Historical Speech: Words spoken by Goyathlay (Geronimo)
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Historical Speech: Words spoken by Goyathlay (Geronimo)
Historical speech by Goyathlay (Geronimo) speaking of his God and his homeland
Source: As Told By Geronimo, Public Domain Document
The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these, the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.
Our tribe inhabited that region of mountainous country which lies west from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the Gila River.
East of us lived the Chi-hen-ne (Ojo Caliente), (Hot Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with them.
Victoria, their chief, was always a friend to me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good man and a brave warrior.
His son, Charlie, now lives here in this reservation with us.
North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-ai-la, personally, and I considered him a good warrior.
Their range was next to that of the Navajo Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.
To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-a-hen Apaches. They had two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.
South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose chief in the old days was Cochise, and later his son, Naiche.
This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, who was my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage.
To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ni Apaches. Their chief was Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa They were our firm friends.
The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as brothers.
My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.
Still the four tribes (Bedonkohe, Chokonen, Chihenne, and Nedni), who were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would dissolve our bonds of friendship.
We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or Usen would not have created us.
He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
For each tribe of men Usen created, He also made a home. In the land created for any particular tribe, He placed whatever would be best for the welfare of that tribe.
Usen created the Apaches He also created their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat.
To restore their health when disease attacked them He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine.
He gave the Apaches a pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand.
Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created for the other by Usen himself.
When they are taken from these homes they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are no Apaches?
"We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or Usen (God) would not have created us.... For each tribe of men Usen created, He also made a home."
"When Usen created the Apaches, He also created their homes in the West. He gave them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat."
"To restore their health when disease attacked them He taught them where to find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine."
"He gave them a pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand. Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created for the other by Usen himself."
"When they are taken from these homes they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said there are no Apaches?" "We are now held on Comanche and Kiowa land, which are not suited to our needs.... Our people are decreasing in number here, and will continue to decrease unless they are allowed to return to their native land...."
"There is no climate or soil which, to my mind, is equal to that of Arizona. We could have plenty of good cultivating land which the Almighty created for the Apaches."
"It is my land, my home, my father's land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return."
"I want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name would not be extinct."
"I know that if my people were placed in that mountainous region lying around the headwaters of the Gila River (in New Mexico) they would live in peace and act according to the will of the President."
"They would be prosperous and happy in tilling the soil and learning the civilization of the white man, whom they now respect."
"Could I but see this accomplished, I think I could forget all the wrongs that I have ever received, and die a contented and happy old man."
"But we can do nothing in this matter ourselves - we must wait until those in authority choose to act. If this cannot done during my lifetime, if I must die in bondage - I hope that the remnant of the Apache tribe may, when I am gone, be granted the one privilege which they request - to return to Arizona."
--Goyathlay (Geronimo) (1829-1909) Chiricahua Chief, Bedonkohe Band, Apache Nation
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