Famous Indian Chiefs  (in construction)

  Apache    Geronimo  Cochise  Taza  Victorio  Naiche  Chato

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Geronimo {jur-ahn'-i-moh}, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache (grandson of Mahko) by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. His wife, Juh, Geronimo's cousin Ishton, and Asa Daklugie were members of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apache. He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers, although few agree as to why. As leader of the Apaches at Arispe in Sonora, he performed such daring feats that the Mexicans singled him out with the sobriquet Geronimo (Spanish for "Jerome"). Some attributed his numerous raiding successes to powers conferred by supernatural beings, including a reputed invulnerability to bullets. Geronimo's war career was linked with that of his brother-in-law, Juh, a Chiricahua chief. Although he was not a hereditary leader, Geronimo appeared so to outsiders because he often acted as spokesman for Juh, who had a speech impediment.
Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest, he became the most famous Apache of all. To the pioneers and settlers of Arizona and New Mexico, he was a bloody-handed murderer and this image endured until the second half of this cent To the Apaches, Geronimo embodied the very essence of the Apache values, agressiveness, courage in the face of difficulty. These qualities inspired fear in the settlers of Arizona and New Mexico. The Chiricahuas were mostly migratory following the seasons, hunting and farming. When food was scarce, it was the custom to raid neighboring tribes. Raids and vengeance were an honorable way of life among the tribes of this region. By the time American settlers began arriving in the area, the Spanish had become entrenched in the area. They were always looking for Indian slaves and Christian converts. One of the most pivotal moments in Geronimo's life was in 1858 when he returned home from a trading excursion into Mexico. He found his wife, his mother and his three young children murdered by Spanish troops from Mexico. This reportedly caused him to have such a hatred of the whites that he vowed to kill as many as he could. From that day on he took every opportunity he could to terrorize Mexican settlements and soon after this incident he received his power, which came to him in visions. Geronimo was never a chief, but a medicine man, a seer and a spiritual and intellectual leader both in and out of battle. The Apache chiefs depended on his wisdom. When the Chiricahua were forcibly removed (1876) to arid land at San Carlos, in eastern Arizona, Geronimo fled with a band of followers into Mexico. He was soon arrested and returned to the new reservation. For the remainder of the 1870s, he and Juh led a quiet life on the reservation, but with the slaying of an Apache prophet in 1881, they returned to full-time activities from a secret camp in the Sierra Madre Mountains. In 1875 all Apaches west of the Rio Grande were ordered to the San Carlos Reservation. Geronimo escaped from the reservation three times and although he surrendered, he always managed to avoid capture. In 1876, the U.S. Army tried to move the Chiricahuas onto a reservation, but Geronimo fled to Mexico eluding the troops for over a decade. Sensationalized press reports exaggerated Geronimo's activities, making him the most feared and infamous Apache. The last few months of the campaign required over 5,000 soldiers, one-quarter of the entire Army, and 500 scouts, and perhaps up to 3,000 Mexican soldiers to track down Geronimo and his band. In May 1882, Apache scouts working for the U.S. army surprised Geronimo in his mountain sanctuary, and he agreed to return with his people to the reservation. After a year of farming, the sudden arrest and imprisonment of the Apache warrior Ka-ya-ten-nae, together with rumors of impending trials and hangings, prompted Geronimo to flee on May 17, 1885, with 35 warriors and 109 women, children and youths. In January 1886, Apache scouts penetrated Juh's seemingly impregnable hideout. This action induced Geronimo to surrender (Mar. 25, 1886) to Gen. George CROOK. Geronimo later fled but finally surrendered to Gen. Nelson MILES on Sept. 4, 1886. The government breached its agreement and transported Geronimo and nearly 450 Apache men, women, and children to Florida for confinement in Forts Marion and Pickens. In 1894 they were removed to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Geronimo became a rancher, appeared (1904) at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, sold Geronimo souvenirs, and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade. Geronimo's final surrender in 1886 was the last significant Indian guerrilla action in the United States. At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children. Upon their surrender, Geronimo and over 300 of his fellow Chiricahuas were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida. One year later many of them were relocated to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama, where about one quarter died from tuberculosis and other diseases. Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland.

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Cochise Cochise had long worked as a woodcutter at the Apache Pass stagecoach station of the Butterfield Overland line until 1861, when a raiding party drove off cattle belonging to a white rancher and abducted the child of a ranch hand. An inexperienced Army officer, Lt. George Bascom, arrived and ordered Cochise and 5 other Apaches to appear for questioning. When they denied guilt or complicity, Bascom ordered his men to seize and arrest the Apaches. (Their claims of innocence were later substantiated.)In the ensuing struggle, soldiers killed one Apache and subdued 4 others, but Cochise, suffering 3 bullets wounds, escaped by cutting through the side of a tent.He soon abducted a number of whites to exchange for the Apache captives, but Bascom retaliated by hanging 6 Apaches, including relatives of Cochise. This sequence of events is usually referred to as "The Bascom Affair."
Avenging these deaths, Cochise took to the warpath with his uncle, Mangas Coloradas. During the following year, warfare by Apache bands was so fierce that troops, settlers and traders all withdrew from the region. And upon the recall of army forces to fight in the U.S. Civil War in 1861, Arizona was practically abandoned to the Apaches.In 1862, an army of 3,000 California volunteers under Gen. James Carleton marched to Apache Pass to prevent Confederate attacks and put the Apaches to flight with their howitzers. Although Mangas Coloradas was captured and killed the following year, Cochise and 200 followers eluded capture for more than 10 years by hiding out in the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona, from which they continued their raids, always fading back into their mountain strongholds.In 1871, command of the Department of Arizona was assumed by Gen. George Crook, who succeeded in winning the allegiance of a number of Apaches as scouts and bringing many others onto reservations. Cochise surrendered in September, but, resisting the transfer of his people to the Tularosa Reservation in New Mexico, escaped in the spring of 1872. He surrendered again when the Chiricahua Reservation was established that summer, and there he died June 8, 1874. Today, the southeastern most county of Arizona bears his name; it includes Tombstone, Douglas and Bisbee, the county seat.

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Taza

Taza ( Tribe : Chiricahua Apache )  1835-1876. As the first son of COCHISE, Taza became the leader of his father's group when Cochise died in 1874. Taza, who was also brother of NAICHE and grandson of MANGAS COLORADAS, strove to honor his father's peace agreement with the army. In 1876, he agreed to relocate his people from the Chiricahua Reservation at Apache Pass, Arizona, to the San Carlos Reservation. However, he could not unite the various Apache bands under his leadership as Cochise had done. Consequently, GERONIMO and his followers crossed the Mexican border into the Sierra Madre of Mexico. This remote area became their base camp. In the summer of 1876, Taza joined the Apache delegation to Washington, D.C., to sue for peace. During this trip, Taza succumbed to pneumonia and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery. As a result of Taza's death, Naiche became more militant.

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Victorio

Victorio ( Tribe : Apache ) Victorio was a skilled strategist, known for his bravery. He and his men battled both the Mexicans and the Americans from 1863 to 1877. In 1877 Victorio signed a peace treaty on behalf of the Apache. When the U.S. unilaterally broke the treaty after just four months, Victorio and his men kept on raiding, hiding in the mountains to survive. Over the next couple of years Victorio signed more treaties, was captured, was indicted, and always managed to escape. In 1880 his band was cornered, and in a two-day battle most of them were wiped out. It is unclear whether Victorio was killed in battle or took his own life as the army closed in on him. The Apache and their foes respected and admired Victorio for his bravery and tenacity against incredible odds.

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Naiche

Naiche ( Tribe : Chiricahua Apache ) 1857-1921. As a young man, Naiche (means "the Mischief Maker" or "Meddlesome One") led many raids against white settlers. When his older brother TAZA died of pneumonia in 1876m he became chief of the Chiricahua Apaches. In 1879, Naiche resisted relocation to the San Carlos Apache Reservation and went to Mexico with GERONIMO's Band. While ensconced in the Sierra Madre south of Rio Grande, Naiche and Geronimo attacked American and Mexican communities with relative impunity. While Naiche was certainly the hereditary chief of the Chiricahua Apaches at this time, it appears that Geronimo was viewed as the great leader and probably persuaded Naiche, the younger man, to submit to his leadership during these campaigns. During the early 180s, the U.S. Army relentlessly tracked the rebellious Chiricahua Apaches until Naiche surrendered on May 25,1883, to General George Crook.
 For a while, Naiche and Geronimo languished at the San Carlos Reservation, but in 1885, the two leaders left with over one hundred men in a last attempt to avoid American control. By September 1886, Apache scouts and detachments of the U.S. Army were able to force their surrender in the inhospitable terrain of Mexico. Soon after the Chiricahuas were captured, Naiche and Geronimo and their men were incarcerated first at Fort Marion, Florida, and then at Mount Vernon Barracks in Alberta. Although Naiche and his men wanted return home to Arizona, angry white settlers there prevented it. After Kiowa and Comanche leaders invited the Chiricahua Apaches to share their reservation, Naiche and 295 other Apaches relocated to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on October 4, 1895.

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Chato

Chato ( Tribe : Mescalero Apache ) Chato was one of Cochise’s twelve captains who met General Howard at the Treaty of Dragoon Springs. After the treaty was broken by the politicians, Chato joined the U.S. Army as a scout. He helped to bring his own people to subjugation, always believing the promise that they would be accorded the same rights and treatment as other Americans. Because of his valor he was called to Washington to receive a medal from the President. It was he, Chato, that whirlwind of destructiveness and ferocity, commanding 200 Apache scouts under General Crook who brought the rapacious career of Geronimo to an end. Of the surrender of Geronimo, General Crook said, "The surrender of Geronimo could not have been effected except for the assistance of Chato and his scouts. For their allegiance, they have been rewarded by captivity in a strange land." Of the medal given him by President Grover Cleveland, Chato said, "Why was I given a medal to wear in the guardhouse?" And that is where Chato spent the next twenty-seven years of his life, for on his return from Washington by train, he was arrested along with all Chiricahuas, by the Army. He remained a prisoner of the U.S. Army for longer than any prisoner in U.S. Army history.

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