An American Legend Geronimo!
He was GOYAHK-LA! Probably doesn’t mean a thing to you, does he. But, if I shouted, GERONIMO! This accepted exclamation for those going into battle or facing a challenging situation would immediately call to mind, I’m sure, paratroopers of the 101st Infantry Division leaping from slow moving cargo-type planes to the enemy terrain below.
Question: then just who was this Goyahkla (“one who yawns”) person? Quite simply, it was GERONIMO’S true Apache name. So, how did the famous name Emerge?
As we say in the music industry, let’s start at the top.
Goyahkla, a Native American, was a skilled Apache warrior who lived during a time of fighting between Mexicans and Americans who fought over land in the Southwestern part of the United States. The Apache people had been living on this land for several hundred years, but in the 1800s, the Americans won a war with Mexico and claimed the Apache homeland for themselves.
Goyahkla began training as a warrior in 1830 at age seven and fast became a symbol of the fearless warrior. He loved the land and his people believed Apaches had the right to live in their homeland and roam freely. He was a natural to lead the Apaches in many battles against the settlers and soldiers. They were fierce confrontations, and he was one of the last Apaches to give up the fight.
Now it is said that when he, Goyahkla, appeared in battle, the Mexicans were terrified and, in Spanish, invoked Saint Jerome – GERONIMO – to protect them. It may be a bit difficult to equate the acknowledged patron saint of librarians with freedom fighters. But it’s true … he was a Doctor the Church and an extremely scholarly man. So be it. Thus, GERONIMO!
In 1886, GERONIOMO surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles, ending warfare between the Apaches and the white settlers. He and his people were moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he died in 1909.
In the latter part of the 19th Century, there was not much law and order in the Southwest and the Mexican frontier. Life was hard, and to survive, Apaches and Mexicans often raided each other, invaded villages; stealing guns, horses, and cattle.
The Famous Geronimo
Yes, GERONIMO did indeed become a famous Apache warrior. So much so that people wanted to see how he looked and talked. They wanted to hear about his life, and he became an attraction at special events such as the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Sometimes he even entered roping contests in the Wild West shows that were touring the country. Wherever he went, he asked officials to let him return to his Arizona homeland.
In March 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt starting his second term as president, invited GERONIMO Washington, D.C. to participate in his inaugural activities. Roosevelt thought he would bring some excitement to the festivities.
While in Washington, GERONIMO begged and pleaded with Roosevelt to allow the Apaches to return to Arizona. Roosevelt was a bit blunt. He said pointedly that the people of Arizona and New Mexico hated and feared the Apaches. If they returned, there would be bloodshed.
GERONIMO wanted to spend his days in Arizona, to be buried in the mountains where he had lived. He did not, however, get his wish. He died on February 17, 1909 and was buried in a graveyard at Fort Sill.
Goyahkla – was truly a freedom fighter in his own way and a great American legend, which was enhanced and preserved for posterity when the U.S. The Army nicknamed the famous fighter helicopter, “The Apache” in his honor. GER – ON -I – MO!