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By William Haas Moore

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Extra info for Chiefs, agents & soldiers: conflict on the Navajo frontier, 1868-1882

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After their return from exile, Manuelito continued to be a symbol. Although Barboncito was named head chief by the government and Manuelito shared power with Ganado Mucho after Barboncito's death, Page xix Manuelito's unpredictable combination of defiance, accommodation, and open rebellion was the tactic adopted by his fellow leaders. Most Navajo leaders were willing to hunt down fellow Navajos who raided. Although Manuelito and Ganado Mucho rarely inflicted fatal punishment upon their fellow tribesmen, they did what had to be done to maintain the peace.

More than one hundred Comanches attacked the Navajo horse herds. They killed the herders, one of whom was Ganado Mucho's son, and stole two hundred head. Soldiers managed to locate their trail, pursued them, and eventually engaged them in combat on July 14. The battle, however, was indecisive. The Comanches fled east, and the soldiers could not keep up. The commander of Fort Sumner, Captain William McCleave, placed picket posts to the east to protect Navajo property and lives, but even McCleave doubted the effectiveness of this defense.

Most Navajo leaders were willing to hunt down fellow Navajos who raided. Although Manuelito and Ganado Mucho rarely inflicted fatal punishment upon their fellow tribesmen, they did what had to be done to maintain the peace. At times, they asked the army to interfere in internal Navajo affairs, but they were also instrumental in removing agents and expanding the reservation by intimidating settlers, recruiting army and mercantile allies, and reminding the military that war was a possibility. Navajo leaders operated in a baffling manner, ever impressing upon their people that they should adapt to Anglo-American rule but also demanding their rights as a people.

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