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Author: William A. Stein
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Geronimo: His Story
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In the beginning the world was covered with darkness. There was no
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sun, no day. The perpetual night had no moon or stars.
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There were, however, all manner of beasts and birds. Among the beasts
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were many hideous, nameless monsters, as well as dragons, lions,
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tigers, wolves, foxes, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, and
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all manner of creeping things such as lizards and serpents. Mankind
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could not prosper under such conditions, for the beasts and serpents
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destroyed all human offspring.
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All creatures had the power of speech and were gifted with reason.
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There were two tribes of creatures: the birds or the feathered tribe
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and the beasts. The former were organized wider their chief, the
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eagle.
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These tribes often held councils, and the birds wanted light
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admitted. This the beasts repeatedLy refused to do. Finally the birds
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made war against the beasts.
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The beasts were armed with clubs, but the eagle had taught his tribe
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to use bows and arrows. The serpents were so wise that they could not
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all be killed. One took refuge in a perpendicular cliff of a mountain
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in Arizona, and his eyes (changed into a brilliant stone) may be see
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in that rock to this day. The bears, when killed, would each be
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changed into several other bears, so that the more bears the feathered
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tribe killed, the more there were. The dragon could not be killed,
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either, for he was covered with four coats of horny scales, and the
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arrows would not penetrate these. One of the most hideous, vile
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monsters (nameless) was proof against arrows, so the eagle flew high
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up in the air with a round, white stone, and let it fall on this
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monster's head, killing him instantly. This was such a good service
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that the stone was called sacred. They fought for many days, but at
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last the birds won the victory.
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After this war was over, although some evil beasts remained, the birds
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were able to control the councils, and light was admitted, Then
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mankind could live and prosper. The eagle was chief in this good
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fight: therefore, his feathers were worn by man as emblems of wisdom,
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justice, and power.
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Among the few human beings that were yet alive was a woman who had
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been blessed with many children, but these had always been destroyed
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by the beasts. If by any means she succeeded in eluding the others,
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the dragon, who was very wise and very evil, would come himself and
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eat her babes.
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After many years a son of the rainstorm was born to her and she dug
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for him a deep cave. The entrance to this cave she closed and over the
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spot built a camp fire. This concealed the babe's hiding place and
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kept him warm. Every day she would remove the fire and descend into
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the cave, where the child's bed was, to nurse him; then she would
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return and rebuild the camp fire.
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Frequently the dragon would come and question her, but she would say,
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I have no more children; you have eaten all of them.
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When the child was larger he would not always stay in the cave, for he
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sometimes wanted to run and play. Once the dragon saw his tracks. Now
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this perplexed and enraged the old dragon, for he could not find the
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hiding place of the boy; but he said that he would destroy the mother
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if she did not reveal the child's hiding place. The poor mother was
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very much troubled; she could not give up her child, but she knew the
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power and cunning of the dragon, therefore she lived in constant fear.
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Soon after this the boy said that he wished to go hunting. The mother
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would not give her consent. She told him of the dragon, the wolves,
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and serpents; but he said, To-morrow I go.
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At the boy's request his uncle (who was the only man then living) made
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a little bow and some arrows for him, and the two went hunting the
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next day. They trailed the deer far up the mountain and finally the
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boy killed a buck. His uncle showed him how to dress the deer and
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broil the meat. They broiled two hind quarters, one the child and one
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for his uncle. When the meat was done they placed it on some bushes to
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cool. Just then the huge form of the dragon appeared. The child was
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not afraid, but his uncle was so dumb with fright that he did not
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speak or move.
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The dragon took the boy's parcel of meat and went aside with it. He
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placed the meat on another bush and seated himself beside it. Then he
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said, This is the child I have been seeking. Boy, you are nice and
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fat, so when I have eaten this venison I shall eat you. The boy said,
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No, you shall not eat me, and you shall not eat that meat. So he
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walked over to where the dragon sat and to where the meat back to his
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own seat. The dragon said, I like your courage, but you are foolish;
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what do you think you could do? Well, said the boy, I can do enough to
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protect myself, as you may bind out. Then the dragon took the meat
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again, and then the boy retook it. Four times in all the dragon took
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the meat, and after the fourth time the boy replaced the meat he said,
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Dragon, will you fight me? The dragon said, Yes, in whatever way you
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like. The boy said, I will stand one hundred paces distant from you
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and you may have four shots at me with your bow and arrows, provided
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that you will then exchange places with me and give me four
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shots. Good, said the dragon. Stand up.
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Then the dragon took his bow, which was made of a large pine tree. He
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took four arrows from his quiver; they were made of young pine tree
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saplings, and each arrow was twenty feet in length. He took deliberate
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aim, but just as the arrow left the bow the boy made a peculiar sound
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and leaped into the air. Immediately the arrow was shivered into a
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thousand splinters, and the boy was seen standing on the top of a
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bright rainbow over the spot where the dragon's aim had been
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directed. Soon the rainbow was gone and the boy was standing on the
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ground again. Four times this was repeated, then the boy said, Dragon,
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stand here: it is my time to shoot. The dragon said, All right, your
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little arrows cannot pierce my first coat of horn, and I have three
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other coats --shoot away. The boy shot an arrow, striking the dragon
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just over the heart, and one coat of the great horny scales fell to
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the ground. The next shot another coat, and then another, and the
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dragon's heart was exposed. Then the dragon trembled, but could not
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move. Before the fourth arrow was shot the boy said, Uncle, you are
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dumb with fear; you have not moved; come here or the dragon will fall
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on you.His uncle ran toward him. Then he sped the fourth arrow with
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true aim, and it pierced the dragon's heart. With a tremendous roar
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the dragon rolled down the mountain side---down four precipices into a
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canon below.
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Immediately storm clouds swept the mountains, lightning flashed,
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thunder rolled, and the rain poured. When the rainstorm had passed,
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far down in the canon below, they could see fragments of the huge body
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of the dragon lying among the rocks, and the bones of this dragon may
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still be found there.
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This boy's name was Apache. Usen taught him how to prepare herbs for
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medicine, how to hunt, and how to fight. He was the first chief of the
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Indians and wore the eagle's feathers the sign of justice, wisdom, and
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power. To him and to his people, as they were created, Usen gave homes
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in the land of the West.
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Subdivisions of the Apache Tribe
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The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these,
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the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.
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Our tribe inhabited that region of mountainous country which lies west
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from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the
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Gila River.
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Victoria East of us lived the Chi-hen-ne (Ojo Caliente), (Hot
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Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with
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them. Victoria, their chief (first portrait), was always a friend to
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me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost
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his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good
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man and a brave warrior. His son Charlie now lives here in this
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reservation with us.
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North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on
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the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with
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them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-ai-la, personally, and I considered
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him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the Navajo
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Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held
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councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo
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Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.
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To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-a-hen Apaches. They had
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two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were
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friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.
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Cochise South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose
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chief in the old days was Cochise (second portrait), and later his
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son, Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with
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us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, Who was
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my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage. (third picture:
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Geronimo riding with Naiche)
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To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ni Apaches. Their chief was
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Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa They were our firm
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friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly
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in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as
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brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is
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dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.
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Still the four tribes (Bedonkohe, Chokonen, Chihenne, and Nedni), who
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were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they
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decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would
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dissolve our bonds of friendship.
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We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or
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Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and
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certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
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For each tribe of men Usen created He also made a home. In the land
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created for any particular tribe. He placed whatever would be best for
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the welfare of that tribe.
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When
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Geronimo riding with Naiche Usen created the Apaches He also created
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their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game
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as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked
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them He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to
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find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a
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pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at
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hand.
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Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created
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for the other by Usen himself. When they are taken from these homes
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they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are
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no Apaches?
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Early Life
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I was born in No-doyohn Canon, Arizona, June, 1829.
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In that country which lies around the head waters of the Gila River I
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was reared. This range was our fatherland; among these mountains our
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wigwams were hidden; the scattered valleys contained our fields; the
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boundless prairies, stretching away on every side, were our pastures;
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the rocky caverns were our burying places.
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Porico or White Horse, Geronimo's brother I was fourth in a family of
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eight children-- four boys and four girls. Of that family, only
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myself, my brother, Porico, and my sister, Nah-da-ste , are yet
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alive. We are held as prisoners of war in this Military Reservation
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(Fort Sill).
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As a babe I rolled on the dirt floor of my father's tepee, hung in my
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tsoch (Apache name for cradle) at my mother's back, or suspended from
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the bough of a tree. I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds, and
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sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes.
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When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me
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of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She
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also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom,
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and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had
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aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were
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taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.
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My father had often told me of the brave deeds of our warriors, of the
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pleasures of the chase, and the glories of the war path.
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Nah-da-ste, Geronimo's sister With my brothers and sisters I played
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about my father's home. Sometimes we played at hide-and-seek among the
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rocks and pines; sometimes we loitered in the shade of the cottonwood
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trees or sought the shudock (a kind of wild cherry) while our parents
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worked in the field. Sometimes we played that we were warriors. We
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would practice stealing upon some object that represented an enemy,
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and in our childish imitation often perform the feats of
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war. Sometimes we would hide away from our mother to see if she could
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find us, and often when thus concealed go to sleep and perhaps remain
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hidden for many hours.
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When we were old enough to be of real service we went to the field
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with our parents: not to play, but to toil. When the crops were to be
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planted we broke the ground with wooden hoes. We planted the corn in
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straight rows, the beans among the corn, and the melons and pumpkins
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in irregular order over the field. We cultivated these crops as there
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was need.
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Our field usually contained about two acres of ground. The fields were
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never fenced. It was common for many families to cultivate land in the
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same valley and share the burden of protecting the growing crops from
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destruction by the ponies of the tribe, or by deer and other wild
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animals.
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Melons were gathered as they were consumed. In the autumn pumpkins and
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beans were gathered and placed in bags or baskets; ears of corn were
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tied together by the husks, and then the harvest was carried on the
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backs of ponies up to our homes. Here the corn was shelled, and all
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the harvest stored away in caves or other secluded places to be used
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in winter.
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We never fed corn to our ponies, but if we kept them up in the winter
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time we gave them fodder to eat. We had no cattle or other domestic
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animals except our dogs and ponies.
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We did not cultivate tobacco, but found it growing wild. This we cut
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and cured in autumn, but if the supply ran out the leaves from the
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stalks left standing served our purpose. All Indians smoked---men and
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women. No boy was allowed to smoke until he had hunted alone and
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killed large game--wolves and bears. Unmarried women were not
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prohibited from smoking, but were considered immodest if they did
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so. Nearly all matrons smoked.
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Besides grinding the corn (by hand with stone mortars and pestles) for
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bread, we sometimes crushed it and soaked it, and after it had
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fermented made from this juice a tis-win, which had the power of
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intoxication, and was very highly prized by the Indians. This work was
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done by the squaws and children. When berries or nuts were to be
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gathered the small children and the squaws would go in parties to hunt
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them, and sometimes stay all day. When they went any great distance
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from camp they took ponies to carry the baskets
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I frequentLy went with these parties, and upon one of these excursions
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a woman named Cho-ko-le got lost from the party and was riding her
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pony through a thicket in search of her friends. Her little dog was
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following as she slowly made her way through the thick underbrush and
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pine trees. All at once a grizzly bear rose in her path and attacked
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the pony. She jumped off and her pony escaped, but the bear attacked
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her, so she fought him the best she could with her knife. Her little
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dog, by snapping at the bear's heels and distracting his attention
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from the woman, enabled her for some time to keep pretty well out of
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his reach. Finally the grizzly struck her over the head, tearing off
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almost her whole scalp. She fell, but did not lose consciousness, and
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while prostrate struck him four good licks with her knife, and he
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retreated. After he had gone she replaced her torn scalp and bound it
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up as best she could, then she turned deathly sick and had to lie
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down. That night her pony came into camp with his load of nuts and
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berries, but no rider. The Indians hunted for her, but did not find
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her until the second day. They carried her home, and under the
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treatment of their medicine men all her wounds were healed.
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The Indians knew what herbs to use for medicine, how to prepare them,
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and how to give the medicine. This they had been taught by Usen in the
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beginning, and each succeeding generation had men who were skilled in
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the art of healing.
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In gathering the herbs, in preparing them, and in administering the
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medicine, as much faith was held in prayer as in the actual effect of
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the medicine. Usually about eight persons worked together in make
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medicine, and there were forms of prayer and incantations to attend
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each stage of the process. Four attended to the incantations and four
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to the preparation of the herbs.
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Some of the Indians were skilled in cutting out bullets, arrow heads,
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and other missiles with which warriors were wounded. I myself have
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done much of this, using a common dirk or butcher knife.
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Small children wore very little clothing in winter and none in the
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summer. Women usually wore a primitive skirt, which consisted of a
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piece of cotton cloth fastened about the waist, and extending to the
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knees. Men wore breach clothes and moccasins. In winter they had
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shirts and legging in addition.
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Frequently when the tribe was in camp a number of boys and girls, by
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agreement, would steal away and meet at a place several miles distant,
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where they could play all day free from tasks. They were never
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punished for these frolics; but if their hiding places were discovered
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they were ridiculed.
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Tribal Amusements, Manners, and Customs
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To celebrate each noted event a feast and dance would be
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given. Perhaps only our own people, perhaps neighboring tribes, would
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be invited. These festivities usually lasted for about four days. By
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day we feasted, by night under the direction of some chief we
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danced. The music for our dance was singing led by the warriors, and
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accompanied by beating the esadadedne (buck-skin-on-a-hoop). No words
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were sung--only the tones. When the feasting and dancing were over we
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would have horse races, foot races, wrestling, jumping, and all sorts
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of games (gambling).
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Among these games the most noted was the tribal game of Kah (foot). It
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is played as follows: Four moccasins are placed about four feet apart
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in holes in the ground, dug in a row on one side of the camp, and on
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the opposite side a similar parallel row. At night a camp fire is
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started between these two rows of moccasins, and the players are
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arranged on sides, one or any number on each side. The score is kept
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by a bundle of sticks, from which each side takes a stick for every
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point won. First one side takes the bone, puts up blankets between the
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four moccasins and the fire so that the opposing team cannot observe
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their movements, and then begin to sing the legends of creation. The
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side having the bone represents the feathered tribe, the opposite side
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represents the beasts. The players representing the birds do all the
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singing, and while singing hide the bone in one of the moccasins, then
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the blankets are thrown down. They continue to sing, but as soon as
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the blankets are thrown down the chosen player from the opposing team,
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armed with a war club, comes to their side of the camp fire and with
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his club strikes the moccasin in which he thinks the bone is
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hidden. If he strikes the right moccasin, his side gets the bone, and
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in turn represents the birds, while the opposing team must keep quiet
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and guess in turn. There are only four plays; three that lose and one
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that wins. When all the sticks are gone from the bundle the side
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having the largest number of sticks is counted winner.
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Apache camp This game is seldom played except as a gambling game, but
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for the purpose it is the most popular game known to the
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tribe. Usually the game lasts four or five hours. It is never played
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in daytime.
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After the games are all finished the visitors say, We are satisfied,
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and the camp is broken up. I was always glad when the dances and
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feasts were announced. So were all the other young people.
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Our life also had a religious side. We had no churches, no religious
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organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we
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worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing and pray;
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sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had a
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few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in
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such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we
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prayed in silence; sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged
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person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak
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to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our services were
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short.
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When disease or pestilence abounded we were assembled and questioned
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by our leaders to ascertain what evil we had done, and how Usen could
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be satisfied. Sometimes sacrifice was deemed necessary. Sometimes the
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offending one was punished.
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If an Apache had allowed his aged parents to suffer for food or
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shelter, if he had neglected or abused the sick, if he had profaned
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our religion, or had been unfaithful, he might be banished from the
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tribe.
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The Apaches had no prisons as white men have. Instead of sending their
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criminals into prison they sent them out of their tribe. These
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faithless, cruel, lazy, or cowardly members of the tribe were excluded
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in such a manner that they could not join any other tribe. Neither
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could they have any protection from our unwritten tribal
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laws. Frequently these outlaw Indians banded together and committed
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depredations which were charged against the regular tribe. However,
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the life of an outlaw Indian was a hard lot, and their bands never
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became very large; besides, these bands frequently provoked the wrath
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of the tribe and secured their own destruction.
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When I was about eight or ten years old I began to follow the chase,
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and to me this was never work.
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Out on the prairies, which ran up to our mountain homes, wandered
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herds of deer, antelope, elk, and buffalo, to be slaughtered when we
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needed them.
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Usually we hunted buffalo on horseback, killing them with arrows and
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spears. Their skins were used to make tepees and bedding; their flesh,
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to eat.
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It required more skill to hunt the deer than any other animal. We
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never tried to approach a deer except against the wind. Frequently we
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would spend hours in stealing upon grazing deer. If they were in the
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open we would crawl long distances on the ground, keeping a weed or
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brush before us, so that our approach would not be noticed. Often we
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could kill several out of one herd before the others would run
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away. Their flesh was dried and packed in vessels, and would keep in
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this condition for many months. The hide of the deer soaked in water
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and ashes and the hair removed, and then the process of tanning
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continued until the buckskin was soft and pliable. Perhaps no other
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animal was more valuable to us than the deer.
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Apache woman an child In the forests and along the streams were many
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wild turkeys. These we would drive to the plains, then slowly ride up
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toward them until they were almost tired out. When they began to drop
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and hide we would ride in upon them and, by swinging from the side of
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our horses, catch them. If one started to fly we would ride swiftly
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under him and kill him with a short stick, or hunting club. In this
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way we could usually get as many wild turkeys as we could carry home
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on a horse.
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There were many rabbits in our range, and we also hunted them on
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horseback. Our horses were trained to follow the rabbit at full speed,
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and as they approached them we would swing from one side of the horse
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and strike the rabbit with our hunting club. If he was too far away we
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would throw the stick and kill him. This was great sport when we were
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boys, but as warriors we seldom hunted small game.
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There were many fish in the streams, but as we did not eat them, we
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did not try to catch or kill them. Small boys sometimes threw stones
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at them or shot at them for practice with their bows and arrows. Usen
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did not intend snakes, frogs, or fishes to be eaten. I have never
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eaten of them.
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There were many eagles in the mountains. These we hunted for their
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feathers. It required great skill to steal upon an eagle, for besides
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having sharp eyes, he is wise and never stops at any place where he
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does not have a good view of the surrounding country.
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I have killed many bears with a spear, but was never injured in a
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fight with one. I have killed several mountain lions with arrows, and
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one with a spear. Both bears and mountain lions are good for food and
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valuable for their skin. When we killed them we carried them home on
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our horses. We often made quivers for our arrows from the skin of the
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mountain lion. These were very pretty and very durable.
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During my minority we had never seen a missionary or a priest. We had
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never seen a white man. Thus quietly lived the Be-don-ko-he Apaches.
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The Family
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My grandfather, Maco, had been our chief. I never saw him, but my
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father often told me of the great size, strength, and sagacity of this
567
old warrior. Their principal wars had been with the Mexicans. They had
568
some wars with other tribes of Indians also, but were seldom at peace
569
for any great length of time with the Mexican towns.
570
571
572
573
574
575
Mangas-Colorado, chief of the Bedonkohe Apaches Maco died when my
576
father was but a young warrior, and Mangas-Colorado became chief of
577
the Bedonkohe Apaches. When I was but a small boy my father died,
578
after having been sick for some time. When he passed away, carefully
579
the watchers closed his eyes, then they arrayed him in his best
580
clothes, painted his face afresh, wrapped a rich blanket around him,
581
saddled his favorite horse, bore his arms in front of him, and led his
582
horse behind, repeating in wailing tones his deeds of valor as they
583
carried his body to a cave in the mountain. Then they slew his horses,
584
and we gave away all of his other property, as was customary in our
585
tribe, after which his body was deposited in the cave, his arms beside
586
him. His grave is hidden by piles of stone. Wrapped in splendor he
587
lies in seclusion, and the winds in the pines sing a low requiem over
588
the dead warrior.
589
590
After my father's death I assumed the care of my mother. She never
591
married again, although according to the customs of our tribe she
592
might have done so immediately after his death. Usually, however, the
593
widow who has children remains single after her husband's death for
594
two or three years; but the widow without children marries again
595
immediately. After a warrior's death his widow returns to her people
596
and may be given away or sold by her father or brothers. My mother
597
chose to live with me, and she never desired to marry again. We lived
598
near our old home and I supported her.
599
600
In 1846, being seventeen years of age, I was admitted to the council
601
of the warriors. Then I was very happy, for I could go wherever I
602
wanted and do whatever I liked. I had not been under the control of
603
any individual, but the customs of our tribe prohibited me from
604
sharing the glories of the war path until the council admitted
605
me. When opportunity offered, after this, I could go on the war path
606
with my tribe. This would be glorious. I hoped soon to serve my people
607
in battle. I had long desired to fight with our warriors.
608
609
Perhaps the greatest joy to me was that now I could marry the fair
610
Alope, daughter of No-po-so. She was a slender, delicate girl, but we
611
had been lovers for a long time. So, as soon as the council granted me
612
these privileges I went to see her father concerning our
613
marriage. Perhaps our love was of no interest to him; perhaps he
614
wanted to keep Alope with him, for she was a dutiful daughter; at any
615
rate he asked many ponies for her. I made no reply, but in a few days
616
appeared before his wigwam with the herd of ponies and took with me
617
Alope. This was all the marriage ceremony necessary in our tribe.
618
619
Not far from my mother's tepee I had made for us a new home. The tepee
620
was made of buffalo hides and in it were many bear robes, lion hides,
621
and other trophies of the chase, as well as my spears, bows, and
622
arrows. Alope had made many little decorations of beads and drawn work
623
on buckskin, which she placed in our tepee. She also drew many
624
pictures on the walls of our home. She was a good wife, but she was
625
never strong. We followed the traditions of our fathers and were
626
happy. Three children came to us-- children that played, loitered, and
627
worked as I had done.
628
629
630
631
632
633
634
635
636
637
638
639
640
641
642
643
644
645
6/21
646
647
Kas-Ki-Yeh
648
649
650
651
The Massacre In the summer of 1858, being at peace with the Mexican
652
towns as well as with all the neighboring Indian tribes, we went south
653
into Old Mexico to trade. Our whole tribe (Bedonkohe Apaches) went
654
through Sonora toward Casa Grande, our destination, but just before
655
reaching that place we stopped at another Mexican town called by the
656
Indians Kas-ki-yeh. Here we stayed for several days, camping outside
657
the city. Every day we would go into town to trade, leaving our camp
658
under the protection of a small guard so that our arms, supplies, and
659
women and children would not be disturbed during our absence.
660
661
Late one afternoon when returning from town we were met by a few women
662
and children who told us that Mexican troops from some other town had
663
attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard, captured all
664
our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our supplies, and killed many
665
of our women and children. Quickly we separated, concealing ourselves
666
as best we could until nightfall, when we assembled at our appointed
667
place of rendezvous--a thicket by the river. Silently we stole in one
668
by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were counted, I found
669
that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were
670
among the slain. There were no lights in camp, so without being
671
noticed I silently turned away and stood by the river. How long I
672
stood there I do not know, but when I saw the warriors arranging for a
673
council I took my place.
674
675
That night I did not give my vote for or against any measure; but it
676
was decided that as there were only eighty warriors left, and as we
677
were without arms or supplies, and were furthermore surrounded by the
678
Mexicans far inside their own territory, we could not hope to fight
679
successfully. So our chief, Mangus-Colorado, gave the order to start
680
at once in perfect silence for our homes in Arizona, leaving the dead
681
upon the field.
682
683
684
685
686
687
Geronimo I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would
688
do. I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I
689
contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was
690
forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in
691
particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe
692
silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of
693
the feet of the retreating Apaches.
694
695
The next morning some of the Indians killed a small amount of game and
696
we halted long enough for the tribe to cook and eat, when the march
697
was resumed. I had killed no game, and did not eat. During the first
698
march as well as while we were camped at this place I spoke to no one
699
and no one spoke to me--there was nothing to say.
700
701
For two days and three nights we were on forced marches, stopping only
702
for meals, then we made a camp near the Mexican border, where we
703
rested two days. Here I took some food and talked with the other
704
Indians who had lost in the massacre, but none had lost as I had, for
705
I had lost all.
706
707
Within a few days we arrived at our own settlement. There were the
708
decorations that Alope had made--and there were the playthings of our
709
little ones. I burned them all, even our tepee. I also burned my
710
mother's tepee and destroyed all her property.
711
712
I was never again contented in our quiet home. True, I could visit my
713
father's grave, but I had vowed vengeance upon the Mexican troopers
714
who had wronged me, and whenever I came near his grave or saw anything
715
to remind me of former happy days my heart would ache for revenge upon
716
Mexico.
717
718
719
720
Revenge As soon as we had again collected some arms and supplies
721
Mangus-Colorado, our chief, called a council and found that all our
722
warriors were willing to take the war path against Mexico. I was
723
appointed to solicit the aid of other tribes in this war.
724
725
When I went to the Chokonen (Chiricahua) Apaches, Cochise, their
726
chief, called a council at early dawn. Silently the warriors assembled
727
at an open place in a mountain dell and took their seats on the
728
ground, arranged in rows according to their ranks. Silently they sat
729
smoking. At a signal from the chief I arose and presented my cause as
730
follows:
731
732
Kinsman, you have heard what the Mexicans have recently done without
733
cause. You are my relatives--uncles, cousins, brothers. We are men the
734
same as the Mexicans are--we can do to them what they have done to
735
us. Let us go forward and trail them--I will lead you to their
736
city--we will attack them in their homes. I will fight in the front of
737
the battle--I only ask you to follow me to avenge this wrong done by
738
these Mexicans--will you come? It is well--you will all come.
739
740
Remember the rule in war--men may return or they may be killed. If any
741
of these young men are killed I want no blame from their kinsmen, for
742
they themselves have chosen to go. If I am killed no one need mourn
743
for me. My people have all been killed in that country, and I, too,
744
will die if need be.
745
746
I returned to my own settlement, reported this success to my
747
chieftain, and immediately departed to the southward into the land of
748
the Nedni Apaches. Their chief, Whoa, heard me without comment, but he
749
immediately issued orders for a council, and when all were ready gave
750
a sign that I might speak. I addressed them as I had addressed the
751
Chokonen tribe, and they also promised to help us.
752
753
It was in the summer of 1859, almost a year from the date of the
754
massacre of Kaskiyeh, that these three tribes were assembled on the
755
Mexican border to go upon the war path. Their faces were painted, the
756
war bands fastened upon their brows their long scalp-locks ready for
757
the hand and knife of the warrior who would overcome them. Their
758
families had been hidden away in a mountain rendezvous near the
759
Mexican border. With these families a guard was posted, and a number
760
of places of rendezvous designated in case the camp should be
761
disturbed.
762
763
When all were ready the chieftains gave command to go forward. None of
764
us were mounted and each warrior wore moccasins and also a cloth
765
wrapped about his loins. This cloth could be spread over him when he
766
slept, and when on the march would be ample protection as clothing. In
767
battle, if the fight was hard, we did not wish much clothing. Each
768
warrior carried three days' rations, but as we often killed game while
769
on the march, we seldom were without food.
770
771
We traveled in three divisions: the Bedonheko Apaches led by
772
Mangus-Colorado, the Chokonen Apaches by Cochise, and the Nedni
773
Apaches by Whoa; however, there was no regular order inside the
774
separate tribes. We usually marched about fourteen hours per day,
775
making three stops for meals, and traveling forty to forty-five miles
776
a day.
777
778
I acted as guide into Mexico, and we followed the river courses and
779
mountain ranges because we could better thereby keep our movements
780
concealed. We entered Sonora and went southward past Quitaro,
781
Nacozari, and many smaller settlements.
782
783
When we were almost at Arispe we camped, and eight men rode out from
784
the city to parley with us. These we captured, killed, and
785
scalped. This was to draw the troops from the city, and the next day
786
they came. The skirmishing lasted all day without a general
787
engagement, but just at night we captured their supply train, so we
788
had plenty of provisions and some more guns.
789
790
That night we posted sentinels and did not move our camp, but rested
791
quietly all night, for we expected heavy work the next day. Early the
792
next morning the warriors were assembled to pray--not for help, but
793
that they might have health and avoid ambush or deceptions by the
794
enemy.
795
796
As we had anticipated, about ten o'clock in the morning the whole
797
Mexican force came out. There were two companies of cavalry and two of
798
infantry. I recognized the cavalry as the soldiers who had killed my
799
people at Kaskiyeh. This I told to the chieftains, and they said that
800
I might direct the battle.
801
802
I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply
803
wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved
804
to prove worthy of the trust. I arranged the Indians in a hollow
805
circle near the river, and the Mexicans drew their infantry up in two
806
lines, with the cavalry in reserve. We were in the timber, and they
807
advanced until within about four hundred yards, when they halted and
808
opened fire. Soon I led a charge against them, at the same time
809
sending some braves to attack the rear. In all the battle I thought of
810
my murdered mother, wife, and babies--of my father's grave and my vow
811
of vengeance, and I fought with fury. Many fell by my hand, and
812
constantly I led the advance. Many braves were killed The battle
813
lasted about two hours.
814
815
At the last four Indians were alone in the center of the field--myself
816
and three other warriors. Our arrows were all gone, our spears broken
817
off in the bodies of dead enemies. We had only our hands and knives
818
with which to fight, but all who had stood against us were dead. Then
819
two armed soldiers came upon us from another part of the field. They
820
shot down two of our men and we, the remaining two, fled toward our
821
own warriors. My companion was struck down by a saber, but I reached
822
our warriors, seized a spear, and turned. The one who pursued me
823
missed his aim and fell by my spear. With his saber I met the trooper
824
who had killed my companion and we grappled and fell. I killed him
825
with my knife and quickly rose over his body, brandishing his saber,
826
seeking for other troopers to kill. There were none. But the Apaches
827
had seen. Over the bloody field, covered with the bodies of Mexicans,
828
rang the fierce Apache war-whoop.
829
830
Still covered with the blood of my enemies, still holding my
831
conquering weapon, still hot with the joy of battle, victory, and
832
vengeance, I was surrounded by the Apache braves and made war chief of
833
all the Apaches. Then I gave orders for scalping the slain.
834
835
I could not call back my loved ones, I could not bring back the dead
836
Apaches, but I could rejoice in this revenge. The Apaches had avenged
837
the massacre of Kas-ki-yeh.
838
839
840
841
842
843
844
845
846
847
848
849
850
851
852
853
854
855
7/21
856
857
Fighting Under Difficulties
858
859
860
861
All the other Apaches were satisfied after the battle of Kaskiyeh, but
862
I still desired more revenge. For several months we were busy with the
863
chase and other peaceful pursuits. Finally I succeeded in persuading
864
two other warriors, Ah-koch-ne and Ko-deh-ne, to go with me to invade
865
the Mexican country.
866
867
We left our families with the tribe and went on the war path. We were
868
on foot and carried three days' rations. We entered Mexico on the
869
north line of Sonora and followed the Sierra de Antunez Mountains to
870
the south end of the range. Here we decided to attack a small
871
village. (I do not know the name of this village.) At daylight we
872
approached from the mountains. Five horses were hitched outside. We
873
advanced cautiously, but just before we reached the horses the
874
Mexicans opened fire from the houses. My two companions were
875
killed. Mexicans swarmed on every side; some were mounted; some were
876
on foot, and all seemed to be armed. Three times that day I was
877
surrounded, but I kept fighting, dodging, and hiding. Several times
878
during the day while in concealment I had a chance to take deliberate
879
aim at some Mexican, who, gun in hand, was looking for me. I do not
880
think I missed my aim either time. With the gathering darkness I found
881
more time to retreat toward Arizona. But the Mexicans did not quit the
882
chase. Several times the next day mounted Mexicans tried to head me
883
off; many times they fired on me, but I had no more arrows; so I
884
depended upon running and hiding, although I was very tired, I had not
885
eaten since the chase began, nor had I dared to stop for rest. The
886
second night I got clear of my pursuers, but I never slackened my pace
887
until I reached our home in Arizona. I came into our camp without
888
booty, without my companions, exhausted, but not discouraged.
889
890
The wives and children of my two dead companions were cared for by
891
their people. Some of the Apaches blamed me for the evil result of the
892
expedition, but I said nothing. Having failed, it was only proper that
893
I should remain silent. But my feelings toward the Mexicans did not
894
change--I still hated them and longed for revenge. I never ceased to
895
plan for their punishment, but it was hard to get the other warriors
896
to listen to my proposed raids.
897
898
In a few months after this last adventure I persuaded two other
899
warriors to join me in raiding the Mexican frontier. On our former
900
raid we had gone through the Nedni Apaches' range into Sonora. This
901
time we went through the country of the Cho-kon-en and entered the
902
Sierra Madre Mountains. We traveled south, secured more rations, and
903
prepared to begin our raids. We had selected a village near the
904
mountains which we intended to attack at daylight. While asleep that
905
night Mexican scouts discovered our camp and fired on us, killing one
906
warrior. In the morning we observed a company of Mexican troops coming
907
from the south. They were mounted and carried supplies for a long
908
journey. We followed their trail until we were sure that they were
909
headed for our range in Arizona; then we hurried past them and in
910
three days reached our own settlement. We arrived at noon, and that
911
afternoon, about three o'clock, these Mexican troops attacked our
912
settlement. Their first volley killed three small boys. Many of the
913
warriors of our tribe were away from home, but the few of us who were
914
in camp were able to drive the troops out of the mountains before
915
night. We killed eight Mexicans and lost five--two warriors and three
916
boys. The Mexicans rode due south in full retreat. Four warriors were
917
detailed to follow them, and in three days these trailers returned,
918
saying that the Mexican cavalry had left Arizona, going southward. We
919
were quite sure they would not return soon.
920
921
922
923
924
925
Geronimo riding with Naiche Soon after this (in the summer of 1860) I
926
was again able to take the war path against the Mexicans, this time
927
with twenty-five warriors. We followed the trail of the Mexican troops
928
last mentioned and entered the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. The
929
second day in these mountains our scouts discovered mounted Mexican
930
troops. There was only one company of cavalry in this command, and I
931
thought that by properly surprising them we could defeat them. We
932
ambushed the trail over which they were to come. This was at a place
933
where the whole company must pass through a mountain defile. We
934
reserved fire until all of the troops had passed through; then the
935
signal was given. The Mexican troopers, seemingly without a word of
936
command, dismounted, and placing their horses on the outside of the
937
company, for breastworks, made a good fight against us. I saw that we
938
could not dislodge them without using all our ammunition, so I led a
939
charge. The warriors suddenly pressed in from all sides and we fought
940
hand to hand. During this encounter I raised my spear to kill a
941
Mexican soldier just as he leveled his gun at me; I was advancing
942
rapidly, and my foot slipping in a pool of blood, I fell under the
943
Mexican trooper. He struck me over the head with the butt of his gun,
944
knocking me senseless. Just at that instant a warrior who followed in
945
my footsteps killed the Mexican with a spear. In a few minutes not a
946
Mexican soldier was left alive. When the Apache war-cry had died away,
947
and their enemies had been scalped, they began to care for their dead
948
and wounded. I was found lying unconscious where I had fallen. They
949
bathed my head in cold water and restored me to consciousness. Then
950
they bound up my wound and the next morning, although weak from loss
951
of blood and suffering from a severe headache, I was able to march on
952
the return to Arizona. I did not fully recover for months, and I still
953
wear the scar given me by that musketeer. In this fight we had lost so
954
heavily that there really was no glory in our victory, and we returned
955
to Arizona. No one seemed to want to go on the war path again that
956
year.
957
958
In the summer (1861) with twelve warriors I again went into Mexico. We
959
entered Chihuahua and followed south on the east side of the Sierra
960
Madre Mountains four days' journey; then crossed over to the Sierra de
961
Sahuaripa range, not far east of Casa Grande. Here we rested one day,
962
and sent out scouts to reconnoiter. They reported pack trains camped
963
five miles west of us. The next morning just at daybreak, as these
964
drivers were starting with their mule pack train, we attacked
965
them. They rode away for their lives, leaving us the booty. The mules
966
were loaded with provisions, most of which we took home. Two mules
967
were loaded with side-meat or bacon; this we threw away. We started to
968
take these pack trains home, going northward through Sonora, but when
969
near Casita, Mexican troops overtook us. It was at daybreak and we
970
were just finishing our breakfast. We had no idea that we had been
971
pursued or that our enemies were near until they opened fire. At the
972
first volley a bullet struck me a glancing lick just at the lower
973
corner of the left eye and I fell unconscious. All the other Indians
974
fled to cover. The Mexicans, thinking me dead, started in pursuit of
975
the fleeing Indians. In a few moments I regained consciousness and had
976
started at full speed for the woods when another company coming up
977
opened fire on me. Then the soldiers who had been chasing the other
978
Indians turned, and I stood between two hostile companies, but I did
979
not stand long. Bullets whistled in every direction and at close range
980
to me. One inflicted a slight flesh wound on my side, but I kept
981
running, dodging, and fighting, until I got clear of my pursuers. I
982
climbed up a steep canon, where the cavalry could not follow. The
983
troopers saw me, but did not dismount and try to follow. I think they
984
were wise not to come on.
985
986
It had been understood that in case of surprise with this booty, our
987
place of rendezvous should be the Santa Bita Mountains in Arizona. We
988
did not reassemble in Mexico, but traveled separately and in three
989
days we were encamped in our place of rendezvous. From this place we
990
returned home empty-handed. We had not even a partial victory to
991
report. I again returned wounded, but I was not yet discouraged. Again
992
I was blamed by our people, and again I had no reply.
993
994
After our return many of the warriors had gone on a hunt and some of
995
them had gone north to trade for blankets from the Navajo Indians. I
996
remained at home trying to get my wounds healed. One morning just at
997
daybreak, when the squaws were lighting the camp fires to prepare
998
breakfast, three companies of Mexican troops who had surrounded our
999
settlement in the night opened fire. There was no time for
1000
fighting. Men, women and children fled for their lives. Many women and
1001
children and a few warriors were killed, and four women were
1002
captured. My left eye was still swollen shut, but with the other I saw
1003
well enough to hit one of the officers with an arrow, and then make
1004
good my escape among the rocks. The troopers burned our tepees and
1005
took our arms, provisions, ponies, and blankets. Winter was at hand.
1006
1007
There were not more than twenty warriors in camp at this time, and
1008
only a few of us had secured weapons during the excitement of the
1009
attack. A few warriors followed the trail of the troops as they went
1010
back to Mexico with their booty, but were unable to offer battle. It
1011
was a long, long time before we were again able to go on the war path
1012
against the Mexicans.
1013
1014
The four women who were captured at this time by the Mexicans were
1015
taken into Sonora, Mexico, where they were compelled to work for the
1016
Mexicans. After some years they escaped to the mountains and started
1017
to find our tribe. They had knives which they had stolen from the
1018
Mexicans but they had no other weapons. They had no blankets; so at
1019
night they would make a little tepee by cutting brush with their
1020
knives, and setting them up for the walls. The top was covered over
1021
with brush. In this temporary tepee they would all sleep. One night
1022
when their camp fire was low they heard growling just outside the
1023
tepee. Francisco, the youngest woman of the party (about seventeen
1024
years of age), started to build up the fire, when a mountain lion
1025
crashed through the tepee and attacked her. The suddenness of the
1026
attack made her drop her knife, but she fought as best she could with
1027
her hand. She was no match for the lion, however; her left shoulder
1028
was crushed and partly torn away. The lion kept trying to catch her by
1029
the throat; this she prevented with her hands for a long time. He
1030
dragged her for about 300 yards, then she found her strength was
1031
failing her from loss of blood, and she called to the other women for
1032
help. The lion had been dragging her by one foot, and she had been
1033
catching hold of his legs, and of the rocks and underbrush, to delay
1034
him. Finally he stopped and stood over her. She again called her
1035
companions and they attacked him with their knives and killed
1036
him. Then they dressed her wounds and nursed her in the mountains for
1037
about a month. When she was again able to walk they resumed their
1038
journey and reached our tribe in safety.
1039
1040
This woman (Francisco) was held as a prisoner of war with the other
1041
Apaches and died the Fort Sill Reservation in 1892. Her face was
1042
always disfigured with those scars and she never regained perfect use
1043
of her hands. The three older women died before we became prisoners of
1044
war.
1045
1046
Many women and children were carried away at different times by
1047
Mexicans. Not many of them ever returned, and those who did underwent
1048
many hardships in order to be again united with their people. Those
1049
who did not escape were slaves to the Mexicans, or perhaps even more
1050
degraded.
1051
1052
When warriors were captured by the Mexicans they were kept in
1053
chains. Four warriors who were captured once at a place north of Casa
1054
Grande, called by the Indians Honas, were kept in chains for a year
1055
and a half, when they were exchanged for Mexicans whom we had
1056
captured.
1057
1058
We never chained prisoners or kept them in confinement, but they
1059
seldom got away. Mexican men when captured were compelled to cut wood
1060
and herd horses. Mexican women and children were treated as our own
1061
people.
1062
1063
1064
1065
1066
1067
1068
1069
1070
1071
1072
1073
1074
1075
1076
1077
1078
1079
8/21
1080
1081
Raids That Were Successful
1082
1083
1084
1085
In the summer of 1862 I took eight men and invaded Mexican
1086
territory. We went south on the west side of the Sierra Madre
1087
Mountains for five days; then in the night crossed over to the
1088
southern part of the Sierra de Sahuaripa range. Here we again camped
1089
to watch for pack trains. About ten o'clock next morning four drivers,
1090
mounted, came past our camp with a pack-mule train. As soon as they
1091
saw us they rode for their lives, leaving us the booty. This was a
1092
long train, and packed with blankets, calico, saddles, tinware, and
1093
loaf sugar. We hurried home as fast as we could with these provisions,
1094
and on our return while passing through a canyon in the Santa Catalina
1095
range of mountains in Arizona, met a white man driving a mule pack
1096
train. When we first saw him he had already seen us, and was riding at
1097
full tilt up the canyon. We examined his train and found that his
1098
mules were all loaded with cheese. We put them in with the other train
1099
and resumed our journey. We did not attempt to trail the driver and I
1100
am sure he did not try to follow us.
1101
1102
In two days we arrived at home. Then Mangus-Colorado, our chief,
1103
assembled the tribe. We gave a feast, divided the spoils, and danced
1104
all night. Some of the pack mules were killed and eaten.
1105
1106
This time after our return we kept out scouts so that we would know if
1107
Mexican troops should attempt to follow us.
1108
1109
On the third day our scouts came into camp and reported Mexican
1110
cavalry dismounted and approaching our settlement. All our warriors
1111
were in camp. Mangus-Colorado took command of one division and I of
1112
the other. We hoped to get possession of their horses, then surround
1113
the troops in the mountains, and destroy the whole company. This we
1114
were unable to do, for they too, had scouts. However, within four
1115
hours after we started we had killed ten troopers with the loss of
1116
only one man, and the Mexican cavalry was in full retreat, followed by
1117
thirty armed Apaches, who gave them no rest until they were far inside
1118
the Mexican country. No more troops came that winter.
1119
1120
For a long time we had plenty of provisions plenty of blankets, and
1121
plenty of clothing. We also had plenty of cheese and sugar.
1122
1123
1124
1125
1126
1127
Washa Another summer (1863) I selected three warriors and went on a
1128
raid into Mexico. We went south into Sonora, camping in the Sierra de
1129
Sahuaripa Mountains. About forty miles west of Casa Grande is a small
1130
village in the mountains, called by the Indians "Crassanas." We camped
1131
near this place and concluded to make an attack. We had noticed that
1132
just at midday no one seemed to be stirring; so we planned to make our
1133
attack at the noon hour. The next day we stole into the town at
1134
noon. We had no guns, but were armed with spears and bows and
1135
arrows. When the war-whoop was given to open the attack the Mexicans
1136
fled in every direction; not one of them made any attempt to fight us.
1137
1138
We shot some arrows at the retreating Mexicans, but killed only
1139
one. Soon all was silent in the town and no Mexicans could be seen.
1140
1141
When we discovered that all the Mexicans were gone we looked through
1142
their houses and saw many curious things. These Mexicans kept many
1143
more kinds of property than the Apaches did. Many of the things we saw
1144
in the houses we could not understand, but in the stores we saw much
1145
that we wanted; so we drove in a herd of horses and mules, and packed
1146
as much provisions and supplies as we could on them. Then we formed
1147
these animals into a pack train and returned safely to Arizona The
1148
Mexicans did not even trail us.
1149
1150
When we arrived in camp we called the tribe together and feasted all
1151
day. We gave presents to everyone. That night the dance began, and it
1152
did not cease until noon the next day.
1153
1154
This was perhaps the most successful raid ever made by us into Mexican
1155
territory. I do not know the value of the booty, but it was very
1156
great, for we had supplies enough to last our whole tribe for a year
1157
or more.
1158
1159
In the fall of 1864 twenty warriors were willing to go with me on
1160
another raid into Mexico. There were all chosen men, well armed and
1161
equipped for battle. As usual we provided for the safety of our
1162
families before starting on this raid. Our whole tribe scattered and
1163
then reassembled at a camp about forty miles from the former place. In
1164
this way, it would be hard for the Mexicans to trail them and we would
1165
know where to find our families when we returned. Moreover, if any
1166
hostile Indians should see this large number of warriors leaving our
1167
range they might attack our camp, but if they found no one at the
1168
usual place, their raid would fail.
1169
1170
We went south trough the Chokonen Apaches' range, entered Sonora,
1171
Mexico, at a point directly south of Tombstone, Arizona, and went into
1172
hiding in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.
1173
1174
We attacked several settlements in the neighborhood and secured plenty
1175
of provisions and supplies. After about three days we attacked and
1176
captured a mule pack train at a place called by the Indians
1177
"Pontoco". It is situated in the mountains due west, about one day's
1178
journey from Arispe.
1179
1180
There were three drivers with this train. One was killed and two
1181
escaped. The train was loaded with mescal, which was contained in
1182
bottles held in wicker baskets. As soon as we made camp the Indians
1183
began to get drunk and fight each other. I, too, drank enough mescal
1184
to feel the effect of it, but I was not drunk. I ordered the fighting
1185
stopped, but the order was disobeyed. Soon almost a general fight was
1186
in progress. I tried to place a guard out around the camp, but all
1187
were drunk and refused to serve. I expected an attack from Mexican
1188
troops at any moment, and really it was a serious matter to me, for
1189
being in command I would be held responsible for any ill luck
1190
attending the expedition. Finally the camp became comparatively still,
1191
for the Indians were too drunk to walk or even fight. While they were
1192
in this stupor I poured out all the mescal, then I put out all the
1193
fires and moved the pack mules to a considerable distance from the
1194
camp. After this I returned to camp to try to do something for the
1195
wounded. I found that only two were dangerously wounded. From a leg of
1196
one of these I cut an arrow head, and from the shoulder of another I
1197
withdrew a spear point. When all the wounds I had cared for, I myself
1198
kept guard till morning. The next day we loaded our wounded on the
1199
pack mules and started for Arizona.
1200
1201
The next day we captured some cattle from a herd and drove them home
1202
with us. But it was a very difficult matter to drive cattle when we
1203
were on foot. Caring for the wounded and keeping the cattle from
1204
escaping made our journey tedious. But we were not trailed, and
1205
arrived safely at home with all the booty.
1206
1207
We then gave a feast and dance, and divided the spoils. After the
1208
dance we killed all the cattle and dried the meat. We dressed the
1209
hides and then the dried meat was packed in between these hides and
1210
stored away. All that winter we had plenty of meat. These were the
1211
first cattle we ever had. As usual we killed and ate some of the
1212
mules. We had little use for mules, and if we could not trade them for
1213
something of value, we killed them.
1214
1215
In the summer of 1865, with four warriors, I went again into
1216
Mexico. Heretofore we had gone on foot; we were accustomed to fight on
1217
foot; besides, we could easily conceal ourselves when dismounted. But
1218
this time we wanted more cattle, and it was hard to drive them when we
1219
were on foot. We entered Sonora at a point southwest from Tombstone,
1220
Arizona, and followed the Antunez Mountains to the southern limit,
1221
then crossed the country as far south as the mouth of the Yaqui
1222
River. Here we saw a great lake extending beyond the limit of
1223
sight. Then we turned north, attacked several settlements, and secured
1224
plenty of supplies. When we had come back northwest of Arispe we
1225
secured about sixty head of cattle, and drove them to our homes in
1226
Arizona. We did not go directly home, but camped in different valleys
1227
with our cattle. We were not trailed. When we arrived at our camp the
1228
tribe was again assembled for feasting and dancing. Presents were
1229
given to everybody; then the cattle were killed and the meat dried and
1230
packed.
1231
1232
1233
1234
1235
1236
1237
1238
1239
1240
1241
1242
1243
1244
Text prepared by Peter Meindertsma, Else-Kirsten de Schiffart, Elfie
1245
Theijs and Carlo Tinschert and converted to HTML for The American
1246
Revolution - an .HTML project. ( undefined ) � 1997. All rights
1247
reserved. Department of Alfa-Informatica
1248
1249
1250
Geronimo His own story
1251
1252
1253
1254
1255
1256
1257
1258
1259
1260
1261
1262
1263
1264
9/21
1265
1266
Varying Fortunes
1267
1268
1269
1270
In the fall of 1865 with nine other warriors I went into Mexico on
1271
foot. We attacked several settlements south of Casa Grande, and
1272
collected many horses and mules. We made our way northward with these
1273
animals through the mountains. When near Arispe we made camp one
1274
evening, and thinking that we were not being trailed, turned loose the
1275
whole herd, even those we had been riding. They were in a valley
1276
surrounded by steep mountains, and we were camped at the south of this
1277
valley so that the animals could not leave without coming through our
1278
camp. Just as we had begun to eat our supper our scouts came in and
1279
announced Mexican troops coming toward our camp. We started for the
1280
horses, but troops that our scouts had not seen were on the cliffs
1281
above us, and opened fire. We scattered in all directions, and the
1282
troops recovered all our booty. In three days we reassembled at our
1283
appointed place of rendezvous in the Sierra Madre Mountains in
1284
northern Sonora. Mexican troops did not follow us, and we returned to
1285
Arizona without any more fighting and with no booty. Again I had
1286
nothing to say, but l was anxious for another raid.
1287
1288
Early the next summer (1866)I took thirty mounted warriors and invaded
1289
Mexican territory. We went south through Chihuahua as far as Santa
1290
Cruz, Sonora, then crossed over the Sierra Madre Mountains, following
1291
the river course at the south end of the range. We kept on westward
1292
from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains,
1293
and followed that range northward. We collected all the horses, mules,
1294
and cattle we wanted, and drove them northward through Sonora into
1295
Arizona. Mexicans saw us at many times and in many places, but they
1296
did not attack us at any time, nor did any troops attempt to follow
1297
us. When we arrived at homes we gave presents to all, and the tribe
1298
feasted and danced. During this raid we had killed about fifty
1299
Mexicans.
1300
1301
Next year (1867) Mangus-Colorado led eight warriors on a raid into
1302
Mexico. I went as a warrior, for I was always glad to fight the
1303
Mexicans. We rode south from near Tombstone, Arizona, into Sonora,
1304
Mexico. We attacked some cowboys, and after a fight with them, in
1305
which two of their number were killed, we drove all their cattle
1306
northward. The second day we were driving the cattle, but had no
1307
scouts out. When we were not far from Arispe, Mexican troops rode upon
1308
us. They were well armed and well mounted, and when we first saw them
1309
they were not half a mile away from us. We left the cattle and rode as
1310
hard as we could toward the mountains, but they gained on us
1311
rapidly. Soon they opened fire, but were so far away from us that we
1312
were unable to reach them with our arrows; finally we reached some
1313
timber, and, leaving our ponies, fought from cover. Then the Mexicans
1314
halted, collected our ponies, and rode away across the plains toward
1315
Arispe, driving the cattle with them. We stood and watched them until
1316
they disappeared in the distance, and then took up our search for
1317
home.
1318
1319
We arrived home in five days with no victory to report, no spoils to
1320
divide, and not even the three ponies which we had ridden into
1321
Mexico. This expedition was considered disgraceful.
1322
1323
1324
1325
1326
1327
Mangas Colorado aka Magnus Colorado The warriors who had been with
1328
Magnus Colorado on this last expedition wanted to return to
1329
Mexico. They were not satisfied, besides they felt keenly the taunts
1330
of the other warriors. Magnus Colorado would not lead them back, so I
1331
took command and we went on foot, directly toward Arispe in Sonora,
1332
and made our camp in the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains. There were only
1333
six of us, but we raided several settlements (at night), captured many
1334
horses and mules, and loaded them with provisions, saddles and
1335
blankets. Then we turned to Arizona, traveling only at night. When we
1336
arrived at our camp we sent out scouts to prevent any surprise by
1337
Mexicans, assembled the tribe, feasted, danced, and divided the
1338
spoils. Mangus Colorado would not receive any of this booty, but we
1339
did not care. No Mexican troops followed us to Arizona.
1340
1341
About a year after this (1868) Mexican troops rounded up all the
1342
horses and mules of the tribe not far from our settlement. No raids
1343
had been made into Mexico that year, and we were not expecting any
1344
attacks. We were all in camp, having just returned from hunting.
1345
1346
About two o'clock in the afternoon two Mexican scouts were seen near
1347
our settlement. We killed these scouts, but the troops got under way
1348
with the herd of our horses and mules before we saw them. It was
1349
useless to try to overtake them on foot, and our tribe had not a horse
1350
left. I took twenty warriors and trailed them. We found the stock at a
1351
cattle ranch in Sonora, not far from Nacozari, and attacked the
1352
cowboys who had them in charge. We killed two men and lost none. After
1353
the fight we drove off our own stock and all of theirs.
1354
1355
We were trailed by nine cowboys. I sent the stock on ahead and with
1356
three warriors stayed in the rear to intercept any attacking
1357
parties. One night when near the Arizona line we discovered these
1358
cowboys on our trail and watched them camp for the night and picket
1359
their horses. About midnight we stole into their camp and silently led
1360
away all their horses, leaving the cowboys asleep. Then we rode hard
1361
and overtook our companions, who always traveled at night instead of
1362
in the daytime. We turned these horses in with the herd and fell back
1363
to again intercept anyone who might trail us. What these nine cowboys
1364
did next morning I do not know, and I have never heard the Mexicans
1365
say anything about it; I know they did not follow us, for we were not
1366
molested. When we arrived in camp at home there was great rejoicing in
1367
the tribe. It was considered a good trick to get the Mexicans' horses
1368
and leave them asleep in the mountains.
1369
1370
It was a long time before we again went into Mexico or were disturbed
1371
by the Mexicans.
1372
1373
1374
1375
1376
1377
10/21
1378
1379
Heavy Fighting
1380
1381
1382
1383
About 1873 we were again attacked by Mexican troops in our settlement,
1384
but we defeated them. Then we decided to make raids into Mexico. We
1385
moved our whole camp, packing all our belonging on mules and horses,
1386
went into Mexico and made camp in the mountains near Nacori. In moving
1387
our camp in this way we wanted no one to spy on us, and if we passed a
1388
Mexican's home we usually killed the inmates. However, if they offered
1389
to surrender and made no resistance or trouble in any way, we would
1390
take them prisoners. Frequendy we would change our place of
1391
rendezvous; then we would take with us our prisoners if they were
1392
willing to go, but if they were unruly they might be killed. I
1393
remember one Mexican in the Sierra Madre Mountains who saw us moving
1394
and delayed us for some time. We took the trouble to get him, thinking
1395
the plunder of his house would pay us for the delay, but after we had
1396
killed him we found but nothing in his house worth having. We ranged
1397
in these mountains for over a year, raiding the Mexican settlements
1398
for our supplies, but not having any general engagement with Mexican
1399
troops; then we returned to our homes in Arizona. After remaining in
1400
Arizona about a year we returned to Mexico, and went into hiding in
1401
the Sierra Madre Mountains. Our camp was near Nacori, and we had just
1402
organized bands of warriors for raiding the country, when our scouts
1403
discovered Mexican troops coming toward our camp to attack us.
1404
1405
The chief the Nedni Apaches, who, was with me and commanded one
1406
division. The warriors were all marched toward the troops and met them
1407
at a place about five miles from our camp. We showed ourselves to the
1408
soldiers and they quickly rode to the top of a hill and dismounted,
1409
placing their horses on the outside for breastworks. It was a round
1410
hill, very steep and rocky and there was no timber on its sides. There
1411
were two companies of Mexican cavalry, and we had about sixty
1412
warriors. We crept up the hill behind the rocks, and they kept up a
1413
constant fire, but we had cautioned our warriors not to expose
1414
themselves to the Mexicans.
1415
1416
I knew that the troopers would waste their ammunition. Soon we had
1417
killed all their horses, but the soldiers would lie behind these and
1418
shoot at us. While we had killed several Mexicans, we had not yet lost
1419
a man. However, it was impossible to get very close to them in this
1420
way, and I deemed it best to lead a charge against them.
1421
1422
1423
1424
1425
1426
Nana We had been fighting ever since about one o'clock, and about the
1427
middle of the afternoon, seeing that we were making no further
1428
progress, l gave the sign for the advance. The war-whoop sounded and
1429
we leaped forward from every stone over the Mexicans' dead horses,
1430
fighting hand to hand. The attack was so sudden that the Mexicans,
1431
running first this way and then that, became so confused that in a few
1432
minutes we had killed them all. Then we scalped the slain, carried
1433
away our dead, and secured all the arms we needed. That night we moved
1434
our camp eastward through the Sierra Madre Mountains into
1435
Chihuahua. No troops molested us here and after about a year we
1436
returned to Arizona.
1437
1438
Almost every year we would live a part of the time in Old
1439
Mexico. There were at this time many settlements in Arizona; game was
1440
not plentiful, and besides we liked to go down into Old
1441
Mexico. Besides, the lands of the Nedni Apaches, our friends and
1442
kinsmen, extended far into Mexico. Their Chief, Whoa, was as a brother
1443
to me, and we spent much of our time in his territory.
1444
1445
About 1880 we were in camp in the mountains south of Casa Grande, when
1446
a company of Mexican troops attacked us. There were twenty-four
1447
Mexican soldiers and about forty Indians. The Mexicans surprised us in
1448
camp and fired on us, killing two Indians the first volley.I do not
1449
know how they were able to find our camp unless they had excellent
1450
scouts and our guards were careless, but there they were shooting at
1451
us before we knew they were near. We were in the timber, and I gave
1452
the order to go forward and fight at close range. We kept behind rocks
1453
and trees until we came within ten yards of their line, then we stood
1454
up and both sides shot until all the Mexicans were killed. We lost
1455
twelve warriors in this battle.
1456
1457
This place was called by the Indians "Sko-la-ta". When we had buried
1458
our dead and secured what supplies the Mexicans had, we went
1459
north-east. At this place near Nacori Mexican troops attacked us. At
1460
this place, called by the Indians "Nokode," there were about eighty
1461
warriors. Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches. There were three companies of
1462
Mexican troops. They attacked us in an open field, and we scattered,
1463
firing as we ran. They followed us, but we dispered, and soon were
1464
free from their pursuit; then we reassembled in the Sierra Madre
1465
Mountains. Here a council was held, and as Mexican troops were coming
1466
from many quarters, we disbanded.
1467
1468
In about four months we reassembled at Casa Grande to make a treaty of
1469
peace. The chiefs of the town of Casa Grande, and all of the men of
1470
Casa Grande, made a treaty with us. We shook hands and promised to be
1471
brothers. Then we began to trade, and the Mexicans gave us
1472
mescal. Soon nearly all the Indians were drunk. While they were drunk
1473
two companies of Mexican troops, from another town, attacked us,
1474
killed twenty Indians, and captured many more. We fled in all
1475
directions.
1476
1477
1478
1479
1480
1481
1482
1483
1484
1485
1486
1487
1488
1489
1490
1491
1492
1493
11/21
1494
1495
Geronimo's Mightiest Battle
1496
1497
1498
1499
AFTER the treachery and massacre of Casa Grande we did not reassemble
1500
for a long while and when we did we returned to Arizona. We remained
1501
in Arizona for some time, living in San Carlos Reservation, at a place
1502
now called Geronimo. In 1883 we went into Mexico again. We remained in
1503
the mountain ranges of Mexico for about fourteen months, and during
1504
this time we had many skirmishes with Mexican troops. In 1884 we
1505
returned to Arizona to get other Apaches to come with us into
1506
Mexico. The Mexicans were gathering troops in the mountains where we
1507
had been ranging, and their numbers were so much greater than ours
1508
that we could not hope to fight them successfully, and we were tired
1509
of being chased about from place to place.
1510
1511
In Arizona we had trouble with the United States soldiers and returned
1512
to Mexico.
1513
1514
We had lost about fifteen warriors in Arizona, and had gained no
1515
recruits. With our reduced number we camped in the mountains north of
1516
Arispe. Mexican troops were seen by our scouts in several
1517
directions. The United States troops were coming down from the
1518
north. We were well armed with guns and supplied with ammunition, but
1519
we did not care to be surrounded by the troops of two governments, so
1520
we started to move our camp southward.
1521
1522
1523
1524
1525
1526
Geronimo One night we made camp some distance from the mountains by a
1527
stream. There was not much water in the stream, but a deep channel was
1528
worn through the prairie, and small trees were beginning to grow here
1529
and there along the bank of this stream.
1530
1531
In those days we never camped without placing scouts, for we knew that
1532
we were liable to be attacked at any time. The next morning just at
1533
daybreak our scouts came in, aroused the camp, and notified us that
1534
Mexican troops were approaching. Within five minutes the Mexicans
1535
began firing on us. We took to the ditches made by the stream, and had
1536
the women and children busy digging these deeper. I gave strict orders
1537
to waste no ammunition and keep under cover. We killed many Mexicans
1538
that day and in turn lost heavily, for the fight lasted all
1539
day. Frequently troops would charge at one point, be repulsed then
1540
rally and charge at another point.
1541
1542
About noon we began to hear them speaking my name with curses. In the
1543
afternoon the general came on the field and the fighting became more
1544
furious. I gave orders to my warriors to try to kill all the Mexican
1545
officers. About three o'clock the general called all the officers
1546
together at the right side of the field. The place where they
1547
assembled was not very far from the main stream and a little ditch ran
1548
out close to where the officers stood. Cautiously I crawled out this
1549
ditch very close to where the council was being held. The general was
1550
an old warrior. The wind was blowing in my direction, so that l could
1551
hear all he said, and I understood most of it. This is about what he
1552
told them: "Officers, yonder in those ditches is the red devil
1553
Geronimo and his hated band. This must be his last day. Ride on him
1554
from both sides of the ditches; kill men, women, and children; take no
1555
prisoners; dead Indians are what we want. Do not spare your own men;
1556
exterminate this band at any cost; I will post the wounded shoot all
1557
deserters; go back to your companies and advance."
1558
1559
Just as the command to go forward was given I took deliberate aim at
1560
the general and he fell. In an instant the ground around me was
1561
riddled with bullets; but I was untouched. The Apaches had seen. From
1562
all along the ditches arose the fierce war-cry of my people. The
1563
columns wavered an instant and then swept on; they did not retreat
1564
until our fire had destroyed the front ranks.
1565
1566
After this their fighting was not so fierce, yet they continued to
1567
rally and readvance until dark. They also continued to speak my name
1568
with threats and curses. That night before the firing had ceased a
1569
dozen Indians had crawled out of the ditches and set fire to the long
1570
prairie grass behind the Mexican troops. During the confusion that
1571
followed we escaped to the mountains.
1572
1573
This was the last battle that I ever fought with Mexicans. United
1574
States troops were trailing us continually from this time until the
1575
treaty was made with General Miles in Skeleton Canyon.
1576
1577
During my many wars with the Mexicans I received eight wounds, as
1578
follows: shot in the right leg above the knee, and still carry the
1579
bullet; shot through the left forearm; wounded in the right leg below
1580
the knee with a saber; wounded on top of the head with the butt of a
1581
musket; shot just below the outer corner of the left eye; shot in left
1582
side, shot in the back. I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how
1583
many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth
1584
counting.
1585
1586
[...........part missing............]
1587
1588
1589
1590
1591
12/21
1592
1593
Coming of the White Men
1594
1595
1596
1597
About the time of the massacre of "Kaskiyeh" (1858) we heard that some
1598
white men were measuring land to the south of us. In company with a
1599
number of other warriors I went to visit them. We could not understand
1600
them very well, for we had no interpreter, but we made a treaty with
1601
them by shaking hands and promising to be brothers. Then we made our
1602
camp near their camp, and they came to trade with us. We gave them
1603
buckskin, blankets, and ponies in exchange for shirts and
1604
provisions. We also brought them game, for which they gave us some
1605
money. We did not know the value of this money, but we kept it and
1606
later learned from the Navajo Indians that it was very valuable.
1607
1608
Every day they measured land with curious instruments and put down
1609
marks which we could not understand. They were good men, and we were
1610
sorry when they had gone on into the west. They were not
1611
soldiers. These were the first white men I ever saw.
1612
1613
About ten years later some more white men came. These were all
1614
warriors. They made their camp on the Gila River south of Hot
1615
Springs. At first they were friendly and we did not dislike them, but
1616
they were not as good as those who came first.
1617
1618
After about a year some trouble arose between them and the Indians,
1619
and I took the war path as a warrior, not as a chief. I had not been
1620
wronged, but some of my people bad been, and I fought with my tribe;
1621
for the soldiers and not the Indians were at fault.
1622
1623
Not long after this some of the officers of the United States troops
1624
invited our leaders to hold a conference at Apache Pass (Fort
1625
Bowie). Just before noon the Indians were shown into a tent and told
1626
that they would be given something to eat. When in the tent they were
1627
attacked by soldiers. our chief, Mangus-Colorado, and several other
1628
warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most of the
1629
warriors were killed or captured. Among the Bedonkohe Apaches killed
1630
at this time were Sanza, Kladetahe, Niyokahe, and Gopi.After this
1631
treachery the Indians went back to the mountains and left the fort
1632
entirely alone. I do not think that the agent had anything to do with
1633
planning this, for he had always treated us well. I believe it was
1634
entirely planned by the soldiers.
1635
1636
From the very first the soldiers sent out to our western country, and
1637
the officers in charge of them, did not hesitate to wrong the
1638
Indians. They never explained to the Government when an Indian was
1639
wronged, but always reported the misdeeds of the Indians. Much that
1640
was done by mean white men was reported at Washington as the deeds of
1641
my people.
1642
1643
The Indians always tried to live peaceably with the white soldiers and
1644
settlers. One day during the time that the soldiers were stationed at
1645
Apache Pass I made a treaty with the post. This was done by shaking
1646
hands and promising to be brothers. Cochise and Mangus-Colorado did
1647
likewise. I do not know the name of the officer in command, but this
1648
was the first regiment that ever came to Apache Pass. This treaty was
1649
made about a year before we were attacked in a tent, as above
1650
related. In a few days after the attack at Apache Pass we organized in
1651
the mountains and returned to fight the soldiers. There were two
1652
tribes-the Bedonkohe and the Chokonen Apaches, both commanded by
1653
Cochise. After a few days' skirmishing we attacked a freight train
1654
that was coming in with supplies for the Fort. We killed some of the
1655
men and captured the others. These prisoners our chief offered to
1656
trade for the Indians whom the soldiers had captured at the massacre
1657
in the tent. This the officers refused, so we killed our prisoners,
1658
disbanded, and went into hiding in the mountains. Of those who took
1659
part in this affair I am the only one now living.
1660
1661
In a few days troops were sent out to search for us, but as we were
1662
disbanded, it was, of course, impossible for them to locate any
1663
hostile camp. During the time they were searching for us many of our
1664
warriors (who were thought by the soldiers to be peaceable Indians)
1665
talked to the officers and men, advising them where they might find
1666
the camp they sought, and while they searched we watched them from our
1667
hiding places and laughed at their failures.
1668
1669
After this trouble all of the Indians agreed not to be friendly with
1670
the white men any more. There was no general engagement, but a long
1671
struggle followed. Sometimes we attacked the white men, sometimes they
1672
attacked us. First a few Indians would be killed and then a few
1673
soldiers. I think the killing was about equal on each side. The number
1674
killed in these troubles did not amount to much, but this treachery on
1675
the part of the soldiers had angered the Indians and revived memories
1676
of other wrongs, so that we never again trusted the United States
1677
troops.
1678
1679
1680
1681
1682
13/21
1683
1684
Greatest of Wrongs
1685
1686
1687
1688
Perhaps the greatest wrong ever done to the Indians was the treatment
1689
received by our tribe from the United States troops about 1863. The
1690
chief of our tribe, Mangus-Colorado, went to make a treaty of peace
1691
for our people with the white settlement at Apache Tejo, New
1692
Mexico. It had been reported to us that the white men in this
1693
settlement were more friendly and more reliable than those in Arizona,
1694
that they would live up to their treaties and would not wrong the
1695
Indians.
1696
1697
Mangus-Colorado, with three other warriors, went to Apache Tejo and
1698
held a council with these citizens and soldiers. They told him that if
1699
he would come with his tribe and live near them, they would issue to
1700
him, from the Government, blankets, flour, provisions, beef, and all
1701
manner of supplies. Our chief promised to return to Apache Tejo within
1702
two weeks. When he came back to our settlement he assembled the whole
1703
tribe in council. I did not believe that the people at Apache Tejo
1704
would do as they said and therefore I opposed the plan, but it was
1705
decided that with part of the tribe Mangus-Colorado should return to
1706
Apache Tejo and receive an issue of rations and supplies. If they were
1707
as represented, and if these white men would keep the treaty
1708
faithfully, the remainder of the tribe would join him and we would
1709
make our permanent home at Apache Tejo. I was to remain in charge of
1710
that portion of the tribe which stayed in Arizona. We gave almost all
1711
of our arms and ammunition to the party going to Apache Tejo, so that
1712
in case there should be treachery they would be prepared for any
1713
surprise. Mangus-Colorado and about half of our people went to New
1714
Mexico, happy that now they had found white men who would be kind to
1715
them, and with whom they could live in peace and plenty.
1716
1717
No word ever came to us from them. From other sources, however, we
1718
heard that they had been treacherously captured and slain. In this
1719
dilemma we did not know just exactly what to do, but fearing that the
1720
troops who had captured them would attack us, we retreated into the
1721
mountains near Apache Pass.
1722
1723
During the weeks that followed the departure of our people we had been
1724
in suspense, and failing to provide more supplies, had exhausted all
1725
of our store of provisions. This was another reason for moving
1726
camp. On this retreat, while passing through the mountains, we
1727
discovered four men with a herd of cattle. Two of the men were in
1728
front in a buggy and two were behind on horseback. We killed all four,
1729
but did not scalp them; they were not warriors. We drove the cattle
1730
back into the mountains, made a camp, and began to kill the cattle and
1731
pack the meat.
1732
1733
Before we had finished this work we were surprised and attacked by
1734
United States troops, who killed in all seven Indians -one warrior,
1735
three women, and three children. The Government troops were mounted
1736
and so were we, but we were poorly armed, having given most of our
1737
weapons to the division of our tribe that had gone to Apache Tejo, so
1738
we fought mainly with spears, bows, and arrows. At first I had a
1739
spear, a bow, and a few arrows; but in a short time my spear and all
1740
my arrows were gone. Once I was surrounded, but by dodging from side
1741
to side of my horse as he ran I escaped. It was necessary during this
1742
fight for many of the warriors to leave their horses and escape on
1743
foot. But my horse was trained to come at call, and as soon as I
1744
reached a safe place, if not too closely pursued, I would call him to
1745
me. During this fight we scattered in all directions and two days
1746
later reassembled at our appointed place of rendezvous, about fifty
1747
miles from the scene of this battle.
1748
1749
About ten days later the same United States troops attacked our new
1750
camp at sunrise. The fight lasted all day, but our arrows and spears
1751
were all gone before ten o'clock, and for the remainder of the day we
1752
had only rocks and clubs with which to fight. We could do with these
1753
weapons, and at night we moved our camp about four miles back into the
1754
mountains where it would be hard for the cavalry to follow us. The
1755
next day our scouts, who had been left behind to observe the movements
1756
of the soldiers, returned, saying that the troops had gone back toward
1757
San Carlos Reservation.
1758
1759
A few days after this we were again attacked by another company of
1760
United States troops. Just before this fight we had been joined by a
1761
band of Chokonen Indians under Cochise, who took command of both
1762
divisions. We were repulsed, and decided to disband.
1763
1764
After we had disbanded our tribe the Bedonkohe Apaches reassembled
1765
near their old camp vainly waiting for the return of Mangus-Colorado
1766
and our kinsmen. No tidings came save that they had all been
1767
treacherously slain. Then a council was held, and as it was believed
1768
that Mangus-Colorado was dead, I was elected Tribal Chief.
1769
1770
For a long time we had no trouble with anyone. It was more than a year
1771
after I had been made Tribal Chief that United States troops surprised
1772
and attacked our camp. They killed seven children, five women, and
1773
four warriors, captured all our supplies, blankets, horses, and
1774
clothing, and destroyed our tepees. We had nothing left; winter was
1775
beginning, and it was the coldest winter I ever knew. After the
1776
soldiers withdrew I took three warriors and trailed them. Their trail
1777
led back toward San Carlos.
1778
1779
1780
1781
1782
1783
1784
1785
1786
1787
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
14/21
1796
1797
Removals
1798
1799
1800
1801
While returning from trailing the Government troops we saw two men, a
1802
Mexican and a white man, and shot them off their horses. With these
1803
two horses we returned and moved our camp. My people were suffering
1804
much and it was deemed advisable to go where we could get more
1805
provisions. Game was scarce in our range then, and since I had been
1806
Tribal Chief I had not asked for rations from the Government, nor did
1807
I care to do so, but we did not wish to starve.
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813
Victoria We had heard that Chief Victoria of the Chihenne (Oje
1814
Caliente) Apaches was holding a council with the white men near Hot
1815
Springs in New Mexico, and that he had plenty of provisions. We had
1816
always been on friendly terms with this tribe, and Victoria was
1817
especially kind to my people. With the help of the two horses we had
1818
captured, to carry our sick with us, we went to Hot Springs. We easily
1819
found Victoria and his band, and they gave us supplies for the
1820
winter. We stayed with them for about a year, and during this stay we
1821
had perfect peace. We had not the least trouble with Mexicans, white
1822
men, or Indians. When we had stayed as long as we should, and had
1823
again accumulated some supplies, we decided to leave Victoria's
1824
band. When I told him that we were going to leave he said that we
1825
should have a feast and dance before we separated.
1826
1827
The festivities were held about two miles above Hot Springs, and
1828
lasted for four days. There were about four hundred Indians at this
1829
celebration. I do not think we ever spent a more pleasant time than
1830
upon this occasion. No one ever treated our tribe more kindly than
1831
Victoria and his band. We are still proud to say that he and his
1832
people were our friends.
1833
1834
When I went to Apache Pass (Fort Bowie) I found General Howard in
1835
command, and made a treaty with him. This treaty lasted until long
1836
after General Howard had left our country. He always kept his word
1837
with us and treated us as brothers. We never had so good a friend
1838
among the United States officers as General Howard. We could have
1839
lived forever at peace with him. If there is any pure, honest white
1840
man in the United States army, that man is General Howard. All the
1841
Indians respect him, and even to this day frequently talk of the happy
1842
times when General Howard was in command of our Post. After he went
1843
away he placed an agent at Apache Pass who issued to us from the
1844
Government clothing, rations, and supplies, as General Howard
1845
directed. When beef was issued to the Indians I got twelve steers for
1846
my tribe, and Cochise got twelve steers for his tribe. Rations were
1847
issued about once a month, but if we ran out we only had to ask and we
1848
were supplied. Now, as prisoners of war in this Reservation, we do not
1849
get such good rations.
1850
1851
Out on the prairie away from Apache Pass a man kept a store and
1852
saloon. Some time after General Howard went away a band of outlawed
1853
Indians killed this man, and took away many of the supplies from his
1854
store. On the very next day after this some Indians at the Post were
1855
drunk on "tiswin", which they had made from corn. They fought among
1856
themselves and four of them were killed. There had been quarrels and
1857
feuds among them for some time, and after this trouble we deemed it
1858
impossible to keep the different bands together in peace. Therefore we
1859
separated, each leader taking his own band. Some of them went to San
1860
Carlos and some to Old Mexico, but I took my tribe back to Hot Springs
1861
and rejoined Victoria's band.
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877
1878
1879
15/21
1880
1881
In Prison and on the war path
1882
1883
1884
1885
Soon after we arrived in New Mexico two companies of scouts were sent
1886
from San Carlos. When they came to Hot Springs they sent word for me
1887
and Victoria to come to town. The messengers did not say what they
1888
wanted with us, but as they seemed friendly we thought they wanted a
1889
council, and rode in to meet the officers. As soon as we arrived in
1890
town soldiers met us, disarmed us, and took us both to headquarters,
1891
where we were tried by court-martial. They asked us only a few
1892
questions and then Victoria was released and I was sentenced to the
1893
guardhouse. Scouts conducted me to the guardhouse and put me in
1894
chains. When I asked them why they did this they said it was because I
1895
had left Apache Pass.
1896
1897
I do not think that I ever belonged to those soldiers at Apache Pass,
1898
or that I should have asked them where I might go. Our bands could no
1899
longer live in peace together, and so we had quietly withdrawn,
1900
expecting to live with Victoria's band, where we thought we would not
1901
be molested. They also sentenced seven other Apaches to chains in the
1902
guardhouse.
1903
1904
I do not know why this was done, for these Indians had simply followed
1905
me from Apache Pass to Hot Springs. If it was wrong (and I do not
1906
think it was wrong) for us to go to Hot Springs, I alone was to
1907
blame. They asked the soldiers in charge why they were imprisoned and
1908
chained, but received no answer.
1909
1910
I was kept a prisoner for four months, during which time I was
1911
transferred to San Carlos. Then I think I had another trial, although
1912
I was not present. In fact I do not know that I had another trial, but
1913
I was told that I had, and at any rate I was released.
1914
1915
After this we had no more trouble with the soldiers, but I never felt
1916
at ease any longer at the Post. We were allowed to live above San
1917
Carlos at a place now called Geronimo. A man whom the Indians called
1918
"Nick Golee" was agent at this place. All went well here for a period
1919
of two years, but we were not satisfied.
1920
1921
In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current that the officers were again
1922
planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor served to revive the
1923
memory of all our past wrongs-the massacre in the tent at Apache Pass,
1924
the fate of Mangus Colorado, and my own unjust imprisonment, which
1925
might easily have been death to me. Just at this time we were told
1926
that the officers wanted us to come up the river above Geronimo to a
1927
fort (Fort Thomas) to hold a council with them. We did not believe
1928
that any good could come of this conference, or that there was any
1929
need of it; so we held a council ourselves, and fearing treachery,
1930
decided to leave the reservation. We thought it more manly to die on
1931
the war path than to be killed in prison.
1932
1933
There were in all about 250 Indians, chiefly the Bedonkohe and Nedni
1934
Apaches, led by myself and Whoa. We went through Apache Pass and just
1935
west of there had a fight with the United States troops. In this
1936
battle we killed three soldiers and lost none.
1937
1938
We went on toward Old Mexico, but on the second day after this United
1939
States soldiers overtook us about three o'clock in the afternoon and
1940
we fought until dark. The ground where we were attacked was very
1941
rough, which was to our advantage, for the troops were compelled to
1942
dismount in order to fight us. I do not know how many soldiers were
1943
killed, but we lost only one warrior and three children. We had plenty
1944
of guns and ammunition at this time. Many of the guns and much
1945
ammunition we had accumulated while living in the reservation, and the
1946
remainder we had obtained from the White Mountain Apaches when we left
1947
the reservation.
1948
1949
Troops did not follow us any longer, so we went south almost to Casa
1950
Grande and camped in the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. We ranged in
1951
the mountains of Old Mexico for about a year, then returned to San
1952
Carlos, taking with us a herd of cattle and horses.
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
General Crook Soon after we arrived at San Carlos the officer in
1959
charge, General Crook, took the horses and cattle away from us. I told
1960
him that these were not white men's cattle, but belonged to us, for we
1961
had taken them from the Mexicans during our wars. I also told him that
1962
we did not intend to kill these animals, but that we wished to keep
1963
them and raise stock on our range. He would not listen to me, but took
1964
the stock. I went up near Fort Apache and General Crook ordered
1965
officers, soldiers, and scouts to see that I was arrested; if I
1966
offered resistance they were instructed to kill me.
1967
1968
This information was brought to me by the Indians. When I learned of
1969
this proposed action I left for Old Mexico, and about four hundred
1970
Indians went with me. They were the Bedonkohe, Chokonen, and Nedni
1971
Apaches. At this time Whoa was dead, and Naiche was the only chief
1972
with me. We went south into Sonora and camped in the mountains. Troops
1973
followed us, but did not attack us until we were camped in the
1974
mountains west of Casa Grande. Here we were attacked by Government
1975
Indian scouts. One boy was killed and nearly all of our women and
1976
children were captured.
1977
1978
After this battle we went south of Casa Grande and made camp, but
1979
within a few days this camp was attacked by Mexican soldiers. We
1980
skirmished with them all day, killing a few Mexicans but sustaining no
1981
loss ourselves.
1982
1983
That night we went east into the foot hills of the Sierra Madre
1984
Mountains and made another camp. Mexican troops trailed us, and after
1985
a few days attacked our camp again. This time the Mexicans had a very
1986
large army, and we avoided a general engagement. It is senseless to
1987
fight when you cannot hope to win.
1988
1989
That night we held a council of war; our scouts had reported bands of
1990
United States and Mexican troops at many points in the mountains. We
1991
estimated that about two thousand soldiers were ranging these
1992
mountains seeking to capture us. General Cook had come down into
1993
Mexico with the United States troops. They were camped in the Sierra
1994
de Antunez Mountains. Scouts told me that General Crook wished to see
1995
me and I went to his camp. When I arrived General Crook said to me,
1996
"Why did you leave the reservation?"I said: "You told me that I might
1997
live in the reservation the same as white people lived. One year I
1998
raised a crop of corn, and gathered and stored it, and the next year I
1999
put in a crop of oats, and when the crop was almost ready to harvest,
2000
you told your soldiers to put me in prison, and if I resisted to kill
2001
me. If I had been let alone l would now have been in good
2002
circumstances, but instead of that you and the Mexicans are hunting me
2003
with soldiers". He said: "I never gave any such orders; the troops at
2004
Fort Apache, who spread this report, knew that it was untrue". Then I
2005
agreed to go back with him to San Carlos. It was hard for me to
2006
believe him at that time. Now I know that what he said was untrue, and
2007
I firmly believe that he did issue the orders for me to be put in
2008
prison, or to be killed in case I offered resistance.
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
16/21
2019
2020
the Final Struggle
2021
2022
2023
2024
We started with all our tribe to go with General Crook back to the
2025
United States, but I feared treachery and decided to remain in
2026
Mexico. We were not under any guard at the time. The United States
2027
troops marched in front and the Indians followed, and when we became
2028
suspicious, we turned back. I do not know how far the United States
2029
army went after myself, and some warriors turned back before we were
2030
missed, and I do not care.
2031
2032
I have suffered much from such unjust orders as those of General
2033
Crook. Such acts have caused much distress to my people. I think that
2034
General Crook's death was sent by the Almighty as a punishment for the
2035
many evil deeds he committed.
2036
2037
2038
2039
2040
2041
General Miles Soon General Miles was made commander of all the western
2042
posts, and troops trailed us continually. They were led by Captain
2043
Lawton, who had good scout. The Mexican soldiers also became more
2044
active and more numerous. We had skirmishes almost every day, and so
2045
we finally decided to break up into small bands. With six men and four
2046
women I made for the range of mountains near Hot Springs, New
2047
Mexico. We passed many cattle ranches, but had no trouble with the
2048
cowboys. We killed cattle to eat whenever we were in need of food, but
2049
we frequently suffered greatly for water. At one time we had no water
2050
for two days and nights and our horses almost died from thirst. We
2051
ranged in the mountains of New Mexico for some time, then thinking
2052
that perhaps the troops had left Mexico, we returned. On our return
2053
through Old Mexico we attacked every Mexican found, even if for no
2054
other reason than to kill. We believed they had asked the United
2055
States troops to come down to Mexico to fight us.
2056
2057
South of Casa Grande, near a place called by the Indians Gosoda, there
2058
was a road leading out from the town. There was much freighting
2059
carried on by the Mexicans over this road. Where the road ran through
2060
a mountain pass we stayed in hiding, and whenever Mexican freighters
2061
passed we killed them, took what supplies we wanted, and destroyed the
2062
remainder. We were reckless of our lives, because we felt that every
2063
man's hand was against us. If we returned to the reservation we would
2064
be put in prison and killed; if we stayed in Mexico they would
2065
continue to send soldiers to fight us; so we gave no quarter to anyone
2066
and asked no favors.
2067
2068
After some time we left Gosoda and soon were reunited with our tribe
2069
in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.
2070
2071
Contrary to our expectations the United States soldiers had not left
2072
the mountains in Mexico, and were soon trailing us and skirmishing
2073
with us almost every day. Four or five times they surprised our
2074
camp. One time they surprised us about nine o'clock in the morning,
2075
and captured all our horses (nineteen in number) and secured our store
2076
of dried meats. We also lost three Indians in this encounter. About
2077
the middle of the afternoon of the same day we attacked them from the
2078
rear as they were passing through a prairie -killed one soldier, but
2079
lost none ourselves. In this skirmish we recovered all our horses
2080
except three that belonged to me. The three horses that we did not
2081
recover were the best riding horses we had.
2082
2083
Soon after this we made a treaty with the Mexican troops. They told us
2084
that the United States troops were the real cause of these wars, and
2085
agreed not to fight any more with us provided we would return to the
2086
United States. This we agreed to do, and resumed our march, expecting
2087
to try to make a treaty with the United States soldiers and return to
2088
Arizona. There seemed to be no other course to pursue.
2089
2090
Soon after this scouts from Captain Lawton's troops told us that he
2091
wished to make a treaty with us; but I knew that General Miles was the
2092
chief of the American troops, and I decided to treat with him.
2093
2094
We continued to move our camp northward, and the American troops also
2095
moved northward, keeping at no great distance from us, but not
2096
attacking us.
2097
2098
I sent my brother Porico (White Horse) with Mr. George Wratton on to
2099
Fort Bowie to see General Miles, and to tell him that we wished to
2100
return to Arizona; but before these messengers returned I met two
2101
Indian scouts -Kayitah, a Chokonen Apache, and Marteen, a Nedni
2102
Apache. They were serving as scouts for Captain Lawton's troops.They
2103
told me that General Miles had come and had sent them to ask me to
2104
meet him. So I went to the camp of the United States troops to meet
2105
General Miles.
2106
2107
When I arrived at their camp I went directly to General Miles and told
2108
him how I had been wronged, and that I wanted to return to the United
2109
States with my people, as we wished to see our families, who had been
2110
captured and taken away from us.
2111
2112
General Miles said to me: "The President of the United States has sent
2113
me to speak to you. He has heard of your trouble with the white men,
2114
and says that if you will agree to a few words of treaty we need have
2115
no more trouble. Geronimo, if you will agree to a few words of treaty
2116
all will be satisfactorily arranged."
2117
2118
So General Miles told me how we could be brothers to each other. We
2119
raised our hands to heaven and said that the treaty was not to be
2120
broken. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme
2121
against each other.
2122
2123
2124
2125
2126
2127
Negotiations with the Apaches Then he talked with me for a long time
2128
and told me what he would do for me in the future if I would agree to
2129
the treaty. I did not greatly believe General Miles, but because the
2130
President of the United States had sent me word I agreed to make the
2131
treaty, and to keep it. Then I asked General Miles what the treaty
2132
would be. General Miles said to me: "I will take you under Government
2133
protection; I will build you a house; I will fence you much land; I
2134
will give you cattle, horses, mules, and farming implements. You will
2135
be furnished with men to work the farm, for you yourself will not have
2136
to work. In the fall I will send you blankets and clothing so that you
2137
will not suffer from cold in the winter time.
2138
2139
"There is plenty of timber, water, and grass in the land to which I
2140
will send you. You will live with your tribe and with your family. If
2141
you agree to this treaty you shall see your family within five days."
2142
2143
I said to General Miles: "All the officers that have been in charge of
2144
the Indians have talked that way, and it sounds like a story to me; I
2145
hardly believe you."
2146
2147
He said: "This time it is the truth."
2148
2149
I said: "General Miles, I do not know the laws of the white man, nor
2150
of this new country where you are to send me, and I might break the
2151
laws."
2152
2153
He said:"While I live you will not be arrested."
2154
2155
Then I agreed to make the treaty. (Since then I have been a prisoner
2156
of war, I have been arrested and placed in the guardhouse twice for
2157
drinking whisky.)
2158
2159
We stood between his troopers and my warriors. We placed a large stone
2160
on the blanket before us. Our treaty was made by this stone, as it was
2161
to last until the stone should crumble to dust; so we made the treaty,
2162
and bound each other with an oath.
2163
2164
I do not believe that I have ever violated that treaty; but General
2165
Miles never fulfilled his promises.
2166
2167
When we had made the treaty General Miles said to me: "My brother, you
2168
have in your mind how you are going to kill me, and other thoughts of
2169
war; I want you to put that out of your mind, and change your thoughts
2170
to peace."
2171
2172
Then I agreed and gave up my arms. I said: "I will quit the war path
2173
and live at peace here after."
2174
2175
Then General Miles swept a spot of ground clear with his hand, and
2176
said: "Your past deeds shall be wiped out like this and you will start
2177
a new life."
2178
2179
2180
2181
2182
17/21
2183
2184
a Prisoner of War
2185
2186
2187
2188
When I had given up to the Government they put me on the Southern
2189
Pacific Railroad and took me to San Antonio, Texas, and held me to be
2190
tried by their laws.
2191
2192
2193
2194
2195
2196
Geronimo and his last warriors before transport In forty days they
2197
took me from there to Fort Pickens (Pensacola), Florida. Here they put
2198
me to sawing up large logs. There were several other Apache warriors
2199
with me, and all of us had to work every day. For nearly two years we
2200
were kept at hard labor in this place and we did not see our families
2201
until May, 1887. This treatment was in direct violation of our treaty
2202
made at Skeleton Canyon.
2203
2204
After this we were sent with our families to Vermont, Alabama, where
2205
we stayed five years and worked for the Government. We had no
2206
property, and I looked in vain for General Miles to send me to that
2207
land of which he had spoken; I longed in vain for the implements,
2208
house, and stock that General Miles had promised me.
2209
2210
During this time one of my warriors, Fun, killed himself and his
2211
wife. Another one shot his wife and then shot himself. He fell dead,
2212
but the woman recovered and is still living.
2213
2214
We were not healthy in this place, for the climate disagreed with
2215
us. So many of our people died that I consented to let one of my wives
2216
go to the Mescalero Agency in New Mexico to live. This separation is
2217
according to our custom equivalent to what the white people call
2218
divorce, and so she married again soon after she got to Mescalero. She
2219
also kept our two small children, which she had a right to do. The
2220
children, Lenna and Robbie, are still living at Mescalero, New
2221
Mexico. Lenna is married. I kept one wife, but she is dead now and I
2222
have only our daughter Eva with me. Since my separation from Lenna's
2223
mother I have never had more than one wife at a time. Since the death
2224
of Eva's mother I married another woman (December, 1905) but we could
2225
not live happily and separated. She went home to her people-that is an
2226
Apache divorce.
2227
2228
Then, as now, Mr. George Wratton superintended the Indians. He has
2229
always had trouble with the Indians, because he has mistreated
2230
them. One day an Indian, while drunk, stabbed Mr. Wratton with a
2231
little knife. The officer in charge took the part of Mr. Wratton and
2232
the Indian was sent to prison.
2233
2234
2235
2236
2237
2238
Geronimo in his garden in Florida When we first came to Fort Sill,
2239
Captain Scot was in charge, and he had houses built for us by the
2240
Government. We were also given, from the Government, cattle, hogs,
2241
turkeys and chickens. The Indians did not do much good with the
2242
hogs. because they did not understand how to care for them, and not
2243
many Indians even at the present time keep hogs. We did better with
2244
the turkeys and chickens, but with these we did not have as good luck
2245
as white men do. With the cattle we have done very well indeed, and we
2246
like to raise them. We have a few horses also, and have had no bad
2247
luck with them.
2248
2249
In the matter of selling our stock and grain there has been much
2250
misunderstanding. The Indians understood that the cattle were to be
2251
sold and the money given to them, but instead part of the money is
2252
given to the Indians and part of it is placed in what the officers
2253
call the "Apache Fund." We have had five different officers in charge
2254
of the Indians here and they have all ruled very much alike-not
2255
consulting the Apaches or even explaining to them. It may be that the
2256
Government ordered the officers in charge to put this cattle money
2257
into an Apache fund, for once I complained and told Lieutenant
2258
Purington that I intended to report to the Government that he had
2259
taken some of my part of the cattle money and put it into the Apache
2260
Fund, he said he did not care if I did tell.
2261
2262
Several years ago the issue of clothing ceased. This, too, may have
2263
been by the order of the Government, but the Apaches do not understand
2264
it.
2265
2266
If there is an Apache Fund, it should some day be turned over to the
2267
Indians, or at least they should have an account of it, for it is
2268
their earnings.
2269
2270
When General Miles last visited Fort Sill I asked to be relieved from
2271
labor on account of my age. I also remembered what General Miles had
2272
promised me in the treaty and told him of it. He said I need not work
2273
any more except when I wished to, and since that time I have not been
2274
detailed to do any work. I have worked a great deal, however, since
2275
then, for, although I am old, I like to work and help my people as
2276
much as I am able.
2277
2278
2279
2280
2281
2282
2283
2284
2285
2286
2287
2288
2289
2290
2291
2292
2293
2294
18/21
2295
2296
Unwritten Laws of the Apaches
2297
2298
2299
2300
TRIALS When an Indian has been wronged by a member of his tribe he
2301
may, if he does not wish to settle the difficulty personally, make
2302
complaint to the Chieftain. If he is unable to meet the offending
2303
parties in a personal encounter, and disdains to make complaint,
2304
anyone may in his stead inform the chief of this conduct, and then it
2305
becomes necessary to have an investigation or trial. Both the accused
2306
and the accuser are entitled to witnesses, and their witnesses are not
2307
interrupted in any way by questions, but simply say what they wish to
2308
say in regard to the matter. The witnesses are not placed under oath,
2309
because it is not believed that they will give false testimony in a
2310
matter relating to their own people.
2311
2312
The chief of the tribe presides during these trials, but if it is a
2313
serious offense he asks two or three leaders to sit with him. These
2314
simply determine whether or not the man is guilty. If he is not guilty
2315
the matter is ended, and the complaining party has forfeited his right
2316
to take personal vengeance, for if he wishes to take vengeance
2317
himself, he must object to the trial which would prevent it. If the
2318
accused is found guilty the injured party fixes the penalty, which is
2319
generally confirmed by the chief and his associates.
2320
2321
ADOPTION OF CHILDREN If any children are left orphans by the usage of
2322
war or otherwise, that is, if both parents are dead, the chief of the
2323
tribe may adopt them or give them away as he desires. In the case of
2324
outlawed Indians, they may, if they wish, take their children with
2325
them, but if they leave the children with the tribe, the chief decides
2326
what will be done with them, but no disgrace attaches to the children.
2327
2328
"SALT LAKE" We obtained our salt from a little lake in the Gila
2329
Mountains. This is a very small lake of clear, shallow water, and in
2330
the center a small mound arises above the surface of the water. The
2331
water is too salty to drink, and the bottom of the lake is covered
2332
with a brown crust. When this crust is broken cakes of salt adhere to
2333
it. These cakes of salt may be washed clear in the water of this lake,
2334
but if washed in other water will dissolve.
2335
2336
When visiting this lake our people were not allowed to even kill game
2337
or attack an enemy. All creatures were free to go and come without
2338
molestation.
2339
2340
PREPARATION OF A WARRIOR To be admitted as a warrior a youth must have
2341
gone with the warriors of his tribe four separate times on the war
2342
path.
2343
2344
On the first trip he will be given only very inferior food. With this
2345
he must be contented without murmuring. On none of the four trips is
2346
he allowed to select his food as the warriors do, but must eat such
2347
food as he is permitted to have.
2348
2349
On each of these expeditions he acts as servant, cares for the horses,
2350
cooks the food, and does whatever duties he should do without being
2351
told. He knows what things are to be done, and without waiting to be
2352
told is to do them. He is not allowed to speak to any warrior except
2353
in answer to questions or when told to speak.
2354
2355
During these four wars he is expected to learn the sacred names of
2356
everything used in war, for after the tribe enters upon the war path
2357
no common names are used in referring to anything appertaining to war
2358
in any way. War is a solemn religious matter.
2359
2360
If, after four expeditions, all the warriors are satisfied that the
2361
youth has been industrious, has not spoken out of order, has been
2362
discreet in all things, has shown courage in battle, has borne all
2363
hardships uncomplainingly, and has exhibited no color of cowardice, or
2364
weakness of any kind, he may by vote of the council be admitted as a
2365
warrior; but if any warrior objects to him upon any account he will be
2366
subjected to further tests, and if he meets these courageously, his
2367
name may again be proposed. When he has proven beyond question that he
2368
can bear hardships without complaint, and that he is a stranger to
2369
fear, he is admitted to the council of the warriors in the lowest
2370
rank. After this there is no formal test for promotions, but by common
2371
consent he assumes a station on the battlefield, and if that position
2372
is maintained with honor, he is allowed to keep it, and may be asked,
2373
or may volunteer, to take a higher station, but no warrior would
2374
presume to take a higher station unless he had assurance from the
2375
leaders of the tribe that his conduct in the first position was worthy
2376
of commendation.
2377
2378
From this point upward the only election by the council in formal
2379
assembly is the election of the chief.
2380
2381
Old men are not allowed to lead in battle, but their advice is always
2382
respected. Old age means loss of physical power and is fatal to active
2383
leadership.
2384
2385
DANCES All dances are considered religious ceremonies and are presided
2386
over by a chief and medicine men. They are of a social or military
2387
nature, but never without some sacred characteristic.
2388
2389
A DANCE OF THANKSGIVING Every summer we would gather the fruit of the
2390
yucca, grind and pulverize it and mold it into cakes; then the tribe
2391
would be assembled to feast, to sing, and to give praises to
2392
Usen. Prayers of Thanksgiving were said by all. When the dance began
2393
the leaders bore these cakes and added words of praise occasionally to
2394
the usual tone sounds of the music.
2395
2396
THE WAR DANCE After a council of the warriors had deliberated, and had
2397
prepared for the war path, the dance would be started. In this dance
2398
there is the usual singing led by the warriors and accompanied with
2399
the beating of the "esadadene," but the dancing is more violent, and
2400
yells and war whoops sometimes almost drown the music. Only warriors
2401
participated in this dance.
2402
2403
SCALP DANCE After a war party has returned, a modification of the war
2404
dance is held. The warriors who have brought scalps from the battles
2405
exhibit them to the tribe, and when the dance begins these scalps,
2406
elevated on poles or spears, are carried around the camp fires while
2407
the dance is in progress. During this dance there is still some of the
2408
solemnity of the war dance. There are yells and war-whoops, frequently
2409
accompanied by discharge of firearms, but there is always more levity
2410
than would be permitted at a war dance. After the scalp dance is over
2411
the scalps are thrown away. No Apache would keep them, for they are
2412
considered defiling.
2413
2414
A SOCIAL DANCE In the early part of September, 1905, I announced among
2415
the Apaches that my daughter, Eva, having attained womanhood, should
2416
now put away childish things and assume her station as a young
2417
lady. At a dance of the tribe she would make her debut, and then, or
2418
thereafter, it would be proper for a warrior to seek her hand in
2419
marriage. Accordingly, invitations were issued to all Apaches, and
2420
many Comanches and Kiowas, to assemble for a grand dance on the green
2421
by the south bank of Medicine Creek, near the village of Naiche,
2422
former chief of the Chokonen Apaches, on the first night of full moon
2423
in September. The festivities were to continue for two days and
2424
nights. Nothing was omitted in the preparation that would contribute
2425
to the enjoyment of the guests or the perfection of the observance of
2426
the religious rite.
2427
2428
To make ready for the dancing the grass on a large circular space was
2429
closely mowed.
2430
2431
The singing was led by Chief Naiche, and I, assisted by our medicine
2432
men, directed the dance.
2433
2434
First Eva advanced from among the women and danced once around the
2435
camp fire; then, accompanied by another young woman, she again
2436
advanced and both danced twice around the camp fire; then she and two
2437
other young ladies advanced and danced three times around the camp
2438
fire; the next time she and three other young ladies advanced and
2439
danced four times around the camp fire; this ceremony lasted about one
2440
hour. Next the medicine men entered, stripped to the waist, their
2441
bodies painted fantastically, and danced the sacred dances. They were
2442
followed by clown dancers who amused the audience greatly.
2443
2444
Then the members of the tribe joined hands and danced in a circle
2445
around the camp fire for a long time. All the friends of the tribe
2446
were asked to take part in this dance, and when it was ended many of
2447
the old people retired, and the "lovers' dance" began.
2448
2449
The warriors stood in the middle of the circle and the ladies,
2450
two-and-two, danced forward and designated some warrior to dance with
2451
them. The dancing was back and forth on a line from the center to the
2452
outer edge of the circle. The warrior faced the two ladies, and when
2453
they danced forward to the center he danced backward: then they danced
2454
backward to the outer edge and he followed facing them. This lasted
2455
two or three hours and then the music changed. Immediately the
2456
warriors assembled again in the center of the circle, and this time
2457
each lady selected a warrior as a partner. The manner of dancing was
2458
as before, only two instead of three danced together. During this
2459
dance, which continued until daylight, the warrior (if dancing with a
2460
maiden) could propose marriage, and if the maiden agreed, he would
2461
consult her father soon afterward and make a bargain for her.
2462
2463
Upon all such occasions as this, when the dance is finished, each
2464
warrior gives a present to the lady who selected him for a partner and
2465
danced with him. If she is satisfied with the present he says good-by,
2466
if not, the matter is referred to someone in authority (medicine man
2467
or chief), who determines the question of what is a proper gift.
2468
2469
For a married lady the value of the present should be two or three
2470
dollars; for a maiden the present should have a value of not less than
2471
five dollars. Often, however, the maiden receives a very valuable
2472
present.
2473
2474
During the "lovers' dance" the medicine men mingle with the dancers to
2475
keep out evil spirits.
2476
2477
Perhaps I shall never again have cause to assemble our people to
2478
dance, but these social dances in the moonlight have been a large part
2479
of our enjoyment in the past, and I think they will not soon be
2480
discontinued, at least I hope not.
2481
2482
2483
2484
2485
2486
2487
2488
2489
2490
2491
2492
2493
2494
2495
2496
2497
2498
19/21
2499
2500
At the World's Fair
2501
2502
2503
2504
WHEN I was at first asked to attend the St. Louis World's Fair I did
2505
not wish to go. Later, when I was told that I would receive good
2506
attention and protection, and that the President of the United States
2507
said that it would be all right, I consented. I was kept by parties in
2508
charge of the Indian Department, who had obtained permission from the
2509
President. I stayed in this place for six months. I sold my
2510
photographs for twenty-five cents, and was allowed to keep ten cents
2511
of this for myself. I also wrote my name for ten, fifteen, or
2512
twenty-five cents, as the case might be, and kept all of that money. I
2513
often made as much as two dollars a day, and when I returned I had
2514
plenty of money -more than I had ever owned before.
2515
2516
Many people in St. Louis invited me to come to their homes, but my
2517
keeper always refused. Every Sunday the President of the Fair sent for
2518
me to go to a wild west show. I took part in the roping contests
2519
before the audience. There were many other Indian tribes there, and
2520
strange people of whom I had never heard.
2521
2522
2523
2524
2525
2526
Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair When people first came to
2527
the World's Fair they did nothing but parade up and down the
2528
streets. When they got tired of this they would visit the shows. There
2529
were many strange things in these shows. The Government sent guards
2530
with me when I went, and I was not allowed to go anywhere without
2531
them.
2532
2533
In one of the shows some strange men with red caps had some peculiar
2534
swords, and they seemed to want to fight. Finally their manager told
2535
them they might fight each other. They tried to hit each other over
2536
the head with these swords, and I expected both to be wounded or
2537
perhaps killed, but neither one was harmed. They would be hard people
2538
to kill in a hand-to-hand fight.
2539
2540
In another show there was a strange-looking negro. The manager tied
2541
his hands fast, then tied him to a chair. He was securely tied, for I
2542
looked myself, and I did not think it was possible for him to get
2543
away. Then the manager told him to get loose.
2544
2545
He twisted in his chair for a moment, and then stood up; the ropes
2546
were still tied but he was free. I do not understand how this was
2547
done. It was certainly a miraculous power, because no man could have
2548
released himself by his own efforts.
2549
2550
In another place a man was on a platform speaking to the audience;
2551
they set a basket by the side of the platform and covered it with red
2552
calico; then a woman came and got into the basket, and a man covered
2553
the basket again with the calico; then the man who was speaking to the
2554
audience took a long sword and ran it through the basket, each way,
2555
and then down through the cloth cover. I heard the sword cut through
2556
the woman's body, and the manager himself said she was dead; but when
2557
the cloth was lifted from the basket she stepped out, smiled, and
2558
walked off the stage. I would like to know how she was so quickly
2559
healed, and why the wounds did not kill her.
2560
2561
I have never considered bears very intelligent, except in their wild
2562
habits, but I had never before seen a white bear. In one of the shows
2563
a man had a white bear that was as intelligent as a man. He would do
2564
whatever he was told -carry a log on his shoulder, just as a man
2565
would; then, when he was told, would put it down again. He did many
2566
other things, and seemed to know exactly what his keeper said to
2567
him. I am sure that no grizzly bear could be trained to do these
2568
things.
2569
2570
One time the guards took me into a little house that had four
2571
windows. When we were seated the little house started to move along
2572
the ground. Then the guards called my attention to some curious things
2573
they had in their pockets. Finally they told me to look out, and when
2574
I did so I was scared, for our little house had gone high up in the
2575
air, and the people down in the Fair Grounds looked no larger than
2576
ants. The men laughed at me for being scared; then they gave me a
2577
glass to look through (I often had such glasses which I took from dead
2578
officers after battles in Mexico and elsewhere), and I could see
2579
rivers, lakes and mountains. But I had never been so high in the air,
2580
and I tried to look into the sky. There were no stars, and I could not
2581
look at the sun through this glass because the brightness hurt my
2582
eyes. Finally I put the glass down, and as they were all laughing at
2583
me, I, too, began to laugh. Then they said, "Get out!" and when I
2584
looked we were on the street again. After we were safe on the land I
2585
watched many of these little houses going up and coming down, but I
2586
cannot understand how they travel. They are very curious little
2587
houses.
2588
2589
One day we went into another show, and as soon as we were in it, it
2590
changed into night. It was real night, for I could feel the damp air;
2591
soon it began to thunder, and the lightnings flashed; it was real
2592
lightning, too, for it struck just above our heads. I dodged and
2593
wanted to run away but I could not tell which way to go in order to
2594
get out. The guards motioned me to keep still and so I stayed. In
2595
front of us were some strange little people who came out on the
2596
platform; then I looked up again and the clouds were all gone, and I
2597
could see stars shining. The little people on the platform did not
2598
seem in earnest about anything they did; so I only laughed at
2599
them. All the people around where we sat seemed to be laughing at me.
2600
2601
We went into another place and the manager took us into a little room
2602
that was made like a cage; then everything around us seemed to be
2603
moving; soon the air looked blue, then there were black clouds moving
2604
with the wind. Pretty soon it was clear outside; then we saw a few
2605
thin white clouds; then the clouds grew thicker, and it rained and
2606
hailed with thunder and lightning. Then the thunder retreated and a
2607
rainbow appeared in the distance; then it became dark, the moon rose
2608
and thousands of stars came out. Soon the sun came up, and we got out
2609
of the little room. This was a good show, but it was so strange and
2610
unnatural that I was glad to be on the streets again.
2611
2612
We went into one place where they made glassware. I had always thought
2613
that these things were made by hand, but they are not. The man had a
2614
curious little instrument, and whenever he would blow through this
2615
into a little blaze the glass would take any shape he wanted it to. I
2616
am not sure, but I think that if I had this kind of an instrument I
2617
could make whatever I wished. There seems to be a charm about it. But
2618
I suppose it is very difficult to get these little instruments, or
2619
people would have them. The people in this show were so anxious to buy
2620
the things the man made that they kept him so busy he could not sit
2621
down all day long. I bought many curious things in there and brought
2622
them home with me.
2623
2624
At the end of one of the streets some people were getting into a
2625
clumsy canoe, upon a kind of shelf, and sliding down into the
2626
water. They seemed to enjoy it, but it looked too fierce for me. If
2627
one of these canoes had gone out of its path the people would have
2628
been sure to get hurt or killed.
2629
2630
There were some little brown people at the Fair that United States
2631
troops captured recently on some islands far away from here.
2632
2633
They did not wear much clothing, and I think that they should not have
2634
been allowed to come to the Fair. But they themselves did not seem to
2635
know any better. They had some little brass plates, and they tried to
2636
play music with these, but I did not think it was music it was only a
2637
rattle. However, they danced to this noise and seemed to think they
2638
were giving a fine show.
2639
2640
I do not know how true the report was, but I heard that the President
2641
sent them to the Fair so that they could learn some manners, and when
2642
they went home teach their people how to dress and how to behave.
2643
2644
I am glad I went to the Fair. I saw many interesting things and
2645
learned much of the white people. They are a very kind and peaceful
2646
people. During all the time I was at the Fair no one tried to harm me
2647
in any way. Had this been among the Mexicans I am sure I should have
2648
been compelled to defend myself often.
2649
2650
I wish all my people could have attended the Fair.
2651
2652
2653
2654
2655
2656
2657
2658
2659
2660
2661
2662
2663
2664
2665
2666
2667
2668
20/21
2669
2670
Religion
2671
2672
2673
2674
In our primitive worship only our relations to Usen and the members of
2675
our tribe were considered as appertaining to our religious
2676
responsibilities. As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe
2677
were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations
2678
and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after
2679
this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after
2680
death. I have seen many men die; I have seen many human bodies
2681
decayed, but I have never seen that part which is called the spirit; I
2682
do not know what it is; nor have I yet been able to understand that
2683
part of the Christian religion. We held that the discharge of one's
2684
duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future
2685
life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one
2686
was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life family and
2687
tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we
2688
did not know it.
2689
2690
Once when living in San Carlos Reservation an Indian told me that
2691
while lying unconscious on the battlefield he had actually been dead,
2692
and had passed into the spirit land.
2693
2694
2695
2696
2697
2698
Geronimo at old age First he came to a mulberry tree growing out from
2699
a cave in the ground. Before this cave a guard was stationed, but when
2700
he approached without fear the guard let him pass. He descended into
2701
the cave, and a little way back the path widened and terminated in a
2702
perpendicular rock many hundreds of feet wide and equal in
2703
height. There was not much light, but by peering directly beneath him
2704
he discovered a pile of sand reaching from the depths below to within
2705
twenty feet of the top of the rock where he stood. Holding to a bush,
2706
he swung off from the edge of the rock and dropped onto the sand,
2707
sliding rapidly down its steep side into the darkness. He landed in a
2708
narrow passage running due westward through a canyon which gradually
2709
grew lighter and lighter until he could see as well as if it had been
2710
daylight; but there was no sun. Finally he came to a section of this
2711
passage that was wider for a short distance, and then closing abruptly
2712
continued in a narrow path; just where this section narrowed two huge
2713
serpents were coiled, and rearing their heads, hissed at him as he
2714
approached, but he showed no fear, and as soon as he came close to
2715
them they withdrew quietly and let him pass. At the next place, where
2716
the passage opened into a wider section, were two grizzly bears
2717
prepared to attack him, but when he approached and spoke to them they
2718
stood aside and he passed unharmed. He continued to follow the narrow
2719
passage, and the third time it widened and two mountain lions crouched
2720
in the way, but when he had approached them without fear and had
2721
spoken to them they also withdrew. He again entered the narrow
2722
passage. For some time he followed this emerging into a fourth section
2723
beyond which he could see nothing: the further walls of this section
2724
were clashing together at regular intervals with tremendous sounds,
2725
but when he approached them they stood apart until he had
2726
passed. After this he seemed to be in a forest, and following the
2727
natural draws which led westward soon came into a green valley where
2728
there were many Indians camped and plenty of game. He said that he saw
2729
and recognized many whom he had known in this life, and that he was
2730
sorry when he was brought back to consciousness.
2731
2732
I told him if I knew this to be true I would not want to live another
2733
day, but by some means, if by my own hands, I would die in order to
2734
enjoy these pleasures. I myself have lain unconscious on the
2735
battlefield, and while in that condition have had some strange
2736
thoughts or experiences; but they are very dim and I cannot recall
2737
them well enough to relate them. Many Indians believed this warrior,
2738
and I cannot say that he did not tell the truth. I wish I knew that
2739
what he said is beyond question true. But perhaps it is as well that
2740
we are not certain.
2741
2742
Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have heard the teachings of
2743
the white man's religion, and in many respects believe it to be better
2744
than the religion of my fathers. However, I have always prayed, and I
2745
believe that the Almighty has always protected me.
2746
2747
Believing that in a wise way it is good to go to church, and that
2748
associating with Christians would improve my character, I have adopted
2749
the Christian religion. I believe that the church has helped me much
2750
during the short time I have been a member. I am not ashamed to be a
2751
Christian, and I am glad to know that the President of the United
2752
States is a Christian, for without the help of the Almighty I do not
2753
think he could rightly judge in ruling so many people. I have advised
2754
all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion,
2755
because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live
2756
right.
2757
2758
2759
2760
2761
2762
2763
2764
2765
2766
2767
2768
2769
2770
2771
21/21
2772
2773
Hopes for the Future
2774
2775
2776
2777
I am thankful that the President Of the United States has given me
2778
permission to tell my story. I hope that he and those in authority
2779
under him will read my story and judge whether my people have been
2780
rightly treated.
2781
2782
There is a great question between the Apache and the Government. For
2783
twenty years we have been held prisoners of war under a treaty which
2784
was made with General Miles, on the part of the United States
2785
Government, and myself as the representative of the Apaches. That
2786
treaty has not at all times been properly observed by the Government,
2787
although at the present time it is being more nearly fulfilled on
2788
their part the heretofore. In the treaty with General Miles we agreed
2789
to go to a place outside of Arizona and learn to live as the white
2790
people do. I think that my people are now capable of living in
2791
accordance with the laws of the United States, and we would, of
2792
course, like to have the liberty to return to that land which is ours
2793
by divine right. We are reduced in numbers, and having learned how to
2794
cultivate the soil would not require so much ground as was formerly
2795
necessary. We do not ask all of the land which the Almighty gave us in
2796
the beginning, but that we may have sufficient lands there to
2797
cultivate. What we do not need we are glad for the white men to
2798
cultivate.
2799
2800
We are now held on Comanche and Kiowa lands, which are not suited to
2801
our needs-these lands and this climate are suited to the Indians who
2802
originally inhabited this country, of course, but our people are
2803
decreasing in numbers here, and will continue to decrease unless they
2804
are allowed to return to their native land. Such a result is
2805
inevitable.
2806
2807
Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair There is no climate or
2808
soil which, to my mind, is equal to that of Arizona. We could have
2809
plenty of good cultivating land, plenty of grass, plenty of timber and
2810
plenty of minerals in that land which the Almighty created for the
2811
Apaches. It is my land, my home, my fathers' land, to which I now ask
2812
to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be
2813
buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace,
2814
feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase
2815
in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name
2816
would not become extinct.
2817
2818
I know that if my people were placed in that mountainous region lying
2819
around the head waters of the Gila River they would live in peace and
2820
act according to the will of the President. They would be prosperous
2821
and happy in tilling the soil and learning the civilization of the
2822
white men, whom they now respect. Could I but see this accomplished, I
2823
think I could forget all the wrongs that I have ever received, and die
2824
a contented and happy old man. But we can do nothing in this matter
2825
ourselves-we must wait until those in authority choose to act. If this
2826
cannot be done during my lifetime-if I must die in bondage- I hope
2827
that the remnant of the Apache tribe may, when I am gone, be granted
2828
the one privilege which they request-to return to Arizona.
2829
2830
2831