in the
Chiracahua Apache Language


1812 - 1874

"You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts. Speak Americans.... I will not lie to you; do not lie to me."

Cochise was Chief of the Chokonen band of Chiricahua Apaches. He was a tall man, six feet, with broad shoulders and a commanding, handsome appearance. It is said that his son Taza looks very much like him. He never met a man his equal with a lance, and, like Crazy Horse, was never photographed. (I was told that Cochise was photographed) They both were buried in secret locations on their homeland.

Cochise angered by the murder of his Father-in-law, Mangas Coloradas (Red Sleeves) went to war!

The Cochise Stronghold, nestled in the Dragoon's canyons, was their impregnable fortress for many years. Cochise eventually signed the Broken Arrow Peace Treaty at a prominent area landmark, Council Rock. His son Naiche signaled the signing with a white flag from atop Treaty Hill.

Cochise died on June 8, 1874 of natural causes. His body was dress in his best war garments. He was decorated in war paint, and head feathers. His body was then wrapped in a brillant red blanket, and place on his horse. The horse was guided to a remote place in the Dragoons. The horse was shot and lowered into the chasm along with Cochise's gun and other arms. Lastly Cochise was lowered into the rocky cavern by lariots. The location of this burial site remains a mystery to this day.

Cochise left two sons behind, TAZA and NAICHE. It is believed that in 1876 while Taza was negoiating a treaty in Washington D.C. that he was poisioned. This left Naiche to became the last Chief of the "free" Chiricahua Apaches.


Quoted by Cochise

"When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it. How is it?

We were once a large people covering these mountains. We lived well: we were at peace. One day my best friend was seized by an officer of the white men and treacherously killed. At last your soldiers did me a very great wrong, and I and my people went to war with them.

The worst place of all is Apache Pass. There my brother and nephews were murdered. Their bodies were hung up and kept there till they were skeletons.

Now Americans and Mexicans kill an Apache on sight. I have retaliated with all my might. My people have killed Americans and Mexicans and taken their property. Their losses have been greater than mine. I have killed ten white men for every Indian slain, but I know that the whites are many and the Indians are few. Apaches are growing less every day.

Why is it that the Apaches wait to die. . . . . That they carry their lives on their fingernails? They roam over the hills and plains and want the heavens to fall on them. The Apaches were once a great nation; they are now but few, and because of this they want to die and so carry their lives on their fingernails.

I am alone in the world. I want to live in these mountains; I do not want to go to Tularosa. That is a long way off. I have drunk of the waters of the Dragoon Mountains and they have cooled me: I do not want to leave here.

Nobody wants peace more than I do. Why shut me up on a reservation? We will make peace; we will keep it faithfully. But let us go around free as Americans do. Let us go wherever we please."

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Photo by A.R. RoyoExcepts from Bob Katz

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Updated on July 5, 2005 by Who Else....PurpleHawk