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GERONIMO Geronimo jur-ahn-i-moh or Goyathlay one who yawns was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico but was then still Mexican territory He was a Bedonkohe Apache grandson of Mahko by birth and a Netna during his youth and early manhood His wife Juh Geronimos cousin Ishton and Asa Daklugie were members of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apache He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers although few agree as to why As leader of the Apaches at Arispe in Sonora he performed such daring feats that the Mexicans singled him out with the sobriquet Geronimo Spanish for Jerome Some attributed his numerous raiding successes to powers conferred by supernatural beings including a reputed invulnerability to bullets Geronimos war career was linked with that of his brother-in-law Juh a Chiricahua chief Although he was not a hereditary leader Geronimo appeared so to outsiders because he often acted as spokesman for Juh who had a spee ch impediment Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest he became the most famous Apache of all To the pioneers and settlers of Arizona and New Mexico he was a bloody-handed murderer and this image endured until the second half of this century To the Apaches Geronimo embodied the very essence of the Apache values agressiveness courage in the face of difficulty These qualities inspired fear in the settlers of Arizona and New Mexico The Chiricahuas were mostly migratory following the seasons hunting and farming When food was scarce it was the custom to raid neighboring tribes Raids and vengeance were an honorable way of life among the tribes of this region By the time American settlers began arriving in the area the Spanish had become entrenched in the area They were always looking for Indian slaves and
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