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young-geronimo.jpgGeronimo, Spanish for “Jerome” or Goyathlay, “One Who Yawns,” as he was known to the Apache, was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, and lived in the border region around Mexico’s Sierra Madre and southern Arizona and New Mexico. The year 1858 was one of the worst moments in Geronimo’s life, when he returned home to find his wife, his mother and his three young children murdered by Mexican soldiers during a brutal attack on his village in Chihuahua, Mexico. Though Geronimo later remarried and fathered other children, the  memory of that tragedy left him with an extreme hatred for Mexicans.  Geronimo was not a hereditary leader but appeared to be because he was often the spokesman for Juh his brother-in-law, a Chiricahua Chief (the tribe of Apache that lived south of Geronimo’s Bedonkohe tribe), who had a speech impediment.  He was also highly respected among the other Apache Chiefs who depended on his wisdom.  Geronimo became the most famous Apache of all time because he fought against anyone who invaded his homeland and  forgeronimo-medicine-dress.jpg decades Geronimo and his men successfully eluded the U.S. Army’s attempts to control him and  hold him to a reservation.  He finally surrendered for the final time on this day September 4, 1886 to General Nelson A. Miles in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.  He became the last native American warrior to formally surrender to the United States.  At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children.  The US government breached its agreement with Geronimo and he and about 450 Apache’s were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida and a year later about a quarter of them would die from tuberculosis and other diseases as many of them were relocated again to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama.  In 1894 they were removed once again to Fort Sill in Oklahoma.  On Feb. 17, 1909, Geronimo died a prisoner of war, unable to return to Arizona, he was buried in the Apache cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Before Geronimo’s death he embraced Christianity and said “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.” (this quote was taken from “Geronimo in his own words”) Link

“I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.” Geronimo

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