Geronimo

Geronimo

Overview
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua
Chiricahua
Chiricahua are a group of Apache Native Americans who live in the Southwest United States. At the time of European encounter, they were living in 15 million acres of territory in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona in the United States, and in northern Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico...

 Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 who fought against Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars
Apache Wars
The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States and Apaches fought in the Southwest from 1849 to 1886, though other minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The Confederate Army participated in the wars during the early 1860s, for instance in Texas, before being...

. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English.

After an attack by a company of Mexican soldiers killed many members of his family in 1858, Geronimo joined revenge attacks on the Mexicans.
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I cannot think we are useless or Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.

I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust.

I am thankful that the President Of the United States has given me permission to tell my story. I hope that he and those in authority under him will read my story and judge whether my people have been rightly treated.

Encyclopedia
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua
Chiricahua
Chiricahua are a group of Apache Native Americans who live in the Southwest United States. At the time of European encounter, they were living in 15 million acres of territory in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona in the United States, and in northern Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico...

 Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 who fought against Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars
Apache Wars
The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States and Apaches fought in the Southwest from 1849 to 1886, though other minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The Confederate Army participated in the wars during the early 1860s, for instance in Texas, before being...

. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English.

After an attack by a company of Mexican soldiers killed many members of his family in 1858, Geronimo joined revenge attacks on the Mexicans. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.

In 1886 Geronimo surrendered to U.S. authorities after a lengthy pursuit. As a prisoner of war in old age he became a celebrity and appeared in fairs but was never allowed to return to the land of his birth. He later regretted his surrender and claimed the conditions he made had been ignored. Geronimo died in 1909 from complications of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Geronimo's background



Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans originally from the Southwest United States. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache). Geronimo was born into the Bedonkohe and married into the Chiricahua.

Goyahkla was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River
Gila River
The Gila River is a tributary of the Colorado River, 650 miles long, in the southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona.-Description:...

 in the modern-day state of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, then part of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, but which his family considered Bedonkohe land. His grandfather (Mako) had been chief of the Bedonkohe Apache. He had three brothers and four sisters.

Goyahkla's parents raised him according to Apache traditions; after the death of his father, his mother took him to live with the Chihenne and he grew up with them. He married a woman named Alope from the Nedni-Chiricahua band of Apache when he was 17; they had three children. On March 6, 1858, a company of 400 Mexican soldiers from Sonora
Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

 led by Colonel José María Carrasco attacked Goyahkla's camp outside Janos while the men were in town trading. Among those killed were Goyahkla's wife, his children, and his mother.

Geronimo's chief, Mangas Coloradas
Mangas Coloradas
Mangas Coloradas, or Dasoda-hae , was an Apache tribal chief and a member of the Eastern Chiricahua nation, whose homeland stretched west from the Rio Grande to include most of what is present-day southwestern New Mexico...

, sent him to Cochise
Cochise
Cochise was a chief of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache and the leader of an uprising that began in 1861. Cochise County, Arizona is named after him.-Biography:...

's band for help in revenge against the Mexicans. Allegedly it was during this incident that the name Geronimo came about. This appellation stemmed from a battle in which, ignoring a deadly hail of bullets, he repeatedly attacked Mexican soldiers with a knife, causing them to utter appeals to Saint Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 ("Jeronimo!"). Americans heard this and thought his name was Geronimo, and the name stuck.

Geronimo married Chee-hash-kish and had two children, Chappo and Dohn-say. Then he took another wife, Nana-tha-thtith, with whom he had one child. He later had a wife named Zi-yeh at the same time as another wife, She-gha, one named Shtsha-she and later a wife named Ih-tedda. Geronimo's last wife was Azul.

Religion



Geronimo was raised with the traditional religious views of the Bedonkohe. When questioned about his views on life after death, he wrote in his 1905 autobiography, "As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after death ... We held that the discharge of one's duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life, family and tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we did not know it."

Also in his later years, Geronimo embraced Christianity, and stated, "Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have heard the teachings of the white man's religion, and in many respects believe it to be better than the religion of my fathers ... Believing that in a wise way it is good to go to church, and that associating with Christians would improve my character, I have adopted the Christian religion. I believe that the church has helped me much during the short time I have been a member. I am not ashamed to be a Christian, and I am glad to know that the President of the United States is a Christian, for without the help of the Almighty I do not think he could rightly judge in ruling so many people. I have advised all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion, because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live right." He joined the Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

 in 1903 but four years later was expelled
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 for gambling. To the end of his life, he seemed to harbor ambivalent religious feelings, telling the Christian missionaries at a summer camp meeting in 1908 that he wanted to start over, while at the same time telling his tribesmen that he held to the old Apache religion.

Life after the massacre at Kas-Ki-Yeh


The first Apache raids on Sonora
Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

 and Chihuahua appear to have taken place during the late 17th century. To counter the early Apache raids on Spanish settlements, presidio
Presidio
A presidio is a fortified base established by the Spanish in North America between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The fortresses were built to protect against pirates, hostile native Americans and enemy colonists. Other presidios were held by Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth...

s were established at Janos (1685) in Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

 and at Fronteras
Fronteras
Fronteras is the seat of Fronteras Municipality in the northeast of the Mexican state of Sonora. The elevation is 1,120 meters and neighboring municipalities are Agua Prieta, Nacozari and Bacoachi. The area is 2839.62 km², which represents 1.53% of the state total.-Geography:Fronteras is located...

 (1690) in northern Opata country. In 1835, Mexico had placed a bounty on Apache scalps. Two years later Mangas Coloradas
Mangas Coloradas
Mangas Coloradas, or Dasoda-hae , was an Apache tribal chief and a member of the Eastern Chiricahua nation, whose homeland stretched west from the Rio Grande to include most of what is present-day southwestern New Mexico...

 became principal chief and war leader and began a series of retaliatory raids against the Mexicans
Mexican people
Mexican people refers to all persons from Mexico, a multiethnic country in North America, and/or who identify with the Mexican cultural and/or national identity....

. Apache raids on Mexican villages were so numerous and brutal that no area was safe. Between 1820 and 1835 alone, some 5000 Mexicans died in Apache raids, and 100 settlements were destroyed. As war chief, Geronimo was notorious for urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and later against American locations in the southwest.
In December 1860, thirty miners launched a surprise attack on an encampment of Bedonkohes Apaches on the west bank of the Mimbres River. According to historian Edwin R. Sweeney, the miners "...killed four Indians, wounded others, and captured thirteen women and children." Retaliation by the Apache again followed, with raids against U.S. citizens and property.

According to Charles W. Sasser, "Geronimo's breakout from the San Carlos Apache reservation [in 1886] had left fourteen Americans dead in the United States and between 500 and 600 Mexicans dead south of the border."

Massacre at Casa Grande


In 1873 the Mexicans once again attacked the Apache. After months of fighting in the mountains, the Apaches and Mexicans decided upon a peace treaty at Casa Grande. After terms were agreed upon, the Mexican gave mescal to the Apache and while they were intoxicated, the Mexican troops attacked and killed twenty Apaches and captured many more. The Apache were forced to retreat into the mountains once again.

Geronimo fought against both Mexican and United States troops though outnumbered and became famous for his daring exploits and numerous escapes from capture from 1858 to 1886. One such escape, as legend has it, took place in the Robledo Mountains
Robledo Mountains
The Robledo Mountains are a mountain range in Doña Ana County, New Mexico just northwest of Las Cruces. The range was named for Pedro Robledo, who died on May 21, 1598 and was buried nearby. Robledo was the first casualty of the Oñate expedition to colonize the upper Rio Grande valley...

 of southwest New Mexico. The legend states that Geronimo and his followers entered a cave, and the U.S. soldiers waited outside the cave entrance for him, but he never came out.
Later it was heard that Geronimo was spotted in a nearby area. The second entrance to the cave has yet to be found and the cave is still called Geronimo's Cave. At the end of his military career, he led a small band of 36 men, women, and children. They evaded thousands of Mexican and American troops for over a year, making him the most famous Native American of the time and earning him the title of the "worst Indian who ever lived" among white settlers. According to James L. Haley, "About two weeks after the escape there was a report of a family massacred near Silver City
Silver City, New Mexico
Silver City is a town in Grant County, New Mexico, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 10,545. It is the county seat of Grant County. The city is the home of Western New Mexico University.-History:...

; one girl was taken alive and hanged from a meat hook jammed under the base of her skull." His band was one of the last major forces of independent Native American warriors who refused to acknowledge the United States occupation of the American West.

Geronimo Campaign



In 1886, General Nelson A. Miles
Nelson A. Miles
Nelson Appleton Miles was a United States soldier who served in the American Civil War, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War.-Early life:Miles was born in Westminster, Massachusetts, on his family's farm...

 selected Captain Henry Lawton, in command of B Troop, 4th Cavalry, at Fort Huachuca, and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood
Charles B. Gatewood
First Lieutenant Charles Bare Gatewood was an American soldier born in Woodstock, Virginia. He served in the United States Army in the 6th Cavalry after graduating from West Point. Upon assignment to the American Southwest, Gatewood led platoons of Apache and Navajo scouts against renegades during...

, to lead the expedition that brought Geronimo and his followers back to the reservation system for a final time. Numerous stories abound as to who actually captured Geronimo, or to whom he surrendered, although most contemporary accounts, and Geronimo's own later statements, give most of the credit for negotiating the surrender to Lt. Gatewood. For Lawton's part, he was given orders to head up actions south of the U.S.–Mexico boundary where it was thought Geronimo and a small band of his followers would take refuge from U.S. authorities. Lawton was to pursue, subdue, and return Geronimo to the U.S., dead or alive.

Lawton's official report dated September 9, 1886 sums up the actions of his unit and gives credit to a number of his troopers for their efforts. Geronimo gave Gatewood credit for his decision to surrender as Gatewood was well known to Geronimo, spoke some Apache, and was familiar with and honored their traditions and values. He acknowledged Lawton's tenacity for wearing the Apaches down with constant pursuit. Geronimo and his followers had little or no time to rest or stay in one place. Completely worn out, the little band of Apaches returned to the U.S. with Lawton and officially surrendered to General Miles on September 4, 1886 at Skeleton Canyon
Skeleton Canyon
Skeleton Canyon is located northeast of the town of Douglas, Arizona, in the Peloncillo Mountains, which straddle the modern Arizona and New Mexico state line, in the New Mexico Bootheel region. This canyon connects the Animas Valley of New Mexico with the San Simon Valley of Arizona.Geronimo's...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

.
When Geronimo surrendered he had in his possession a Winchester Model 1876 lever-action
Lever-action
Lever-action is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked. Most lever-action firearms are rifles, but lever-action shotguns and a few pistols have also been made...

 rifle with a silver-washed barrel and receiver, bearing Serial Number 109450. It is on display at the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, West Point, New York
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

. Additionally he had a Colt Single Action Army
Colt Single Action Army
The Colt Single Action Army is a single action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S...

 revolver with a nickel finish and ivory stocks bearing the serial number 89524 and a Sheffield Bowie knife
Bowie knife
A Bowie knife is a pattern of fixed-blade fighting knife first popularized by Colonel James "Jim" Bowie in the early 19th Century. Since the first incarnation was created by James Black, the Bowie knife has come to incorporate several recognizable and characteristic design features, although its...

 with a dagger type of blade and stag handle made by George Wostenholm in an elaborate silver-studded holster and cartridge belt. The revolver, rig, and knife are on display at the Fort Sill museum.
The debate still remains whether Geronimo surrendered unconditionally. Geronimo pleaded in his memoirs that his people who surrendered had been misled: his surrender as a war prisoner was conditioned in front of uncontested witnesses (especially General Stanley). General Howard, chief of Pacific US army division, said on his part that his surrender was accepted as a dangerous outlaw without condition, which has been contested in front of the Senate.

Prisoner of war



Geronimo and other Apaches, including the Apache scouts who had helped the army track him down, were sent as prisoners to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas. The Army held them there for about six weeks before they were sent to Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens is a pentagonal historic United States military fort on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida, area. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. The fort was completed in 1834 and remained in use until 1947...

, in Pensacola
Pensacola
Pensacola is a city in the western part of the U.S. state of Florida.Pensacola may also refer to:* Pensacola people, a group of Native Americans* A number of places in the Florida:** Pensacola Bay** Pensacola Regional Airport...

, Florida, and his family was sent to Fort Marion. They were reunited in May 1887, when they were transferred to Mount Vernon Barracks
Mount Vernon Arsenal
The Mount Vernon Arsenal-Searcy Hospital Complex is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Mount Vernon, Alabama, in Mobile County...

 near Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 for seven years. In 1894, they were moved to Fort Sill
Fort Sill
Fort Sill is a United States Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. In his old age, Geronimo became a celebrity. He appeared at fairs, including the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, where he reportedly rode a ferris wheel and sold souvenirs and photographs of himself. However, he was not allowed to return to the land of his birth. He rode in President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

's 1905 inaugural parade.

In 1905, Geronimo agreed to tell his story to S. M. Barrett, Superintendent of Education in Lawton, Oklahoma
Lawton, Oklahoma
The city of Lawton is the county seat of Comanche County, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Located in the southwestern region of Oklahoma approximately southwest of Oklahoma City, it is the principal city of the Lawton Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. Barrett had to appeal to President Roosevelt to gain permission to publish the book. Geronimo came to each interview knowing exactly what he wanted to say. He refused to answer questions or alter his narrative. Barrett did not seem to take many liberties with Geronimo's story as translated by Asa Daklugie. Frederick Turner re-edited this autobiography by removing some of Barrett's footnotes and writing an introduction for the non-Apache readers. Turner notes the book is in the style of an Apache reciting part of his oral history.

Death


In February 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night before a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 on February 17, 1909, as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. On his deathbed, he confessed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender. He was buried at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery. 34.713406°N 98.369356°W

Alleged theft of skull



Six members of the Yale secret society
Secret society
A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their...

 of Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior or secret society at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. It is a traditional peer society to Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, as the three senior class 'landed societies' at Yale....

, including Prescott Bush
Prescott Bush
Prescott Sheldon Bush was a Wall Street executive banker and a United States Senator, representing Connecticut from 1952 until January 1963. He was the father of George H. W. Bush and the grandfather of George W...

, served as Army volunteers at Fort Sill
Fort Sill
Fort Sill is a United States Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars...

 during World War I. It has been claimed by various parties that they stole Geronimo's skull, some bones, and other items, including Geronimo's prized silver bridle
Bridle
A bridle is a piece of equipment used to direct a horse. As defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, the "bridle" includes both the headstall that holds a bit that goes in the mouth of a horse, and the reins that are attached to the bit....

, from the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Alexandra Robbins
Alexandra Robbins
Alexandra Robbins is a journalist, lecturer, and author. Her books focus on young adults, education, and modern college life and its aspects that are often overlooked or ignored by college administrators...

, author of a book on Skull and Bones, says this is one of the more plausible items said to be in the organization's Tomb.

In 1986, former San Carlos Apache Chairman Ned Anderson received an anonymous letter with a photograph and a copy of a log book claiming that Skull & Bones held the skull. He met with Skull & Bones officials about the rumor; the group's attorney, Endicott P. Davidson, denied that the group held the skull, and said that the 1918 ledger saying otherwise was a hoax. The group offered Anderson a glass case containing what appeared to be the skull of a child, but Anderson refused it. In 2006, Marc Wortman discovered a 1918 letter from Skull & Bones member Winter Mead to F. Trubee Davison
F. Trubee Davison
Frederick Trubee Davison , usually known as F. Trubee Davison, or Trubee Davison, was an American World War I aviator, Assistant US Secretary of War, Director of Personnel for the Central Intelligence Agency, and President of the American Museum of Natural History.Davison was the brother-in-law of...

 that claimed the theft:
The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club... is now safe inside the tomb and bone together with his well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn.


The second "tomb" references the building of Yale University's Skull and Bones society.

But Mead was not at Fort Sill, and Cameron University
Cameron University
Cameron University is a four-year, state-funded university located in Lawton, Oklahoma, that offers more than 50 degrees through two-year, four-year and graduate programs. The degree programs emphasize the liberal arts, science and technology and graduate and professional studies...

 history professor David H. Miller notes that Geronimo's grave was unmarked at the time. The revelation led Harlyn Geronimo of Mescalero, New Mexico
Mescalero, New Mexico
Mescalero is a census-designated place in Otero County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,233 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Mescalero is located at ....

, to write to President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 (the grandson of Prescott Bush) requesting his help in returning the remains:
According to our traditions the remains of this sort, especially in this state when the grave was desecrated ... need to be reburied with the proper rituals ... to return the dignity and let his spirits rest in peace.


In 2009, Ramsey Clark
Ramsey Clark
William Ramsey Clark is an American lawyer, activist and former public official. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969, under President Lyndon B. Johnson...

 filed a lawsuit on behalf of people claiming to be Geronimo's descendants, against, among others, Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

, and Skull and Bones, asking for the return of Geronimo's bones. An article in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 states that Clark "acknowledged he had no hard proof that the story was true."
Investigators ranging from Cecil Adams
Cecil Adams
Cecil Adams is a name, possibly a pseudonym, designating the American author of The Straight Dope, a popular question and answer column published in The Chicago Reader since 1973. Ed Zotti is Adams' current editor....

 to Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Her subjects have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, the Bush family, and Oprah Winfrey...

 have rejected the story. A Fort Sill spokesman told Adams, "There is no evidence to indicate the bones are anywhere but in the grave site." Jeff Houser, chairman of the Fort Sill Apache tribe of Oklahoma, calls the story a hoax.

Code Name "Geronimo"



The United States military used the code name "Geronimo" for the raid that killed the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 in 2011; but its use upset some native Americans. "Operation Geronimo" was subsequently reported to be named or renamed "Operation Neptune
Neptune (mythology)
Neptune was the god of water and the sea in Roman mythology and religion. He is analogous with, but not identical to, the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, each of them presiding over one of the three realms of the universe,...

['s] Spear
Trident
A trident , also called a trishul or leister or gig, is a three-pronged spear. It is used for spear fishing and was also a military weapon. Tridents are featured widely in mythical, historical and modern culture. The major Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer and the sea god Poseidon or Neptune are...

".

Harlyn Geronimo, Geronimo's great-grandson said to the Senate Commission on Indian Affairs}}
, "(use of 'Geronimo' in the raid that killed Bin Laden) either was an outrageous insult (or) mistake. And it is clear from the military records released that the name Geronimo was used at times by military personnel involved for both the military operation and for Osama Bin Laden himself."

In popular culture



Geronimo is a popular figure in cinema and television. Characters based on Geronimo have appeared in many films, including:

  • Geronimo's Last Raid
    Geronimo's Last Raid
    The 1912 film Geronimo's Last Raid is considered an important film of the pre-World War I era. -Plot:Set around the capture and escape of Geronimo, a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache, the film is a period drama involving a love affair between Lieutenant Parker and Pauline,...

     (1912)
  • Hawk of the Wilderness
    Hawk of the Wilderness
    Hawk of the Wilderness is a Republic Movie serial based on the Kioga novel of the same name by pulp writer William L. Chester.Kioga is very similar to the character of Tarzan, whom Herman Brix had also played on film in the 1935, Edgar Rice Burroughs produced serial The New Adventures of...

     (1938)
  • Geronimo (1939 film) (1939)
  • Stagecoach (1939)
  • Valley of the Sun (1942)
  • Fort Apache
    Fort Apache (film)
    Fort Apache is a 1948 Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda. The film was the first of the director's "cavalry trilogy" and was followed by She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande , both also starring Wayne...

     (1948)
  • Broken Arrow
    Broken Arrow (1950 film)
    Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves and starred James Stewart and Jeff Chandler. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. It made history as the first...

     (1950)
  • I Killed Geronimo
    I Killed Geronimo
    I Killed Geronimo is a 1950 film about the Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo.Directed by John Hoffman and starring James Ellison, Virginia Herrick, and Chief Thundercloud in the role of Geronimo, the film has been described as a "silly but likeable" B movie...

     (1950)
  • The Last Outpost (1951)
  • Son of Geronimo (1952)
  • The Battle at Apache Pass
    The Battle at Apache Pass
    The Battle at Apache Pass is a 1952 Universal-International western film starring Jeff Chandler as Cochise, the Apache chief of Broken Arrow....

     (1952)
  • Indian Uprising (1952)
  • Apache
    Apache (film)
    -Plot:Following the surrender of Geronimo, Massai, the last Apache warrior is captured and scheduled for transportation to a Florida reservation. On the way he manages to escape and heads for his homeland to win back his girl and settle down to grow crops...

     (1954)
  • Taza, Son of Cochise
    Taza, Son of Cochise
    Taza, Son of Cochise is a 1954 western film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush. The film was shot in 3D, but only released in 2D at the time.-Plot synopsis:...

     (1954)
  • Walk the Proud Land
    Walk the Proud Land
    Walk the Proud Land is a 1956 Western Technicolor CinemaScope film directed by Jesse Hibbs, starring Audie Murphy and future Academy Award winner Anne Bancroft. It was filmed at Old Tucson.-Plot:...

     (1956)
  • Geronimo (1962 film)
    Geronimo (1962 film)
    Geronimo is a 1962 Technicolor Western film made by Levy-Gardner-Laven and released by United Artists, starring Chuck Connors in the title role. The film was directed by Arnold Laven from a screenplay by Pat Fielder and was mostly fimed in Durango, Mexico...

     (1962)
  • Geronimo und die Räuber (West German
    West Germany
    West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

    , 1966)
  • I Due superpiedi quasi piatti (1976)
  • Mr. Horn
    Mr. Horn
    Mr. Horn is a 1979 made for TV movie chronicling the life of Tom Horn. It was directed byJack Starrett from a screenplay by William Goldman.-Starring:*David Carradine as Tom Horn*Richard Widmark as Albert Sieber*Karen Black as Ernestina Crawford...

     (1979)
  • Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990)
  • Geronimo: An American Legend
    Geronimo: An American Legend
    Geronimo: An American Legend is a 1993 film, starring Wes Studi as Geronimo, Jason Patric as 1st Lt. Charles B. Gatewood, Gene Hackman as Brig. Gen. George Crook, Robert Duvall as Chief of Scouts Al Sieber, and Matt Damon as 2nd Lt. Britton Davis. The film was directed by Walter Hill from a...

     (1993)
  • Geronimo (TV film)
    Geronimo (TV film)
    Joseph Runningfox starred in a 1993 TNT television movie as Geronimo. First Nations actor Jimmy Herman appeared in this motion picture as the Old Geronimo...

     (starring Joseph Runningfox
    Joseph Runningfox
    Joseph Runningfox is a Pueblo actor who resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.He was featured in Ravenous as George and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild....

    ) (1993)

In 1954, Chief Yowlachie
Chief Yowlachie
Chief Yowlachie was a Native American actor from the Yakama tribe in the state of Washington, known for playing supporting roles and bit parts in numerous films....

 (1891–1966) appeared as Geronimo in an episode of the same name of Jim Davis
Jim Davis (actor)
Jim Davis was an American actor, best known for his role as Jock Ewing in the CBS prime-time soap Dallas, a role which he held up until his death in April 1981.-Biography:...

's syndicated
Television syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

 western
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

 television series, Stories of the Century
Stories of the Century
Stories of the Century is a Western television series that ran in syndication through Republic Pictures between January 23, 1954, and March 11, 1955.-Synopsis:...

. John Doucette
John Doucette
John Doucette was a film character actor. He was a balding, husky man remembered for playing mob muscle and western bad guys in movies...

 played the role of Geronimo on the syndicated series Death Valley Days
Death Valley Days
Death Valley Days is an American radio and television anthology series featuring true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. Created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman, the program was broadcast on radio until 1945. It continued from 1952 to 1975 as a syndicated television series...

 and in three segments of Tombstone Territory
Tombstone Territory
Tombstone Territory is an American Western series starring Pat Conway and Richard Eastham. The series' first two seasons aired on ABC from 1957 to 1959...

, starring with Pat Conway
Pat Conway
Patrick Douglas Conway, known as Pat Conway , was an American actor best known for his role as young but tough Sheriff Clay Hollister on the ABC and then syndicated western television series Tombstone Territory . He was a maternal grandson of silent film star Francis X...

 and Richard Eastham
Richard Eastham
Richard Eastham, born as Dickinson Swift Eastham , was an American actor of stage, film, and television and a concert singer known for his deep baritone voice.-Tombstone Territory:...

.

Geronimo's life is described and dramatised in Episode 4 of the 2009 Ric Burns
Ric Burns
Ric Burns is an American documentary filmmaker and writer. He has written, directed and produced historical documentaries for nearly 20 years, beginning with his collaboration on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War , which he produced with his older brother Ken Burns and wrote with Geoffrey C...

/American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

 documentary We Shall Remain
We Shall Remain (documentary)
We Shall Remain is a five-part, 7.5 hour documentary series about the history of Native Americans spanning the 1600s to the 1900s. It was a collaborative effort with several different directors, writers and producers working on each episode, including directors Chris Eyre, Ric Burns and Stanley...

.

In "How Few Remain
How Few Remain
How Few Remain is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first part of the Southern Victory Series saga, which depicts a world in which the Confederacy won the American Civil War. The book received the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 1997, and was also nominated for...

", Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's alternate history novel depicting a world in which the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 won the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Geronimo becomes an ally to Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart
J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was a U.S. Army officer from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as "Jeb", from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use...

, and then turns into Stuart's bitter foe.

In the United States, parachuters often exclaim "Geronimo!
Geronimo (exclamation)
Geronimo! is an exclamation occasionally used by jumping skydivers or, more generally, anyone about to jump from a great height. The cry originated in the United States.- Background :...

" when they jump from planes.

Television actor Nicholas Colasanto
Nicholas Colasanto
Nicholas Colasanto was an American actor and television director, known primarily for his role as Coach Ernie Pantusso on the sitcom Cheers...

, Ernie "Coach" Pantusso on Cheers
Cheers
Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC, and was created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles...

, had a picture of Geronimo in his dressing room. After his death during season three, the picture was hung on the permanent set of Cheers
Cheers
Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC, and was created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles...

 until the end of the series.

Further reading

  • Geronimo's Story of His Life; as told to Stephen Melvil Barrett. Published: New York, Duffield & Company, 1906. Online at Webroots; Edition Oct 15, 2002
  • Geronimo (edited by Barrett) "Geronimo, His Own Story" New York: Ballantine Books 1971. ISBN 0345280369. Also ISBN 0850521041
  • Carter, Forrest. "Watch for Me on the Mountain". Delta. 1990. (Originally entitled "Cry Geronimo".)
  • Opler, Morris E.; & French, David H. (1941). Myths and tales of the Chiricahua Apache Indians. Memoirs of the American folk-lore society, (Vol. 37). New York: American Folk-lore Society. (Reprinted in 1969 by New York: Kraus Reprint Co.; in 1970 by New York; in 1976 by Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint Co.; & in 1994 under M. E. Opler, Morris by Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8602-3).
  • Pinnow, Jürgen. (1988). Die Sprache der Chiricahua-Apachen: Mit Seitenblicken auf das Mescalero [The language of the Chiricahua Apache: With side glances at the Mescalero]. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
  • Davis, Britton "The Truth about Geronimo" New Haven: Yale Press 1929
  • Bigelow, John Lt "On the Bloody Trail of Geronimo" New York: Tower Books 1958
  • Debo, Angie
    Angie Debo
    Angie Elbertha Debo was an American historian who wrote 13 books and hundreds of articles about Native American and Oklahoma history...

    . Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place. University of Oklahoma Press : Norman, 1976
  • Pember, Mary Annette. (July 12, 2007). "'Tomb Raiders': Yale's ultra-secret Skull and Bones Society is believed to possess the skull of legendary Apache chief Geronimo." Diverse Issues in Higher Education 24(11), 10–11. Retrieved April 23, 2008.http://www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_8259.shtml
  • Faulk, Odie B. The Geronimo Campaign. Oxford University Press: New York, 1969. ISBN 0-19-508351-2
  • Dee Brown, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee
    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by American writer Dee Brown is a history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century. He describes the people's displacement through forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government...

    . New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970. ISBN 0030853222
  • Rielly, Edward. "Geronimo: The Warrior", article for The Public Domain Review, 2011.

External links