Geronimo His Own Story
Part I: The Apaches
Part II: The Mexicans
Part III: The White Men
Part IV: The Old And The New
Part II: The Mexicans
In the summer of 1858, being at peace with the Mexican towns as
well as with all the neighboring Indian tribes, we went south into
Old Mexico to trade. Our whole tribe (Bedonkohe Apaches) went through
Sonora toward Casa Grande, our destination, but just before reaching
that place we stopped at another Mexican town called by the Indians
Kas-ki-yeh. Here we stayed for several days, camping outside the
city. Every day we would go into town to trade, leaving our camp
under the protection of a small guard so that our arms, supplies,
and women and children would not be disturbed during our absence.
Late one afternoon when returning from town we were met by a few
women and children who told us that Mexican troops from some other
town had attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard,
captured all our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our supplies,
and killed many of our women and children. Quickly we separated,
concealing ourselves as best we could until nightfall, when we assembled
at our appointed place of rendezvous--a thicket by the river. Silently
we stole in one by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were
counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three
small children were among the slain. There were no lights in camp,
so without being noticed I silently turned away and stood by the
river. How long I stood there I do not know, but when I saw the
warriors arranging for a council I took my place.
That night I did not give my vote for or against any measure; but
it was decided that as there were only eighty warriors left, and
as we were without arms or supplies, and were furthermore surrounded
by the Mexicans far inside their own territory, we could not hope
to fight successfully. So our chief, Mangus-Colorado, gave the order
to start at once in perfect silence for our homes in Arizona, leaving
the dead upon the field.
I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would do. I
had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I contemplate
recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was forbidden.
I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in particular,
for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe silently,
keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of the feet
of the retreating Apaches.
The next morning some of the Indians killed a small amount of game
and we halted long enough for the tribe to cook and eat, when the
march was resumed. I had killed no game, and did not eat. During
the first march as well as while we were camped at this place I
spoke to no one and no one spoke to me--there was nothing to say.
For two days and three nights we were on forced marches, stopping
only for meals, then we made a camp near the Mexican border, where
we rested two days. Here I took some food and talked with the other
Indians who had lost in the massacre, but none had lost as I had,
for I had lost all.
Within a few days we arrived at our own settlement. There were
the decorations that Alope had made--and there were the playthings
of our little ones. I burned them all, even our tepee. I also burned
my mother's tepee and destroyed all her property.
I was never again contented in our quiet home. True, I could visit
my father's grave, but I had vowed vengeance upon the Mexican troopers
who had wronged me, and whenever I came near his grave or saw anything
to remind me of former happy days my heart would ache for revenge
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