long been known as a peace leader, but he reluctantly turned warrior in 1860. With Carson’s invasion, he was among the first to surrender, but he rapidly experienced a change of heart. Finding his confinement unbearable, he escaped with five hundred others on the night of June 14, 1865. He was hunted by New Mexican militia units, but he avoided capture.
He also was known as Hastiin Hastiin Daagi (“Full-bearded Man”), Bislahalani (“the Orator”), and  (“Beautyway Chanter”). Barboncito was born into the Coyote Pass clan about 1820 and was a brother to Delgato.

Barboncito Navajo political and spiritual leader

Barboncito Navajo political and spiritual leader

American officials awarded authority to Navajos already in possession of some power. Determining leadership at the Bosque Redondo nonetheless proved difficult prior to the summer of 1866. Federal policy was based upon the idea that the government dealt with only a few Indian leaders who would bargain for the tribe.
But at the beginning of the experiment, there were few leaders with enough stature to command respect. Barboncito, known for his tough diplomacy, might have been an early spokesman for the Diné. Shortly after his somewhat early surrender, however, he became disillusioned with Carleton’s utopia and fled eastern New Mexico. Herrero had only a limited following.
As a result, the responsibility of government recognition fell upon Delgadito, who had originally been identified as an “Enemy Navajo,” one of a band of people long noted for their cooperation with Spanish, Mexican, and American representatives. Although he had briefly helped in the fight against the Americans, some doubt remained about his limited resistance during the Kit Carson campaign. He had been instrumental in arranging for the early surrender of himself and several other ricos, a surrender that was suspected of aiding in Carson’s victory.
By the time Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho had reached the reservation, the Bosque Redondo had become an administrative nightmare. Because of its expense, Carleton’s experiment had already come under considerable scrutiny. Investigations by various federal officials had become commonplace, especially after the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyennes in 1864. One of the most famous of these investigations was a special joint congressional committee headed by Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin. It was not, however, solely concerned with Navajos.
It was thus that Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho were propelled into leadership. These men found themselves  faced with a difficult situation. The Navajos could not afford to be malleable wards. This fact was dramatically illustrated just weeks after Ganado Mucho’s surrender.

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  1. Darren Begay says

    2017 and you still keep my mind hopeful for my people thank you Barboncito for the sacrifice you gave

  2. Anthferny Wilson says

    I love history

  3. John D. Andrews says

    When I lived on the Navajo Nation, it was Manuelito who was so revered. After hearing about Barboncito, I wondered why he was not as revered, or even more so.

  4. this is a nice thing about barboncito. iBeleive he had a nice personality!