Being as young as 7-8 years old, I have a distinct memory of reading about a Chiricahua Apache warrior named Geronimo, and how his band of 135 Apache men, women and children traveled up to 70 miles per day and avoided 5,000 U.S. soldiers (nearly a ¼ of the entire U.S. military). Even being that young I marveled at his exploits. Then I read tales of his fierceness, cunning and ruthlessness in killing. I distinctly remember as a child wondering, “Why would he do that? There was a lot that was left out of the children’s books of the 1960’s. Later in life, I read the truth and came to know and feel why he ‘became’ the man he was, and actually felt sympathy for him. How would you feel if, while away on a trading mission, an army of 400 came to your family’s encampment and murdered your mother, wife and three young children…for their scalps? In his own words, “I had lost all.” It was as if Geronimo saw red from that moment on. He swore vengeance against Mexico and led a series of bloody raids on its soldiers and settlements. Later in life he said, “I have killed many Meixcans…I don’t know how many…some of them were not worth counting.”
Did you know…..
- He spent 23 years of his life as a prisoner of war.
- He participated in Theodore Roosevelt’s presidential inauguration.
- He was never a tribal chief, but was considered a shaman, or medicine man who had supernatural powers. He was credited with healing the sick, slowing time, avoided bullets, brought on rainstorms and witnessed events happening great distances away.
- His given name was Goyahkla “The One Who Yawns.”