Can you tell me something about the Apache of southern Arizona?

George Rodriguez

Newalla, Oklahoma

Let’s start with early 1861, when Cochise was wrongly accused of kidnapping the boy who grew up to become the great scout Mickey Free.

War resulted, lasting 10 years until a trusted white man named Tom Jeffords managed to arrange peace talks between the chief and Gen. Oliver Howard. Cochise asked for a reservation in the Chiricahua Mountains, his homeland, with Jeffords as his agent. General George Crook approved the treaty. Yet upon Crook’s transfer, other Apache groups began using the reservation as a staging area to launch their traditional raids into Mexico.

Due to vehement protests by the Mexican government, the U.S. government moved the Chiricahua to a location farther away from the Mexican border—to a Godforsaken place called San Carlos, already home to other Apaches and the Yavapai. A new phase began with bands led by leaders like Geronimo, Chatto and old Nana. They bolted the reservation and went off raiding across Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.

After a tough fight, Geronimo surrendered in September 1886. The final humiliation came when the Apache (including army scouts) were loaded up on the trains and shipped to Florida. The two-year holding place ended up lasting until the Apache were eventually moved to Oklahoma in 1894. As a tribe, the Chiricahua were never allowed to return to Arizona.

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