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Know the West

The true story of the Apaches


In the article on the efforts of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe to build a casino in southwestern New Mexico, Jeff Haozous is quoted as saying that there were no remnant populations of Chiricahua or Warm Springs Apaches left in southwestern New Mexico after Geronimo's surrender in 1886 ("Whose Apache Homelands?" HCN, 10/14/13). This statement is contradicted by Joe Saenz, a Chiricahua Apache, and by the book Conquest of Apacheria (Dan L. Thrapp, 1975).  A very thorough description of the lives of the 38 Chiricahua Apaches who escaped from the 1876 march is contained in the book The First Hundred Years of Niño Cochise, by Ciye Niño Cochise (1972). Niño Cochise, the son of Tahza, writes of the years lived in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico at a site called Pa-Gotzin-Kay, and tells of the interactions with Anglo ranchers, the many other Indians who came and went, their battles with the "red-shirt" Mexican soldiers, and their trading ventures into Mexico and Arizona towns. There are also pictures, including one of the aging shaman, Dee-O-Det. It is a valuable first-person account of the years 1872 to 1920 for this band of Apaches who escaped into the mountains and continued their way of life for many years.

Sam Earnshaw
Watsonville, California