TUCSON, Ariz. — May 18, Edison Eskeets, trader at Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, will begin a 330-mile solo run in recognition of the “Long Walk” of the Navajo 150 years ago.
Thousands died on the Long Walk, a forced march of over 330 miles, and during their four years of internment at Bosque Redondo in Eastern New Mexico. June 1 marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, which allowed the Navajo people to return to their homelands. Eskeets’ 15-day run will begin at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Northern Arizona and end June 1 in Santa Fe
Eskeets said, “The time is now to show our respect and in doing so honor our great-grandfathers, grandmothers, parents, and children.” Eskeets, who is himself Navajo, has a 40-year history of ultramarathon running and fundraising. A previous run benefitting the Native American Preparatory School, where Eskeets was a teacher and the Dean of Students, raised over $90,000.
Eskeets’s upcoming run, “The Message | The Run,” is an official program of Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service. James E. Cook, WNPA executive director, said, “We at WNPA are incredibly honored to support The Message | The Run and everything it stands for. We support Edison in this meaningful, spiritual journey.”
Two special events are planned en route on The Message | The Run. Eskeets will be at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site on May 20 and Santa Fe Plaza on June 1. The public is welcome to attend these events. There will be music and refreshments, and Hopi dancers will perform a sacred Eagle Dance during the Hubbell Trading Post gathering.
Hubbell Trading Post, affectionately known as Hubbell’s, was established 142 years ago and is the oldest continuously operating trading post in the American Southwest. Hubbell’s was designated a National Historic Site in 1965 and the trading post has been operated by WNPA since 1967.
Hubbell Trading Post and other trading posts like it were instrumental in helping the Navajo survive after returning to their decimated homeland 150 years ago.
Eskeets has asked that donations to The Message | The Run be made to WNPA through the event’s official GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/themessage-therun. Donations will help to defray the cost of The Message | The Run, to produce a documentary film about the run, and to support Hubbell’s education programs.
For more information about The Message | The Run, please visit www.gofundme.com/themessage-therun, www.hubbelltradingpost.org, or www.wnpa.org,. Follow Eskeets’ progress on social media at @TheMessage.TheRun on Facebook, @TheMessage_TheRun on Instagram, and @TheMessage_Run on Twitter.
About Western National Parks Association
WNPA helps make the national park experience possible for everyone. As a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports parks across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience. Since 1938, WNPA has worked to connect new generations to parks in meaningful ways, all with one simple goal: create advocates who want to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time. Learn more at www.wnpa.org.
About Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Located in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, Hubbell Trading post is the oldest continuously operating trading post in the American Southwest. This internationally recognized site was established in 1876 by famed trader J.L. Hubbell as a center of commerce for the Navajo people. Today, the Trading Post continues to serve as a crossroad of culture and settlement. It is a living reminder of a time of transition for American Indians. To learn more, visit www.hubbelltradingpost.org and www.nps.gov/hutr.