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Apache Indian Tribe


Chiricahua-Apache Indian Tribe

Geronimo (Goyathlay)

The  Chiricahua-Apache Indian Tribe (also known as the Chiricagui, Chiricahui, Chilecagez, or Chiricagua) speak a Southern Athabaskan language and are related to the Northern Athabaskan tribes from Alaska, Western Canada, and the Pacific Northwest.  In reality, the Chiricahua-Apache Indian Tribe does not refer to a distinct tribe or band, but were composed of four bands: the Chokonen, Chihenne, Nednai and the Bedonkohe.  They originally inhabited West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.  Today, the majority of the Chiricahua-Apache live near Fort Sill, Oklahoma and on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. This Indian Tribe was led by the chiefs Cochise, Geronimo, and Cochise's son Naiche.  However, the leader was not hereditary and depended upon the consensus of the various clans within the group.  This Apache tribe was the last Indian Tribe to wage war against the U.S. government in the Southwestern US.  Historically the Chiricahua-Apache Indians were not united with the other six Apachean tribes. In addition, the Chiricahua were bitter enemies of the Mexicans and in his autobiography, Geronimo said, "I have no love for the Mexicans. With me they were always treacherous and malicious."  The Apache warrior Geronimo, in the photograph above, was taken at Fort Sill, Oklahoma when he was a prisoner of war after surrendering to the US Army.  When he was first captured, Geronimo was separated from his family and sent to Fort Pickens, Florida, thousands of kilometers away from his birthplace on the Gila River in New Mexico.  As an old man, Geronimo became somewhat of a celebrity, attending the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the 1905 presidential inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt.  The Chiricahua-Apache have been mixed with other Apaches and Anglos due to the US Government's assimilation policy of forcing them to live on reservations with other Apache Tribes and programs whereby the government arranged for Chiricahua-Apache children to be adopted by whites.  Presently, the combined population of all the Apache Indian Tribes is about 56 thousand Native Americans, with the only a relatively small percentage being Chiricahua-Apaches. 


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