In Sing Down the Moon, what threat had soldiers made on Bright Morning's people a year earlier?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A year earlier, the white soldiers had threatened to burn down Bright Morning's village if her people "did not keep the peace."

The book Sing Down the Moon takes place between the years 1863 and 1865 in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. In 1863, the United States government removed all Navaho Indians from that area, so named because it lies at the intersection where the borders of four states, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado all meet. The summer before issuing that mandate, white soldiers had come to Bright Morning's tribe's home in the Canyon de Chelly, threatening to return and burn the village down if the people did not "keep the peace," which the Navahos interpreted as meaning to refrain from raiding the white men's settlements. A little over one year later, when the soldiers do come back, they bring with them an order from the government of the United States directing the "People of the Navaho Tribe...(to) take their goods and leave Canyon de Chelley." Even though the tribe has heeded the warning given previously and has not molested the white settlements during the past year, and even though it is the white man who is infringing on the rights of Indians on the land that has been theirs for centuries, the Navahos, vastly outnumbered, are forced to march to Fort Sumter, just south of Sante Fe, New Mexico, under grueling conditions. The tribe's numbers are decimated on that three-hundred mile walk, in one of the most infamous occurances in American history.