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Author: William A. Stein
1Geronimo: His Story
2
3In the beginning the world was covered with darkness. There was no
4sun, no day. The perpetual night had no moon or stars.
5
6There were, however, all manner of beasts and birds. Among the beasts
7were many hideous, nameless monsters, as well as dragons, lions,
8tigers, wolves, foxes, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, and
9all manner of creeping things such as lizards and serpents. Mankind
10could not prosper under such conditions, for the beasts and serpents
11destroyed all human offspring.
12
13All creatures had the power of speech and were gifted with reason.
14
15There were two tribes of creatures: the birds or the feathered tribe
16and the beasts. The former were organized wider their chief, the
17eagle.
18
19These tribes often held councils, and the birds wanted light
20admitted. This the beasts repeatedLy refused to do. Finally the birds
22
23The beasts were armed with clubs, but the eagle had taught his tribe
24to use bows and arrows. The serpents were so wise that they could not
25all be killed. One took refuge in a perpendicular cliff of a mountain
26in Arizona, and his eyes (changed into a brilliant stone) may be see
27in that rock to this day. The bears, when killed, would each be
28changed into several other bears, so that the more bears the feathered
29tribe killed, the more there were. The dragon could not be killed,
30either, for he was covered with four coats of horny scales, and the
31arrows would not penetrate these. One of the most hideous, vile
32monsters (nameless) was proof against arrows, so the eagle flew high
33up in the air with a round, white stone, and let it fall on this
34monster's head, killing him instantly. This was such a good service
35that the stone was called sacred. They fought for many days, but at
36last the birds won the victory.
37
38After this war was over, although some evil beasts remained, the birds
39were able to control the councils, and light was admitted, Then
40mankind could live and prosper. The eagle was chief in this good
41fight: therefore, his feathers were worn by man as emblems of wisdom,
42justice, and power.
43
44Among the few human beings that were yet alive was a woman who had
45been blessed with many children, but these had always been destroyed
46by the beasts. If by any means she succeeded in eluding the others,
47the dragon, who was very wise and very evil, would come himself and
48eat her babes.
49
50After many years a son of the rainstorm was born to her and she dug
51for him a deep cave. The entrance to this cave she closed and over the
52spot built a camp fire. This concealed the babe's hiding place and
53kept him warm. Every day she would remove the fire and descend into
54the cave, where the child's bed was, to nurse him; then she would
55return and rebuild the camp fire.
56
57Frequently the dragon would come and question her, but she would say,
58I have no more children; you have eaten all of them.
59
60When the child was larger he would not always stay in the cave, for he
61sometimes wanted to run and play. Once the dragon saw his tracks. Now
62this perplexed and enraged the old dragon, for he could not find the
63hiding place of the boy; but he said that he would destroy the mother
64if she did not reveal the child's hiding place. The poor mother was
65very much troubled; she could not give up her child, but she knew the
66power and cunning of the dragon, therefore she lived in constant fear.
67
68Soon after this the boy said that he wished to go hunting. The mother
69would not give her consent. She told him of the dragon, the wolves,
70and serpents; but he said, To-morrow I go.
71
72At the boy's request his uncle (who was the only man then living) made
73a little bow and some arrows for him, and the two went hunting the
74next day. They trailed the deer far up the mountain and finally the
75boy killed a buck. His uncle showed him how to dress the deer and
76broil the meat. They broiled two hind quarters, one the child and one
77for his uncle. When the meat was done they placed it on some bushes to
78cool. Just then the huge form of the dragon appeared. The child was
79not afraid, but his uncle was so dumb with fright that he did not
80speak or move.
81
82The dragon took the boy's parcel of meat and went aside with it. He
83placed the meat on another bush and seated himself beside it. Then he
84said, This is the child I have been seeking. Boy, you are nice and
85fat, so when I have eaten this venison I shall eat you. The boy said,
86No, you shall not eat me, and you shall not eat that meat. So he
87walked over to where the dragon sat and to where the meat back to his
88own seat. The dragon said, I like your courage, but you are foolish;
89what do you think you could do? Well, said the boy, I can do enough to
90protect myself, as you may bind out. Then the dragon took the meat
91again, and then the boy retook it. Four times in all the dragon took
92the meat, and after the fourth time the boy replaced the meat he said,
93Dragon, will you fight me? The dragon said, Yes, in whatever way you
94like. The boy said, I will stand one hundred paces distant from you
95and you may have four shots at me with your bow and arrows, provided
96that you will then exchange places with me and give me four
97shots. Good, said the dragon. Stand up.
98
99Then the dragon took his bow, which was made of a large pine tree. He
100took four arrows from his quiver; they were made of young pine tree
101saplings, and each arrow was twenty feet in length. He took deliberate
102aim, but just as the arrow left the bow the boy made a peculiar sound
103and leaped into the air. Immediately the arrow was shivered into a
104thousand splinters, and the boy was seen standing on the top of a
105bright rainbow over the spot where the dragon's aim had been
106directed. Soon the rainbow was gone and the boy was standing on the
107ground again. Four times this was repeated, then the boy said, Dragon,
108stand here: it is my time to shoot. The dragon said, All right, your
109little arrows cannot pierce my first coat of horn, and I have three
110other coats --shoot away. The boy shot an arrow, striking the dragon
111just over the heart, and one coat of the great horny scales fell to
112the ground. The next shot another coat, and then another, and the
113dragon's heart was exposed. Then the dragon trembled, but could not
114move. Before the fourth arrow was shot the boy said, Uncle, you are
115dumb with fear; you have not moved; come here or the dragon will fall
116on you.His uncle ran toward him. Then he sped the fourth arrow with
117true aim, and it pierced the dragon's heart. With a tremendous roar
118the dragon rolled down the mountain side---down four precipices into a
119canon below.
120
121Immediately storm clouds swept the mountains, lightning flashed,
122thunder rolled, and the rain poured. When the rainstorm had passed,
123far down in the canon below, they could see fragments of the huge body
124of the dragon lying among the rocks, and the bones of this dragon may
125still be found there.
126
127This boy's name was Apache. Usen taught him how to prepare herbs for
128medicine, how to hunt, and how to fight. He was the first chief of the
129Indians and wore the eagle's feathers the sign of justice, wisdom, and
130power. To him and to his people, as they were created, Usen gave homes
131in the land of the West.
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138Subdivisions of the Apache Tribe
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142The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these,
143the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.
144
145Our tribe inhabited that region of mountainous country which lies west
146from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the
147Gila River.
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153 Victoria East of us lived the Chi-hen-ne (Ojo Caliente), (Hot
154 Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with
155 them. Victoria, their chief (first portrait), was always a friend to
156 me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost
157 his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good
158 man and a brave warrior. His son Charlie now lives here in this
159 reservation with us.
160
161North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on
162the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with
163them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-ai-la, personally, and I considered
164him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the Navajo
165Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held
166councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo
167Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.
168
169To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-a-hen Apaches. They had
170two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were
171friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.
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177Cochise South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose
178chief in the old days was Cochise (second portrait), and later his
179son, Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with
180us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, Who was
181my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage. (third picture:
182Geronimo riding with Naiche)
183
184To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ni Apaches. Their chief was
185Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa They were our firm
186friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly
187in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as
188brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is
189dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.
190
191Still the four tribes (Bedonkohe, Chokonen, Chihenne, and Nedni), who
192were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they
193decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would
194dissolve our bonds of friendship.
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196We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or
197Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and
198certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
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200For each tribe of men Usen created He also made a home. In the land
201created for any particular tribe. He placed whatever would be best for
202the welfare of that tribe.
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206When
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208Geronimo riding with Naiche Usen created the Apaches He also created
209their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game
210as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked
211them He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to
212find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a
213pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at
214hand.
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216Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created
217for the other by Usen himself. When they are taken from these homes
218they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are
219no Apaches?
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239Early Life
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243I was born in No-doyohn Canon, Arizona, June, 1829.
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245In that country which lies around the head waters of the Gila River I
246was reared. This range was our fatherland; among these mountains our
247wigwams were hidden; the scattered valleys contained our fields; the
248boundless prairies, stretching away on every side, were our pastures;
249the rocky caverns were our burying places.
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255Porico or White Horse, Geronimo's brother I was fourth in a family of
256eight children-- four boys and four girls. Of that family, only
257myself, my brother, Porico, and my sister, Nah-da-ste , are yet
258alive. We are held as prisoners of war in this Military Reservation
259(Fort Sill).
260
261As a babe I rolled on the dirt floor of my father's tepee, hung in my
262tsoch (Apache name for cradle) at my mother's back, or suspended from
263the bough of a tree. I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds, and
264sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes.
265
266When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me
267of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She
268also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom,
269and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had
270aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were
271taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.
272
273My father had often told me of the brave deeds of our warriors, of the
274pleasures of the chase, and the glories of the war path.
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280Nah-da-ste, Geronimo's sister With my brothers and sisters I played
281about my father's home. Sometimes we played at hide-and-seek among the
282rocks and pines; sometimes we loitered in the shade of the cottonwood
283trees or sought the shudock (a kind of wild cherry) while our parents
284worked in the field. Sometimes we played that we were warriors. We
285would practice stealing upon some object that represented an enemy,
286and in our childish imitation often perform the feats of
287war. Sometimes we would hide away from our mother to see if she could
288find us, and often when thus concealed go to sleep and perhaps remain
289hidden for many hours.
290
291When we were old enough to be of real service we went to the field
292with our parents: not to play, but to toil. When the crops were to be
293planted we broke the ground with wooden hoes. We planted the corn in
294straight rows, the beans among the corn, and the melons and pumpkins
295in irregular order over the field. We cultivated these crops as there
296was need.
297
298Our field usually contained about two acres of ground. The fields were
299never fenced. It was common for many families to cultivate land in the
300same valley and share the burden of protecting the growing crops from
301destruction by the ponies of the tribe, or by deer and other wild
302animals.
303
304Melons were gathered as they were consumed. In the autumn pumpkins and
305beans were gathered and placed in bags or baskets; ears of corn were
306tied together by the husks, and then the harvest was carried on the
307backs of ponies up to our homes. Here the corn was shelled, and all
308the harvest stored away in caves or other secluded places to be used
309in winter.
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311We never fed corn to our ponies, but if we kept them up in the winter
312time we gave them fodder to eat. We had no cattle or other domestic
313animals except our dogs and ponies.
314
315We did not cultivate tobacco, but found it growing wild. This we cut
316and cured in autumn, but if the supply ran out the leaves from the
317stalks left standing served our purpose. All Indians smoked---men and
318women. No boy was allowed to smoke until he had hunted alone and
319killed large game--wolves and bears. Unmarried women were not
320prohibited from smoking, but were considered immodest if they did
321so. Nearly all matrons smoked.
322
323Besides grinding the corn (by hand with stone mortars and pestles) for
324bread, we sometimes crushed it and soaked it, and after it had
325fermented made from this juice a tis-win, which had the power of
326intoxication, and was very highly prized by the Indians. This work was
327done by the squaws and children. When berries or nuts were to be
328gathered the small children and the squaws would go in parties to hunt
329them, and sometimes stay all day. When they went any great distance
330from camp they took ponies to carry the baskets
331
332I frequentLy went with these parties, and upon one of these excursions
333a woman named Cho-ko-le got lost from the party and was riding her
334pony through a thicket in search of her friends. Her little dog was
335following as she slowly made her way through the thick underbrush and
336pine trees. All at once a grizzly bear rose in her path and attacked
337the pony. She jumped off and her pony escaped, but the bear attacked
338her, so she fought him the best she could with her knife. Her little
339dog, by snapping at the bear's heels and distracting his attention
340from the woman, enabled her for some time to keep pretty well out of
341his reach. Finally the grizzly struck her over the head, tearing off
342almost her whole scalp. She fell, but did not lose consciousness, and
343while prostrate struck him four good licks with her knife, and he
344retreated. After he had gone she replaced her torn scalp and bound it
345up as best she could, then she turned deathly sick and had to lie
346down. That night her pony came into camp with his load of nuts and
347berries, but no rider. The Indians hunted for her, but did not find
348her until the second day. They carried her home, and under the
349treatment of their medicine men all her wounds were healed.
350
351The Indians knew what herbs to use for medicine, how to prepare them,
352and how to give the medicine. This they had been taught by Usen in the
353beginning, and each succeeding generation had men who were skilled in
354the art of healing.
355
356In gathering the herbs, in preparing them, and in administering the
357medicine, as much faith was held in prayer as in the actual effect of
358the medicine. Usually about eight persons worked together in make
359medicine, and there were forms of prayer and incantations to attend
360each stage of the process. Four attended to the incantations and four
361to the preparation of the herbs.
362
363Some of the Indians were skilled in cutting out bullets, arrow heads,
364and other missiles with which warriors were wounded. I myself have
365done much of this, using a common dirk or butcher knife.
366
367Small children wore very little clothing in winter and none in the
368summer. Women usually wore a primitive skirt, which consisted of a
369piece of cotton cloth fastened about the waist, and extending to the
370knees. Men wore breach clothes and moccasins. In winter they had
372
373Frequently when the tribe was in camp a number of boys and girls, by
374agreement, would steal away and meet at a place several miles distant,
375where they could play all day free from tasks. They were never
376punished for these frolics; but if their hiding places were discovered
377they were ridiculed.
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396
397Tribal Amusements, Manners, and Customs
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401To celebrate each noted event a feast and dance would be
402given. Perhaps only our own people, perhaps neighboring tribes, would
403be invited. These festivities usually lasted for about four days. By
404day we feasted, by night under the direction of some chief we
405danced. The music for our dance was singing led by the warriors, and
407were sung--only the tones. When the feasting and dancing were over we
408would have horse races, foot races, wrestling, jumping, and all sorts
409of games (gambling).
410
411Among these games the most noted was the tribal game of Kah (foot). It
412is played as follows: Four moccasins are placed about four feet apart
413in holes in the ground, dug in a row on one side of the camp, and on
414the opposite side a similar parallel row. At night a camp fire is
415started between these two rows of moccasins, and the players are
416arranged on sides, one or any number on each side. The score is kept
417by a bundle of sticks, from which each side takes a stick for every
418point won. First one side takes the bone, puts up blankets between the
419four moccasins and the fire so that the opposing team cannot observe
420their movements, and then begin to sing the legends of creation. The
421side having the bone represents the feathered tribe, the opposite side
422represents the beasts. The players representing the birds do all the
423singing, and while singing hide the bone in one of the moccasins, then
424the blankets are thrown down. They continue to sing, but as soon as
425the blankets are thrown down the chosen player from the opposing team,
426armed with a war club, comes to their side of the camp fire and with
427his club strikes the moccasin in which he thinks the bone is
428hidden. If he strikes the right moccasin, his side gets the bone, and
429in turn represents the birds, while the opposing team must keep quiet
430and guess in turn. There are only four plays; three that lose and one
431that wins. When all the sticks are gone from the bundle the side
432having the largest number of sticks is counted winner.
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437
438Apache camp This game is seldom played except as a gambling game, but
439for the purpose it is the most popular game known to the
440tribe. Usually the game lasts four or five hours. It is never played
441in daytime.
442
443After the games are all finished the visitors say, We are satisfied,
444and the camp is broken up. I was always glad when the dances and
445feasts were announced. So were all the other young people.
446
447Our life also had a religious side. We had no churches, no religious
448organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we
449worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing and pray;
450sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had a
451few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in
452such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we
453prayed in silence; sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged
454person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak
455to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our services were
456short.
457
458When disease or pestilence abounded we were assembled and questioned
459by our leaders to ascertain what evil we had done, and how Usen could
460be satisfied. Sometimes sacrifice was deemed necessary. Sometimes the
461offending one was punished.
462
463If an Apache had allowed his aged parents to suffer for food or
464shelter, if he had neglected or abused the sick, if he had profaned
465our religion, or had been unfaithful, he might be banished from the
466tribe.
467
468The Apaches had no prisons as white men have. Instead of sending their
469criminals into prison they sent them out of their tribe. These
470faithless, cruel, lazy, or cowardly members of the tribe were excluded
471in such a manner that they could not join any other tribe. Neither
472could they have any protection from our unwritten tribal
473laws. Frequently these outlaw Indians banded together and committed
474depredations which were charged against the regular tribe. However,
475the life of an outlaw Indian was a hard lot, and their bands never
476became very large; besides, these bands frequently provoked the wrath
477of the tribe and secured their own destruction.
478
479When I was about eight or ten years old I began to follow the chase,
480and to me this was never work.
481
482Out on the prairies, which ran up to our mountain homes, wandered
483herds of deer, antelope, elk, and buffalo, to be slaughtered when we
484needed them.
485
486Usually we hunted buffalo on horseback, killing them with arrows and
487spears. Their skins were used to make tepees and bedding; their flesh,
488to eat.
489
490It required more skill to hunt the deer than any other animal. We
491never tried to approach a deer except against the wind. Frequently we
492would spend hours in stealing upon grazing deer. If they were in the
493open we would crawl long distances on the ground, keeping a weed or
494brush before us, so that our approach would not be noticed. Often we
495could kill several out of one herd before the others would run
496away. Their flesh was dried and packed in vessels, and would keep in
497this condition for many months. The hide of the deer soaked in water
498and ashes and the hair removed, and then the process of tanning
499continued until the buckskin was soft and pliable. Perhaps no other
500animal was more valuable to us than the deer.
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506Apache woman an child In the forests and along the streams were many
507wild turkeys. These we would drive to the plains, then slowly ride up
508toward them until they were almost tired out. When they began to drop
509and hide we would ride in upon them and, by swinging from the side of
510our horses, catch them. If one started to fly we would ride swiftly
511under him and kill him with a short stick, or hunting club. In this
512way we could usually get as many wild turkeys as we could carry home
513on a horse.
514
515There were many rabbits in our range, and we also hunted them on
516horseback. Our horses were trained to follow the rabbit at full speed,
517and as they approached them we would swing from one side of the horse
518and strike the rabbit with our hunting club. If he was too far away we
519would throw the stick and kill him. This was great sport when we were
520boys, but as warriors we seldom hunted small game.
521
522There were many fish in the streams, but as we did not eat them, we
523did not try to catch or kill them. Small boys sometimes threw stones
524at them or shot at them for practice with their bows and arrows. Usen
525did not intend snakes, frogs, or fishes to be eaten. I have never
526eaten of them.
527
528There were many eagles in the mountains. These we hunted for their
529feathers. It required great skill to steal upon an eagle, for besides
530having sharp eyes, he is wise and never stops at any place where he
531does not have a good view of the surrounding country.
532
533I have killed many bears with a spear, but was never injured in a
534fight with one. I have killed several mountain lions with arrows, and
535one with a spear. Both bears and mountain lions are good for food and
536valuable for their skin. When we killed them we carried them home on
537our horses. We often made quivers for our arrows from the skin of the
538mountain lion. These were very pretty and very durable.
539
540During my minority we had never seen a missionary or a priest. We had
541never seen a white man. Thus quietly lived the Be-don-ko-he Apaches.
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561The Family
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565My grandfather, Maco, had been our chief. I never saw him, but my
566father often told me of the great size, strength, and sagacity of this
567old warrior. Their principal wars had been with the Mexicans. They had
568some wars with other tribes of Indians also, but were seldom at peace
569for any great length of time with the Mexican towns.
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574
575Mangas-Colorado, chief of the Bedonkohe Apaches Maco died when my
576father was but a young warrior, and Mangas-Colorado became chief of
577the Bedonkohe Apaches. When I was but a small boy my father died,
578after having been sick for some time. When he passed away, carefully
579the watchers closed his eyes, then they arrayed him in his best
580clothes, painted his face afresh, wrapped a rich blanket around him,
581saddled his favorite horse, bore his arms in front of him, and led his
582horse behind, repeating in wailing tones his deeds of valor as they
583carried his body to a cave in the mountain. Then they slew his horses,
584and we gave away all of his other property, as was customary in our
585tribe, after which his body was deposited in the cave, his arms beside
586him. His grave is hidden by piles of stone. Wrapped in splendor he
587lies in seclusion, and the winds in the pines sing a low requiem over
589
590After my father's death I assumed the care of my mother. She never
591married again, although according to the customs of our tribe she
592might have done so immediately after his death. Usually, however, the
593widow who has children remains single after her husband's death for
594two or three years; but the widow without children marries again
595immediately. After a warrior's death his widow returns to her people
596and may be given away or sold by her father or brothers. My mother
597chose to live with me, and she never desired to marry again. We lived
598near our old home and I supported her.
599
600In 1846, being seventeen years of age, I was admitted to the council
601of the warriors. Then I was very happy, for I could go wherever I
602wanted and do whatever I liked. I had not been under the control of
603any individual, but the customs of our tribe prohibited me from
604sharing the glories of the war path until the council admitted
605me. When opportunity offered, after this, I could go on the war path
606with my tribe. This would be glorious. I hoped soon to serve my people
607in battle. I had long desired to fight with our warriors.
608
609Perhaps the greatest joy to me was that now I could marry the fair
610Alope, daughter of No-po-so. She was a slender, delicate girl, but we
611had been lovers for a long time. So, as soon as the council granted me
612these privileges I went to see her father concerning our
613marriage. Perhaps our love was of no interest to him; perhaps he
614wanted to keep Alope with him, for she was a dutiful daughter; at any
616appeared before his wigwam with the herd of ponies and took with me
617Alope. This was all the marriage ceremony necessary in our tribe.
618
619Not far from my mother's tepee I had made for us a new home. The tepee
620was made of buffalo hides and in it were many bear robes, lion hides,
621and other trophies of the chase, as well as my spears, bows, and
623on buckskin, which she placed in our tepee. She also drew many
624pictures on the walls of our home. She was a good wife, but she was
625never strong. We followed the traditions of our fathers and were
626happy. Three children came to us-- children that played, loitered, and
628
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647Kas-Ki-Yeh
648
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650
651The Massacre In the summer of 1858, being at peace with the Mexican
652towns as well as with all the neighboring Indian tribes, we went south
653into Old Mexico to trade. Our whole tribe (Bedonkohe Apaches) went
654through Sonora toward Casa Grande, our destination, but just before
655reaching that place we stopped at another Mexican town called by the
656Indians Kas-ki-yeh. Here we stayed for several days, camping outside
657the city. Every day we would go into town to trade, leaving our camp
658under the protection of a small guard so that our arms, supplies, and
659women and children would not be disturbed during our absence.
660
661Late one afternoon when returning from town we were met by a few women
662and children who told us that Mexican troops from some other town had
663attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard, captured all
664our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our supplies, and killed many
665of our women and children. Quickly we separated, concealing ourselves
666as best we could until nightfall, when we assembled at our appointed
667place of rendezvous--a thicket by the river. Silently we stole in one
668by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were counted, I found
669that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were
670among the slain. There were no lights in camp, so without being
671noticed I silently turned away and stood by the river. How long I
672stood there I do not know, but when I saw the warriors arranging for a
673council I took my place.
674
675That night I did not give my vote for or against any measure; but it
676was decided that as there were only eighty warriors left, and as we
677were without arms or supplies, and were furthermore surrounded by the
678Mexicans far inside their own territory, we could not hope to fight
679successfully. So our chief, Mangus-Colorado, gave the order to start
680at once in perfect silence for our homes in Arizona, leaving the dead
681upon the field.
682
683
684
685
686
687Geronimo I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would
688do. I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I
689contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was
690forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in
691particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe
692silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of
693the feet of the retreating Apaches.
694
695The next morning some of the Indians killed a small amount of game and
696we halted long enough for the tribe to cook and eat, when the march
697was resumed. I had killed no game, and did not eat. During the first
698march as well as while we were camped at this place I spoke to no one
699and no one spoke to me--there was nothing to say.
700
701For two days and three nights we were on forced marches, stopping only
702for meals, then we made a camp near the Mexican border, where we
703rested two days. Here I took some food and talked with the other
706
707Within a few days we arrived at our own settlement. There were the
709little ones. I burned them all, even our tepee. I also burned my
710mother's tepee and destroyed all her property.
711
712I was never again contented in our quiet home. True, I could visit my
713father's grave, but I had vowed vengeance upon the Mexican troopers
714who had wronged me, and whenever I came near his grave or saw anything
715to remind me of former happy days my heart would ache for revenge upon
716Mexico.
717
718
719
720Revenge As soon as we had again collected some arms and supplies
721Mangus-Colorado, our chief, called a council and found that all our
722warriors were willing to take the war path against Mexico. I was
723appointed to solicit the aid of other tribes in this war.
724
725When I went to the Chokonen (Chiricahua) Apaches, Cochise, their
726chief, called a council at early dawn. Silently the warriors assembled
727at an open place in a mountain dell and took their seats on the
728ground, arranged in rows according to their ranks. Silently they sat
729smoking. At a signal from the chief I arose and presented my cause as
730follows:
731
732Kinsman, you have heard what the Mexicans have recently done without
733cause. You are my relatives--uncles, cousins, brothers. We are men the
734same as the Mexicans are--we can do to them what they have done to
735us. Let us go forward and trail them--I will lead you to their
736city--we will attack them in their homes. I will fight in the front of
737the battle--I only ask you to follow me to avenge this wrong done by
738these Mexicans--will you come? It is well--you will all come.
739
740Remember the rule in war--men may return or they may be killed. If any
741of these young men are killed I want no blame from their kinsmen, for
742they themselves have chosen to go. If I am killed no one need mourn
743for me. My people have all been killed in that country, and I, too,
744will die if need be.
745
746I returned to my own settlement, reported this success to my
747chieftain, and immediately departed to the southward into the land of
748the Nedni Apaches. Their chief, Whoa, heard me without comment, but he
749immediately issued orders for a council, and when all were ready gave
751Chokonen tribe, and they also promised to help us.
752
753It was in the summer of 1859, almost a year from the date of the
754massacre of Kaskiyeh, that these three tribes were assembled on the
755Mexican border to go upon the war path. Their faces were painted, the
756war bands fastened upon their brows their long scalp-locks ready for
757the hand and knife of the warrior who would overcome them. Their
758families had been hidden away in a mountain rendezvous near the
759Mexican border. With these families a guard was posted, and a number
760of places of rendezvous designated in case the camp should be
761disturbed.
762
763When all were ready the chieftains gave command to go forward. None of
764us were mounted and each warrior wore moccasins and also a cloth
765wrapped about his loins. This cloth could be spread over him when he
766slept, and when on the march would be ample protection as clothing. In
767battle, if the fight was hard, we did not wish much clothing. Each
768warrior carried three days' rations, but as we often killed game while
769on the march, we seldom were without food.
770
771We traveled in three divisions: the Bedonheko Apaches led by
772Mangus-Colorado, the Chokonen Apaches by Cochise, and the Nedni
773Apaches by Whoa; however, there was no regular order inside the
774separate tribes. We usually marched about fourteen hours per day,
775making three stops for meals, and traveling forty to forty-five miles
776a day.
777
778I acted as guide into Mexico, and we followed the river courses and
779mountain ranges because we could better thereby keep our movements
780concealed. We entered Sonora and went southward past Quitaro,
781Nacozari, and many smaller settlements.
782
783When we were almost at Arispe we camped, and eight men rode out from
784the city to parley with us. These we captured, killed, and
785scalped. This was to draw the troops from the city, and the next day
786they came. The skirmishing lasted all day without a general
787engagement, but just at night we captured their supply train, so we
788had plenty of provisions and some more guns.
789
790That night we posted sentinels and did not move our camp, but rested
791quietly all night, for we expected heavy work the next day. Early the
792next morning the warriors were assembled to pray--not for help, but
793that they might have health and avoid ambush or deceptions by the
794enemy.
795
796As we had anticipated, about ten o'clock in the morning the whole
797Mexican force came out. There were two companies of cavalry and two of
798infantry. I recognized the cavalry as the soldiers who had killed my
799people at Kaskiyeh. This I told to the chieftains, and they said that
800I might direct the battle.
801
802I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply
803wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved
804to prove worthy of the trust. I arranged the Indians in a hollow
805circle near the river, and the Mexicans drew their infantry up in two
806lines, with the cavalry in reserve. We were in the timber, and they
808opened fire. Soon I led a charge against them, at the same time
809sending some braves to attack the rear. In all the battle I thought of
810my murdered mother, wife, and babies--of my father's grave and my vow
811of vengeance, and I fought with fury. Many fell by my hand, and
812constantly I led the advance. Many braves were killed The battle
814
815At the last four Indians were alone in the center of the field--myself
816and three other warriors. Our arrows were all gone, our spears broken
817off in the bodies of dead enemies. We had only our hands and knives
818with which to fight, but all who had stood against us were dead. Then
819two armed soldiers came upon us from another part of the field. They
820shot down two of our men and we, the remaining two, fled toward our
821own warriors. My companion was struck down by a saber, but I reached
822our warriors, seized a spear, and turned. The one who pursued me
823missed his aim and fell by my spear. With his saber I met the trooper
824who had killed my companion and we grappled and fell. I killed him
825with my knife and quickly rose over his body, brandishing his saber,
826seeking for other troopers to kill. There were none. But the Apaches
827had seen. Over the bloody field, covered with the bodies of Mexicans,
828rang the fierce Apache war-whoop.
829
830Still covered with the blood of my enemies, still holding my
831conquering weapon, still hot with the joy of battle, victory, and
832vengeance, I was surrounded by the Apache braves and made war chief of
833all the Apaches. Then I gave orders for scalping the slain.
834
835I could not call back my loved ones, I could not bring back the dead
836Apaches, but I could rejoice in this revenge. The Apaches had avenged
837the massacre of Kas-ki-yeh.
838
839
840
841
842
843
844
845
846
847
848
849
850
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852
853
854
8557/21
856
857Fighting Under Difficulties
858
859
860
861All the other Apaches were satisfied after the battle of Kaskiyeh, but
862I still desired more revenge. For several months we were busy with the
863chase and other peaceful pursuits. Finally I succeeded in persuading
864two other warriors, Ah-koch-ne and Ko-deh-ne, to go with me to invade
865the Mexican country.
866
867We left our families with the tribe and went on the war path. We were
868on foot and carried three days' rations. We entered Mexico on the
869north line of Sonora and followed the Sierra de Antunez Mountains to
870the south end of the range. Here we decided to attack a small
871village. (I do not know the name of this village.) At daylight we
872approached from the mountains. Five horses were hitched outside. We
873advanced cautiously, but just before we reached the horses the
874Mexicans opened fire from the houses. My two companions were
875killed. Mexicans swarmed on every side; some were mounted; some were
876on foot, and all seemed to be armed. Three times that day I was
877surrounded, but I kept fighting, dodging, and hiding. Several times
878during the day while in concealment I had a chance to take deliberate
879aim at some Mexican, who, gun in hand, was looking for me. I do not
880think I missed my aim either time. With the gathering darkness I found
881more time to retreat toward Arizona. But the Mexicans did not quit the
882chase. Several times the next day mounted Mexicans tried to head me
883off; many times they fired on me, but I had no more arrows; so I
884depended upon running and hiding, although I was very tired, I had not
885eaten since the chase began, nor had I dared to stop for rest. The
886second night I got clear of my pursuers, but I never slackened my pace
887until I reached our home in Arizona. I came into our camp without
888booty, without my companions, exhausted, but not discouraged.
889
890The wives and children of my two dead companions were cared for by
891their people. Some of the Apaches blamed me for the evil result of the
892expedition, but I said nothing. Having failed, it was only proper that
893I should remain silent. But my feelings toward the Mexicans did not
894change--I still hated them and longed for revenge. I never ceased to
895plan for their punishment, but it was hard to get the other warriors
896to listen to my proposed raids.
897
898In a few months after this last adventure I persuaded two other
899warriors to join me in raiding the Mexican frontier. On our former
900raid we had gone through the Nedni Apaches' range into Sonora. This
901time we went through the country of the Cho-kon-en and entered the
902Sierra Madre Mountains. We traveled south, secured more rations, and
903prepared to begin our raids. We had selected a village near the
904mountains which we intended to attack at daylight. While asleep that
905night Mexican scouts discovered our camp and fired on us, killing one
906warrior. In the morning we observed a company of Mexican troops coming
907from the south. They were mounted and carried supplies for a long
908journey. We followed their trail until we were sure that they were
909headed for our range in Arizona; then we hurried past them and in
910three days reached our own settlement. We arrived at noon, and that
911afternoon, about three o'clock, these Mexican troops attacked our
912settlement. Their first volley killed three small boys. Many of the
913warriors of our tribe were away from home, but the few of us who were
914in camp were able to drive the troops out of the mountains before
915night. We killed eight Mexicans and lost five--two warriors and three
916boys. The Mexicans rode due south in full retreat. Four warriors were
917detailed to follow them, and in three days these trailers returned,
918saying that the Mexican cavalry had left Arizona, going southward. We
919were quite sure they would not return soon.
920
921
922
923
924
925Geronimo riding with Naiche Soon after this (in the summer of 1860) I
926was again able to take the war path against the Mexicans, this time
927with twenty-five warriors. We followed the trail of the Mexican troops
928last mentioned and entered the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. The
929second day in these mountains our scouts discovered mounted Mexican
930troops. There was only one company of cavalry in this command, and I
931thought that by properly surprising them we could defeat them. We
932ambushed the trail over which they were to come. This was at a place
933where the whole company must pass through a mountain defile. We
934reserved fire until all of the troops had passed through; then the
935signal was given. The Mexican troopers, seemingly without a word of
936command, dismounted, and placing their horses on the outside of the
937company, for breastworks, made a good fight against us. I saw that we
938could not dislodge them without using all our ammunition, so I led a
939charge. The warriors suddenly pressed in from all sides and we fought
940hand to hand. During this encounter I raised my spear to kill a
941Mexican soldier just as he leveled his gun at me; I was advancing
942rapidly, and my foot slipping in a pool of blood, I fell under the
943Mexican trooper. He struck me over the head with the butt of his gun,
944knocking me senseless. Just at that instant a warrior who followed in
945my footsteps killed the Mexican with a spear. In a few minutes not a
946Mexican soldier was left alive. When the Apache war-cry had died away,
947and their enemies had been scalped, they began to care for their dead
948and wounded. I was found lying unconscious where I had fallen. They
949bathed my head in cold water and restored me to consciousness. Then
950they bound up my wound and the next morning, although weak from loss
951of blood and suffering from a severe headache, I was able to march on
952the return to Arizona. I did not fully recover for months, and I still
953wear the scar given me by that musketeer. In this fight we had lost so
954heavily that there really was no glory in our victory, and we returned
955to Arizona. No one seemed to want to go on the war path again that
956year.
957
958In the summer (1861) with twelve warriors I again went into Mexico. We
959entered Chihuahua and followed south on the east side of the Sierra
960Madre Mountains four days' journey; then crossed over to the Sierra de
961Sahuaripa range, not far east of Casa Grande. Here we rested one day,
962and sent out scouts to reconnoiter. They reported pack trains camped
963five miles west of us. The next morning just at daybreak, as these
964drivers were starting with their mule pack train, we attacked
965them. They rode away for their lives, leaving us the booty. The mules
966were loaded with provisions, most of which we took home. Two mules
967were loaded with side-meat or bacon; this we threw away. We started to
968take these pack trains home, going northward through Sonora, but when
969near Casita, Mexican troops overtook us. It was at daybreak and we
970were just finishing our breakfast. We had no idea that we had been
971pursued or that our enemies were near until they opened fire. At the
972first volley a bullet struck me a glancing lick just at the lower
973corner of the left eye and I fell unconscious. All the other Indians
974fled to cover. The Mexicans, thinking me dead, started in pursuit of
975the fleeing Indians. In a few moments I regained consciousness and had
976started at full speed for the woods when another company coming up
977opened fire on me. Then the soldiers who had been chasing the other
978Indians turned, and I stood between two hostile companies, but I did
979not stand long. Bullets whistled in every direction and at close range
980to me. One inflicted a slight flesh wound on my side, but I kept
981running, dodging, and fighting, until I got clear of my pursuers. I
982climbed up a steep canon, where the cavalry could not follow. The
983troopers saw me, but did not dismount and try to follow. I think they
984were wise not to come on.
985
986It had been understood that in case of surprise with this booty, our
987place of rendezvous should be the Santa Bita Mountains in Arizona. We
988did not reassemble in Mexico, but traveled separately and in three
989days we were encamped in our place of rendezvous. From this place we
990returned home empty-handed. We had not even a partial victory to
991report. I again returned wounded, but I was not yet discouraged. Again
992I was blamed by our people, and again I had no reply.
993
994After our return many of the warriors had gone on a hunt and some of
995them had gone north to trade for blankets from the Navajo Indians. I
996remained at home trying to get my wounds healed. One morning just at
997daybreak, when the squaws were lighting the camp fires to prepare
998breakfast, three companies of Mexican troops who had surrounded our
999settlement in the night opened fire. There was no time for
1000fighting. Men, women and children fled for their lives. Many women and
1001children and a few warriors were killed, and four women were
1002captured. My left eye was still swollen shut, but with the other I saw
1003well enough to hit one of the officers with an arrow, and then make
1004good my escape among the rocks. The troopers burned our tepees and
1005took our arms, provisions, ponies, and blankets. Winter was at hand.
1006
1007There were not more than twenty warriors in camp at this time, and
1008only a few of us had secured weapons during the excitement of the
1009attack. A few warriors followed the trail of the troops as they went
1010back to Mexico with their booty, but were unable to offer battle. It
1011was a long, long time before we were again able to go on the war path
1012against the Mexicans.
1013
1014The four women who were captured at this time by the Mexicans were
1015taken into Sonora, Mexico, where they were compelled to work for the
1016Mexicans. After some years they escaped to the mountains and started
1017to find our tribe. They had knives which they had stolen from the
1018Mexicans but they had no other weapons. They had no blankets; so at
1019night they would make a little tepee by cutting brush with their
1020knives, and setting them up for the walls. The top was covered over
1021with brush. In this temporary tepee they would all sleep. One night
1022when their camp fire was low they heard growling just outside the
1023tepee. Francisco, the youngest woman of the party (about seventeen
1024years of age), started to build up the fire, when a mountain lion
1025crashed through the tepee and attacked her. The suddenness of the
1026attack made her drop her knife, but she fought as best she could with
1027her hand. She was no match for the lion, however; her left shoulder
1028was crushed and partly torn away. The lion kept trying to catch her by
1029the throat; this she prevented with her hands for a long time. He
1030dragged her for about 300 yards, then she found her strength was
1031failing her from loss of blood, and she called to the other women for
1032help. The lion had been dragging her by one foot, and she had been
1033catching hold of his legs, and of the rocks and underbrush, to delay
1034him. Finally he stopped and stood over her. She again called her
1035companions and they attacked him with their knives and killed
1036him. Then they dressed her wounds and nursed her in the mountains for
1037about a month. When she was again able to walk they resumed their
1038journey and reached our tribe in safety.
1039
1040This woman (Francisco) was held as a prisoner of war with the other
1041Apaches and died the Fort Sill Reservation in 1892. Her face was
1042always disfigured with those scars and she never regained perfect use
1043of her hands. The three older women died before we became prisoners of
1044war.
1045
1046Many women and children were carried away at different times by
1047Mexicans. Not many of them ever returned, and those who did underwent
1048many hardships in order to be again united with their people. Those
1049who did not escape were slaves to the Mexicans, or perhaps even more
1051
1052When warriors were captured by the Mexicans they were kept in
1053chains. Four warriors who were captured once at a place north of Casa
1054Grande, called by the Indians Honas, were kept in chains for a year
1055and a half, when they were exchanged for Mexicans whom we had
1056captured.
1057
1058We never chained prisoners or kept them in confinement, but they
1059seldom got away. Mexican men when captured were compelled to cut wood
1060and herd horses. Mexican women and children were treated as our own
1061people.
1062
1063
1064
1065
1066
1067
1068
1069
1070
1071
1072
1073
1074
1075
1076
1077
1078
10798/21
1080
1081Raids That Were Successful
1082
1083
1084
1085In the summer of 1862 I took eight men and invaded Mexican
1086territory. We went south on the west side of the Sierra Madre
1087Mountains for five days; then in the night crossed over to the
1088southern part of the Sierra de Sahuaripa range. Here we again camped
1089to watch for pack trains. About ten o'clock next morning four drivers,
1090mounted, came past our camp with a pack-mule train. As soon as they
1091saw us they rode for their lives, leaving us the booty. This was a
1092long train, and packed with blankets, calico, saddles, tinware, and
1093loaf sugar. We hurried home as fast as we could with these provisions,
1094and on our return while passing through a canyon in the Santa Catalina
1095range of mountains in Arizona, met a white man driving a mule pack
1096train. When we first saw him he had already seen us, and was riding at
1097full tilt up the canyon. We examined his train and found that his
1098mules were all loaded with cheese. We put them in with the other train
1099and resumed our journey. We did not attempt to trail the driver and I
1100am sure he did not try to follow us.
1101
1102In two days we arrived at home. Then Mangus-Colorado, our chief,
1103assembled the tribe. We gave a feast, divided the spoils, and danced
1104all night. Some of the pack mules were killed and eaten.
1105
1106This time after our return we kept out scouts so that we would know if
1107Mexican troops should attempt to follow us.
1108
1109On the third day our scouts came into camp and reported Mexican
1110cavalry dismounted and approaching our settlement. All our warriors
1111were in camp. Mangus-Colorado took command of one division and I of
1112the other. We hoped to get possession of their horses, then surround
1113the troops in the mountains, and destroy the whole company. This we
1114were unable to do, for they too, had scouts. However, within four
1115hours after we started we had killed ten troopers with the loss of
1116only one man, and the Mexican cavalry was in full retreat, followed by
1117thirty armed Apaches, who gave them no rest until they were far inside
1118the Mexican country. No more troops came that winter.
1119
1120For a long time we had plenty of provisions plenty of blankets, and
1121plenty of clothing. We also had plenty of cheese and sugar.
1122
1123
1124
1125
1126
1127Washa Another summer (1863) I selected three warriors and went on a
1128raid into Mexico. We went south into Sonora, camping in the Sierra de
1129Sahuaripa Mountains. About forty miles west of Casa Grande is a small
1130village in the mountains, called by the Indians "Crassanas." We camped
1131near this place and concluded to make an attack. We had noticed that
1132just at midday no one seemed to be stirring; so we planned to make our
1133attack at the noon hour. The next day we stole into the town at
1134noon. We had no guns, but were armed with spears and bows and
1135arrows. When the war-whoop was given to open the attack the Mexicans
1136fled in every direction; not one of them made any attempt to fight us.
1137
1138We shot some arrows at the retreating Mexicans, but killed only
1139one. Soon all was silent in the town and no Mexicans could be seen.
1140
1141When we discovered that all the Mexicans were gone we looked through
1142their houses and saw many curious things. These Mexicans kept many
1143more kinds of property than the Apaches did. Many of the things we saw
1144in the houses we could not understand, but in the stores we saw much
1145that we wanted; so we drove in a herd of horses and mules, and packed
1146as much provisions and supplies as we could on them. Then we formed
1147these animals into a pack train and returned safely to Arizona The
1148Mexicans did not even trail us.
1149
1150When we arrived in camp we called the tribe together and feasted all
1151day. We gave presents to everyone. That night the dance began, and it
1152did not cease until noon the next day.
1153
1154This was perhaps the most successful raid ever made by us into Mexican
1155territory. I do not know the value of the booty, but it was very
1156great, for we had supplies enough to last our whole tribe for a year
1157or more.
1158
1159In the fall of 1864 twenty warriors were willing to go with me on
1160another raid into Mexico. There were all chosen men, well armed and
1161equipped for battle. As usual we provided for the safety of our
1162families before starting on this raid. Our whole tribe scattered and
1163then reassembled at a camp about forty miles from the former place. In
1164this way, it would be hard for the Mexicans to trail them and we would
1165know where to find our families when we returned. Moreover, if any
1166hostile Indians should see this large number of warriors leaving our
1167range they might attack our camp, but if they found no one at the
1168usual place, their raid would fail.
1169
1170We went south trough the Chokonen Apaches' range, entered Sonora,
1171Mexico, at a point directly south of Tombstone, Arizona, and went into
1172hiding in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.
1173
1174We attacked several settlements in the neighborhood and secured plenty
1175of provisions and supplies. After about three days we attacked and
1176captured 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
1178journey from Arispe.
1179
1180There were three drivers with this train. One was killed and two
1181escaped. The train was loaded with mescal, which was contained in
1182bottles held in wicker baskets. As soon as we made camp the Indians
1183began to get drunk and fight each other. I, too, drank enough mescal
1184to feel the effect of it, but I was not drunk. I ordered the fighting
1185stopped, but the order was disobeyed. Soon almost a general fight was
1186in progress. I tried to place a guard out around the camp, but all
1187were drunk and refused to serve. I expected an attack from Mexican
1188troops at any moment, and really it was a serious matter to me, for
1189being in command I would be held responsible for any ill luck
1190attending the expedition. Finally the camp became comparatively still,
1191for the Indians were too drunk to walk or even fight. While they were
1192in this stupor I poured out all the mescal, then I put out all the
1193fires and moved the pack mules to a considerable distance from the
1194camp. After this I returned to camp to try to do something for the
1195wounded. I found that only two were dangerously wounded. From a leg of
1196one of these I cut an arrow head, and from the shoulder of another I
1197withdrew a spear point. When all the wounds I had cared for, I myself
1198kept guard till morning. The next day we loaded our wounded on the
1199pack mules and started for Arizona.
1200
1201The next day we captured some cattle from a herd and drove them home
1202with us. But it was a very difficult matter to drive cattle when we
1203were on foot. Caring for the wounded and keeping the cattle from
1204escaping made our journey tedious. But we were not trailed, and
1205arrived safely at home with all the booty.
1206
1207We then gave a feast and dance, and divided the spoils. After the
1208dance we killed all the cattle and dried the meat. We dressed the
1209hides and then the dried meat was packed in between these hides and
1210stored away. All that winter we had plenty of meat. These were the
1211first cattle we ever had. As usual we killed and ate some of the
1212mules. We had little use for mules, and if we could not trade them for
1213something of value, we killed them.
1214
1215In the summer of 1865, with four warriors, I went again into
1216Mexico. Heretofore we had gone on foot; we were accustomed to fight on
1217foot; besides, we could easily conceal ourselves when dismounted. But
1218this time we wanted more cattle, and it was hard to drive them when we
1219were on foot. We entered Sonora at a point southwest from Tombstone,
1220Arizona, and followed the Antunez Mountains to the southern limit,
1221then crossed the country as far south as the mouth of the Yaqui
1222River. Here we saw a great lake extending beyond the limit of
1223sight. Then we turned north, attacked several settlements, and secured
1224plenty of supplies. When we had come back northwest of Arispe we
1225secured about sixty head of cattle, and drove them to our homes in
1226Arizona. We did not go directly home, but camped in different valleys
1227with our cattle. We were not trailed. When we arrived at our camp the
1228tribe was again assembled for feasting and dancing. Presents were
1229given to everybody; then the cattle were killed and the meat dried and
1230packed.
1231
1232
1233
1234
1235
1236
1237
1238
1239
1240
1241
1242
1243
1244Text prepared by Peter Meindertsma, Else-Kirsten de Schiffart, Elfie
1245Theijs and Carlo Tinschert and converted to HTML for The American
1246Revolution - an .HTML project. ( undefined ) � 1997. All rights
1247reserved. Department of Alfa-Informatica
1248
1249
1250Geronimo His own story
1251
1252
1253
1254
1255
1256�
1257
1258
1259
1260
1261
1262
1263
12649/21
1265
1266 Varying Fortunes
1267
1268
1269
1270In the fall of 1865 with nine other warriors I went into Mexico on
1271foot. We attacked several settlements south of Casa Grande, and
1272collected many horses and mules. We made our way northward with these
1273animals through the mountains. When near Arispe we made camp one
1274evening, and thinking that we were not being trailed, turned loose the
1275whole herd, even those we had been riding. They were in a valley
1276surrounded by steep mountains, and we were camped at the south of this
1277valley so that the animals could not leave without coming through our
1278camp. Just as we had begun to eat our supper our scouts came in and
1279announced Mexican troops coming toward our camp. We started for the
1280horses, but troops that our scouts had not seen were on the cliffs
1281above us, and opened fire. We scattered in all directions, and the
1282troops recovered all our booty. In three days we reassembled at our
1283appointed place of rendezvous in the Sierra Madre Mountains in
1284northern Sonora. Mexican troops did not follow us, and we returned to
1285Arizona without any more fighting and with no booty. Again I had
1286nothing to say, but l was anxious for another raid.
1287
1288Early the next summer (1866)I took thirty mounted warriors and invaded
1289Mexican territory. We went south through Chihuahua as far as Santa
1290Cruz, Sonora, then crossed over the Sierra Madre Mountains, following
1291the river course at the south end of the range. We kept on westward
1292from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains,
1293and followed that range northward. We collected all the horses, mules,
1294and cattle we wanted, and drove them northward through Sonora into
1295Arizona. Mexicans saw us at many times and in many places, but they
1296did not attack us at any time, nor did any troops attempt to follow
1297us. When we arrived at homes we gave presents to all, and the tribe
1299Mexicans.
1300
1301Next year (1867) Mangus-Colorado led eight warriors on a raid into
1302Mexico. I went as a warrior, for I was always glad to fight the
1303Mexicans. We rode south from near Tombstone, Arizona, into Sonora,
1304Mexico. We attacked some cowboys, and after a fight with them, in
1305which two of their number were killed, we drove all their cattle
1306northward. The second day we were driving the cattle, but had no
1307scouts out. When we were not far from Arispe, Mexican troops rode upon
1308us. They were well armed and well mounted, and when we first saw them
1309they were not half a mile away from us. We left the cattle and rode as
1310hard as we could toward the mountains, but they gained on us
1311rapidly. Soon they opened fire, but were so far away from us that we
1312were unable to reach them with our arrows; finally we reached some
1313timber, and, leaving our ponies, fought from cover. Then the Mexicans
1314halted, collected our ponies, and rode away across the plains toward
1315Arispe, driving the cattle with them. We stood and watched them until
1316they disappeared in the distance, and then took up our search for
1317home.
1318
1319We arrived home in five days with no victory to report, no spoils to
1320divide, and not even the three ponies which we had ridden into
1321Mexico. This expedition was considered disgraceful.
1322
1323
1324
1325
1326
1329Mexico. They were not satisfied, besides they felt keenly the taunts
1330of the other warriors. Magnus Colorado would not lead them back, so I
1331took command and we went on foot, directly toward Arispe in Sonora,
1332and made our camp in the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains. There were only
1333six of us, but we raided several settlements (at night), captured many
1335blankets. Then we turned to Arizona, traveling only at night. When we
1336arrived at our camp we sent out scouts to prevent any surprise by
1337Mexicans, assembled the tribe, feasted, danced, and divided the
1338spoils. Mangus Colorado would not receive any of this booty, but we
1339did not care. No Mexican troops followed us to Arizona.
1340
1341About a year after this (1868) Mexican troops rounded up all the
1342horses and mules of the tribe not far from our settlement. No raids
1343had been made into Mexico that year, and we were not expecting any
1344attacks. We were all in camp, having just returned from hunting.
1345
1346About two o'clock in the afternoon two Mexican scouts were seen near
1347our settlement. We killed these scouts, but the troops got under way
1348with the herd of our horses and mules before we saw them. It was
1349useless to try to overtake them on foot, and our tribe had not a horse
1350left. I took twenty warriors and trailed them. We found the stock at a
1351cattle ranch in Sonora, not far from Nacozari, and attacked the
1352cowboys who had them in charge. We killed two men and lost none. After
1353the fight we drove off our own stock and all of theirs.
1354
1355We were trailed by nine cowboys. I sent the stock on ahead and with
1356three warriors stayed in the rear to intercept any attacking
1357parties. One night when near the Arizona line we discovered these
1358cowboys on our trail and watched them camp for the night and picket
1359their horses. About midnight we stole into their camp and silently led
1360away all their horses, leaving the cowboys asleep. Then we rode hard
1361and overtook our companions, who always traveled at night instead of
1362in the daytime. We turned these horses in with the herd and fell back
1363to again intercept anyone who might trail us. What these nine cowboys
1364did next morning I do not know, and I have never heard the Mexicans
1365say anything about it; I know they did not follow us, for we were not
1366molested. When we arrived in camp at home there was great rejoicing in
1367the tribe. It was considered a good trick to get the Mexicans' horses
1368and leave them asleep in the mountains.
1369
1370It was a long time before we again went into Mexico or were disturbed
1371by the Mexicans.
1372
1373
1374
1375
1376
137710/21
1378
1379Heavy Fighting
1380
1381
1382
1383About 1873 we were again attacked by Mexican troops in our settlement,
1384but we defeated them. Then we decided to make raids into Mexico. We
1385moved our whole camp, packing all our belonging on mules and horses,
1386went into Mexico and made camp in the mountains near Nacori. In moving
1387our camp in this way we wanted no one to spy on us, and if we passed a
1388Mexican's home we usually killed the inmates. However, if they offered
1389to surrender and made no resistance or trouble in any way, we would
1390take them prisoners. Frequendy we would change our place of
1391rendezvous; then we would take with us our prisoners if they were
1392willing to go, but if they were unruly they might be killed. I
1393remember one Mexican in the Sierra Madre Mountains who saw us moving
1394and delayed us for some time. We took the trouble to get him, thinking
1395the plunder of his house would pay us for the delay, but after we had
1396killed him we found but nothing in his house worth having. We ranged
1397in these mountains for over a year, raiding the Mexican settlements
1398for our supplies, but not having any general engagement with Mexican
1399troops; then we returned to our homes in Arizona. After remaining in
1400Arizona about a year we returned to Mexico, and went into hiding in
1401the Sierra Madre Mountains. Our camp was near Nacori, and we had just
1402organized bands of warriors for raiding the country, when our scouts
1403discovered Mexican troops coming toward our camp to attack us.
1404
1405The chief the Nedni Apaches, who, was with me and commanded one
1406division. The warriors were all marched toward the troops and met them
1407at a place about five miles from our camp. We showed ourselves to the
1408soldiers and they quickly rode to the top of a hill and dismounted,
1409placing their horses on the outside for breastworks. It was a round
1410hill, very steep and rocky and there was no timber on its sides. There
1412warriors. We crept up the hill behind the rocks, and they kept up a
1413constant fire, but we had cautioned our warriors not to expose
1414themselves to the Mexicans.
1415
1416I knew that the troopers would waste their ammunition. Soon we had
1417killed all their horses, but the soldiers would lie behind these and
1418shoot at us. While we had killed several Mexicans, we had not yet lost
1419a man. However, it was impossible to get very close to them in this
1420way, and I deemed it best to lead a charge against them.
1421
1422
1423
1424
1425
1427middle of the afternoon, seeing that we were making no further
1428progress, l gave the sign for the advance. The war-whoop sounded and
1429we leaped forward from every stone over the Mexicans' dead horses,
1430fighting hand to hand. The attack was so sudden that the Mexicans,
1431running first this way and then that, became so confused that in a few
1432minutes we had killed them all. Then we scalped the slain, carried
1433away our dead, and secured all the arms we needed. That night we moved
1434our camp eastward through the Sierra Madre Mountains into
1435Chihuahua. No troops molested us here and after about a year we
1436returned to Arizona.
1437
1438Almost every year we would live a part of the time in Old
1439Mexico. There were at this time many settlements in Arizona; game was
1440not plentiful, and besides we liked to go down into Old
1441Mexico. Besides, the lands of the Nedni Apaches, our friends and
1442kinsmen, extended far into Mexico. Their Chief, Whoa, was as a brother
1443to me, and we spent much of our time in his territory.
1444
1445About 1880 we were in camp in the mountains south of Casa Grande, when
1446a company of Mexican troops attacked us. There were twenty-four
1447Mexican soldiers and about forty Indians. The Mexicans surprised us in
1448camp and fired on us, killing two Indians the first volley.I do not
1449know how they were able to find our camp unless they had excellent
1450scouts and our guards were careless, but there they were shooting at
1451us before we knew they were near. We were in the timber, and I gave
1452the order to go forward and fight at close range. We kept behind rocks
1453and trees until we came within ten yards of their line, then we stood
1454up and both sides shot until all the Mexicans were killed. We lost
1455twelve warriors in this battle.
1456
1457This place was called by the Indians "Sko-la-ta". When we had buried
1459north-east. At this place near Nacori Mexican troops attacked us. At
1460this place, called by the Indians "Nokode," there were about eighty
1461warriors. Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches. There were three companies of
1462Mexican troops. They attacked us in an open field, and we scattered,
1463firing as we ran. They followed us, but we dispered, and soon were
1464free from their pursuit; then we reassembled in the Sierra Madre
1465Mountains. Here a council was held, and as Mexican troops were coming
1466from many quarters, we disbanded.
1467
1468In about four months we reassembled at Casa Grande to make a treaty of
1469peace. The chiefs of the town of Casa Grande, and all of the men of
1470Casa Grande, made a treaty with us. We shook hands and promised to be
1471brothers. Then we began to trade, and the Mexicans gave us
1472mescal. Soon nearly all the Indians were drunk. While they were drunk
1473two companies of Mexican troops, from another town, attacked us,
1474killed twenty Indians, and captured many more. We fled in all
1475directions.
1476
1477
1478
1479
1480
1481
1482
1483
1484
1485
1486
1487
1488
1489
1490
1491
1492
149311/21
1494
1495Geronimo's Mightiest Battle
1496
1497
1498
1499AFTER the treachery and massacre of Casa Grande we did not reassemble
1500for a long while and when we did we returned to Arizona. We remained
1501in Arizona for some time, living in San Carlos Reservation, at a place
1502now called Geronimo. In 1883 we went into Mexico again. We remained in
1503the mountain ranges of Mexico for about fourteen months, and during
1504this time we had many skirmishes with Mexican troops. In 1884 we
1505returned to Arizona to get other Apaches to come with us into
1506Mexico. The Mexicans were gathering troops in the mountains where we
1507had been ranging, and their numbers were so much greater than ours
1508that we could not hope to fight them successfully, and we were tired
1509of being chased about from place to place.
1510
1511In Arizona we had trouble with the United States soldiers and returned
1512to Mexico.
1513
1515recruits. With our reduced number we camped in the mountains north of
1516Arispe. Mexican troops were seen by our scouts in several
1517directions. The United States troops were coming down from the
1518north. We were well armed with guns and supplied with ammunition, but
1519we did not care to be surrounded by the troops of two governments, so
1520we started to move our camp southward.
1521
1522
1523
1524
1525
1526Geronimo One night we made camp some distance from the mountains by a
1527stream. There was not much water in the stream, but a deep channel was
1528worn through the prairie, and small trees were beginning to grow here
1529and there along the bank of this stream.
1530
1531In those days we never camped without placing scouts, for we knew that
1532we were liable to be attacked at any time. The next morning just at
1533daybreak our scouts came in, aroused the camp, and notified us that
1534Mexican troops were approaching. Within five minutes the Mexicans
1535began firing on us. We took to the ditches made by the stream, and had
1536the women and children busy digging these deeper. I gave strict orders
1537to waste no ammunition and keep under cover. We killed many Mexicans
1538that day and in turn lost heavily, for the fight lasted all
1539day. Frequently troops would charge at one point, be repulsed then
1540rally and charge at another point.
1541
1542About noon we began to hear them speaking my name with curses. In the
1543afternoon the general came on the field and the fighting became more
1544furious. I gave orders to my warriors to try to kill all the Mexican
1545officers. About three o'clock the general called all the officers
1546together at the right side of the field. The place where they
1547assembled was not very far from the main stream and a little ditch ran
1548out close to where the officers stood. Cautiously I crawled out this
1549ditch very close to where the council was being held. The general was
1550an old warrior. The wind was blowing in my direction, so that l could
1551hear all he said, and I understood most of it. This is about what he
1552told them: "Officers, yonder in those ditches is the red devil
1553Geronimo and his hated band. This must be his last day. Ride on him
1554from both sides of the ditches; kill men, women, and children; take no
1555prisoners; dead Indians are what we want. Do not spare your own men;
1556exterminate this band at any cost; I will post the wounded shoot all
1558
1559Just as the command to go forward was given I took deliberate aim at
1560the general and he fell. In an instant the ground around me was
1561riddled with bullets; but I was untouched. The Apaches had seen. From
1562all along the ditches arose the fierce war-cry of my people. The
1563columns wavered an instant and then swept on; they did not retreat
1564until our fire had destroyed the front ranks.
1565
1566After this their fighting was not so fierce, yet they continued to
1567rally and readvance until dark. They also continued to speak my name
1568with threats and curses. That night before the firing had ceased a
1569dozen Indians had crawled out of the ditches and set fire to the long
1570prairie grass behind the Mexican troops. During the confusion that
1571followed we escaped to the mountains.
1572
1573This was the last battle that I ever fought with Mexicans. United
1574States troops were trailing us continually from this time until the
1575treaty was made with General Miles in Skeleton Canyon.
1576
1577During my many wars with the Mexicans I received eight wounds, as
1578follows: shot in the right leg above the knee, and still carry the
1579bullet; shot through the left forearm; wounded in the right leg below
1580the knee with a saber; wounded on top of the head with the butt of a
1581musket; shot just below the outer corner of the left eye; shot in left
1582side, shot in the back. I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how
1583many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth
1584counting.
1585
1586[...........part missing............]
1587
1588
1589
1590
159112/21
1592
1593Coming of the White Men
1594
1595
1596
1597About the time of the massacre of "Kaskiyeh" (1858) we heard that some
1598white men were measuring land to the south of us. In company with a
1599number of other warriors I went to visit them. We could not understand
1600them very well, for we had no interpreter, but we made a treaty with
1601them by shaking hands and promising to be brothers. Then we made our
1602camp near their camp, and they came to trade with us. We gave them
1603buckskin, blankets, and ponies in exchange for shirts and
1604provisions. We also brought them game, for which they gave us some
1605money. We did not know the value of this money, but we kept it and
1606later learned from the Navajo Indians that it was very valuable.
1607
1608Every day they measured land with curious instruments and put down
1609marks which we could not understand. They were good men, and we were
1610sorry when they had gone on into the west. They were not
1611soldiers. These were the first white men I ever saw.
1612
1613About ten years later some more white men came. These were all
1614warriors. They made their camp on the Gila River south of Hot
1615Springs. At first they were friendly and we did not dislike them, but
1616they were not as good as those who came first.
1617
1618After about a year some trouble arose between them and the Indians,
1619and I took the war path as a warrior, not as a chief. I had not been
1620wronged, but some of my people bad been, and I fought with my tribe;
1621for the soldiers and not the Indians were at fault.
1622
1623Not long after this some of the officers of the United States troops
1624invited our leaders to hold a conference at Apache Pass (Fort
1625Bowie). Just before noon the Indians were shown into a tent and told
1626that they would be given something to eat. When in the tent they were
1627attacked by soldiers. our chief, Mangus-Colorado, and several other
1628warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most of the
1629warriors were killed or captured. Among the Bedonkohe Apaches killed
1630at this time were Sanza, Kladetahe, Niyokahe, and Gopi.After this
1631treachery the Indians went back to the mountains and left the fort
1632entirely alone. I do not think that the agent had anything to do with
1633planning this, for he had always treated us well. I believe it was
1634entirely planned by the soldiers.
1635
1636From the very first the soldiers sent out to our western country, and
1637the officers in charge of them, did not hesitate to wrong the
1638Indians. They never explained to the Government when an Indian was
1639wronged, but always reported the misdeeds of the Indians. Much that
1640was done by mean white men was reported at Washington as the deeds of
1641my people.
1642
1643The Indians always tried to live peaceably with the white soldiers and
1644settlers. One day during the time that the soldiers were stationed at
1645Apache Pass I made a treaty with the post. This was done by shaking
1646hands and promising to be brothers. Cochise and Mangus-Colorado did
1647likewise. I do not know the name of the officer in command, but this
1648was the first regiment that ever came to Apache Pass. This treaty was
1649made about a year before we were attacked in a tent, as above
1650related. In a few days after the attack at Apache Pass we organized in
1651the mountains and returned to fight the soldiers. There were two
1652tribes-the Bedonkohe and the Chokonen Apaches, both commanded by
1653Cochise. After a few days' skirmishing we attacked a freight train
1654that was coming in with supplies for the Fort. We killed some of the
1655men and captured the others. These prisoners our chief offered to
1656trade for the Indians whom the soldiers had captured at the massacre
1657in the tent. This the officers refused, so we killed our prisoners,
1658disbanded, and went into hiding in the mountains. Of those who took
1659part in this affair I am the only one now living.
1660
1661In a few days troops were sent out to search for us, but as we were
1662disbanded, it was, of course, impossible for them to locate any
1663hostile camp. During the time they were searching for us many of our
1664warriors (who were thought by the soldiers to be peaceable Indians)
1665talked to the officers and men, advising them where they might find
1666the camp they sought, and while they searched we watched them from our
1667hiding places and laughed at their failures.
1668
1669After this trouble all of the Indians agreed not to be friendly with
1670the white men any more. There was no general engagement, but a long
1671struggle followed. Sometimes we attacked the white men, sometimes they
1672attacked us. First a few Indians would be killed and then a few
1673soldiers. I think the killing was about equal on each side. The number
1674killed in these troubles did not amount to much, but this treachery on
1675the part of the soldiers had angered the Indians and revived memories
1676of other wrongs, so that we never again trusted the United States
1677troops.
1678
1679
1680
1681
168213/21
1683
1684Greatest of Wrongs
1685
1686
1687
1688Perhaps the greatest wrong ever done to the Indians was the treatment
1689received by our tribe from the United States troops about 1863. The
1690chief of our tribe, Mangus-Colorado, went to make a treaty of peace
1691for our people with the white settlement at Apache Tejo, New
1692Mexico. It had been reported to us that the white men in this
1693settlement were more friendly and more reliable than those in Arizona,
1694that they would live up to their treaties and would not wrong the
1695Indians.
1696
1697Mangus-Colorado, with three other warriors, went to Apache Tejo and
1698held a council with these citizens and soldiers. They told him that if
1699he would come with his tribe and live near them, they would issue to
1700him, from the Government, blankets, flour, provisions, beef, and all
1701manner of supplies. Our chief promised to return to Apache Tejo within
1702two weeks. When he came back to our settlement he assembled the whole
1703tribe in council. I did not believe that the people at Apache Tejo
1704would do as they said and therefore I opposed the plan, but it was
1706Apache Tejo and receive an issue of rations and supplies. If they were
1707as represented, and if these white men would keep the treaty
1708faithfully, the remainder of the tribe would join him and we would
1709make our permanent home at Apache Tejo. I was to remain in charge of
1710that portion of the tribe which stayed in Arizona. We gave almost all
1711of our arms and ammunition to the party going to Apache Tejo, so that
1712in case there should be treachery they would be prepared for any
1714Mexico, happy that now they had found white men who would be kind to
1715them, and with whom they could live in peace and plenty.
1716
1717No word ever came to us from them. From other sources, however, we
1718heard that they had been treacherously captured and slain. In this
1719dilemma we did not know just exactly what to do, but fearing that the
1720troops who had captured them would attack us, we retreated into the
1721mountains near Apache Pass.
1722
1723During the weeks that followed the departure of our people we had been
1724in suspense, and failing to provide more supplies, had exhausted all
1725of our store of provisions. This was another reason for moving
1726camp. On this retreat, while passing through the mountains, we
1727discovered four men with a herd of cattle. Two of the men were in
1728front in a buggy and two were behind on horseback. We killed all four,
1729but did not scalp them; they were not warriors. We drove the cattle
1730back into the mountains, made a camp, and began to kill the cattle and
1731pack the meat.
1732
1733Before we had finished this work we were surprised and attacked by
1734United States troops, who killed in all seven Indians -one warrior,
1735three women, and three children. The Government troops were mounted
1736and so were we, but we were poorly armed, having given most of our
1737weapons to the division of our tribe that had gone to Apache Tejo, so
1738we fought mainly with spears, bows, and arrows. At first I had a
1739spear, a bow, and a few arrows; but in a short time my spear and all
1740my arrows were gone. Once I was surrounded, but by dodging from side
1741to side of my horse as he ran I escaped. It was necessary during this
1742fight for many of the warriors to leave their horses and escape on
1743foot. But my horse was trained to come at call, and as soon as I
1744reached a safe place, if not too closely pursued, I would call him to
1745me. During this fight we scattered in all directions and two days
1746later reassembled at our appointed place of rendezvous, about fifty
1747miles from the scene of this battle.
1748
1749About ten days later the same United States troops attacked our new
1750camp at sunrise. The fight lasted all day, but our arrows and spears
1751were all gone before ten o'clock, and for the remainder of the day we
1752had only rocks and clubs with which to fight. We could do with these
1753weapons, and at night we moved our camp about four miles back into the
1754mountains where it would be hard for the cavalry to follow us. The
1755next day our scouts, who had been left behind to observe the movements
1756of the soldiers, returned, saying that the troops had gone back toward
1757San Carlos Reservation.
1758
1759A few days after this we were again attacked by another company of
1760United States troops. Just before this fight we had been joined by a
1761band of Chokonen Indians under Cochise, who took command of both
1762divisions. We were repulsed, and decided to disband.
1763
1764After we had disbanded our tribe the Bedonkohe Apaches reassembled
1765near their old camp vainly waiting for the return of Mangus-Colorado
1766and our kinsmen. No tidings came save that they had all been
1767treacherously slain. Then a council was held, and as it was believed
1769
1770For a long time we had no trouble with anyone. It was more than a year
1771after I had been made Tribal Chief that United States troops surprised
1772and attacked our camp. They killed seven children, five women, and
1773four warriors, captured all our supplies, blankets, horses, and
1774clothing, and destroyed our tepees. We had nothing left; winter was
1775beginning, and it was the coldest winter I ever knew. After the
1776soldiers withdrew I took three warriors and trailed them. Their trail
1777led back toward San Carlos.
1778
1779
1780
1781
1782
1783
1784
1785
1786
1787
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
179514/21
1796
1797Removals
1798
1799
1800
1801While returning from trailing the Government troops we saw two men, a
1802Mexican and a white man, and shot them off their horses. With these
1803two horses we returned and moved our camp. My people were suffering
1804much and it was deemed advisable to go where we could get more
1805provisions. Game was scarce in our range then, and since I had been
1806Tribal Chief I had not asked for rations from the Government, nor did
1807I care to do so, but we did not wish to starve.
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813Victoria We had heard that Chief Victoria of the Chihenne (Oje
1814Caliente) Apaches was holding a council with the white men near Hot
1815Springs in New Mexico, and that he had plenty of provisions. We had
1816always been on friendly terms with this tribe, and Victoria was
1817especially kind to my people. With the help of the two horses we had
1818captured, to carry our sick with us, we went to Hot Springs. We easily
1819found Victoria and his band, and they gave us supplies for the
1820winter. We stayed with them for about a year, and during this stay we
1821had perfect peace. We had not the least trouble with Mexicans, white
1822men, or Indians. When we had stayed as long as we should, and had
1823again accumulated some supplies, we decided to leave Victoria's
1824band. When I told him that we were going to leave he said that we
1825should have a feast and dance before we separated.
1826
1827The festivities were held about two miles above Hot Springs, and
1828lasted for four days. There were about four hundred Indians at this
1829celebration. I do not think we ever spent a more pleasant time than
1830upon this occasion. No one ever treated our tribe more kindly than
1831Victoria and his band. We are still proud to say that he and his
1832people were our friends.
1833
1834When I went to Apache Pass (Fort Bowie) I found General Howard in
1835command, and made a treaty with him. This treaty lasted until long
1836after General Howard had left our country. He always kept his word
1837with us and treated us as brothers. We never had so good a friend
1838among the United States officers as General Howard. We could have
1839lived forever at peace with him. If there is any pure, honest white
1840man in the United States army, that man is General Howard. All the
1841Indians respect him, and even to this day frequently talk of the happy
1842times when General Howard was in command of our Post. After he went
1843away he placed an agent at Apache Pass who issued to us from the
1844Government clothing, rations, and supplies, as General Howard
1845directed. When beef was issued to the Indians I got twelve steers for
1846my tribe, and Cochise got twelve steers for his tribe. Rations were
1847issued about once a month, but if we ran out we only had to ask and we
1848were supplied. Now, as prisoners of war in this Reservation, we do not
1849get such good rations.
1850
1851Out on the prairie away from Apache Pass a man kept a store and
1852saloon. Some time after General Howard went away a band of outlawed
1853Indians killed this man, and took away many of the supplies from his
1854store. On the very next day after this some Indians at the Post were
1855drunk on "tiswin", which they had made from corn. They fought among
1856themselves and four of them were killed. There had been quarrels and
1857feuds among them for some time, and after this trouble we deemed it
1858impossible to keep the different bands together in peace. Therefore we
1859separated, each leader taking his own band. Some of them went to San
1860Carlos and some to Old Mexico, but I took my tribe back to Hot Springs
1861and rejoined Victoria's band.
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877
1878
187915/21
1880
1881In Prison and on the war path
1882
1883
1884
1885Soon after we arrived in New Mexico two companies of scouts were sent
1886from San Carlos. When they came to Hot Springs they sent word for me
1887and Victoria to come to town. The messengers did not say what they
1888wanted with us, but as they seemed friendly we thought they wanted a
1889council, and rode in to meet the officers. As soon as we arrived in
1890town soldiers met us, disarmed us, and took us both to headquarters,
1891where we were tried by court-martial. They asked us only a few
1892questions and then Victoria was released and I was sentenced to the
1893guardhouse. Scouts conducted me to the guardhouse and put me in
1894chains. When I asked them why they did this they said it was because I
1896
1897I do not think that I ever belonged to those soldiers at Apache Pass,
1898or that I should have asked them where I might go. Our bands could no
1899longer live in peace together, and so we had quietly withdrawn,
1900expecting to live with Victoria's band, where we thought we would not
1901be molested. They also sentenced seven other Apaches to chains in the
1902guardhouse.
1903
1904I do not know why this was done, for these Indians had simply followed
1905me from Apache Pass to Hot Springs. If it was wrong (and I do not
1906think it was wrong) for us to go to Hot Springs, I alone was to
1907blame. They asked the soldiers in charge why they were imprisoned and
1909
1910I was kept a prisoner for four months, during which time I was
1911transferred to San Carlos. Then I think I had another trial, although
1912I was not present. In fact I do not know that I had another trial, but
1913I was told that I had, and at any rate I was released.
1914
1915After this we had no more trouble with the soldiers, but I never felt
1916at ease any longer at the Post. We were allowed to live above San
1917Carlos 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
1919of two years, but we were not satisfied.
1920
1921In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current that the officers were again
1922planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor served to revive the
1923memory of all our past wrongs-the massacre in the tent at Apache Pass,
1924the fate of Mangus Colorado, and my own unjust imprisonment, which
1925might easily have been death to me. Just at this time we were told
1926that the officers wanted us to come up the river above Geronimo to a
1927fort (Fort Thomas) to hold a council with them. We did not believe
1928that any good could come of this conference, or that there was any
1929need of it; so we held a council ourselves, and fearing treachery,
1930decided to leave the reservation. We thought it more manly to die on
1931the war path than to be killed in prison.
1932
1933There were in all about 250 Indians, chiefly the Bedonkohe and Nedni
1934Apaches, led by myself and Whoa. We went through Apache Pass and just
1935west of there had a fight with the United States troops. In this
1936battle we killed three soldiers and lost none.
1937
1938We went on toward Old Mexico, but on the second day after this United
1939States soldiers overtook us about three o'clock in the afternoon and
1940we fought until dark. The ground where we were attacked was very
1941rough, which was to our advantage, for the troops were compelled to
1942dismount in order to fight us. I do not know how many soldiers were
1943killed, but we lost only one warrior and three children. We had plenty
1944of guns and ammunition at this time. Many of the guns and much
1945ammunition we had accumulated while living in the reservation, and the
1946remainder we had obtained from the White Mountain Apaches when we left
1947the reservation.
1948
1949Troops did not follow us any longer, so we went south almost to Casa
1950Grande and camped in the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. We ranged in
1951the mountains of Old Mexico for about a year, then returned to San
1952Carlos, taking with us a herd of cattle and horses.
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958General Crook Soon after we arrived at San Carlos the officer in
1959charge, General Crook, took the horses and cattle away from us. I told
1960him that these were not white men's cattle, but belonged to us, for we
1961had taken them from the Mexicans during our wars. I also told him that
1962we did not intend to kill these animals, but that we wished to keep
1963them and raise stock on our range. He would not listen to me, but took
1964the stock. I went up near Fort Apache and General Crook ordered
1965officers, soldiers, and scouts to see that I was arrested; if I
1966offered resistance they were instructed to kill me.
1967
1968This information was brought to me by the Indians. When I learned of
1969this proposed action I left for Old Mexico, and about four hundred
1970Indians went with me. They were the Bedonkohe, Chokonen, and Nedni
1971Apaches. At this time Whoa was dead, and Naiche was the only chief
1972with me. We went south into Sonora and camped in the mountains. Troops
1973followed us, but did not attack us until we were camped in the
1974mountains west of Casa Grande. Here we were attacked by Government
1975Indian scouts. One boy was killed and nearly all of our women and
1976children were captured.
1977
1978After this battle we went south of Casa Grande and made camp, but
1979within a few days this camp was attacked by Mexican soldiers. We
1980skirmished with them all day, killing a few Mexicans but sustaining no
1981loss ourselves.
1982
1983That night we went east into the foot hills of the Sierra Madre
1984Mountains and made another camp. Mexican troops trailed us, and after
1985a few days attacked our camp again. This time the Mexicans had a very
1986large army, and we avoided a general engagement. It is senseless to
1987fight when you cannot hope to win.
1988
1989That night we held a council of war; our scouts had reported bands of
1990United States and Mexican troops at many points in the mountains. We
1991estimated that about two thousand soldiers were ranging these
1992mountains seeking to capture us. General Cook had come down into
1993Mexico with the United States troops. They were camped in the Sierra
1994de Antunez Mountains. Scouts told me that General Crook wished to see
1995me 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
1997live in the reservation the same as white people lived. One year I
1998raised a crop of corn, and gathered and stored it, and the next year I
1999put in a crop of oats, and when the crop was almost ready to harvest,
2000you told your soldiers to put me in prison, and if I resisted to kill
2001me. If I had been let alone l would now have been in good
2002circumstances, but instead of that you and the Mexicans are hunting me
2003with soldiers". He said: "I never gave any such orders; the troops at
2004Fort Apache, who spread this report, knew that it was untrue". Then I
2005agreed to go back with him to San Carlos. It was hard for me to
2006believe him at that time. Now I know that what he said was untrue, and
2007I firmly believe that he did issue the orders for me to be put in
2008prison, or to be killed in case I offered resistance.
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
201816/21
2019
2020the Final Struggle
2021
2022
2023
2024We started with all our tribe to go with General Crook back to the
2025United States, but I feared treachery and decided to remain in
2026Mexico. We were not under any guard at the time. The United States
2027troops marched in front and the Indians followed, and when we became
2028suspicious, we turned back. I do not know how far the United States
2029army went after myself, and some warriors turned back before we were
2030missed, and I do not care.
2031
2032I have suffered much from such unjust orders as those of General
2033Crook. Such acts have caused much distress to my people. I think that
2034General Crook's death was sent by the Almighty as a punishment for the
2035many evil deeds he committed.
2036
2037
2038
2039
2040
2041General Miles Soon General Miles was made commander of all the western
2042posts, and troops trailed us continually. They were led by Captain
2043Lawton, who had good scout. The Mexican soldiers also became more
2044active and more numerous. We had skirmishes almost every day, and so
2045we finally decided to break up into small bands. With six men and four
2046women I made for the range of mountains near Hot Springs, New
2047Mexico. We passed many cattle ranches, but had no trouble with the
2048cowboys. We killed cattle to eat whenever we were in need of food, but
2049we frequently suffered greatly for water. At one time we had no water
2050for two days and nights and our horses almost died from thirst. We
2051ranged in the mountains of New Mexico for some time, then thinking
2052that perhaps the troops had left Mexico, we returned. On our return
2053through Old Mexico we attacked every Mexican found, even if for no
2054other reason than to kill. We believed they had asked the United
2055States troops to come down to Mexico to fight us.
2056
2057South of Casa Grande, near a place called by the Indians Gosoda, there
2058was a road leading out from the town. There was much freighting
2059carried on by the Mexicans over this road. Where the road ran through
2060a mountain pass we stayed in hiding, and whenever Mexican freighters
2061passed we killed them, took what supplies we wanted, and destroyed the
2062remainder. We were reckless of our lives, because we felt that every
2063man's hand was against us. If we returned to the reservation we would
2064be put in prison and killed; if we stayed in Mexico they would
2065continue to send soldiers to fight us; so we gave no quarter to anyone
2067
2068After some time we left Gosoda and soon were reunited with our tribe
2069in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.
2070
2071Contrary to our expectations the United States soldiers had not left
2072the mountains in Mexico, and were soon trailing us and skirmishing
2073with us almost every day. Four or five times they surprised our
2074camp. One time they surprised us about nine o'clock in the morning,
2075and captured all our horses (nineteen in number) and secured our store
2076of dried meats. We also lost three Indians in this encounter. About
2077the middle of the afternoon of the same day we attacked them from the
2078rear as they were passing through a prairie -killed one soldier, but
2079lost none ourselves. In this skirmish we recovered all our horses
2080except three that belonged to me. The three horses that we did not
2081recover were the best riding horses we had.
2082
2083Soon after this we made a treaty with the Mexican troops. They told us
2084that the United States troops were the real cause of these wars, and
2085agreed not to fight any more with us provided we would return to the
2086United States. This we agreed to do, and resumed our march, expecting
2087to try to make a treaty with the United States soldiers and return to
2088Arizona. There seemed to be no other course to pursue.
2089
2090Soon after this scouts from Captain Lawton's troops told us that he
2091wished to make a treaty with us; but I knew that General Miles was the
2092chief of the American troops, and I decided to treat with him.
2093
2094We continued to move our camp northward, and the American troops also
2095moved northward, keeping at no great distance from us, but not
2096attacking us.
2097
2098I sent my brother Porico (White Horse) with Mr. George Wratton on to
2099Fort Bowie to see General Miles, and to tell him that we wished to
2101Indian scouts -Kayitah, a Chokonen Apache, and Marteen, a Nedni
2102Apache. They were serving as scouts for Captain Lawton's troops.They
2104meet him. So I went to the camp of the United States troops to meet
2105General Miles.
2106
2107When I arrived at their camp I went directly to General Miles and told
2109States with my people, as we wished to see our families, who had been
2110captured and taken away from us.
2111
2112General Miles said to me: "The President of the United States has sent
2113me to speak to you. He has heard of your trouble with the white men,
2114and says that if you will agree to a few words of treaty we need have
2115no more trouble. Geronimo, if you will agree to a few words of treaty
2116all will be satisfactorily arranged."
2117
2118So General Miles told me how we could be brothers to each other. We
2119raised our hands to heaven and said that the treaty was not to be
2120broken. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme
2121against each other.
2122
2123
2124
2125
2126
2127Negotiations with the Apaches Then he talked with me for a long time
2128and told me what he would do for me in the future if I would agree to
2129the treaty. I did not greatly believe General Miles, but because the
2130President of the United States had sent me word I agreed to make the
2131treaty, and to keep it. Then I asked General Miles what the treaty
2132would be. General Miles said to me: "I will take you under Government
2133protection; I will build you a house; I will fence you much land; I
2134will give you cattle, horses, mules, and farming implements. You will
2135be furnished with men to work the farm, for you yourself will not have
2136to work. In the fall I will send you blankets and clothing so that you
2137will not suffer from cold in the winter time.
2138
2139"There is plenty of timber, water, and grass in the land to which I
2140will send you. You will live with your tribe and with your family. If
2141you agree to this treaty you shall see your family within five days."
2142
2143I said to General Miles: "All the officers that have been in charge of
2144the Indians have talked that way, and it sounds like a story to me; I
2145hardly believe you."
2146
2147He said: "This time it is the truth."
2148
2149I said: "General Miles, I do not know the laws of the white man, nor
2150of this new country where you are to send me, and I might break the
2151laws."
2152
2153He said:"While I live you will not be arrested."
2154
2155Then I agreed to make the treaty. (Since then I have been a prisoner
2156of war, I have been arrested and placed in the guardhouse twice for
2157drinking whisky.)
2158
2159We stood between his troopers and my warriors. We placed a large stone
2160on the blanket before us. Our treaty was made by this stone, as it was
2161to last until the stone should crumble to dust; so we made the treaty,
2162and bound each other with an oath.
2163
2164I do not believe that I have ever violated that treaty; but General
2165Miles never fulfilled his promises.
2166
2167When we had made the treaty General Miles said to me: "My brother, you
2168have in your mind how you are going to kill me, and other thoughts of
2169war; I want you to put that out of your mind, and change your thoughts
2170to peace."
2171
2172Then I agreed and gave up my arms. I said: "I will quit the war path
2173and live at peace here after."
2174
2175Then General Miles swept a spot of ground clear with his hand, and
2176said: "Your past deeds shall be wiped out like this and you will start
2177a new life."
2178
2179
2180
2181
218217/21
2183
2184a Prisoner of War
2185
2186
2187
2188When I had given up to the Government they put me on the Southern
2189Pacific Railroad and took me to San Antonio, Texas, and held me to be
2190tried by their laws.
2191
2192
2193
2194
2195
2196Geronimo and his last warriors before transport In forty days they
2197took me from there to Fort Pickens (Pensacola), Florida. Here they put
2198me to sawing up large logs. There were several other Apache warriors
2199with me, and all of us had to work every day. For nearly two years we
2200were kept at hard labor in this place and we did not see our families
2201until May, 1887. This treatment was in direct violation of our treaty
2203
2204After this we were sent with our families to Vermont, Alabama, where
2205we stayed five years and worked for the Government. We had no
2206property, and I looked in vain for General Miles to send me to that
2207land of which he had spoken; I longed in vain for the implements,
2208house, and stock that General Miles had promised me.
2209
2210During this time one of my warriors, Fun, killed himself and his
2211wife. Another one shot his wife and then shot himself. He fell dead,
2212but the woman recovered and is still living.
2213
2214We were not healthy in this place, for the climate disagreed with
2215us. So many of our people died that I consented to let one of my wives
2216go to the Mescalero Agency in New Mexico to live. This separation is
2217according to our custom equivalent to what the white people call
2218divorce, and so she married again soon after she got to Mescalero. She
2219also kept our two small children, which she had a right to do. The
2220children, Lenna and Robbie, are still living at Mescalero, New
2221Mexico. Lenna is married. I kept one wife, but she is dead now and I
2222have only our daughter Eva with me. Since my separation from Lenna's
2223mother I have never had more than one wife at a time. Since the death
2224of Eva's mother I married another woman (December, 1905) but we could
2225not live happily and separated. She went home to her people-that is an
2226Apache divorce.
2227
2228Then, as now, Mr. George Wratton superintended the Indians. He has
2229always had trouble with the Indians, because he has mistreated
2230them. One day an Indian, while drunk, stabbed Mr. Wratton with a
2231little knife. The officer in charge took the part of Mr. Wratton and
2232the Indian was sent to prison.
2233
2234
2235
2236
2237
2238Geronimo in his garden in Florida When we first came to Fort Sill,
2239Captain Scot was in charge, and he had houses built for us by the
2240Government. We were also given, from the Government, cattle, hogs,
2241turkeys and chickens. The Indians did not do much good with the
2242hogs. because they did not understand how to care for them, and not
2243many Indians even at the present time keep hogs. We did better with
2244the turkeys and chickens, but with these we did not have as good luck
2245as white men do. With the cattle we have done very well indeed, and we
2246like to raise them. We have a few horses also, and have had no bad
2247luck with them.
2248
2249In the matter of selling our stock and grain there has been much
2250misunderstanding. The Indians understood that the cattle were to be
2251sold and the money given to them, but instead part of the money is
2252given to the Indians and part of it is placed in what the officers
2253call the "Apache Fund." We have had five different officers in charge
2254of the Indians here and they have all ruled very much alike-not
2255consulting the Apaches or even explaining to them. It may be that the
2256Government ordered the officers in charge to put this cattle money
2257into an Apache fund, for once I complained and told Lieutenant
2258Purington that I intended to report to the Government that he had
2259taken some of my part of the cattle money and put it into the Apache
2260Fund, he said he did not care if I did tell.
2261
2262Several years ago the issue of clothing ceased. This, too, may have
2263been by the order of the Government, but the Apaches do not understand
2264it.
2265
2266If there is an Apache Fund, it should some day be turned over to the
2267Indians, or at least they should have an account of it, for it is
2268their earnings.
2269
2270When General Miles last visited Fort Sill I asked to be relieved from
2271labor on account of my age. I also remembered what General Miles had
2272promised me in the treaty and told him of it. He said I need not work
2273any more except when I wished to, and since that time I have not been
2274detailed to do any work. I have worked a great deal, however, since
2275then, for, although I am old, I like to work and help my people as
2276much as I am able.
2277
2278
2279
2280
2281
2282
2283
2284
2285
2286
2287
2288
2289
2290
2291
2292
2293
229418/21
2295
2296Unwritten Laws of the Apaches
2297
2298
2299
2300TRIALS When an Indian has been wronged by a member of his tribe he
2301may, if he does not wish to settle the difficulty personally, make
2302complaint to the Chieftain. If he is unable to meet the offending
2303parties in a personal encounter, and disdains to make complaint,
2304anyone may in his stead inform the chief of this conduct, and then it
2305becomes necessary to have an investigation or trial. Both the accused
2306and the accuser are entitled to witnesses, and their witnesses are not
2307interrupted in any way by questions, but simply say what they wish to
2308say in regard to the matter. The witnesses are not placed under oath,
2309because it is not believed that they will give false testimony in a
2310matter relating to their own people.
2311
2312The chief of the tribe presides during these trials, but if it is a
2313serious offense he asks two or three leaders to sit with him. These
2314simply determine whether or not the man is guilty. If he is not guilty
2315the matter is ended, and the complaining party has forfeited his right
2316to take personal vengeance, for if he wishes to take vengeance
2317himself, he must object to the trial which would prevent it. If the
2318accused is found guilty the injured party fixes the penalty, which is
2319generally confirmed by the chief and his associates.
2320
2321ADOPTION OF CHILDREN If any children are left orphans by the usage of
2322war or otherwise, that is, if both parents are dead, the chief of the
2323tribe may adopt them or give them away as he desires. In the case of
2324outlawed Indians, they may, if they wish, take their children with
2325them, but if they leave the children with the tribe, the chief decides
2326what 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
2329Mountains. This is a very small lake of clear, shallow water, and in
2330the center a small mound arises above the surface of the water. The
2331water is too salty to drink, and the bottom of the lake is covered
2332with a brown crust. When this crust is broken cakes of salt adhere to
2333it. These cakes of salt may be washed clear in the water of this lake,
2334but if washed in other water will dissolve.
2335
2336When visiting this lake our people were not allowed to even kill game
2337or attack an enemy. All creatures were free to go and come without
2338molestation.
2339
2340PREPARATION OF A WARRIOR To be admitted as a warrior a youth must have
2341gone with the warriors of his tribe four separate times on the war
2342path.
2343
2344On the first trip he will be given only very inferior food. With this
2345he must be contented without murmuring. On none of the four trips is
2346he allowed to select his food as the warriors do, but must eat such
2347food as he is permitted to have.
2348
2349On each of these expeditions he acts as servant, cares for the horses,
2350cooks the food, and does whatever duties he should do without being
2351told. He knows what things are to be done, and without waiting to be
2352told is to do them. He is not allowed to speak to any warrior except
2353in answer to questions or when told to speak.
2354
2355During these four wars he is expected to learn the sacred names of
2356everything used in war, for after the tribe enters upon the war path
2357no common names are used in referring to anything appertaining to war
2358in any way. War is a solemn religious matter.
2359
2360If, after four expeditions, all the warriors are satisfied that the
2361youth has been industrious, has not spoken out of order, has been
2362discreet in all things, has shown courage in battle, has borne all
2363hardships uncomplainingly, and has exhibited no color of cowardice, or
2364weakness of any kind, he may by vote of the council be admitted as a
2365warrior; but if any warrior objects to him upon any account he will be
2366subjected to further tests, and if he meets these courageously, his
2367name may again be proposed. When he has proven beyond question that he
2368can bear hardships without complaint, and that he is a stranger to
2369fear, he is admitted to the council of the warriors in the lowest
2370rank. After this there is no formal test for promotions, but by common
2371consent he assumes a station on the battlefield, and if that position
2372is maintained with honor, he is allowed to keep it, and may be asked,
2373or may volunteer, to take a higher station, but no warrior would
2374presume to take a higher station unless he had assurance from the
2375leaders of the tribe that his conduct in the first position was worthy
2376of commendation.
2377
2378From this point upward the only election by the council in formal
2379assembly is the election of the chief.
2380
2381Old men are not allowed to lead in battle, but their advice is always
2382respected. Old age means loss of physical power and is fatal to active
2384
2385DANCES All dances are considered religious ceremonies and are presided
2386over by a chief and medicine men. They are of a social or military
2387nature, but never without some sacred characteristic.
2388
2389A DANCE OF THANKSGIVING Every summer we would gather the fruit of the
2390yucca, grind and pulverize it and mold it into cakes; then the tribe
2391would be assembled to feast, to sing, and to give praises to
2392Usen. Prayers of Thanksgiving were said by all. When the dance began
2393the leaders bore these cakes and added words of praise occasionally to
2394the usual tone sounds of the music.
2395
2396THE WAR DANCE After a council of the warriors had deliberated, and had
2397prepared for the war path, the dance would be started. In this dance
2398there is the usual singing led by the warriors and accompanied with
2399the beating of the "esadadene," but the dancing is more violent, and
2400yells and war whoops sometimes almost drown the music. Only warriors
2401participated in this dance.
2402
2403SCALP DANCE After a war party has returned, a modification of the war
2404dance is held. The warriors who have brought scalps from the battles
2405exhibit them to the tribe, and when the dance begins these scalps,
2406elevated on poles or spears, are carried around the camp fires while
2407the dance is in progress. During this dance there is still some of the
2408solemnity of the war dance. There are yells and war-whoops, frequently
2409accompanied by discharge of firearms, but there is always more levity
2410than would be permitted at a war dance. After the scalp dance is over
2411the scalps are thrown away. No Apache would keep them, for they are
2412considered defiling.
2413
2414A SOCIAL DANCE In the early part of September, 1905, I announced among
2415the Apaches that my daughter, Eva, having attained womanhood, should
2416now put away childish things and assume her station as a young
2417lady. At a dance of the tribe she would make her debut, and then, or
2418thereafter, it would be proper for a warrior to seek her hand in
2419marriage. Accordingly, invitations were issued to all Apaches, and
2420many Comanches and Kiowas, to assemble for a grand dance on the green
2421by the south bank of Medicine Creek, near the village of Naiche,
2422former chief of the Chokonen Apaches, on the first night of full moon
2423in September. The festivities were to continue for two days and
2424nights. Nothing was omitted in the preparation that would contribute
2425to the enjoyment of the guests or the perfection of the observance of
2426the religious rite.
2427
2428To make ready for the dancing the grass on a large circular space was
2429closely mowed.
2430
2431The singing was led by Chief Naiche, and I, assisted by our medicine
2432men, directed the dance.
2433
2434First Eva advanced from among the women and danced once around the
2435camp fire; then, accompanied by another young woman, she again
2436advanced and both danced twice around the camp fire; then she and two
2438fire; the next time she and three other young ladies advanced and
2439danced four times around the camp fire; this ceremony lasted about one
2440hour. Next the medicine men entered, stripped to the waist, their
2441bodies painted fantastically, and danced the sacred dances. They were
2442followed by clown dancers who amused the audience greatly.
2443
2444Then the members of the tribe joined hands and danced in a circle
2445around the camp fire for a long time. All the friends of the tribe
2446were asked to take part in this dance, and when it was ended many of
2447the old people retired, and the "lovers' dance" began.
2448
2449The warriors stood in the middle of the circle and the ladies,
2450two-and-two, danced forward and designated some warrior to dance with
2451them. The dancing was back and forth on a line from the center to the
2452outer edge of the circle. The warrior faced the two ladies, and when
2453they danced forward to the center he danced backward: then they danced
2454backward to the outer edge and he followed facing them. This lasted
2455two or three hours and then the music changed. Immediately the
2456warriors assembled again in the center of the circle, and this time
2457each lady selected a warrior as a partner. The manner of dancing was
2458as before, only two instead of three danced together. During this
2459dance, which continued until daylight, the warrior (if dancing with a
2460maiden) could propose marriage, and if the maiden agreed, he would
2461consult her father soon afterward and make a bargain for her.
2462
2463Upon all such occasions as this, when the dance is finished, each
2464warrior gives a present to the lady who selected him for a partner and
2465danced with him. If she is satisfied with the present he says good-by,
2466if not, the matter is referred to someone in authority (medicine man
2467or chief), who determines the question of what is a proper gift.
2468
2469For a married lady the value of the present should be two or three
2470dollars; for a maiden the present should have a value of not less than
2471five dollars. Often, however, the maiden receives a very valuable
2472present.
2473
2474During the "lovers' dance" the medicine men mingle with the dancers to
2475keep out evil spirits.
2476
2477Perhaps I shall never again have cause to assemble our people to
2478dance, but these social dances in the moonlight have been a large part
2479of our enjoyment in the past, and I think they will not soon be
2480discontinued, at least I hope not.
2481
2482
2483
2484
2485
2486
2487
2488
2489
2490
2491
2492
2493
2494
2495
2496
2497
249819/21
2499
2500At the World's Fair
2501
2502
2503
2504WHEN I was at first asked to attend the St. Louis World's Fair I did
2505not wish to go. Later, when I was told that I would receive good
2506attention and protection, and that the President of the United States
2507said that it would be all right, I consented. I was kept by parties in
2508charge of the Indian Department, who had obtained permission from the
2509President. I stayed in this place for six months. I sold my
2510photographs for twenty-five cents, and was allowed to keep ten cents
2511of this for myself. I also wrote my name for ten, fifteen, or
2512twenty-five cents, as the case might be, and kept all of that money. I
2513often made as much as two dollars a day, and when I returned I had
2514plenty of money -more than I had ever owned before.
2515
2516Many people in St. Louis invited me to come to their homes, but my
2517keeper always refused. Every Sunday the President of the Fair sent for
2518me to go to a wild west show. I took part in the roping contests
2519before the audience. There were many other Indian tribes there, and
2520strange people of whom I had never heard.
2521
2522
2523
2524
2525
2526Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair When people first came to
2527the World's Fair they did nothing but parade up and down the
2528streets. When they got tired of this they would visit the shows. There
2529were many strange things in these shows. The Government sent guards
2530with me when I went, and I was not allowed to go anywhere without
2531them.
2532
2533In one of the shows some strange men with red caps had some peculiar
2534swords, and they seemed to want to fight. Finally their manager told
2535them they might fight each other. They tried to hit each other over
2536the head with these swords, and I expected both to be wounded or
2537perhaps killed, but neither one was harmed. They would be hard people
2538to kill in a hand-to-hand fight.
2539
2540In another show there was a strange-looking negro. The manager tied
2541his hands fast, then tied him to a chair. He was securely tied, for I
2542looked myself, and I did not think it was possible for him to get
2543away. Then the manager told him to get loose.
2544
2545He twisted in his chair for a moment, and then stood up; the ropes
2546were still tied but he was free. I do not understand how this was
2547done. It was certainly a miraculous power, because no man could have
2548released himself by his own efforts.
2549
2550In another place a man was on a platform speaking to the audience;
2551they set a basket by the side of the platform and covered it with red
2552calico; then a woman came and got into the basket, and a man covered
2553the basket again with the calico; then the man who was speaking to the
2554audience took a long sword and ran it through the basket, each way,
2555and then down through the cloth cover. I heard the sword cut through
2556the woman's body, and the manager himself said she was dead; but when
2557the cloth was lifted from the basket she stepped out, smiled, and
2558walked off the stage. I would like to know how she was so quickly
2559healed, and why the wounds did not kill her.
2560
2561I have never considered bears very intelligent, except in their wild
2562habits, but I had never before seen a white bear. In one of the shows
2563a man had a white bear that was as intelligent as a man. He would do
2564whatever he was told -carry a log on his shoulder, just as a man
2565would; then, when he was told, would put it down again. He did many
2566other things, and seemed to know exactly what his keeper said to
2567him. I am sure that no grizzly bear could be trained to do these
2568things.
2569
2570One time the guards took me into a little house that had four
2571windows. When we were seated the little house started to move along
2572the ground. Then the guards called my attention to some curious things
2573they had in their pockets. Finally they told me to look out, and when
2574I did so I was scared, for our little house had gone high up in the
2575air, and the people down in the Fair Grounds looked no larger than
2576ants. The men laughed at me for being scared; then they gave me a
2577glass to look through (I often had such glasses which I took from dead
2578officers after battles in Mexico and elsewhere), and I could see
2579rivers, lakes and mountains. But I had never been so high in the air,
2580and I tried to look into the sky. There were no stars, and I could not
2581look at the sun through this glass because the brightness hurt my
2582eyes. Finally I put the glass down, and as they were all laughing at
2583me, I, too, began to laugh. Then they said, "Get out!" and when I
2584looked we were on the street again. After we were safe on the land I
2585watched many of these little houses going up and coming down, but I
2586cannot understand how they travel. They are very curious little
2587houses.
2588
2589One day we went into another show, and as soon as we were in it, it
2590changed into night. It was real night, for I could feel the damp air;
2591soon it began to thunder, and the lightnings flashed; it was real
2592lightning, too, for it struck just above our heads. I dodged and
2593wanted to run away but I could not tell which way to go in order to
2594get out. The guards motioned me to keep still and so I stayed. In
2595front of us were some strange little people who came out on the
2596platform; then I looked up again and the clouds were all gone, and I
2597could see stars shining. The little people on the platform did not
2598seem in earnest about anything they did; so I only laughed at
2599them. All the people around where we sat seemed to be laughing at me.
2600
2601We went into another place and the manager took us into a little room
2602that was made like a cage; then everything around us seemed to be
2603moving; soon the air looked blue, then there were black clouds moving
2604with the wind. Pretty soon it was clear outside; then we saw a few
2605thin white clouds; then the clouds grew thicker, and it rained and
2606hailed with thunder and lightning. Then the thunder retreated and a
2607rainbow appeared in the distance; then it became dark, the moon rose
2608and thousands of stars came out. Soon the sun came up, and we got out
2609of the little room. This was a good show, but it was so strange and
2610unnatural that I was glad to be on the streets again.
2611
2612We went into one place where they made glassware. I had always thought
2613that these things were made by hand, but they are not. The man had a
2614curious little instrument, and whenever he would blow through this
2615into a little blaze the glass would take any shape he wanted it to. I
2616am not sure, but I think that if I had this kind of an instrument I
2617could make whatever I wished. There seems to be a charm about it. But
2618I suppose it is very difficult to get these little instruments, or
2619people would have them. The people in this show were so anxious to buy
2620the things the man made that they kept him so busy he could not sit
2621down all day long. I bought many curious things in there and brought
2622them home with me.
2623
2624At the end of one of the streets some people were getting into a
2625clumsy canoe, upon a kind of shelf, and sliding down into the
2626water. They seemed to enjoy it, but it looked too fierce for me. If
2627one of these canoes had gone out of its path the people would have
2628been sure to get hurt or killed.
2629
2630There were some little brown people at the Fair that United States
2631troops captured recently on some islands far away from here.
2632
2633They did not wear much clothing, and I think that they should not have
2634been allowed to come to the Fair. But they themselves did not seem to
2635know any better. They had some little brass plates, and they tried to
2636play music with these, but I did not think it was music it was only a
2637rattle. However, they danced to this noise and seemed to think they
2638were giving a fine show.
2639
2640I do not know how true the report was, but I heard that the President
2641sent them to the Fair so that they could learn some manners, and when
2642they went home teach their people how to dress and how to behave.
2643
2644I am glad I went to the Fair. I saw many interesting things and
2645learned much of the white people. They are a very kind and peaceful
2646people. During all the time I was at the Fair no one tried to harm me
2647in any way. Had this been among the Mexicans I am sure I should have
2648been compelled to defend myself often.
2649
2650I 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
266820/21
2669
2670Religion
2671
2672
2673
2674In our primitive worship only our relations to Usen and the members of
2675our tribe were considered as appertaining to our religious
2676responsibilities. As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe
2677were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations
2678and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after
2679this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after
2680death. I have seen many men die; I have seen many human bodies
2681decayed, but I have never seen that part which is called the spirit; I
2682do not know what it is; nor have I yet been able to understand that
2683part of the Christian religion. We held that the discharge of one's
2684duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future
2685life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one
2686was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life family and
2687tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we
2688did not know it.
2689
2690Once when living in San Carlos Reservation an Indian told me that
2692and had passed into the spirit land.
2693
2694
2695
2696
2697
2698Geronimo at old age First he came to a mulberry tree growing out from
2699a cave in the ground. Before this cave a guard was stationed, but when
2700he approached without fear the guard let him pass. He descended into
2701the cave, and a little way back the path widened and terminated in a
2702perpendicular rock many hundreds of feet wide and equal in
2703height. There was not much light, but by peering directly beneath him
2704he discovered a pile of sand reaching from the depths below to within
2705twenty feet of the top of the rock where he stood. Holding to a bush,
2706he swung off from the edge of the rock and dropped onto the sand,
2707sliding rapidly down its steep side into the darkness. He landed in a
2708narrow passage running due westward through a canyon which gradually
2709grew lighter and lighter until he could see as well as if it had been
2710daylight; but there was no sun. Finally he came to a section of this
2711passage that was wider for a short distance, and then closing abruptly
2712continued in a narrow path; just where this section narrowed two huge
2713serpents were coiled, and rearing their heads, hissed at him as he
2714approached, but he showed no fear, and as soon as he came close to
2715them they withdrew quietly and let him pass. At the next place, where
2716the passage opened into a wider section, were two grizzly bears
2717prepared to attack him, but when he approached and spoke to them they
2718stood aside and he passed unharmed. He continued to follow the narrow
2719passage, and the third time it widened and two mountain lions crouched
2720in the way, but when he had approached them without fear and had
2721spoken to them they also withdrew. He again entered the narrow
2722passage. For some time he followed this emerging into a fourth section
2723beyond which he could see nothing: the further walls of this section
2724were clashing together at regular intervals with tremendous sounds,
2725but when he approached them they stood apart until he had
2726passed. After this he seemed to be in a forest, and following the
2727natural draws which led westward soon came into a green valley where
2728there were many Indians camped and plenty of game. He said that he saw
2729and recognized many whom he had known in this life, and that he was
2730sorry when he was brought back to consciousness.
2731
2732I told him if I knew this to be true I would not want to live another
2733day, but by some means, if by my own hands, I would die in order to
2734enjoy these pleasures. I myself have lain unconscious on the
2735battlefield, and while in that condition have had some strange
2736thoughts or experiences; but they are very dim and I cannot recall
2737them well enough to relate them. Many Indians believed this warrior,
2738and I cannot say that he did not tell the truth. I wish I knew that
2739what he said is beyond question true. But perhaps it is as well that
2740we are not certain.
2741
2742Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have heard the teachings of
2743the white man's religion, and in many respects believe it to be better
2744than the religion of my fathers. However, I have always prayed, and I
2745believe that the Almighty has always protected me.
2746
2747Believing that in a wise way it is good to go to church, and that
2748associating with Christians would improve my character, I have adopted
2749the Christian religion. I believe that the church has helped me much
2750during the short time I have been a member. I am not ashamed to be a
2751Christian, and I am glad to know that the President of the United
2752States is a Christian, for without the help of the Almighty I do not
2753think he could rightly judge in ruling so many people. I have advised
2754all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion,
2755because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live
2756right.
2757
2758
2759
2760
2761
2762
2763
2764
2765
2766
2767
2768
2769
2770
277121/21
2772
2773Hopes for the Future
2774
2775
2776
2777I am thankful that the President Of the United States has given me
2778permission to tell my story. I hope that he and those in authority
2779under him will read my story and judge whether my people have been
2780rightly treated.
2781
2782There is a great question between the Apache and the Government. For
2783twenty years we have been held prisoners of war under a treaty which
2784was made with General Miles, on the part of the United States
2785Government, and myself as the representative of the Apaches. That
2786treaty has not at all times been properly observed by the Government,
2787although at the present time it is being more nearly fulfilled on
2788their part the heretofore. In the treaty with General Miles we agreed
2789to go to a place outside of Arizona and learn to live as the white
2790people do. I think that my people are now capable of living in
2791accordance with the laws of the United States, and we would, of
2792course, like to have the liberty to return to that land which is ours
2793by divine right. We are reduced in numbers, and having learned how to
2794cultivate the soil would not require so much ground as was formerly
2795necessary. We do not ask all of the land which the Almighty gave us in
2796the beginning, but that we may have sufficient lands there to
2797cultivate. What we do not need we are glad for the white men to
2798cultivate.
2799
2800We are now held on Comanche and Kiowa lands, which are not suited to
2801our needs-these lands and this climate are suited to the Indians who
2802originally inhabited this country, of course, but our people are
2803decreasing in numbers here, and will continue to decrease unless they
2804are allowed to return to their native land. Such a result is
2805inevitable.
2806
2807Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair There is no climate or
2808soil which, to my mind, is equal to that of Arizona. We could have
2809plenty of good cultivating land, plenty of grass, plenty of timber and
2810plenty of minerals in that land which the Almighty created for the
2811Apaches. It is my land, my home, my fathers' land, to which I now ask
2812to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be
2813buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace,
2814feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase
2815in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name
2816would not become extinct.
2817
2818I know that if my people were placed in that mountainous region lying
2819around the head waters of the Gila River they would live in peace and
2820act according to the will of the President. They would be prosperous
2821and happy in tilling the soil and learning the civilization of the
2822white men, whom they now respect. Could I but see this accomplished, I
2823think I could forget all the wrongs that I have ever received, and die
2824a contented and happy old man. But we can do nothing in this matter
2825ourselves-we must wait until those in authority choose to act. If this
2826cannot be done during my lifetime-if I must die in bondage- I hope
2827that the remnant of the Apache tribe may, when I am gone, be granted