. . . . Easy reading for the student . . . .
|By 1688 the Apache groups customarily supplemented their hunting and cultivating
economies with raids on settlements of the Mexican and, later, on the westward-migrating
American settlers. They attained their greatest fame as guerrilla fighters defending
their mountainous homelands under the Chiricahua leaders Cochise, Geronimo, Mangas
Coloradas, Victorio, and Juh. The surrender of Geronimo and Juh in 1886 marked
the end of Apache resistance and their way of life.
For generations, the Apaches resisted white colonization of their homeland in
the Southwest, presently New Mexico and Arizona, by both Mexicans and North Americans.
In 1848, when gold was discovered in California, the Apache were threatened by
the incursions of the white fortune-seekers.
In an incident at a mining camp, Mangas Coloradas, chief of the Mimbreņo Chiricahua,
was whipped, an act that resulted in his life-long hostility against the white
man. His son-in-law, Cochise, had long resisted fighting Anglos. Cochise had granted
white men the use of Apache Pass. In 1861 he was falsely accused of stealing cattle,
and kidnapping a settlers son. All relations between the Anglo and Apache evaporated.
Under a flag of truce Cochise with a party went to discuss the incident with
the soldiers. They were taken captive. Cochise managed to escape by cutting the
side of the tent. He had three bullet holes in him. He soon seized three civilian
captives to exchange for his relatives, but the offer was refused, and Cochise,
enraged, killed the hostages. The army in turn hung his brother and nephews, leaving
their bodies hanging until they were skeltons. This triggered the furious vendetta
known as the Cochise War.
Before it was over, some 150 whites were dead, and the combined forces of Cochise
and his father-in-law, Mangas Coloradas-"Red Sleeves," had brought all California-bound
traffic through Apache Pass to standstill. During a pitched battle in July 1862,
an estimated 500 Apache fighters...engaged the Californians in ferocious combat
until the enemy HOWITZERS forced them to retreat.
In a later skirmish Mangas, then in his seventies, was struck by a bullet in
the chest. It is said that Mangas's men carried him for many miles...(it is said
100 miles) to get their Chief medical help. Surviving, but in fragile health,
Mangas sought to parley for peace.
In January 1863 Mangas agreed to meet with an officer of the California militia.
It turned out to be a trap. Mangas was locked up at Ft. McLane. Some soldiers
began to taunt him one night with heated bayonets, he rose to protect himself
and was shot dead. The official report was that he was trying to escape.
Cochise assumed leadership. From his stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains of southern
Arizona, he and about 200 warriors renewed their attacks on white settlements.
At this point another US commander, General George Crook, tried a strategy that
proved more effective than any firearms. Cook used Apache scouts as diplomats.
They traveled from band to band, urging their people to move onto federal reservations.
Cochise was reassured that his people would not be forced to relocate to the
dreaded Fort Tularosa in western New Mexico. They could retain their ancestral
lands on a reservation in the Chiricahua mountains, Cochise and his followers
left for the reservation in the fall of 1872.
There was three years of peace for the Apache. In 1875, the government sought
to combine all the Apache bands on the San Carlos Reservation along the Gila River.
Many warriors among the Warm Springs and Chiricahua groups refused the idea.
Victorio, fled from the San Carlos reservation in September 1877 with more than
300 followers. Recaptured a month later, he staged another breakout with 80 warriors
within a year.
Victorio's swift-moving bands crossed the Rio Grande repeatedly-until a soldier
shoot and killed him in Chihuahua, Mexico in October 1880.
Shortly after Victorio's death the appalling conditions on the San Carlos Reservation
sparked a further series of Apache breakouts.
A new leader emerged from among the Apaches, a seasoned fighter who had fought
alongside Cochise and Victorio. He was named Goyahkla....."One Who Yawns," but
he was better known as Geronimo.
Geronimo led about 70 Chiricahua warriors along with their families across the
Rio Grande. A regiment of Mexican troops managed to cut off most of the Apache
women and children and slaughtered them all.
General Crook was back in Arizona territory. In May 1883, Crook located Geronimo's
base camp and took all the women and children hostage. The last of Geromino's
band finally gave themselves up in March 1884.
In May 1885 Geronimo and other leaders were caught consuming home-brewed corn
beer, a violation of army rules. While the authorities debated his punishment,
Geronimo cut the telegraph wires, killed a ranching family, and slipped back to
Mexico's Sierra Madre with 134 warriors.
In March 1886, Crook finally managed a two-day parley with Geronimo in Mexico's
Canon de los Embudos. Geronimo agreed to surrender and accept a two-year imprisonment
at Fort Marion, 2,000 miles away in Florida. While being led to Fort Bowie by
Apache scouts, Geronimo and a handful of his followers broke free again.
The army at this point replaced Crook with General Nelson Miles, who committed
5,000 troops and 400 Apache scouts to the recapture of Geronimo. Even when confronted
by a force of this magnitude Geronimo's band of 38 men, women, and children still
eluded their pursuers for six months. When Apache scouts finally talked Geronimo
into laying down his gun in early September 1886, the surrender was bloodless
and strangely anticlimactic.
During this final campaign, at least 5,000 white soldiers and 500 Indian auxiliaries
were employed at various times in the capture of Geronimo's small band. Five months
and some 1,645 miles later, Geronimo was tracked to his camp in the Sonora mountains.
Recounted Geronimo's cousin Jason Betzinex:
"Kayitah, an Apache scout, delivered General Miles' message. The general wanted
them to give themselves up without any guarantees. The Indians seemed stunned.
Finally Geronimo's half-brother, White Horse, spoke out. 'I am going to surrender.
My wife and children have been captured. I love them, and want to be with them.'
Then another brother said that if White Horse was going, he would go too. The
third and youngest brother made a similar statement. Geronimo stood for a few
moments without speaking. At last he said slowly, "I don't know what to do. I
have been depending heavily on you three men. You have been great warriors in
battle. If you are going to surrender, there is no use in my going without you.
I will give up with you.'"
Almost immediately General Miles had Geronimo's band taken into custody-along
with the Apache scouts who had tracked Geronimo down. They were put on a train
for Florida. Their destination was Ft Marion, the old Spanish fortress in St.Augustine
where the army imprisoned its most dangerous Indians. Geronimo spent the next
eight years there.
Released from confinement in 1894, he accepted an offer from the Kiowa and Comanche
to share their reservation in Indian territory. Geronimo farmed outside Oklahoma's
Fort Sill. He joined the Dutch Reformed church, where he taught Sunday school.
He was told to leave the church because of his love of gambling! Later, with government
approval, Geronimo spent a year with a Wild West show and appeared in Omaha, Buffalo,
New York, and at the St. Louis World's Fair, where he made money selling his photographs
and bows and arrows. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt invited Geronimo to
Washington DC to ride in the inaugural parade. But to the day of Geronimo's death
in 1909, Arizona never considered him safe enough to let him set foot in his homeland
|Around 1917 after the Selective Service Act was passed. Many Native Americans
joined the armed forces. By war's end, about 17,000 were in uniform....close to
30% of adult Indian males, double the national average. Commanding General John
J. Pershing authorized an Apache company of scouts. Some of them were descendants
of warriors Pershing himself had fought on the Southwestern frontier 30 years
In protest of Nazi Germany's aggression in Europe, the Apache along with the
Navajo, Papago and Hopi, banned the swastika, an ancient native symbol, from their
blanket and basket designs. They knew was decimation of a race was like! Apache,
Miguel Flores and Hopi, Fred Kabotie signed the document proclaiming the ban in
Today the Apache occupy reservations in New Mexico and
Arizona, with some Chiricahua, Lipan, and Kiowa Apache in
Oklahoma. In 1680 the Apache population was estimated at
5,000, in 1989 it was estimated at about 30,000, of whom
most lived on reservations. While accommodating to changed
economic conditions, the Apache on reservations have
maintained much of their traditional, social and ritual
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