Geronimo (Goyathle - his native name means "one who yawns") was the last warrior fighting for the Chiricahua Apache. Geronimo was his Spanish given name that he used in public.
(Apache means "enemy" in the language of their Zuni neighbors. The Apaches' own name for themselves was traditionally Nde or Ndee (meaning "the people"), but today most Apache people use the word "Apache" themselves, even when they are speaking their own language).
For generations, the Apache had resisted white colonization of their homeland in the Southwest by both Spaniards and North Americans. Geronimo became famous for standing against the U.S. Government and for holding out the longest. He was a great spiritual leader and medicine man. Geronimo was highly sought by Apache chiefs for his wisdom. He is said to have had supernatural powers. Geronimo could see the future and walk without creating footprints. He could keep the dawn from rising to protect his people.
Geronimo’s final surrender in 1886 was the last significant Apache guerrilla action in the United States. At surrender, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and six children. Following his surrender, Geronimo and 300 of his fellow Chiricahua were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida, and became prisoners of war for 27 years. On February 17, 1909, Geronimo died – unable to return to his homeland.
He is buried in the Apache Cemetery in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His descendants reside on the Mescalero Apache Reservation still to this today.
"I should never have surrendered," Geronimo, still a prisoner of war, said on his deathbed. "I should have fought until I was the last man alive."
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