General George Crook.

General George Crook’s General Orders #10 was issued on November 12th, 1871, and it said in part that all roving bands of Indians would have to go at once to reservations or “be regarded as hostile and punished accordingly.” The following year he launched his successful Winter Campaign against the Apache and Yavapai bands in central Arizona. Following the battles at Salt River Cave and Turret Butte, along with a relentless pursuit, most of the natives surrendered in the spring of 1873.

Crook realized that the native’s best chance for survival would be to give up their traditional raiding in the U.S. and Mexico and live on reservations where they could be protected by the Army. Up to then the whites needed to be protected from the Indians but the whites vastly outnumbered the natives their survival necessitated being located in a sanctuary. Crook was well-respected and trusted by the by the natives. He seems to be one of the few leaders who understood what was needed to bring peace to the frontier without the genocide that would be inevitable if steps weren’t taken.

Unfortunately, Crook would be transferred out of Arizona in 1875 and government corruption and bureaucratic bungling would cause trouble on the reservations causing renegades like Geronimo and “unreconstructed” rebels like Nana, Ulzana and Victoria to bolt the reservations with their followers. It was not until late summer, 1886 when Geronimo finally called it quits, that the so-called renegade period ended.

The Apache raids didn’t end with the surrender of Geronimo. The last Apache raid into the United States occurred in 1924 when a band, who were later caught and arrested, stole some horses from Arizona ranchers. This is considered to be the end of the American Indian Wars but the Mexican Indian Wars continued for another nine years, until the last holdouts were defeated in 1933.

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