On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the public is invited to participate in the One Million Bones – Silver City art project, which is in the process of being installed – through collaboration and participation – at its permanent site above Bear Mountain Lodge (60 Bear Mountain Ranch Rd.). From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Community Day, people will gather in mass to carry more of the handcrafted ceramic bones to the meadow where they’ll lay for eternity.
“Until each bone is placed, everyone is encouraged to visit the lodge, load up a bag, and make the peaceful trek to the bones’ permanent resting spot. It’s a hands-on way to remember victims of genocide and mass atrocities and also mindfully reject the recurrence of such evils,” said Faye McCalmont, Special Assistant to the President for Cultural Affairs.
People travel from out of state to participate, and some locals hike to the site with packs full of ceramic bones on a regular basis. “Recently, a horse pack train spent three days carrying 21,000 pounds of bones to the meadow,” McCalmont said.
The entire Western New Mexico University community will pitch in, flocking to the lodge in groups and transporting as many bones as possible on Friday, March 23. University employees will receive two and a half hours to participate. Western New Mexico University President Dr. Joseph Shepard will be at Bear Mountain Lodge between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and invites students and employees to hike with him up to the meadow.
On April 14, One Million Bones – Silver City will be dedicated from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
During the dedication, Congolese genocide survivor and human rights activist, Rose Mapendo, will return to Silver City to speak about her experiences. Mapendo grew up in a Tutsi family that professed the Christian religion, lost her husband when genocide broke out in Rwanda, and, along with her seven children, was interned in a prison camp, where she gave birth to twins. She was transferred to a Red Cross-run protection center and received refugee status before immigrating to the United States. She was a featured speaker at Western New Mexico University for the 2016 Cultural Affairs Lecture Series.
Starting at 1:15 p.m., the speakers will be presented in the lower installation, a handicapped-accessible area. Then at 1:45 p.m., attendees may hike up to the meadow for the laying of the bones with Mapendo at 2:30 p.m. Bear Mountain Lodge will provide refreshments at 3:30 p.m.
To participate anytime, go to Bear Mountain Lodge, park in the lot and follow the road to the stables where the pallets of bones are kept. To learn more about One Million Bones – Silver City, call Bear Mountain Lodge at 575-538-2538.