( – promoted by navajo)
The Medicine Bluffs are very sacred to me personally, and I want to share the feeling of awe, mystery, and power that I get whenever I have been there with very few words, letting the Medicine Bluffs and its history speak for itself.
This unique landmark at the eastern end of the Wichita Mountains was noted, described, and explored by all early expeditions and was held in deep reverence by the Indian tribes of this area from time immemorial . The four contiguous bluffs form a picturesque crescent a mile in length on the south side of Medicine Bluff Creek, a tributary of Cache Creek and Red River; it is evidently the result of a ancient cataclysm in which half of a rock dome was raised along a crack or fault.
When Fort Sill was established in 1869, the Indians named it “The soldier house at Medicine Bluffs.” The site is rich in legends and history.
You are facing the north side of Bluff No. 3, which consists of a sheer cliff 310 feet high, rising abruptly from the creek. A rock cairn erected by medicine men on its summit was still standing when Fort Sill was founded. Here the sick were brought to be healed or disposed of by the Great Spirit, young braves fasted in lonely vigils seeking visions of the supernatural, and warriors presented their shields to the rising sun for power.
Legends say that this was also a famous place for Indian suicides. The huge fissure between No. 2 and 3 was known as the “Medicine Man’s Walk.”
When we speculated in print on why our soldiers use the name (“Geronimo!”)of a dead Apache chieftain (no, Geronimo was a medicine man, seer, and intellectual leader) for their slogan, several alumni of airborne regiments reported stories of its origin. A plausible one came from Arthur A. Manion. “At Fort Sill, Oklahoma,” he wrote, “a series of rather steep hills, called, I believe, Medicine Bluffs, was pointed out to all new arrivals. It was said that one day Geronimo, with the army in hot pursuit, made a leap on horseback down an almost vertical cliff a feat that the posse could not duplicate. The legend continues that in the midst of this jump to freedom he gave out the bloodcurdling cry of “Geronimo-o-o!”
Hence the practice adopted by our paratroopers. I hope this helps. It’s at least colorful, if not authentic.”
I tried to imagine where he escaped at –
Who knows but him?
And the clouds, the wind, and the moon.