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Geronimo: His Story

In the beginning the world was covered with darkness. There was no
sun, no day. The perpetual night had no moon or stars.

There were, however, all manner of beasts and birds. Among the beasts
were many hideous, nameless monsters, as well as dragons, lions,
tigers, wolves, foxes, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, and
all manner of creeping things such as lizards and serpents. Mankind
could not prosper under such conditions, for the beasts and serpents
destroyed all human offspring.

All creatures had the power of speech and were gifted with reason.

There were two tribes of creatures: the birds or the feathered tribe
and the beasts. The former were organized wider their chief, the
eagle.

These tribes often held councils, and the birds wanted light
admitted. This the beasts repeatedLy refused to do. Finally the birds
made war against the beasts.

The beasts were armed with clubs, but the eagle had taught his tribe
to use bows and arrows. The serpents were so wise that they could not
all be killed. One took refuge in a perpendicular cliff of a mountain
in Arizona, and his eyes (changed into a brilliant stone) may be see
in that rock to this day. The bears, when killed, would each be
changed into several other bears, so that the more bears the feathered
tribe killed, the more there were. The dragon could not be killed,
either, for he was covered with four coats of horny scales, and the
arrows would not penetrate these. One of the most hideous, vile
monsters (nameless) was proof against arrows, so the eagle flew high
up in the air with a round, white stone, and let it fall on this
monster's head, killing him instantly. This was such a good service
that the stone was called sacred. They fought for many days, but at
last the birds won the victory.

After this war was over, although some evil beasts remained, the birds
were able to control the councils, and light was admitted, Then
mankind could live and prosper. The eagle was chief in this good
fight: therefore, his feathers were worn by man as emblems of wisdom,
justice, and power.

Among the few human beings that were yet alive was a woman who had
been blessed with many children, but these had always been destroyed
by the beasts. If by any means she succeeded in eluding the others,
the dragon, who was very wise and very evil, would come himself and
eat her babes.

After many years a son of the rainstorm was born to her and she dug
for him a deep cave. The entrance to this cave she closed and over the
spot built a camp fire. This concealed the babe's hiding place and
kept him warm. Every day she would remove the fire and descend into
the cave, where the child's bed was, to nurse him; then she would
return and rebuild the camp fire.

Frequently the dragon would come and question her, but she would say,
I have no more children; you have eaten all of them.

When the child was larger he would not always stay in the cave, for he
sometimes wanted to run and play. Once the dragon saw his tracks. Now
this perplexed and enraged the old dragon, for he could not find the
hiding place of the boy; but he said that he would destroy the mother
if she did not reveal the child's hiding place. The poor mother was
very much troubled; she could not give up her child, but she knew the
power and cunning of the dragon, therefore she lived in constant fear.

Soon after this the boy said that he wished to go hunting. The mother
would not give her consent. She told him of the dragon, the wolves,
and serpents; but he said, To-morrow I go.

At the boy's request his uncle (who was the only man then living) made
a little bow and some arrows for him, and the two went hunting the
next day. They trailed the deer far up the mountain and finally the
boy killed a buck. His uncle showed him how to dress the deer and
broil the meat. They broiled two hind quarters, one the child and one
for his uncle. When the meat was done they placed it on some bushes to
cool. Just then the huge form of the dragon appeared. The child was
not afraid, but his uncle was so dumb with fright that he did not
speak or move.

The dragon took the boy's parcel of meat and went aside with it. He
placed the meat on another bush and seated himself beside it. Then he
said, This is the child I have been seeking. Boy, you are nice and
fat, so when I have eaten this venison I shall eat you. The boy said,
No, you shall not eat me, and you shall not eat that meat. So he
walked over to where the dragon sat and to where the meat back to his
own seat. The dragon said, I like your courage, but you are foolish;
what do you think you could do? Well, said the boy, I can do enough to
protect myself, as you may bind out. Then the dragon took the meat
again, and then the boy retook it. Four times in all the dragon took
the meat, and after the fourth time the boy replaced the meat he said,
Dragon, will you fight me? The dragon said, Yes, in whatever way you
like. The boy said, I will stand one hundred paces distant from you
and you may have four shots at me with your bow and arrows, provided
that you will then exchange places with me and give me four
shots. Good, said the dragon. Stand up.

Then the dragon took his bow, which was made of a large pine tree. He
took four arrows from his quiver; they were made of young pine tree
saplings, and each arrow was twenty feet in length. He took deliberate
aim, but just as the arrow left the bow the boy made a peculiar sound
and leaped into the air. Immediately the arrow was shivered into a
thousand splinters, and the boy was seen standing on the top of a
bright rainbow over the spot where the dragon's aim had been
directed. Soon the rainbow was gone and the boy was standing on the
ground again. Four times this was repeated, then the boy said, Dragon,
stand here: it is my time to shoot. The dragon said, All right, your
little arrows cannot pierce my first coat of horn, and I have three
other coats --shoot away. The boy shot an arrow, striking the dragon
just over the heart, and one coat of the great horny scales fell to
the ground. The next shot another coat, and then another, and the
dragon's heart was exposed. Then the dragon trembled, but could not
move. Before the fourth arrow was shot the boy said, Uncle, you are
dumb with fear; you have not moved; come here or the dragon will fall
on you.His uncle ran toward him. Then he sped the fourth arrow with
true aim, and it pierced the dragon's heart. With a tremendous roar
the dragon rolled down the mountain side---down four precipices into a
canon below.

Immediately storm clouds swept the mountains, lightning flashed,
thunder rolled, and the rain poured. When the rainstorm had passed,
far down in the canon below, they could see fragments of the huge body
of the dragon lying among the rocks, and the bones of this dragon may
still be found there.

This boy's name was Apache. Usen taught him how to prepare herbs for
medicine, how to hunt, and how to fight. He was the first chief of the
Indians and wore the eagle's feathers the sign of justice, wisdom, and
power. To him and to his people, as they were created, Usen gave homes
in the land of the West.


   

2/21

Subdivisions of the Apache Tribe



The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these,
the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.

Our tribe inhabited that region of mountainous country which lies west
from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the
Gila River.





 Victoria East of us lived the Chi-hen-ne (Ojo Caliente), (Hot
 Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with
 them. Victoria, their chief (first portrait), was always a friend to
 me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost
 his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good
 man and a brave warrior. His son Charlie now lives here in this
 reservation with us.

North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on
the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with
them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-ai-la, personally, and I considered
him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the Navajo
Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held
councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo
Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.

To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-a-hen Apaches. They had
two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were
friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.





Cochise South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose
chief in the old days was Cochise (second portrait), and later his
son, Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with
us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, Who was
my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage. (third picture:
Geronimo riding with Naiche)

To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ni Apaches. Their chief was
Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa They were our firm
friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly
in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as
brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is
dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.

Still the four tribes (Bedonkohe, Chokonen, Chihenne, and Nedni), who
were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they
decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would
dissolve our bonds of friendship.

We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or
Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and
certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.

For each tribe of men Usen created He also made a home. In the land
created for any particular tribe. He placed whatever would be best for
the welfare of that tribe.



When

Geronimo riding with Naiche Usen created the Apaches He also created
their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game
as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked
them He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to
find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a
pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at
hand.

Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created
for the other by Usen himself. When they are taken from these homes
they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are
no Apaches?




   










   

3/21

Early Life



I was born in No-doyohn Canon, Arizona, June, 1829.

In that country which lies around the head waters of the Gila River I
was reared. This range was our fatherland; among these mountains our
wigwams were hidden; the scattered valleys contained our fields; the
boundless prairies, stretching away on every side, were our pastures;
the rocky caverns were our burying places.





Porico or White Horse, Geronimo's brother I was fourth in a family of
eight children-- four boys and four girls. Of that family, only
myself, my brother, Porico, and my sister, Nah-da-ste , are yet
alive. We are held as prisoners of war in this Military Reservation
(Fort Sill).

As a babe I rolled on the dirt floor of my father's tepee, hung in my
tsoch (Apache name for cradle) at my mother's back, or suspended from
the bough of a tree. I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds, and
sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes.

When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me
of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She
also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom,
and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had
aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were
taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.

My father had often told me of the brave deeds of our warriors, of the
pleasures of the chase, and the glories of the war path.





Nah-da-ste, Geronimo's sister With my brothers and sisters I played
about my father's home. Sometimes we played at hide-and-seek among the
rocks and pines; sometimes we loitered in the shade of the cottonwood
trees or sought the shudock (a kind of wild cherry) while our parents
worked in the field. Sometimes we played that we were warriors. We
would practice stealing upon some object that represented an enemy,
and in our childish imitation often perform the feats of
war. Sometimes we would hide away from our mother to see if she could
find us, and often when thus concealed go to sleep and perhaps remain
hidden for many hours.

When we were old enough to be of real service we went to the field
with our parents: not to play, but to toil. When the crops were to be
planted we broke the ground with wooden hoes. We planted the corn in
straight rows, the beans among the corn, and the melons and pumpkins
in irregular order over the field. We cultivated these crops as there
was need.

Our field usually contained about two acres of ground. The fields were
never fenced. It was common for many families to cultivate land in the
same valley and share the burden of protecting the growing crops from
destruction by the ponies of the tribe, or by deer and other wild
animals.

Melons were gathered as they were consumed. In the autumn pumpkins and
beans were gathered and placed in bags or baskets; ears of corn were
tied together by the husks, and then the harvest was carried on the
backs of ponies up to our homes. Here the corn was shelled, and all
the harvest stored away in caves or other secluded places to be used
in winter.

We never fed corn to our ponies, but if we kept them up in the winter
time we gave them fodder to eat. We had no cattle or other domestic
animals except our dogs and ponies.

We did not cultivate tobacco, but found it growing wild. This we cut
and cured in autumn, but if the supply ran out the leaves from the
stalks left standing served our purpose. All Indians smoked---men and
women. No boy was allowed to smoke until he had hunted alone and
killed large game--wolves and bears. Unmarried women were not
prohibited from smoking, but were considered immodest if they did
so. Nearly all matrons smoked.

Besides grinding the corn (by hand with stone mortars and pestles) for
bread, we sometimes crushed it and soaked it, and after it had
fermented made from this juice a tis-win, which had the power of
intoxication, and was very highly prized by the Indians. This work was
done by the squaws and children. When berries or nuts were to be
gathered the small children and the squaws would go in parties to hunt
them, and sometimes stay all day. When they went any great distance
from camp they took ponies to carry the baskets

I frequentLy went with these parties, and upon one of these excursions
a woman named Cho-ko-le got lost from the party and was riding her
pony through a thicket in search of her friends. Her little dog was
following as she slowly made her way through the thick underbrush and
pine trees. All at once a grizzly bear rose in her path and attacked
the pony. She jumped off and her pony escaped, but the bear attacked
her, so she fought him the best she could with her knife. Her little
dog, by snapping at the bear's heels and distracting his attention
from the woman, enabled her for some time to keep pretty well out of
his reach. Finally the grizzly struck her over the head, tearing off
almost her whole scalp. She fell, but did not lose consciousness, and
while prostrate struck him four good licks with her knife, and he
retreated. After he had gone she replaced her torn scalp and bound it
up as best she could, then she turned deathly sick and had to lie
down. That night her pony came into camp with his load of nuts and
berries, but no rider. The Indians hunted for her, but did not find
her until the second day. They carried her home, and under the
treatment of their medicine men all her wounds were healed.

The Indians knew what herbs to use for medicine, how to prepare them,
and how to give the medicine. This they had been taught by Usen in the
beginning, and each succeeding generation had men who were skilled in
the art of healing.

In gathering the herbs, in preparing them, and in administering the
medicine, as much faith was held in prayer as in the actual effect of
the medicine. Usually about eight persons worked together in make
medicine, and there were forms of prayer and incantations to attend
each stage of the process. Four attended to the incantations and four
to the preparation of the herbs.

Some of the Indians were skilled in cutting out bullets, arrow heads,
and other missiles with which warriors were wounded. I myself have
done much of this, using a common dirk or butcher knife.

Small children wore very little clothing in winter and none in the
summer. Women usually wore a primitive skirt, which consisted of a
piece of cotton cloth fastened about the waist, and extending to the
knees. Men wore breach clothes and moccasins. In winter they had
shirts and legging in addition.

Frequently when the tribe was in camp a number of boys and girls, by
agreement, would steal away and meet at a place several miles distant,
where they could play all day free from tasks. They were never
punished for these frolics; but if their hiding places were discovered
they were ridiculed.




   










   

4/21

Tribal Amusements, Manners, and Customs



To celebrate each noted event a feast and dance would be
given. Perhaps only our own people, perhaps neighboring tribes, would
be invited. These festivities usually lasted for about four days. By
day we feasted, by night under the direction of some chief we
danced. The music for our dance was singing led by the warriors, and
accompanied by beating the esadadedne (buck-skin-on-a-hoop). No words
were sung--only the tones. When the feasting and dancing were over we
would have horse races, foot races, wrestling, jumping, and all sorts
of games (gambling).

Among these games the most noted was the tribal game of Kah (foot). It
is played as follows: Four moccasins are placed about four feet apart
in holes in the ground, dug in a row on one side of the camp, and on
the opposite side a similar parallel row. At night a camp fire is
started between these two rows of moccasins, and the players are
arranged on sides, one or any number on each side. The score is kept
by a bundle of sticks, from which each side takes a stick for every
point won. First one side takes the bone, puts up blankets between the
four moccasins and the fire so that the opposing team cannot observe
their movements, and then begin to sing the legends of creation. The
side having the bone represents the feathered tribe, the opposite side
represents the beasts. The players representing the birds do all the
singing, and while singing hide the bone in one of the moccasins, then
the blankets are thrown down. They continue to sing, but as soon as
the blankets are thrown down the chosen player from the opposing team,
armed with a war club, comes to their side of the camp fire and with
his club strikes the moccasin in which he thinks the bone is
hidden. If he strikes the right moccasin, his side gets the bone, and
in turn represents the birds, while the opposing team must keep quiet
and guess in turn. There are only four plays; three that lose and one
that wins. When all the sticks are gone from the bundle the side
having the largest number of sticks is counted winner.





Apache camp This game is seldom played except as a gambling game, but
for the purpose it is the most popular game known to the
tribe. Usually the game lasts four or five hours. It is never played
in daytime.

After the games are all finished the visitors say, We are satisfied,
and the camp is broken up. I was always glad when the dances and
feasts were announced. So were all the other young people.

Our life also had a religious side. We had no churches, no religious
organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we
worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing and pray;
sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had a
few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in
such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we
prayed in silence; sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged
person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak
to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our services were
short.

When disease or pestilence abounded we were assembled and questioned
by our leaders to ascertain what evil we had done, and how Usen could
be satisfied. Sometimes sacrifice was deemed necessary. Sometimes the
offending one was punished.

If an Apache had allowed his aged parents to suffer for food or
shelter, if he had neglected or abused the sick, if he had profaned
our religion, or had been unfaithful, he might be banished from the
tribe.

The Apaches had no prisons as white men have. Instead of sending their
criminals into prison they sent them out of their tribe. These
faithless, cruel, lazy, or cowardly members of the tribe were excluded
in such a manner that they could not join any other tribe. Neither
could they have any protection from our unwritten tribal
laws. Frequently these outlaw Indians banded together and committed
depredations which were charged against the regular tribe. However,
the life of an outlaw Indian was a hard lot, and their bands never
became very large; besides, these bands frequently provoked the wrath
of the tribe and secured their own destruction.

When I was about eight or ten years old I began to follow the chase,
and to me this was never work.

Out on the prairies, which ran up to our mountain homes, wandered
herds of deer, antelope, elk, and buffalo, to be slaughtered when we
needed them.

Usually we hunted buffalo on horseback, killing them with arrows and
spears. Their skins were used to make tepees and bedding; their flesh,
to eat.

It required more skill to hunt the deer than any other animal. We
never tried to approach a deer except against the wind. Frequently we
would spend hours in stealing upon grazing deer. If they were in the
open we would crawl long distances on the ground, keeping a weed or
brush before us, so that our approach would not be noticed. Often we
could kill several out of one herd before the others would run
away. Their flesh was dried and packed in vessels, and would keep in
this condition for many months. The hide of the deer soaked in water
and ashes and the hair removed, and then the process of tanning
continued until the buckskin was soft and pliable. Perhaps no other
animal was more valuable to us than the deer.





Apache woman an child In the forests and along the streams were many
wild turkeys. These we would drive to the plains, then slowly ride up
toward them until they were almost tired out. When they began to drop
and hide we would ride in upon them and, by swinging from the side of
our horses, catch them. If one started to fly we would ride swiftly
under him and kill him with a short stick, or hunting club. In this
way we could usually get as many wild turkeys as we could carry home
on a horse.

There were many rabbits in our range, and we also hunted them on
horseback. Our horses were trained to follow the rabbit at full speed,
and as they approached them we would swing from one side of the horse
and strike the rabbit with our hunting club. If he was too far away we
would throw the stick and kill him. This was great sport when we were
boys, but as warriors we seldom hunted small game.

There were many fish in the streams, but as we did not eat them, we
did not try to catch or kill them. Small boys sometimes threw stones
at them or shot at them for practice with their bows and arrows. Usen
did not intend snakes, frogs, or fishes to be eaten. I have never
eaten of them.

There were many eagles in the mountains. These we hunted for their
feathers. It required great skill to steal upon an eagle, for besides
having sharp eyes, he is wise and never stops at any place where he
does not have a good view of the surrounding country.

I have killed many bears with a spear, but was never injured in a
fight with one. I have killed several mountain lions with arrows, and
one with a spear. Both bears and mountain lions are good for food and
valuable for their skin. When we killed them we carried them home on
our horses. We often made quivers for our arrows from the skin of the
mountain lion. These were very pretty and very durable.

During my minority we had never seen a missionary or a priest. We had
never seen a white man. Thus quietly lived the Be-don-ko-he Apaches.




   










   

5/21

The Family



My grandfather, Maco, had been our chief. I never saw him, but my
father often told me of the great size, strength, and sagacity of this
old warrior. Their principal wars had been with the Mexicans. They had
some wars with other tribes of Indians also, but were seldom at peace
for any great length of time with the Mexican towns.





Mangas-Colorado, chief of the Bedonkohe Apaches Maco died when my
father was but a young warrior, and Mangas-Colorado became chief of
the Bedonkohe Apaches. When I was but a small boy my father died,
after having been sick for some time. When he passed away, carefully
the watchers closed his eyes, then they arrayed him in his best
clothes, painted his face afresh, wrapped a rich blanket around him,
saddled his favorite horse, bore his arms in front of him, and led his
horse behind, repeating in wailing tones his deeds of valor as they
carried his body to a cave in the mountain. Then they slew his horses,
and we gave away all of his other property, as was customary in our
tribe, after which his body was deposited in the cave, his arms beside
him. His grave is hidden by piles of stone. Wrapped in splendor he
lies in seclusion, and the winds in the pines sing a low requiem over
the dead warrior.

After my father's death I assumed the care of my mother. She never
married again, although according to the customs of our tribe she
might have done so immediately after his death. Usually, however, the
widow who has children remains single after her husband's death for
two or three years; but the widow without children marries again
immediately. After a warrior's death his widow returns to her people
and may be given away or sold by her father or brothers. My mother
chose to live with me, and she never desired to marry again. We lived
near our old home and I supported her.

In 1846, being seventeen years of age, I was admitted to the council
of the warriors. Then I was very happy, for I could go wherever I
wanted and do whatever I liked. I had not been under the control of
any individual, but the customs of our tribe prohibited me from
sharing the glories of the war path until the council admitted
me. When opportunity offered, after this, I could go on the war path
with my tribe. This would be glorious. I hoped soon to serve my people
in battle. I had long desired to fight with our warriors.

Perhaps the greatest joy to me was that now I could marry the fair
Alope, daughter of No-po-so. She was a slender, delicate girl, but we
had been lovers for a long time. So, as soon as the council granted me
these privileges I went to see her father concerning our
marriage. Perhaps our love was of no interest to him; perhaps he
wanted to keep Alope with him, for she was a dutiful daughter; at any
rate he asked many ponies for her. I made no reply, but in a few days
appeared before his wigwam with the herd of ponies and took with me
Alope. This was all the marriage ceremony necessary in our tribe.

Not far from my mother's tepee I had made for us a new home. The tepee
was made of buffalo hides and in it were many bear robes, lion hides,
and other trophies of the chase, as well as my spears, bows, and
arrows. Alope had made many little decorations of beads and drawn work
on buckskin, which she placed in our tepee. She also drew many
pictures on the walls of our home. She was a good wife, but she was
never strong. We followed the traditions of our fathers and were
happy. Three children came to us-- children that played, loitered, and
worked as I had done.




   










   

6/21

Kas-Ki-Yeh



The Massacre In the summer of 1858, being at peace with the Mexican
towns as well as with all the neighboring Indian tribes, we went south
into Old Mexico to trade. Our whole tribe (Bedonkohe Apaches) went
through Sonora toward Casa Grande, our destination, but just before
reaching that place we stopped at another Mexican town called by the
Indians Kas-ki-yeh. Here we stayed for several days, camping outside
the city. Every day we would go into town to trade, leaving our camp
under the protection of a small guard so that our arms, supplies, and
women and children would not be disturbed during our absence.

Late one afternoon when returning from town we were met by a few women
and children who told us that Mexican troops from some other town had
attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard, captured all
our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our supplies, and killed many
of our women and children. Quickly we separated, concealing ourselves
as best we could until nightfall, when we assembled at our appointed
place of rendezvous--a thicket by the river. Silently we stole in one
by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were counted, I found
that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were
among the slain. There were no lights in camp, so without being
noticed I silently turned away and stood by the river. How long I
stood there I do not know, but when I saw the warriors arranging for a
council I took my place.

That night I did not give my vote for or against any measure; but it
was decided that as there were only eighty warriors left, and as we
were without arms or supplies, and were furthermore surrounded by the
Mexicans far inside their own territory, we could not hope to fight
successfully. So our chief, Mangus-Colorado, gave the order to start
at once in perfect silence for our homes in Arizona, leaving the dead
upon the field.





Geronimo I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would
do. I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I
contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was
forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in
particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe
silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of
the feet of the retreating Apaches.

The next morning some of the Indians killed a small amount of game and
we halted long enough for the tribe to cook and eat, when the march
was resumed. I had killed no game, and did not eat. During the first
march as well as while we were camped at this place I spoke to no one
and no one spoke to me--there was nothing to say.

For two days and three nights we were on forced marches, stopping only
for meals, then we made a camp near the Mexican border, where we
rested two days. Here I took some food and talked with the other
Indians who had lost in the massacre, but none had lost as I had, for
I had lost all.

Within a few days we arrived at our own settlement. There were the
decorations that Alope had made--and there were the playthings of our
little ones. I burned them all, even our tepee. I also burned my
mother's tepee and destroyed all her property.

I was never again contented in our quiet home. True, I could visit my
father's grave, but I had vowed vengeance upon the Mexican troopers
who had wronged me, and whenever I came near his grave or saw anything
to remind me of former happy days my heart would ache for revenge upon
Mexico.



Revenge As soon as we had again collected some arms and supplies
Mangus-Colorado, our chief, called a council and found that all our
warriors were willing to take the war path against Mexico. I was
appointed to solicit the aid of other tribes in this war.

When I went to the Chokonen (Chiricahua) Apaches, Cochise, their
chief, called a council at early dawn. Silently the warriors assembled
at an open place in a mountain dell and took their seats on the
ground, arranged in rows according to their ranks. Silently they sat
smoking. At a signal from the chief I arose and presented my cause as
follows:

Kinsman, you have heard what the Mexicans have recently done without
cause. You are my relatives--uncles, cousins, brothers. We are men the
same as the Mexicans are--we can do to them what they have done to
us. Let us go forward and trail them--I will lead you to their
city--we will attack them in their homes. I will fight in the front of
the battle--I only ask you to follow me to avenge this wrong done by
these Mexicans--will you come? It is well--you will all come.

Remember the rule in war--men may return or they may be killed. If any
of these young men are killed I want no blame from their kinsmen, for
they themselves have chosen to go. If I am killed no one need mourn
for me. My people have all been killed in that country, and I, too,
will die if need be.

I returned to my own settlement, reported this success to my
chieftain, and immediately departed to the southward into the land of
the Nedni Apaches. Their chief, Whoa, heard me without comment, but he
immediately issued orders for a council, and when all were ready gave
a sign that I might speak. I addressed them as I had addressed the
Chokonen tribe, and they also promised to help us.

It was in the summer of 1859, almost a year from the date of the
massacre of Kaskiyeh, that these three tribes were assembled on the
Mexican border to go upon the war path. Their faces were painted, the
war bands fastened upon their brows their long scalp-locks ready for
the hand and knife of the warrior who would overcome them. Their
families had been hidden away in a mountain rendezvous near the
Mexican border. With these families a guard was posted, and a number
of places of rendezvous designated in case the camp should be
disturbed.

When all were ready the chieftains gave command to go forward. None of
us were mounted and each warrior wore moccasins and also a cloth
wrapped about his loins. This cloth could be spread over him when he
slept, and when on the march would be ample protection as clothing. In
battle, if the fight was hard, we did not wish much clothing. Each
warrior carried three days' rations, but as we often killed game while
on the march, we seldom were without food.

We traveled in three divisions: the Bedonheko Apaches led by
Mangus-Colorado, the Chokonen Apaches by Cochise, and the Nedni
Apaches by Whoa; however, there was no regular order inside the
separate tribes. We usually marched about fourteen hours per day,
making three stops for meals, and traveling forty to forty-five miles
a day.

I acted as guide into Mexico, and we followed the river courses and
mountain ranges because we could better thereby keep our movements
concealed. We entered Sonora and went southward past Quitaro,
Nacozari, and many smaller settlements.

When we were almost at Arispe we camped, and eight men rode out from
the city to parley with us. These we captured, killed, and
scalped. This was to draw the troops from the city, and the next day
they came. The skirmishing lasted all day without a general
engagement, but just at night we captured their supply train, so we
had plenty of provisions and some more guns.

That night we posted sentinels and did not move our camp, but rested
quietly all night, for we expected heavy work the next day. Early the
next morning the warriors were assembled to pray--not for help, but
that they might have health and avoid ambush or deceptions by the
enemy.

As we had anticipated, about ten o'clock in the morning the whole
Mexican force came out. There were two companies of cavalry and two of
infantry. I recognized the cavalry as the soldiers who had killed my
people at Kaskiyeh. This I told to the chieftains, and they said that
I might direct the battle.

I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply
wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved
to prove worthy of the trust. I arranged the Indians in a hollow
circle near the river, and the Mexicans drew their infantry up in two
lines, with the cavalry in reserve. We were in the timber, and they
advanced until within about four hundred yards, when they halted and
opened fire. Soon I led a charge against them, at the same time
sending some braves to attack the rear. In all the battle I thought of
my murdered mother, wife, and babies--of my father's grave and my vow
of vengeance, and I fought with fury. Many fell by my hand, and
constantly I led the advance. Many braves were killed The battle
lasted about two hours.

At the last four Indians were alone in the center of the field--myself
and three other warriors. Our arrows were all gone, our spears broken
off in the bodies of dead enemies. We had only our hands and knives
with which to fight, but all who had stood against us were dead. Then
two armed soldiers came upon us from another part of the field. They
shot down two of our men and we, the remaining two, fled toward our
own warriors. My companion was struck down by a saber, but I reached
our warriors, seized a spear, and turned. The one who pursued me
missed his aim and fell by my spear. With his saber I met the trooper
who had killed my companion and we grappled and fell. I killed him
with my knife and quickly rose over his body, brandishing his saber,
seeking for other troopers to kill. There were none. But the Apaches
had seen. Over the bloody field, covered with the bodies of Mexicans,
rang the fierce Apache war-whoop.

Still covered with the blood of my enemies, still holding my
conquering weapon, still hot with the joy of battle, victory, and
vengeance, I was surrounded by the Apache braves and made war chief of
all the Apaches. Then I gave orders for scalping the slain.

I could not call back my loved ones, I could not bring back the dead
Apaches, but I could rejoice in this revenge. The Apaches had avenged
the massacre of Kas-ki-yeh.




   










   

7/21

Fighting Under Difficulties



All the other Apaches were satisfied after the battle of Kaskiyeh, but
I still desired more revenge. For several months we were busy with the
chase and other peaceful pursuits. Finally I succeeded in persuading
two other warriors, Ah-koch-ne and Ko-deh-ne, to go with me to invade
the Mexican country.

We left our families with the tribe and went on the war path. We were
on foot and carried three days' rations. We entered Mexico on the
north line of Sonora and followed the Sierra de Antunez Mountains to
the south end of the range. Here we decided to attack a small
village. (I do not know the name of this village.) At daylight we
approached from the mountains. Five horses were hitched outside. We
advanced cautiously, but just before we reached the horses the
Mexicans opened fire from the houses. My two companions were
killed. Mexicans swarmed on every side; some were mounted; some were
on foot, and all seemed to be armed. Three times that day I was
surrounded, but I kept fighting, dodging, and hiding. Several times
during the day while in concealment I had a chance to take deliberate
aim at some Mexican, who, gun in hand, was looking for me. I do not
think I missed my aim either time. With the gathering darkness I found
more time to retreat toward Arizona. But the Mexicans did not quit the
chase. Several times the next day mounted Mexicans tried to head me
off; many times they fired on me, but I had no more arrows; so I
depended upon running and hiding, although I was very tired, I had not
eaten since the chase began, nor had I dared to stop for rest. The
second night I got clear of my pursuers, but I never slackened my pace
until I reached our home in Arizona. I came into our camp without
booty, without my companions, exhausted, but not discouraged.

The wives and children of my two dead companions were cared for by
their people. Some of the Apaches blamed me for the evil result of the
expedition, but I said nothing. Having failed, it was only proper that
I should remain silent. But my feelings toward the Mexicans did not
change--I still hated them and longed for revenge. I never ceased to
plan for their punishment, but it was hard to get the other warriors
to listen to my proposed raids.

In a few months after this last adventure I persuaded two other
warriors to join me in raiding the Mexican frontier. On our former
raid we had gone through the Nedni Apaches' range into Sonora. This
time we went through the country of the Cho-kon-en and entered the
Sierra Madre Mountains. We traveled south, secured more rations, and
prepared to begin our raids. We had selected a village near the
mountains which we intended to attack at daylight. While asleep that
night Mexican scouts discovered our camp and fired on us, killing one
warrior. In the morning we observed a company of Mexican troops coming
from the south. They were mounted and carried supplies for a long
journey. We followed their trail until we were sure that they were
headed for our range in Arizona; then we hurried past them and in
three days reached our own settlement. We arrived at noon, and that
afternoon, about three o'clock, these Mexican troops attacked our
settlement. Their first volley killed three small boys. Many of the
warriors of our tribe were away from home, but the few of us who were
in camp were able to drive the troops out of the mountains before
night. We killed eight Mexicans and lost five--two warriors and three
boys. The Mexicans rode due south in full retreat. Four warriors were
detailed to follow them, and in three days these trailers returned,
saying that the Mexican cavalry had left Arizona, going southward. We
were quite sure they would not return soon.





Geronimo riding with Naiche Soon after this (in the summer of 1860) I
was again able to take the war path against the Mexicans, this time
with twenty-five warriors. We followed the trail of the Mexican troops
last mentioned and entered the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. The
second day in these mountains our scouts discovered mounted Mexican
troops. There was only one company of cavalry in this command, and I
thought that by properly surprising them we could defeat them. We
ambushed the trail over which they were to come. This was at a place
where the whole company must pass through a mountain defile. We
reserved fire until all of the troops had passed through; then the
signal was given. The Mexican troopers, seemingly without a word of
command, dismounted, and placing their horses on the outside of the
company, for breastworks, made a good fight against us. I saw that we
could not dislodge them without using all our ammunition, so I led a
charge. The warriors suddenly pressed in from all sides and we fought
hand to hand. During this encounter I raised my spear to kill a
Mexican soldier just as he leveled his gun at me; I was advancing
rapidly, and my foot slipping in a pool of blood, I fell under the
Mexican trooper. He struck me over the head with the butt of his gun,
knocking me senseless. Just at that instant a warrior who followed in
my footsteps killed the Mexican with a spear. In a few minutes not a
Mexican soldier was left alive. When the Apache war-cry had died away,
and their enemies had been scalped, they began to care for their dead
and wounded. I was found lying unconscious where I had fallen. They
bathed my head in cold water and restored me to consciousness. Then
they bound up my wound and the next morning, although weak from loss
of blood and suffering from a severe headache, I was able to march on
the return to Arizona. I did not fully recover for months, and I still
wear the scar given me by that musketeer. In this fight we had lost so
heavily that there really was no glory in our victory, and we returned
to Arizona. No one seemed to want to go on the war path again that
year.

In the summer (1861) with twelve warriors I again went into Mexico. We
entered Chihuahua and followed south on the east side of the Sierra
Madre Mountains four days' journey; then crossed over to the Sierra de
Sahuaripa range, not far east of Casa Grande. Here we rested one day,
and sent out scouts to reconnoiter. They reported pack trains camped
five miles west of us. The next morning just at daybreak, as these
drivers were starting with their mule pack train, we attacked
them. They rode away for their lives, leaving us the booty. The mules
were loaded with provisions, most of which we took home. Two mules
were loaded with side-meat or bacon; this we threw away. We started to
take these pack trains home, going northward through Sonora, but when
near Casita, Mexican troops overtook us. It was at daybreak and we
were just finishing our breakfast. We had no idea that we had been
pursued or that our enemies were near until they opened fire. At the
first volley a bullet struck me a glancing lick just at the lower
corner of the left eye and I fell unconscious. All the other Indians
fled to cover. The Mexicans, thinking me dead, started in pursuit of
the fleeing Indians. In a few moments I regained consciousness and had
started at full speed for the woods when another company coming up
opened fire on me. Then the soldiers who had been chasing the other
Indians turned, and I stood between two hostile companies, but I did
not stand long. Bullets whistled in every direction and at close range
to me. One inflicted a slight flesh wound on my side, but I kept
running, dodging, and fighting, until I got clear of my pursuers. I
climbed up a steep canon, where the cavalry could not follow. The
troopers saw me, but did not dismount and try to follow. I think they
were wise not to come on.

It had been understood that in case of surprise with this booty, our
place of rendezvous should be the Santa Bita Mountains in Arizona. We
did not reassemble in Mexico, but traveled separately and in three
days we were encamped in our place of rendezvous. From this place we
returned home empty-handed. We had not even a partial victory to
report. I again returned wounded, but I was not yet discouraged. Again
I was blamed by our people, and again I had no reply.

After our return many of the warriors had gone on a hunt and some of
them had gone north to trade for blankets from the Navajo Indians. I
remained at home trying to get my wounds healed. One morning just at
daybreak, when the squaws were lighting the camp fires to prepare
breakfast, three companies of Mexican troops who had surrounded our
settlement in the night opened fire. There was no time for
fighting. Men, women and children fled for their lives. Many women and
children and a few warriors were killed, and four women were
captured. My left eye was still swollen shut, but with the other I saw
well enough to hit one of the officers with an arrow, and then make
good my escape among the rocks. The troopers burned our tepees and
took our arms, provisions, ponies, and blankets. Winter was at hand.

There were not more than twenty warriors in camp at this time, and
only a few of us had secured weapons during the excitement of the
attack. A few warriors followed the trail of the troops as they went
back to Mexico with their booty, but were unable to offer battle. It
was a long, long time before we were again able to go on the war path
against the Mexicans.

The four women who were captured at this time by the Mexicans were
taken into Sonora, Mexico, where they were compelled to work for the
Mexicans. After some years they escaped to the mountains and started
to find our tribe. They had knives which they had stolen from the
Mexicans but they had no other weapons. They had no blankets; so at
night they would make a little tepee by cutting brush with their
knives, and setting them up for the walls. The top was covered over
with brush. In this temporary tepee they would all sleep. One night
when their camp fire was low they heard growling just outside the
tepee. Francisco, the youngest woman of the party (about seventeen
years of age), started to build up the fire, when a mountain lion
crashed through the tepee and attacked her. The suddenness of the
attack made her drop her knife, but she fought as best she could with
her hand. She was no match for the lion, however; her left shoulder
was crushed and partly torn away. The lion kept trying to catch her by
the throat; this she prevented with her hands for a long time. He
dragged her for about 300 yards, then she found her strength was
failing her from loss of blood, and she called to the other women for
help. The lion had been dragging her by one foot, and she had been
catching hold of his legs, and of the rocks and underbrush, to delay
him. Finally he stopped and stood over her. She again called her
companions and they attacked him with their knives and killed
him. Then they dressed her wounds and nursed her in the mountains for
about a month. When she was again able to walk they resumed their
journey and reached our tribe in safety.

This woman (Francisco) was held as a prisoner of war with the other
Apaches and died the Fort Sill Reservation in 1892. Her face was
always disfigured with those scars and she never regained perfect use
of her hands. The three older women died before we became prisoners of
war.

Many women and children were carried away at different times by
Mexicans. Not many of them ever returned, and those who did underwent
many hardships in order to be again united with their people. Those
who did not escape were slaves to the Mexicans, or perhaps even more
degraded.

When warriors were captured by the Mexicans they were kept in
chains. Four warriors who were captured once at a place north of Casa
Grande, called by the Indians Honas, were kept in chains for a year
and a half, when they were exchanged for Mexicans whom we had
captured.

We never chained prisoners or kept them in confinement, but they
seldom got away. Mexican men when captured were compelled to cut wood
and herd horses. Mexican women and children were treated as our own
people.




   










   

8/21

Raids That Were Successful



In the summer of 1862 I took eight men and invaded Mexican
territory. We went south on the west side of the Sierra Madre
Mountains for five days; then in the night crossed over to the
southern part of the Sierra de Sahuaripa range. Here we again camped
to watch for pack trains. About ten o'clock next morning four drivers,
mounted, came past our camp with a pack-mule train. As soon as they
saw us they rode for their lives, leaving us the booty. This was a
long train, and packed with blankets, calico, saddles, tinware, and
loaf sugar. We hurried home as fast as we could with these provisions,
and on our return while passing through a canyon in the Santa Catalina
range of mountains in Arizona, met a white man driving a mule pack
train. When we first saw him he had already seen us, and was riding at
full tilt up the canyon. We examined his train and found that his
mules were all loaded with cheese. We put them in with the other train
and resumed our journey. We did not attempt to trail the driver and I
am sure he did not try to follow us.

In two days we arrived at home. Then Mangus-Colorado, our chief,
assembled the tribe. We gave a feast, divided the spoils, and danced
all night. Some of the pack mules were killed and eaten.

This time after our return we kept out scouts so that we would know if
Mexican troops should attempt to follow us.

On the third day our scouts came into camp and reported Mexican
cavalry dismounted and approaching our settlement. All our warriors
were in camp. Mangus-Colorado took command of one division and I of
the other. We hoped to get possession of their horses, then surround
the troops in the mountains, and destroy the whole company. This we
were unable to do, for they too, had scouts. However, within four
hours after we started we had killed ten troopers with the loss of
only one man, and the Mexican cavalry was in full retreat, followed by
thirty armed Apaches, who gave them no rest until they were far inside
the Mexican country. No more troops came that winter.

For a long time we had plenty of provisions plenty of blankets, and
plenty of clothing. We also had plenty of cheese and sugar.





Washa Another summer (1863) I selected three warriors and went on a
raid into Mexico. We went south into Sonora, camping in the Sierra de
Sahuaripa Mountains. About forty miles west of Casa Grande is a small
village in the mountains, called by the Indians "Crassanas." We camped
near this place and concluded to make an attack. We had noticed that
just at midday no one seemed to be stirring; so we planned to make our
attack at the noon hour. The next day we stole into the town at
noon. We had no guns, but were armed with spears and bows and
arrows. When the war-whoop was given to open the attack the Mexicans
fled in every direction; not one of them made any attempt to fight us.

We shot some arrows at the retreating Mexicans, but killed only
one. Soon all was silent in the town and no Mexicans could be seen.

When we discovered that all the Mexicans were gone we looked through
their houses and saw many curious things. These Mexicans kept many
more kinds of property than the Apaches did. Many of the things we saw
in the houses we could not understand, but in the stores we saw much
that we wanted; so we drove in a herd of horses and mules, and packed
as much provisions and supplies as we could on them. Then we formed
these animals into a pack train and returned safely to Arizona The
Mexicans did not even trail us.

When we arrived in camp we called the tribe together and feasted all
day. We gave presents to everyone. That night the dance began, and it
did not cease until noon the next day.

This was perhaps the most successful raid ever made by us into Mexican
territory. I do not know the value of the booty, but it was very
great, for we had supplies enough to last our whole tribe for a year
or more.

In the fall of 1864 twenty warriors were willing to go with me on
another raid into Mexico. There were all chosen men, well armed and
equipped for battle. As usual we provided for the safety of our
families before starting on this raid. Our whole tribe scattered and
then reassembled at a camp about forty miles from the former place. In
this way, it would be hard for the Mexicans to trail them and we would
know where to find our families when we returned. Moreover, if any
hostile Indians should see this large number of warriors leaving our
range they might attack our camp, but if they found no one at the
usual place, their raid would fail.

We went south trough the Chokonen Apaches' range, entered Sonora,
Mexico, at a point directly south of Tombstone, Arizona, and went into
hiding in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.

We attacked several settlements in the neighborhood and secured plenty
of provisions and supplies. After about three days we attacked and
captured a mule pack train at a place called by the Indians
"Pontoco". It is situated in the mountains due west, about one day's
journey from Arispe.

There were three drivers with this train. One was killed and two
escaped. The train was loaded with mescal, which was contained in
bottles held in wicker baskets. As soon as we made camp the Indians
began to get drunk and fight each other. I, too, drank enough mescal
to feel the effect of it, but I was not drunk. I ordered the fighting
stopped, but the order was disobeyed. Soon almost a general fight was
in progress. I tried to place a guard out around the camp, but all
were drunk and refused to serve. I expected an attack from Mexican
troops at any moment, and really it was a serious matter to me, for
being in command I would be held responsible for any ill luck
attending the expedition. Finally the camp became comparatively still,
for the Indians were too drunk to walk or even fight. While they were
in this stupor I poured out all the mescal, then I put out all the
fires and moved the pack mules to a considerable distance from the
camp. After this I returned to camp to try to do something for the
wounded. I found that only two were dangerously wounded. From a leg of
one of these I cut an arrow head, and from the shoulder of another I
withdrew a spear point. When all the wounds I had cared for, I myself
kept guard till morning. The next day we loaded our wounded on the
pack mules and started for Arizona.

The next day we captured some cattle from a herd and drove them home
with us. But it was a very difficult matter to drive cattle when we
were on foot. Caring for the wounded and keeping the cattle from
escaping made our journey tedious. But we were not trailed, and
arrived safely at home with all the booty.

We then gave a feast and dance, and divided the spoils. After the
dance we killed all the cattle and dried the meat. We dressed the
hides and then the dried meat was packed in between these hides and
stored away. All that winter we had plenty of meat. These were the
first cattle we ever had. As usual we killed and ate some of the
mules. We had little use for mules, and if we could not trade them for
something of value, we killed them.

In the summer of 1865, with four warriors, I went again into
Mexico. Heretofore we had gone on foot; we were accustomed to fight on
foot; besides, we could easily conceal ourselves when dismounted. But
this time we wanted more cattle, and it was hard to drive them when we
were on foot. We entered Sonora at a point southwest from Tombstone,
Arizona, and followed the Antunez Mountains to the southern limit,
then crossed the country as far south as the mouth of the Yaqui
River. Here we saw a great lake extending beyond the limit of
sight. Then we turned north, attacked several settlements, and secured
plenty of supplies. When we had come back northwest of Arispe we
secured about sixty head of cattle, and drove them to our homes in
Arizona. We did not go directly home, but camped in different valleys
with our cattle. We were not trailed. When we arrived at our camp the
tribe was again assembled for feasting and dancing. Presents were
given to everybody; then the cattle were killed and the meat dried and
packed.




   








Text prepared by Peter Meindertsma, Else-Kirsten de Schiffart, Elfie
Theijs and Carlo Tinschert and converted to HTML for The American
Revolution - an .HTML project. ( undefined ) � 1997. All rights
reserved. Department of Alfa-Informatica


Geronimo His own story











   

9/21

 Varying Fortunes



In the fall of 1865 with nine other warriors I went into Mexico on
foot. We attacked several settlements south of Casa Grande, and
collected many horses and mules. We made our way northward with these
animals through the mountains. When near Arispe we made camp one
evening, and thinking that we were not being trailed, turned loose the
whole herd, even those we had been riding. They were in a valley
surrounded by steep mountains, and we were camped at the south of this
valley so that the animals could not leave without coming through our
camp. Just as we had begun to eat our supper our scouts came in and
announced Mexican troops coming toward our camp. We started for the
horses, but troops that our scouts had not seen were on the cliffs
above us, and opened fire. We scattered in all directions, and the
troops recovered all our booty. In three days we reassembled at our
appointed place of rendezvous in the Sierra Madre Mountains in
northern Sonora. Mexican troops did not follow us, and we returned to
Arizona without any more fighting and with no booty. Again I had
nothing to say, but l was anxious for another raid.

Early the next summer (1866)I took thirty mounted warriors and invaded
Mexican territory. We went south through Chihuahua as far as Santa
Cruz, Sonora, then crossed over the Sierra Madre Mountains, following
the river course at the south end of the range. We kept on westward
from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains,
and followed that range northward. We collected all the horses, mules,
and cattle we wanted, and drove them northward through Sonora into
Arizona. Mexicans saw us at many times and in many places, but they
did not attack us at any time, nor did any troops attempt to follow
us. When we arrived at homes we gave presents to all, and the tribe
feasted and danced. During this raid we had killed about fifty
Mexicans.

Next year (1867) Mangus-Colorado led eight warriors on a raid into
Mexico. I went as a warrior, for I was always glad to fight the
Mexicans. We rode south from near Tombstone, Arizona, into Sonora,
Mexico. We attacked some cowboys, and after a fight with them, in
which two of their number were killed, we drove all their cattle
northward. The second day we were driving the cattle, but had no
scouts out. When we were not far from Arispe, Mexican troops rode upon
us. They were well armed and well mounted, and when we first saw them
they were not half a mile away from us. We left the cattle and rode as
hard as we could toward the mountains, but they gained on us
rapidly. Soon they opened fire, but were so far away from us that we
were unable to reach them with our arrows; finally we reached some
timber, and, leaving our ponies, fought from cover. Then the Mexicans
halted, collected our ponies, and rode away across the plains toward
Arispe, driving the cattle with them. We stood and watched them until
they disappeared in the distance, and then took up our search for
home.

We arrived home in five days with no victory to report, no spoils to
divide, and not even the three ponies which we had ridden into
Mexico. This expedition was considered disgraceful.





Mangas Colorado aka Magnus Colorado The warriors who had been with
Magnus Colorado on this last expedition wanted to return to
Mexico. They were not satisfied, besides they felt keenly the taunts
of the other warriors. Magnus Colorado would not lead them back, so I
took command and we went on foot, directly toward Arispe in Sonora,
and made our camp in the Sierra de Sahuripa Mountains. There were only
six of us, but we raided several settlements (at night), captured many
horses and mules, and loaded them with provisions, saddles and
blankets. Then we turned to Arizona, traveling only at night. When we
arrived at our camp we sent out scouts to prevent any surprise by
Mexicans, assembled the tribe, feasted, danced, and divided the
spoils. Mangus Colorado would not receive any of this booty, but we
did not care. No Mexican troops followed us to Arizona.

About a year after this (1868) Mexican troops rounded up all the
horses and mules of the tribe not far from our settlement. No raids
had been made into Mexico that year, and we were not expecting any
attacks. We were all in camp, having just returned from hunting.

About two o'clock in the afternoon two Mexican scouts were seen near
our settlement. We killed these scouts, but the troops got under way
with the herd of our horses and mules before we saw them. It was
useless to try to overtake them on foot, and our tribe had not a horse
left. I took twenty warriors and trailed them. We found the stock at a
cattle ranch in Sonora, not far from Nacozari, and attacked the
cowboys who had them in charge. We killed two men and lost none. After
the fight we drove off our own stock and all of theirs.

We were trailed by nine cowboys. I sent the stock on ahead and with
three warriors stayed in the rear to intercept any attacking
parties. One night when near the Arizona line we discovered these
cowboys on our trail and watched them camp for the night and picket
their horses. About midnight we stole into their camp and silently led
away all their horses, leaving the cowboys asleep. Then we rode hard
and overtook our companions, who always traveled at night instead of
in the daytime. We turned these horses in with the herd and fell back
to again intercept anyone who might trail us. What these nine cowboys
did next morning I do not know, and I have never heard the Mexicans
say anything about it; I know they did not follow us, for we were not
molested. When we arrived in camp at home there was great rejoicing in
the tribe. It was considered a good trick to get the Mexicans' horses
and leave them asleep in the mountains.

It was a long time before we again went into Mexico or were disturbed
by the Mexicans.



   

10/21

Heavy Fighting



About 1873 we were again attacked by Mexican troops in our settlement,
but we defeated them. Then we decided to make raids into Mexico. We
moved our whole camp, packing all our belonging on mules and horses,
went into Mexico and made camp in the mountains near Nacori. In moving
our camp in this way we wanted no one to spy on us, and if we passed a
Mexican's home we usually killed the inmates. However, if they offered
to surrender and made no resistance or trouble in any way, we would
take them prisoners. Frequendy we would change our place of
rendezvous; then we would take with us our prisoners if they were
willing to go, but if they were unruly they might be killed. I
remember one Mexican in the Sierra Madre Mountains who saw us moving
and delayed us for some time. We took the trouble to get him, thinking
the plunder of his house would pay us for the delay, but after we had
killed him we found but nothing in his house worth having. We ranged
in these mountains for over a year, raiding the Mexican settlements
for our supplies, but not having any general engagement with Mexican
troops; then we returned to our homes in Arizona. After remaining in
Arizona about a year we returned to Mexico, and went into hiding in
the Sierra Madre Mountains. Our camp was near Nacori, and we had just
organized bands of warriors for raiding the country, when our scouts
discovered Mexican troops coming toward our camp to attack us.

The chief the Nedni Apaches, who, was with me and commanded one
division. The warriors were all marched toward the troops and met them
at a place about five miles from our camp. We showed ourselves to the
soldiers and they quickly rode to the top of a hill and dismounted,
placing their horses on the outside for breastworks. It was a round
hill, very steep and rocky and there was no timber on its sides. There
were two companies of Mexican cavalry, and we had about sixty
warriors. We crept up the hill behind the rocks, and they kept up a
constant fire, but we had cautioned our warriors not to expose
themselves to the Mexicans.

I knew that the troopers would waste their ammunition. Soon we had
killed all their horses, but the soldiers would lie behind these and
shoot at us. While we had killed several Mexicans, we had not yet lost
a man. However, it was impossible to get very close to them in this
way, and I deemed it best to lead a charge against them.





Nana We had been fighting ever since about one o'clock, and about the
middle of the afternoon, seeing that we were making no further
progress, l gave the sign for the advance. The war-whoop sounded and
we leaped forward from every stone over the Mexicans' dead horses,
fighting hand to hand. The attack was so sudden that the Mexicans,
running first this way and then that, became so confused that in a few
minutes we had killed them all. Then we scalped the slain, carried
away our dead, and secured all the arms we needed. That night we moved
our camp eastward through the Sierra Madre Mountains into
Chihuahua. No troops molested us here and after about a year we
returned to Arizona.

Almost every year we would live a part of the time in Old
Mexico. There were at this time many settlements in Arizona; game was
not plentiful, and besides we liked to go down into Old
Mexico. Besides, the lands of the Nedni Apaches, our friends and
kinsmen, extended far into Mexico. Their Chief, Whoa, was as a brother
to me, and we spent much of our time in his territory.

About 1880 we were in camp in the mountains south of Casa Grande, when
a company of Mexican troops attacked us. There were twenty-four
Mexican soldiers and about forty Indians. The Mexicans surprised us in
camp and fired on us, killing two Indians the first volley.I do not
know how they were able to find our camp unless they had excellent
scouts and our guards were careless, but there they were shooting at
us before we knew they were near. We were in the timber, and I gave
the order to go forward and fight at close range. We kept behind rocks
and trees until we came within ten yards of their line, then we stood
up and both sides shot until all the Mexicans were killed. We lost
twelve warriors in this battle.

This place was called by the Indians "Sko-la-ta". When we had buried
our dead and secured what supplies the Mexicans had, we went
north-east. At this place near Nacori Mexican troops attacked us. At
this place, called by the Indians "Nokode," there were about eighty
warriors. Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches. There were three companies of
Mexican troops. They attacked us in an open field, and we scattered,
firing as we ran. They followed us, but we dispered, and soon were
free from their pursuit; then we reassembled in the Sierra Madre
Mountains. Here a council was held, and as Mexican troops were coming
from many quarters, we disbanded.

In about four months we reassembled at Casa Grande to make a treaty of
peace. The chiefs of the town of Casa Grande, and all of the men of
Casa Grande, made a treaty with us. We shook hands and promised to be
brothers. Then we began to trade, and the Mexicans gave us
mescal. Soon nearly all the Indians were drunk. While they were drunk
two companies of Mexican troops, from another town, attacked us,
killed twenty Indians, and captured many more. We fled in all
directions.




   










   

11/21

Geronimo's Mightiest Battle



AFTER the treachery and massacre of Casa Grande we did not reassemble
for a long while and when we did we returned to Arizona. We remained
in Arizona for some time, living in San Carlos Reservation, at a place
now called Geronimo. In 1883 we went into Mexico again. We remained in
the mountain ranges of Mexico for about fourteen months, and during
this time we had many skirmishes with Mexican troops. In 1884 we
returned to Arizona to get other Apaches to come with us into
Mexico. The Mexicans were gathering troops in the mountains where we
had been ranging, and their numbers were so much greater than ours
that we could not hope to fight them successfully, and we were tired
of being chased about from place to place.

In Arizona we had trouble with the United States soldiers and returned
to Mexico.

We had lost about fifteen warriors in Arizona, and had gained no
recruits. With our reduced number we camped in the mountains north of
Arispe. Mexican troops were seen by our scouts in several
directions. The United States troops were coming down from the
north. We were well armed with guns and supplied with ammunition, but
we did not care to be surrounded by the troops of two governments, so
we started to move our camp southward.





Geronimo One night we made camp some distance from the mountains by a
stream. There was not much water in the stream, but a deep channel was
worn through the prairie, and small trees were beginning to grow here
and there along the bank of this stream.

In those days we never camped without placing scouts, for we knew that
we were liable to be attacked at any time. The next morning just at
daybreak our scouts came in, aroused the camp, and notified us that
Mexican troops were approaching. Within five minutes the Mexicans
began firing on us. We took to the ditches made by the stream, and had
the women and children busy digging these deeper. I gave strict orders
to waste no ammunition and keep under cover. We killed many Mexicans
that day and in turn lost heavily, for the fight lasted all
day. Frequently troops would charge at one point, be repulsed then
rally and charge at another point.

About noon we began to hear them speaking my name with curses. In the
afternoon the general came on the field and the fighting became more
furious. I gave orders to my warriors to try to kill all the Mexican
officers. About three o'clock the general called all the officers
together at the right side of the field. The place where they
assembled was not very far from the main stream and a little ditch ran
out close to where the officers stood. Cautiously I crawled out this
ditch very close to where the council was being held. The general was
an old warrior. The wind was blowing in my direction, so that l could
hear all he said, and I understood most of it. This is about what he
told them: "Officers, yonder in those ditches is the red devil
Geronimo and his hated band. This must be his last day. Ride on him
from both sides of the ditches; kill men, women, and children; take no
prisoners; dead Indians are what we want. Do not spare your own men;
exterminate this band at any cost; I will post the wounded shoot all
deserters; go back to your companies and advance."

Just as the command to go forward was given I took deliberate aim at
the general and he fell. In an instant the ground around me was
riddled with bullets; but I was untouched. The Apaches had seen. From
all along the ditches arose the fierce war-cry of my people. The
columns wavered an instant and then swept on; they did not retreat
until our fire had destroyed the front ranks.

After this their fighting was not so fierce, yet they continued to
rally and readvance until dark. They also continued to speak my name
with threats and curses. That night before the firing had ceased a
dozen Indians had crawled out of the ditches and set fire to the long
prairie grass behind the Mexican troops. During the confusion that
followed we escaped to the mountains.

This was the last battle that I ever fought with Mexicans. United
States troops were trailing us continually from this time until the
treaty was made with General Miles in Skeleton Canyon.

During my many wars with the Mexicans I received eight wounds, as
follows: shot in the right leg above the knee, and still carry the
bullet; shot through the left forearm; wounded in the right leg below
the knee with a saber; wounded on top of the head with the butt of a
musket; shot just below the outer corner of the left eye; shot in left
side, shot in the back. I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how
many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth
counting.

[...........part missing............]


   

12/21

Coming of the White Men



About the time of the massacre of "Kaskiyeh" (1858) we heard that some
white men were measuring land to the south of us. In company with a
number of other warriors I went to visit them. We could not understand
them very well, for we had no interpreter, but we made a treaty with
them by shaking hands and promising to be brothers. Then we made our
camp near their camp, and they came to trade with us. We gave them
buckskin, blankets, and ponies in exchange for shirts and
provisions. We also brought them game, for which they gave us some
money. We did not know the value of this money, but we kept it and
later learned from the Navajo Indians that it was very valuable.

Every day they measured land with curious instruments and put down
marks which we could not understand. They were good men, and we were
sorry when they had gone on into the west. They were not
soldiers. These were the first white men I ever saw.

About ten years later some more white men came. These were all
warriors. They made their camp on the Gila River south of Hot
Springs. At first they were friendly and we did not dislike them, but
they were not as good as those who came first.

After about a year some trouble arose between them and the Indians,
and I took the war path as a warrior, not as a chief. I had not been
wronged, but some of my people bad been, and I fought with my tribe;
for the soldiers and not the Indians were at fault.

Not long after this some of the officers of the United States troops
invited our leaders to hold a conference at Apache Pass (Fort
Bowie). Just before noon the Indians were shown into a tent and told
that they would be given something to eat. When in the tent they were
attacked by soldiers. our chief, Mangus-Colorado, and several other
warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most of the
warriors were killed or captured. Among the Bedonkohe Apaches killed
at this time were Sanza, Kladetahe, Niyokahe, and Gopi.After this
treachery the Indians went back to the mountains and left the fort
entirely alone. I do not think that the agent had anything to do with
planning this, for he had always treated us well. I believe it was
entirely planned by the soldiers.

From the very first the soldiers sent out to our western country, and
the officers in charge of them, did not hesitate to wrong the
Indians. They never explained to the Government when an Indian was
wronged, but always reported the misdeeds of the Indians. Much that
was done by mean white men was reported at Washington as the deeds of
my people.

The Indians always tried to live peaceably with the white soldiers and
settlers. One day during the time that the soldiers were stationed at
Apache Pass I made a treaty with the post. This was done by shaking
hands and promising to be brothers. Cochise and Mangus-Colorado did
likewise. I do not know the name of the officer in command, but this
was the first regiment that ever came to Apache Pass. This treaty was
made about a year before we were attacked in a tent, as above
related. In a few days after the attack at Apache Pass we organized in
the mountains and returned to fight the soldiers. There were two
tribes-the Bedonkohe and the Chokonen Apaches, both commanded by
Cochise. After a few days' skirmishing we attacked a freight train
that was coming in with supplies for the Fort. We killed some of the
men and captured the others. These prisoners our chief offered to
trade for the Indians whom the soldiers had captured at the massacre
in the tent. This the officers refused, so we killed our prisoners,
disbanded, and went into hiding in the mountains. Of those who took
part in this affair I am the only one now living.

In a few days troops were sent out to search for us, but as we were
disbanded, it was, of course, impossible for them to locate any
hostile camp. During the time they were searching for us many of our
warriors (who were thought by the soldiers to be peaceable Indians)
talked to the officers and men, advising them where they might find
the camp they sought, and while they searched we watched them from our
hiding places and laughed at their failures.

After this trouble all of the Indians agreed not to be friendly with
the white men any more. There was no general engagement, but a long
struggle followed. Sometimes we attacked the white men, sometimes they
attacked us. First a few Indians would be killed and then a few
soldiers. I think the killing was about equal on each side. The number
killed in these troubles did not amount to much, but this treachery on
the part of the soldiers had angered the Indians and revived memories
of other wrongs, so that we never again trusted the United States
troops.


   

13/21

Greatest of Wrongs



Perhaps the greatest wrong ever done to the Indians was the treatment
received by our tribe from the United States troops about 1863. The
chief of our tribe, Mangus-Colorado, went to make a treaty of peace
for our people with the white settlement at Apache Tejo, New
Mexico. It had been reported to us that the white men in this
settlement were more friendly and more reliable than those in Arizona,
that they would live up to their treaties and would not wrong the
Indians.

Mangus-Colorado, with three other warriors, went to Apache Tejo and
held a council with these citizens and soldiers. They told him that if
he would come with his tribe and live near them, they would issue to
him, from the Government, blankets, flour, provisions, beef, and all
manner of supplies. Our chief promised to return to Apache Tejo within
two weeks. When he came back to our settlement he assembled the whole
tribe in council. I did not believe that the people at Apache Tejo
would do as they said and therefore I opposed the plan, but it was
decided that with part of the tribe Mangus-Colorado should return to
Apache Tejo and receive an issue of rations and supplies. If they were
as represented, and if these white men would keep the treaty
faithfully, the remainder of the tribe would join him and we would
make our permanent home at Apache Tejo. I was to remain in charge of
that portion of the tribe which stayed in Arizona. We gave almost all
of our arms and ammunition to the party going to Apache Tejo, so that
in case there should be treachery they would be prepared for any
surprise. Mangus-Colorado and about half of our people went to New
Mexico, happy that now they had found white men who would be kind to
them, and with whom they could live in peace and plenty.

No word ever came to us from them. From other sources, however, we
heard that they had been treacherously captured and slain. In this
dilemma we did not know just exactly what to do, but fearing that the
troops who had captured them would attack us, we retreated into the
mountains near Apache Pass.

During the weeks that followed the departure of our people we had been
in suspense, and failing to provide more supplies, had exhausted all
of our store of provisions. This was another reason for moving
camp. On this retreat, while passing through the mountains, we
discovered four men with a herd of cattle. Two of the men were in
front in a buggy and two were behind on horseback. We killed all four,
but did not scalp them; they were not warriors. We drove the cattle
back into the mountains, made a camp, and began to kill the cattle and
pack the meat.

Before we had finished this work we were surprised and attacked by
United States troops, who killed in all seven Indians -one warrior,
three women, and three children. The Government troops were mounted
and so were we, but we were poorly armed, having given most of our
weapons to the division of our tribe that had gone to Apache Tejo, so
we fought mainly with spears, bows, and arrows. At first I had a
spear, a bow, and a few arrows; but in a short time my spear and all
my arrows were gone. Once I was surrounded, but by dodging from side
to side of my horse as he ran I escaped. It was necessary during this
fight for many of the warriors to leave their horses and escape on
foot. But my horse was trained to come at call, and as soon as I
reached a safe place, if not too closely pursued, I would call him to
me. During this fight we scattered in all directions and two days
later reassembled at our appointed place of rendezvous, about fifty
miles from the scene of this battle.

About ten days later the same United States troops attacked our new
camp at sunrise. The fight lasted all day, but our arrows and spears
were all gone before ten o'clock, and for the remainder of the day we
had only rocks and clubs with which to fight. We could do with these
weapons, and at night we moved our camp about four miles back into the
mountains where it would be hard for the cavalry to follow us. The
next day our scouts, who had been left behind to observe the movements
of the soldiers, returned, saying that the troops had gone back toward
San Carlos Reservation.

A few days after this we were again attacked by another company of
United States troops. Just before this fight we had been joined by a
band of Chokonen Indians under Cochise, who took command of both
divisions. We were repulsed, and decided to disband.

After we had disbanded our tribe the Bedonkohe Apaches reassembled
near their old camp vainly waiting for the return of Mangus-Colorado
and our kinsmen. No tidings came save that they had all been
treacherously slain. Then a council was held, and as it was believed
that Mangus-Colorado was dead, I was elected Tribal Chief.

For a long time we had no trouble with anyone. It was more than a year
after I had been made Tribal Chief that United States troops surprised
and attacked our camp. They killed seven children, five women, and
four warriors, captured all our supplies, blankets, horses, and
clothing, and destroyed our tepees. We had nothing left; winter was
beginning, and it was the coldest winter I ever knew. After the
soldiers withdrew I took three warriors and trailed them. Their trail
led back toward San Carlos.




   




 





   

14/21

Removals



While returning from trailing the Government troops we saw two men, a
Mexican and a white man, and shot them off their horses. With these
two horses we returned and moved our camp. My people were suffering
much and it was deemed advisable to go where we could get more
provisions. Game was scarce in our range then, and since I had been
Tribal Chief I had not asked for rations from the Government, nor did
I care to do so, but we did not wish to starve.





Victoria We had heard that Chief Victoria of the Chihenne (Oje
Caliente) Apaches was holding a council with the white men near Hot
Springs in New Mexico, and that he had plenty of provisions. We had
always been on friendly terms with this tribe, and Victoria was
especially kind to my people. With the help of the two horses we had
captured, to carry our sick with us, we went to Hot Springs. We easily
found Victoria and his band, and they gave us supplies for the
winter. We stayed with them for about a year, and during this stay we
had perfect peace. We had not the least trouble with Mexicans, white
men, or Indians. When we had stayed as long as we should, and had
again accumulated some supplies, we decided to leave Victoria's
band. When I told him that we were going to leave he said that we
should have a feast and dance before we separated.

The festivities were held about two miles above Hot Springs, and
lasted for four days. There were about four hundred Indians at this
celebration. I do not think we ever spent a more pleasant time than
upon this occasion. No one ever treated our tribe more kindly than
Victoria and his band. We are still proud to say that he and his
people were our friends.

When I went to Apache Pass (Fort Bowie) I found General Howard in
command, and made a treaty with him. This treaty lasted until long
after General Howard had left our country. He always kept his word
with us and treated us as brothers. We never had so good a friend
among the United States officers as General Howard. We could have
lived forever at peace with him. If there is any pure, honest white
man in the United States army, that man is General Howard. All the
Indians respect him, and even to this day frequently talk of the happy
times when General Howard was in command of our Post. After he went
away he placed an agent at Apache Pass who issued to us from the
Government clothing, rations, and supplies, as General Howard
directed. When beef was issued to the Indians I got twelve steers for
my tribe, and Cochise got twelve steers for his tribe. Rations were
issued about once a month, but if we ran out we only had to ask and we
were supplied. Now, as prisoners of war in this Reservation, we do not
get such good rations.

Out on the prairie away from Apache Pass a man kept a store and
saloon. Some time after General Howard went away a band of outlawed
Indians killed this man, and took away many of the supplies from his
store. On the very next day after this some Indians at the Post were
drunk on "tiswin", which they had made from corn. They fought among
themselves and four of them were killed. There had been quarrels and
feuds among them for some time, and after this trouble we deemed it
impossible to keep the different bands together in peace. Therefore we
separated, each leader taking his own band. Some of them went to San
Carlos and some to Old Mexico, but I took my tribe back to Hot Springs
and rejoined Victoria's band.




   










   

15/21

In Prison and on the war path



Soon after we arrived in New Mexico two companies of scouts were sent
from San Carlos. When they came to Hot Springs they sent word for me
and Victoria to come to town. The messengers did not say what they
wanted with us, but as they seemed friendly we thought they wanted a
council, and rode in to meet the officers. As soon as we arrived in
town soldiers met us, disarmed us, and took us both to headquarters,
where we were tried by court-martial. They asked us only a few
questions and then Victoria was released and I was sentenced to the
guardhouse. Scouts conducted me to the guardhouse and put me in
chains. When I asked them why they did this they said it was because I
had left Apache Pass.

I do not think that I ever belonged to those soldiers at Apache Pass,
or that I should have asked them where I might go. Our bands could no
longer live in peace together, and so we had quietly withdrawn,
expecting to live with Victoria's band, where we thought we would not
be molested. They also sentenced seven other Apaches to chains in the
guardhouse.

I do not know why this was done, for these Indians had simply followed
me from Apache Pass to Hot Springs. If it was wrong (and I do not
think it was wrong) for us to go to Hot Springs, I alone was to
blame. They asked the soldiers in charge why they were imprisoned and
chained, but received no answer.

I was kept a prisoner for four months, during which time I was
transferred to San Carlos. Then I think I had another trial, although
I was not present. In fact I do not know that I had another trial, but
I was told that I had, and at any rate I was released.

After this we had no more trouble with the soldiers, but I never felt
at ease any longer at the Post. We were allowed to live above San
Carlos at a place now called Geronimo. A man whom the Indians called
"Nick Golee" was agent at this place. All went well here for a period
of two years, but we were not satisfied.

In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current that the officers were again
planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor served to revive the
memory of all our past wrongs-the massacre in the tent at Apache Pass,
the fate of Mangus Colorado, and my own unjust imprisonment, which
might easily have been death to me. Just at this time we were told
that the officers wanted us to come up the river above Geronimo to a
fort (Fort Thomas) to hold a council with them. We did not believe
that any good could come of this conference, or that there was any
need of it; so we held a council ourselves, and fearing treachery,
decided to leave the reservation. We thought it more manly to die on
the war path than to be killed in prison.

There were in all about 250 Indians, chiefly the Bedonkohe and Nedni
Apaches, led by myself and Whoa. We went through Apache Pass and just
west of there had a fight with the United States troops. In this
battle we killed three soldiers and lost none.

We went on toward Old Mexico, but on the second day after this United
States soldiers overtook us about three o'clock in the afternoon and
we fought until dark. The ground where we were attacked was very
rough, which was to our advantage, for the troops were compelled to
dismount in order to fight us. I do not know how many soldiers were
killed, but we lost only one warrior and three children. We had plenty
of guns and ammunition at this time. Many of the guns and much
ammunition we had accumulated while living in the reservation, and the
remainder we had obtained from the White Mountain Apaches when we left
the reservation.

Troops did not follow us any longer, so we went south almost to Casa
Grande and camped in the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. We ranged in
the mountains of Old Mexico for about a year, then returned to San
Carlos, taking with us a herd of cattle and horses.





General Crook Soon after we arrived at San Carlos the officer in
charge, General Crook, took the horses and cattle away from us. I told
him that these were not white men's cattle, but belonged to us, for we
had taken them from the Mexicans during our wars. I also told him that
we did not intend to kill these animals, but that we wished to keep
them and raise stock on our range. He would not listen to me, but took
the stock. I went up near Fort Apache and General Crook ordered
officers, soldiers, and scouts to see that I was arrested; if I
offered resistance they were instructed to kill me.

This information was brought to me by the Indians. When I learned of
this proposed action I left for Old Mexico, and about four hundred
Indians went with me. They were the Bedonkohe, Chokonen, and Nedni
Apaches. At this time Whoa was dead, and Naiche was the only chief
with me. We went south into Sonora and camped in the mountains. Troops
followed us, but did not attack us until we were camped in the
mountains west of Casa Grande. Here we were attacked by Government
Indian scouts. One boy was killed and nearly all of our women and
children were captured.

After this battle we went south of Casa Grande and made camp, but
within a few days this camp was attacked by Mexican soldiers. We
skirmished with them all day, killing a few Mexicans but sustaining no
loss ourselves.

That night we went east into the foot hills of the Sierra Madre
Mountains and made another camp. Mexican troops trailed us, and after
a few days attacked our camp again. This time the Mexicans had a very
large army, and we avoided a general engagement. It is senseless to
fight when you cannot hope to win.

That night we held a council of war; our scouts had reported bands of
United States and Mexican troops at many points in the mountains. We
estimated that about two thousand soldiers were ranging these
mountains seeking to capture us. General Cook had come down into
Mexico with the United States troops. They were camped in the Sierra
de Antunez Mountains. Scouts told me that General Crook wished to see
me and I went to his camp. When I arrived General Crook said to me,
"Why did you leave the reservation?"I said: "You told me that I might
live in the reservation the same as white people lived. One year I
raised a crop of corn, and gathered and stored it, and the next year I
put in a crop of oats, and when the crop was almost ready to harvest,
you told your soldiers to put me in prison, and if I resisted to kill
me. If I had been let alone l would now have been in good
circumstances, but instead of that you and the Mexicans are hunting me
with soldiers". He said: "I never gave any such orders; the troops at
Fort Apache, who spread this report, knew that it was untrue". Then I
agreed to go back with him to San Carlos. It was hard for me to
believe him at that time. Now I know that what he said was untrue, and
I firmly believe that he did issue the orders for me to be put in
prison, or to be killed in case I offered resistance.







   

16/21

the Final Struggle



We started with all our tribe to go with General Crook back to the
United States, but I feared treachery and decided to remain in
Mexico. We were not under any guard at the time. The United States
troops marched in front and the Indians followed, and when we became
suspicious, we turned back. I do not know how far the United States
army went after myself, and some warriors turned back before we were
missed, and I do not care.

I have suffered much from such unjust orders as those of General
Crook. Such acts have caused much distress to my people. I think that
General Crook's death was sent by the Almighty as a punishment for the
many evil deeds he committed.





General Miles Soon General Miles was made commander of all the western
posts, and troops trailed us continually. They were led by Captain
Lawton, who had good scout. The Mexican soldiers also became more
active and more numerous. We had skirmishes almost every day, and so
we finally decided to break up into small bands. With six men and four
women I made for the range of mountains near Hot Springs, New
Mexico. We passed many cattle ranches, but had no trouble with the
cowboys. We killed cattle to eat whenever we were in need of food, but
we frequently suffered greatly for water. At one time we had no water
for two days and nights and our horses almost died from thirst. We
ranged in the mountains of New Mexico for some time, then thinking
that perhaps the troops had left Mexico, we returned. On our return
through Old Mexico we attacked every Mexican found, even if for no
other reason than to kill. We believed they had asked the United
States troops to come down to Mexico to fight us.

South of Casa Grande, near a place called by the Indians Gosoda, there
was a road leading out from the town. There was much freighting
carried on by the Mexicans over this road. Where the road ran through
a mountain pass we stayed in hiding, and whenever Mexican freighters
passed we killed them, took what supplies we wanted, and destroyed the
remainder. We were reckless of our lives, because we felt that every
man's hand was against us. If we returned to the reservation we would
be put in prison and killed; if we stayed in Mexico they would
continue to send soldiers to fight us; so we gave no quarter to anyone
and asked no favors.

After some time we left Gosoda and soon were reunited with our tribe
in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.

Contrary to our expectations the United States soldiers had not left
the mountains in Mexico, and were soon trailing us and skirmishing
with us almost every day. Four or five times they surprised our
camp. One time they surprised us about nine o'clock in the morning,
and captured all our horses (nineteen in number) and secured our store
of dried meats. We also lost three Indians in this encounter. About
the middle of the afternoon of the same day we attacked them from the
rear as they were passing through a prairie -killed one soldier, but
lost none ourselves. In this skirmish we recovered all our horses
except three that belonged to me. The three horses that we did not
recover were the best riding horses we had.

Soon after this we made a treaty with the Mexican troops. They told us
that the United States troops were the real cause of these wars, and
agreed not to fight any more with us provided we would return to the
United States. This we agreed to do, and resumed our march, expecting
to try to make a treaty with the United States soldiers and return to
Arizona. There seemed to be no other course to pursue.

Soon after this scouts from Captain Lawton's troops told us that he
wished to make a treaty with us; but I knew that General Miles was the
chief of the American troops, and I decided to treat with him.

We continued to move our camp northward, and the American troops also
moved northward, keeping at no great distance from us, but not
attacking us.

I sent my brother Porico (White Horse) with Mr. George Wratton on to
Fort Bowie to see General Miles, and to tell him that we wished to
return to Arizona; but before these messengers returned I met two
Indian scouts -Kayitah, a Chokonen Apache, and Marteen, a Nedni
Apache. They were serving as scouts for Captain Lawton's troops.They
told me that General Miles had come and had sent them to ask me to
meet him. So I went to the camp of the United States troops to meet
General Miles.

When I arrived at their camp I went directly to General Miles and told
him how I had been wronged, and that I wanted to return to the United
States with my people, as we wished to see our families, who had been
captured and taken away from us.

General Miles said to me: "The President of the United States has sent
me to speak to you. He has heard of your trouble with the white men,
and says that if you will agree to a few words of treaty we need have
no more trouble. Geronimo, if you will agree to a few words of treaty
all will be satisfactorily arranged."

So General Miles told me how we could be brothers to each other. We
raised our hands to heaven and said that the treaty was not to be
broken. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme
against each other.





Negotiations with the Apaches Then he talked with me for a long time
and told me what he would do for me in the future if I would agree to
the treaty. I did not greatly believe General Miles, but because the
President of the United States had sent me word I agreed to make the
treaty, and to keep it. Then I asked General Miles what the treaty
would be. General Miles said to me: "I will take you under Government
protection; I will build you a house; I will fence you much land; I
will give you cattle, horses, mules, and farming implements. You will
be furnished with men to work the farm, for you yourself will not have
to work. In the fall I will send you blankets and clothing so that you
will not suffer from cold in the winter time.

"There is plenty of timber, water, and grass in the land to which I
will send you. You will live with your tribe and with your family. If
you agree to this treaty you shall see your family within five days."

I said to General Miles: "All the officers that have been in charge of
the Indians have talked that way, and it sounds like a story to me; I
hardly believe you."

He said: "This time it is the truth."

I said: "General Miles, I do not know the laws of the white man, nor
of this new country where you are to send me, and I might break the
laws."

He said:"While I live you will not be arrested."

Then I agreed to make the treaty. (Since then I have been a prisoner
of war, I have been arrested and placed in the guardhouse twice for
drinking whisky.)

We stood between his troopers and my warriors. We placed a large stone
on the blanket before us. Our treaty was made by this stone, as it was
to last until the stone should crumble to dust; so we made the treaty,
and bound each other with an oath.

I do not believe that I have ever violated that treaty; but General
Miles never fulfilled his promises.

When we had made the treaty General Miles said to me: "My brother, you
have in your mind how you are going to kill me, and other thoughts of
war; I want you to put that out of your mind, and change your thoughts
to peace."

Then I agreed and gave up my arms. I said: "I will quit the war path
and live at peace here after."

Then General Miles swept a spot of ground clear with his hand, and
said: "Your past deeds shall be wiped out like this and you will start
a new life."


   

17/21

a Prisoner of War



When I had given up to the Government they put me on the Southern
Pacific Railroad and took me to San Antonio, Texas, and held me to be
tried by their laws.





Geronimo and his last warriors before transport In forty days they
took me from there to Fort Pickens (Pensacola), Florida. Here they put
me to sawing up large logs. There were several other Apache warriors
with me, and all of us had to work every day. For nearly two years we
were kept at hard labor in this place and we did not see our families
until May, 1887. This treatment was in direct violation of our treaty
made at Skeleton Canyon.

After this we were sent with our families to Vermont, Alabama, where
we stayed five years and worked for the Government. We had no
property, and I looked in vain for General Miles to send me to that
land of which he had spoken; I longed in vain for the implements,
house, and stock that General Miles had promised me.

During this time one of my warriors, Fun, killed himself and his
wife. Another one shot his wife and then shot himself. He fell dead,
but the woman recovered and is still living.

We were not healthy in this place, for the climate disagreed with
us. So many of our people died that I consented to let one of my wives
go to the Mescalero Agency in New Mexico to live. This separation is
according to our custom equivalent to what the white people call
divorce, and so she married again soon after she got to Mescalero. She
also kept our two small children, which she had a right to do. The
children, Lenna and Robbie, are still living at Mescalero, New
Mexico. Lenna is married. I kept one wife, but she is dead now and I
have only our daughter Eva with me. Since my separation from Lenna's
mother I have never had more than one wife at a time. Since the death
of Eva's mother I married another woman (December, 1905) but we could
not live happily and separated. She went home to her people-that is an
Apache divorce.

Then, as now, Mr. George Wratton superintended the Indians. He has
always had trouble with the Indians, because he has mistreated
them. One day an Indian, while drunk, stabbed Mr. Wratton with a
little knife. The officer in charge took the part of Mr. Wratton and
the Indian was sent to prison.





Geronimo in his garden in Florida When we first came to Fort Sill,
Captain Scot was in charge, and he had houses built for us by the
Government. We were also given, from the Government, cattle, hogs,
turkeys and chickens. The Indians did not do much good with the
hogs. because they did not understand how to care for them, and not
many Indians even at the present time keep hogs. We did better with
the turkeys and chickens, but with these we did not have as good luck
as white men do. With the cattle we have done very well indeed, and we
like to raise them. We have a few horses also, and have had no bad
luck with them.

In the matter of selling our stock and grain there has been much
misunderstanding. The Indians understood that the cattle were to be
sold and the money given to them, but instead part of the money is
given to the Indians and part of it is placed in what the officers
call the "Apache Fund." We have had five different officers in charge
of the Indians here and they have all ruled very much alike-not
consulting the Apaches or even explaining to them. It may be that the
Government ordered the officers in charge to put this cattle money
into an Apache fund, for once I complained and told Lieutenant
Purington that I intended to report to the Government that he had
taken some of my part of the cattle money and put it into the Apache
Fund, he said he did not care if I did tell.

Several years ago the issue of clothing ceased. This, too, may have
been by the order of the Government, but the Apaches do not understand
it.

If there is an Apache Fund, it should some day be turned over to the
Indians, or at least they should have an account of it, for it is
their earnings.

When General Miles last visited Fort Sill I asked to be relieved from
labor on account of my age. I also remembered what General Miles had
promised me in the treaty and told him of it. He said I need not work
any more except when I wished to, and since that time I have not been
detailed to do any work. I have worked a great deal, however, since
then, for, although I am old, I like to work and help my people as
much as I am able.




   




 





   

18/21

Unwritten Laws of the Apaches



TRIALS When an Indian has been wronged by a member of his tribe he
may, if he does not wish to settle the difficulty personally, make
complaint to the Chieftain. If he is unable to meet the offending
parties in a personal encounter, and disdains to make complaint,
anyone may in his stead inform the chief of this conduct, and then it
becomes necessary to have an investigation or trial. Both the accused
and the accuser are entitled to witnesses, and their witnesses are not
interrupted in any way by questions, but simply say what they wish to
say in regard to the matter. The witnesses are not placed under oath,
because it is not believed that they will give false testimony in a
matter relating to their own people.

The chief of the tribe presides during these trials, but if it is a
serious offense he asks two or three leaders to sit with him. These
simply determine whether or not the man is guilty. If he is not guilty
the matter is ended, and the complaining party has forfeited his right
to take personal vengeance, for if he wishes to take vengeance
himself, he must object to the trial which would prevent it. If the
accused is found guilty the injured party fixes the penalty, which is
generally confirmed by the chief and his associates.

ADOPTION OF CHILDREN If any children are left orphans by the usage of
war or otherwise, that is, if both parents are dead, the chief of the
tribe may adopt them or give them away as he desires. In the case of
outlawed Indians, they may, if they wish, take their children with
them, but if they leave the children with the tribe, the chief decides
what will be done with them, but no disgrace attaches to the children.

"SALT LAKE" We obtained our salt from a little lake in the Gila
Mountains. This is a very small lake of clear, shallow water, and in
the center a small mound arises above the surface of the water. The
water is too salty to drink, and the bottom of the lake is covered
with a brown crust. When this crust is broken cakes of salt adhere to
it. These cakes of salt may be washed clear in the water of this lake,
but if washed in other water will dissolve.

When visiting this lake our people were not allowed to even kill game
or attack an enemy. All creatures were free to go and come without
molestation.

PREPARATION OF A WARRIOR To be admitted as a warrior a youth must have
gone with the warriors of his tribe four separate times on the war
path.

On the first trip he will be given only very inferior food. With this
he must be contented without murmuring. On none of the four trips is
he allowed to select his food as the warriors do, but must eat such
food as he is permitted to have.

On each of these expeditions he acts as servant, cares for the horses,
cooks the food, and does whatever duties he should do without being
told. He knows what things are to be done, and without waiting to be
told is to do them. He is not allowed to speak to any warrior except
in answer to questions or when told to speak.

During these four wars he is expected to learn the sacred names of
everything used in war, for after the tribe enters upon the war path
no common names are used in referring to anything appertaining to war
in any way. War is a solemn religious matter.

If, after four expeditions, all the warriors are satisfied that the
youth has been industrious, has not spoken out of order, has been
discreet in all things, has shown courage in battle, has borne all
hardships uncomplainingly, and has exhibited no color of cowardice, or
weakness of any kind, he may by vote of the council be admitted as a
warrior; but if any warrior objects to him upon any account he will be
subjected to further tests, and if he meets these courageously, his
name may again be proposed. When he has proven beyond question that he
can bear hardships without complaint, and that he is a stranger to
fear, he is admitted to the council of the warriors in the lowest
rank. After this there is no formal test for promotions, but by common
consent he assumes a station on the battlefield, and if that position
is maintained with honor, he is allowed to keep it, and may be asked,
or may volunteer, to take a higher station, but no warrior would
presume to take a higher station unless he had assurance from the
leaders of the tribe that his conduct in the first position was worthy
of commendation.

From this point upward the only election by the council in formal
assembly is the election of the chief.

Old men are not allowed to lead in battle, but their advice is always
respected. Old age means loss of physical power and is fatal to active
leadership.

DANCES All dances are considered religious ceremonies and are presided
over by a chief and medicine men. They are of a social or military
nature, but never without some sacred characteristic.

A DANCE OF THANKSGIVING Every summer we would gather the fruit of the
yucca, grind and pulverize it and mold it into cakes; then the tribe
would be assembled to feast, to sing, and to give praises to
Usen. Prayers of Thanksgiving were said by all. When the dance began
the leaders bore these cakes and added words of praise occasionally to
the usual tone sounds of the music.

THE WAR DANCE After a council of the warriors had deliberated, and had
prepared for the war path, the dance would be started. In this dance
there is the usual singing led by the warriors and accompanied with
the beating of the "esadadene," but the dancing is more violent, and
yells and war whoops sometimes almost drown the music. Only warriors
participated in this dance.

SCALP DANCE After a war party has returned, a modification of the war
dance is held. The warriors who have brought scalps from the battles
exhibit them to the tribe, and when the dance begins these scalps,
elevated on poles or spears, are carried around the camp fires while
the dance is in progress. During this dance there is still some of the
solemnity of the war dance. There are yells and war-whoops, frequently
accompanied by discharge of firearms, but there is always more levity
than would be permitted at a war dance. After the scalp dance is over
the scalps are thrown away. No Apache would keep them, for they are
considered defiling.

A SOCIAL DANCE In the early part of September, 1905, I announced among
the Apaches that my daughter, Eva, having attained womanhood, should
now put away childish things and assume her station as a young
lady. At a dance of the tribe she would make her debut, and then, or
thereafter, it would be proper for a warrior to seek her hand in
marriage. Accordingly, invitations were issued to all Apaches, and
many Comanches and Kiowas, to assemble for a grand dance on the green
by the south bank of Medicine Creek, near the village of Naiche,
former chief of the Chokonen Apaches, on the first night of full moon
in September. The festivities were to continue for two days and
nights. Nothing was omitted in the preparation that would contribute
to the enjoyment of the guests or the perfection of the observance of
the religious rite.

To make ready for the dancing the grass on a large circular space was
closely mowed.

The singing was led by Chief Naiche, and I, assisted by our medicine
men, directed the dance.

First Eva advanced from among the women and danced once around the
camp fire; then, accompanied by another young woman, she again
advanced and both danced twice around the camp fire; then she and two
other young ladies advanced and danced three times around the camp
fire; the next time she and three other young ladies advanced and
danced four times around the camp fire; this ceremony lasted about one
hour. Next the medicine men entered, stripped to the waist, their
bodies painted fantastically, and danced the sacred dances. They were
followed by clown dancers who amused the audience greatly.

Then the members of the tribe joined hands and danced in a circle
around the camp fire for a long time. All the friends of the tribe
were asked to take part in this dance, and when it was ended many of
the old people retired, and the "lovers' dance" began.

The warriors stood in the middle of the circle and the ladies,
two-and-two, danced forward and designated some warrior to dance with
them. The dancing was back and forth on a line from the center to the
outer edge of the circle. The warrior faced the two ladies, and when
they danced forward to the center he danced backward: then they danced
backward to the outer edge and he followed facing them. This lasted
two or three hours and then the music changed. Immediately the
warriors assembled again in the center of the circle, and this time
each lady selected a warrior as a partner. The manner of dancing was
as before, only two instead of three danced together. During this
dance, which continued until daylight, the warrior (if dancing with a
maiden) could propose marriage, and if the maiden agreed, he would
consult her father soon afterward and make a bargain for her.

Upon all such occasions as this, when the dance is finished, each
warrior gives a present to the lady who selected him for a partner and
danced with him. If she is satisfied with the present he says good-by,
if not, the matter is referred to someone in authority (medicine man
or chief), who determines the question of what is a proper gift.

For a married lady the value of the present should be two or three
dollars; for a maiden the present should have a value of not less than
five dollars. Often, however, the maiden receives a very valuable
present.

During the "lovers' dance" the medicine men mingle with the dancers to
keep out evil spirits.

Perhaps I shall never again have cause to assemble our people to
dance, but these social dances in the moonlight have been a large part
of our enjoyment in the past, and I think they will not soon be
discontinued, at least I hope not.




   










   

19/21

At the World's Fair



WHEN I was at first asked to attend the St. Louis World's Fair I did
not wish to go. Later, when I was told that I would receive good
attention and protection, and that the President of the United States
said that it would be all right, I consented. I was kept by parties in
charge of the Indian Department, who had obtained permission from the
President. I stayed in this place for six months. I sold my
photographs for twenty-five cents, and was allowed to keep ten cents
of this for myself. I also wrote my name for ten, fifteen, or
twenty-five cents, as the case might be, and kept all of that money. I
often made as much as two dollars a day, and when I returned I had
plenty of money -more than I had ever owned before.

Many people in St. Louis invited me to come to their homes, but my
keeper always refused. Every Sunday the President of the Fair sent for
me to go to a wild west show. I took part in the roping contests
before the audience. There were many other Indian tribes there, and
strange people of whom I had never heard.





Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair When people first came to
the World's Fair they did nothing but parade up and down the
streets. When they got tired of this they would visit the shows. There
were many strange things in these shows. The Government sent guards
with me when I went, and I was not allowed to go anywhere without
them.

In one of the shows some strange men with red caps had some peculiar
swords, and they seemed to want to fight. Finally their manager told
them they might fight each other. They tried to hit each other over
the head with these swords, and I expected both to be wounded or
perhaps killed, but neither one was harmed. They would be hard people
to kill in a hand-to-hand fight.

In another show there was a strange-looking negro. The manager tied
his hands fast, then tied him to a chair. He was securely tied, for I
looked myself, and I did not think it was possible for him to get
away. Then the manager told him to get loose.

He twisted in his chair for a moment, and then stood up; the ropes
were still tied but he was free. I do not understand how this was
done. It was certainly a miraculous power, because no man could have
released himself by his own efforts.

In another place a man was on a platform speaking to the audience;
they set a basket by the side of the platform and covered it with red
calico; then a woman came and got into the basket, and a man covered
the basket again with the calico; then the man who was speaking to the
audience took a long sword and ran it through the basket, each way,
and then down through the cloth cover. I heard the sword cut through
the woman's body, and the manager himself said she was dead; but when
the cloth was lifted from the basket she stepped out, smiled, and
walked off the stage. I would like to know how she was so quickly
healed, and why the wounds did not kill her.

I have never considered bears very intelligent, except in their wild
habits, but I had never before seen a white bear. In one of the shows
a man had a white bear that was as intelligent as a man. He would do
whatever he was told -carry a log on his shoulder, just as a man
would; then, when he was told, would put it down again. He did many
other things, and seemed to know exactly what his keeper said to
him. I am sure that no grizzly bear could be trained to do these
things.

One time the guards took me into a little house that had four
windows. When we were seated the little house started to move along
the ground. Then the guards called my attention to some curious things
they had in their pockets. Finally they told me to look out, and when
I did so I was scared, for our little house had gone high up in the
air, and the people down in the Fair Grounds looked no larger than
ants. The men laughed at me for being scared; then they gave me a
glass to look through (I often had such glasses which I took from dead
officers after battles in Mexico and elsewhere), and I could see
rivers, lakes and mountains. But I had never been so high in the air,
and I tried to look into the sky. There were no stars, and I could not
look at the sun through this glass because the brightness hurt my
eyes. Finally I put the glass down, and as they were all laughing at
me, I, too, began to laugh. Then they said, "Get out!" and when I
looked we were on the street again. After we were safe on the land I
watched many of these little houses going up and coming down, but I
cannot understand how they travel. They are very curious little
houses.

One day we went into another show, and as soon as we were in it, it
changed into night. It was real night, for I could feel the damp air;
soon it began to thunder, and the lightnings flashed; it was real
lightning, too, for it struck just above our heads. I dodged and
wanted to run away but I could not tell which way to go in order to
get out. The guards motioned me to keep still and so I stayed. In
front of us were some strange little people who came out on the
platform; then I looked up again and the clouds were all gone, and I
could see stars shining. The little people on the platform did not
seem in earnest about anything they did; so I only laughed at
them. All the people around where we sat seemed to be laughing at me.

We went into another place and the manager took us into a little room
that was made like a cage; then everything around us seemed to be
moving; soon the air looked blue, then there were black clouds moving
with the wind. Pretty soon it was clear outside; then we saw a few
thin white clouds; then the clouds grew thicker, and it rained and
hailed with thunder and lightning. Then the thunder retreated and a
rainbow appeared in the distance; then it became dark, the moon rose
and thousands of stars came out. Soon the sun came up, and we got out
of the little room. This was a good show, but it was so strange and
unnatural that I was glad to be on the streets again.

We went into one place where they made glassware. I had always thought
that these things were made by hand, but they are not. The man had a
curious little instrument, and whenever he would blow through this
into a little blaze the glass would take any shape he wanted it to. I
am not sure, but I think that if I had this kind of an instrument I
could make whatever I wished. There seems to be a charm about it. But
I suppose it is very difficult to get these little instruments, or
people would have them. The people in this show were so anxious to buy
the things the man made that they kept him so busy he could not sit
down all day long. I bought many curious things in there and brought
them home with me.

At the end of one of the streets some people were getting into a
clumsy canoe, upon a kind of shelf, and sliding down into the
water. They seemed to enjoy it, but it looked too fierce for me. If
one of these canoes had gone out of its path the people would have
been sure to get hurt or killed.

There were some little brown people at the Fair that United States
troops captured recently on some islands far away from here.

They did not wear much clothing, and I think that they should not have
been allowed to come to the Fair. But they themselves did not seem to
know any better. They had some little brass plates, and they tried to
play music with these, but I did not think it was music it was only a
rattle. However, they danced to this noise and seemed to think they
were giving a fine show.

I do not know how true the report was, but I heard that the President
sent them to the Fair so that they could learn some manners, and when
they went home teach their people how to dress and how to behave.

I am glad I went to the Fair. I saw many interesting things and
learned much of the white people. They are a very kind and peaceful
people. During all the time I was at the Fair no one tried to harm me
in any way. Had this been among the Mexicans I am sure I should have
been compelled to defend myself often.

I wish all my people could have attended the Fair.




   










   

20/21

Religion



In our primitive worship only our relations to Usen and the members of
our tribe were considered as appertaining to our religious
responsibilities. As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe
were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations
and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after
this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after
death. I have seen many men die; I have seen many human bodies
decayed, but I have never seen that part which is called the spirit; I
do not know what it is; nor have I yet been able to understand that
part of the Christian religion. We held that the discharge of one's
duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future
life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one
was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life family and
tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we
did not know it.

Once when living in San Carlos Reservation an Indian told me that
while lying unconscious on the battlefield he had actually been dead,
and had passed into the spirit land.





Geronimo at old age First he came to a mulberry tree growing out from
a cave in the ground. Before this cave a guard was stationed, but when
he approached without fear the guard let him pass. He descended into
the cave, and a little way back the path widened and terminated in a
perpendicular rock many hundreds of feet wide and equal in
height. There was not much light, but by peering directly beneath him
he discovered a pile of sand reaching from the depths below to within
twenty feet of the top of the rock where he stood. Holding to a bush,
he swung off from the edge of the rock and dropped onto the sand,
sliding rapidly down its steep side into the darkness. He landed in a
narrow passage running due westward through a canyon which gradually
grew lighter and lighter until he could see as well as if it had been
daylight; but there was no sun. Finally he came to a section of this
passage that was wider for a short distance, and then closing abruptly
continued in a narrow path; just where this section narrowed two huge
serpents were coiled, and rearing their heads, hissed at him as he
approached, but he showed no fear, and as soon as he came close to
them they withdrew quietly and let him pass. At the next place, where
the passage opened into a wider section, were two grizzly bears
prepared to attack him, but when he approached and spoke to them they
stood aside and he passed unharmed. He continued to follow the narrow
passage, and the third time it widened and two mountain lions crouched
in the way, but when he had approached them without fear and had
spoken to them they also withdrew. He again entered the narrow
passage. For some time he followed this emerging into a fourth section
beyond which he could see nothing: the further walls of this section
were clashing together at regular intervals with tremendous sounds,
but when he approached them they stood apart until he had
passed. After this he seemed to be in a forest, and following the
natural draws which led westward soon came into a green valley where
there were many Indians camped and plenty of game. He said that he saw
and recognized many whom he had known in this life, and that he was
sorry when he was brought back to consciousness.

I told him if I knew this to be true I would not want to live another
day, but by some means, if by my own hands, I would die in order to
enjoy these pleasures. I myself have lain unconscious on the
battlefield, and while in that condition have had some strange
thoughts or experiences; but they are very dim and I cannot recall
them well enough to relate them. Many Indians believed this warrior,
and I cannot say that he did not tell the truth. I wish I knew that
what he said is beyond question true. But perhaps it is as well that
we are not certain.

Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have heard the teachings of
the white man's religion, and in many respects believe it to be better
than the religion of my fathers. However, I have always prayed, and I
believe that the Almighty has always protected me.

Believing that in a wise way it is good to go to church, and that
associating with Christians would improve my character, I have adopted
the Christian religion. I believe that the church has helped me much
during the short time I have been a member. I am not ashamed to be a
Christian, and I am glad to know that the President of the United
States is a Christian, for without the help of the Almighty I do not
think he could rightly judge in ruling so many people. I have advised
all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion,
because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live
right.




   









21/21

Hopes for the Future



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

There is a great question between the Apache and the Government. For
twenty years we have been held prisoners of war under a treaty which
was made with General Miles, on the part of the United States
Government, and myself as the representative of the Apaches. That
treaty has not at all times been properly observed by the Government,
although at the present time it is being more nearly fulfilled on
their part the heretofore. In the treaty with General Miles we agreed
to go to a place outside of Arizona and learn to live as the white
people do. I think that my people are now capable of living in
accordance with the laws of the United States, and we would, of
course, like to have the liberty to return to that land which is ours
by divine right. We are reduced in numbers, and having learned how to
cultivate the soil would not require so much ground as was formerly
necessary. We do not ask all of the land which the Almighty gave us in
the beginning, but that we may have sufficient lands there to
cultivate. What we do not need we are glad for the white men to
cultivate.

We are now held on Comanche and Kiowa lands, which are not suited to
our needs-these lands and this climate are suited to the Indians who
originally inhabited this country, of course, but our people are
decreasing in numbers here, and will continue to decrease unless they
are allowed to return to their native land. Such a result is
inevitable.

Geronimo rides a Cadillac at the World Fair There is no climate or
soil which, to my mind, is equal to that of Arizona. We could have
plenty of good cultivating land, plenty of grass, plenty of timber and
plenty of minerals in that land which the Almighty created for the
Apaches. It is my land, my home, my fathers' land, to which I now ask
to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be
buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace,
feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase
in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name
would not become extinct.

I know that if my people were placed in that mountainous region lying
around the head waters of the Gila River they would live in peace and
act according to the will of the President. They would be prosperous
and happy in tilling the soil and learning the civilization of the
white men, whom they now respect. Could I but see this accomplished, I
think I could forget all the wrongs that I have ever received, and die
a contented and happy old man. But we can do nothing in this matter
ourselves-we must wait until those in authority choose to act. If this
cannot be done during my lifetime-if I must die in bondage- I hope
that the remnant of the Apache tribe may, when I am gone, be granted
the one privilege which they request-to return to Arizona.