The Spirit of Goyathlay (Geronimo)

( – promoted by navajo)

An elder told me that the Navaho took Geronimo’s bones and gave them a proper burial before the U.S. Army only thought that he remained buried at Fort Sill after they buried him there. I told her I had been to the grave site. She asked me, “Did it feel like he was in there?” “No,” I said. “They ‘buried’ him in the grave stone by stone, so he wouldn’t ever come back,” she said. I personally don’t believe he is at Fort Sill, and I don’t believe this either –

Whose Skull and Bones?

“The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club & the K — t [Knight] Haffner, is now safe inside the T — [Tomb] together with his well worn femurs[,] bit & saddle horn.”

Geronimo died in 1909, that letter was in 1918, and Geronimo’s great-grandson wrote Bush about that letter.Curiously, that all makes me wonder – “Why didn’t they want him to come back from his (alleged) grave?”

The question, “Why didn’t they want him to come back from his (alleged) grave?” Must be seen symbolically and interwoven with some legends about him; but first, the question must be put into historical context.

The Alamo was on February 23, 1836; it was seven years after Geronimo’s birth in 1829.

Remember The Alamo

The Alamo was remembered, as well as the Goliad
massacre (perpetrated by order of General Santa Anna), forty-six days later, on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, where 783 men led by General Sam Houston
 defeated 1,500 Mexicans.

The battle lasted only eighteen minutes.

When all was over, 630 men of the Mexican army were dead; 730 were prisoners.

Nine Texans lost their lives.

History then cloned itself once again over its entire course with a gold rush, bringing white encroachment by settlers and miners.

Apache Indians Defended Homelands in Southwest

The gold rush of 1849 also brought prospectors to the West and further encroachment on Indian land.

Copper and silver being discovered is what brought more white encroachment to Arizona, which is where Geronimo and the Apache were, but referring back to the question, the discovery of copper and silver is not what I think the army wanted to “keep from coming back” when they “buried” Geronimo stone by stone.


As prospectors rushed west to join the California Gold Rush of 1849, gold, silver and copper were also discovered in Arizona, which attracted most of the early settlers. Those frontiersmen (pioneers of sorts) faced many obstacles, including the war parties of the great American Indian chiefs, Geronimo and Cochise.

The first glimpse of what I think they wanted to “bury” begins with a lesser known fact, interwoven with some legend. That is, the fact that Geronimo was a prophet and a medicine man; he was not a chief.


Geronimo was never an elected chief, but he was a medicine man who could see the future, and who, it was believed, had a spirit that could not be harmed by bullets.

The following restated facts are crucial to understanding what set Geronimo on the war path, for it was not merely the white encroachment that set him on it, though it may have been so eventually by sheer speculation.

These are not the real reasons that Geronimo personally began to violently defend his people and homeland in my opinion: the white encroachment after the Alamo, the gold rush of 1849 that was fueling white encroachment in California, while the discovery of copper and silver was fueling white encroachment in Arizona. The encroachment was not enough in and of itself, but genocide was.


When Columbus landed in America in 1492, he mistook it for India and called the native inhabitants “Indians.” It was his avowed aim to “convert the heathen Indians to our Holy Faith” that warranted the enslaving and exporting of thousands of Native Americans. That such treatment resulted in complete genocide did not matter as much as that these natives had been given the opportunity of everlasting life through their exposure to Christianity. The same sort of thinking also gave Westerners license to rape women.

— The Dark Side of Christian History, by Helen Ellerbe

It was Roman Catholic Church from Spain, who had been guilty of genocide against the indigenous people for centuries prior that committed the atrocity against Geronimo’s family, and put revenge in his heart.

The Spanish were in search of Christian converts and slaves. The Spanish exterminated Geronimo’s family.

The Jesuit Missions that took place in New France in 1625 puts the Spanish’s seeking slaves and converts to Roman Catholicism in historical context.

A People & A Nation. 4th Edition. p.38

The Jesuits, whom the Native Americans called the Black Robes, initially tried to persuade the tribal peoples to live near French settlements and to adopt European lifestyles as well as the European’s religion. When that effort failed, the Jesuits concluded that they could introduce Roman Catholicism to their new charges without insisting that they alter most of their customary modes of existence. So the Black Robes learned Native American languages and traveled to remote regions in pursuit of their goal. By the early eighteenth century, they were living in present-day Illinois.

In the pursuit of their conversions, the Jesuits sought to undermine the authority of the villiage shamans (the traditional religious leaders) and to gain the confidence of leaders who could influence others. The Black Robes used a variety of weapons to attain the desired end. Trained in rhetoric, they won admirers by their eloquence. Seemingly immune to smallpox, they explained epidemics among the Native Americans as God’s punishment for sin, their arguments aided by the ineffectiveness of the shaman’s traditional remedies for illness against that deadly disease. Drawing on European science, the Jesuits predicted solar and lunar eclipses. Perhaps most important of all, they amazed the villagers by communicating with each other over long distances and periods of time by employing marks on paper. The Native Americans’ desire to learn how to harness the extraordinary power of literacy was one of the most critical factors in making them receptive to the Jesuits’ message.

To illustrate, here are just three examples of where the Spanish Roman Catholic Church had been guilty of genocide against the indigenous people about one century earlier than the above mentioned.

Things They Don’t Tell You

“The [Catholic] Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately dash their brains out; by this means they secured that these infants went to heaven.”

— Bertrand Russell

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. American Indian Prophecies. p.54

According to Father Las Casas, the Spaniards “tore babies from their mother’s breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks -”

Finally, a report from some concerned Dominican friars contains the following: “Some Christians encountered an Indian woman, who was carrying in her arms a child at suck; and since the dog they had with them was hungry they tore the child from the mother’s arms and flung it still living to the dog, who proceeded to devour it before the mother’s eyes.”

In addition, it is crucial to remember that there were Indian Boarding Schools, whose aim was to culturally assimilate and destroy indigenous cultures.

Photo: Little girls praying beside their beds, Phoenix Indian School, Arizona. (NWDNS-75-EX-2B)

Hence, not only was Geronimo and the Apache fighting white encroachment and genocide, they also were fighting against being Christianized from both the white people and the Spanish Roman Catholic Church, which resulted in even more loss of their culture through assimilation and death. It was also in that context that Spanish exterminated Geronimo’s children, wife, and mother.


– when all were counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were among the slain.

 Were the facts that Geronimo had adequate causes to defend his people, an adequate cause to feel vengeful, and that he was a medicine man large enough reasons for the army at Fort Sill to bury him such that he’d never “return?” Hardy, from the U.S. military’s point of view at that time, I think. For me, the answer lies in one man: General George Crook, who had fought the Lakota in the Sioux Wars.


“Crook never lied to us. His words gave the people hope.”

— Lakota Chief Red Cloud

Wars and Battles Sioux Wars

A one-year conflict dubbed Red Cloud’s War (1866-1867), concluded with a treaty that guaranteed the Sioux permanent possession of the Black Hills of present-day South Dakota. The covenant, however, was not observed by the United States. Prospectors and miners itching for gold inundated the territory in the 1870s.

In the ensuing hostilities, Brigadier General George Crook commanded the Sioux to move onto a reservation. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse refused to comply and move their people. Infuriated by unjust assaults, Sitting Bull gave notice: “We are an island of Indians in a lake of whites… These soldiers want war. All right, we’ll give it to them!”

On June 17, 1876, a war party of Sioux and Cheyenne took Crook’s soldiers by surprise in southern Montana and routed them in the Battle of the Rosebud. General George A. Custer then led a force against the Indians. On June 25, he and his men ran into a Sioux war party on the Little Bighorn River. Not a single soldier in Custer’s immediate command of some 300 men survived “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Crook experienced a metamorphous during the Sioux Wars and the trial of Standing Bear; he started looking at the indigenous people from his heart and began divorcing himself from the dehumanization of “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Dee Brown. Bury My heart At Wounded Knee.p. 402

To bring order out of chaos, the army called on General George Crook- quite a different man from the one who had left Arizona ten years earlier to go north to fight the Sioux and Cheyennes. He had learned from them and from the Poncas during the trial of Standing Bear that Indians were human beings, a viewpoint that most of his fellow officers had not yet accepted.

The Trial of Standing Bear

After the attorneys presented their arguments, Judge Dundy allowed Standing Bear to address the court. Standing Bear did not speak English, but he was able to make an eloquent plea to the court through his interpreter, Susette (“Bright Eyes”) LaFlesche.

Standing Bear rose, extended his hand toward the judge’s bench —

“That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. God made us both.”

The fact that a U.S. military general could change from seeing Indians as “savages” is what I believe the army never wanted to come back from Geronimo’s grave, for Crook’s transformation supplied him with the motivation to speak out against the propaganda of the press.


“It is too often the case that . . . newspapers . . . disseminate all sorts of exaggerations and falsehoods about the Indians, which are copied in papers of high character and wide circulation, in other parts of the country, while the Indians’ side of the case is rarely ever heard. In this way the people at large get false ideas with reference to the matter. Then when the outbreak does come public attention is turned to the Indians, their crimes and atrocities are alone condemned, while the persons who injustice has driven them to this course escape scot-free and are the loudest in their denunciations.”


The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians.

In addition, his transformation supplied him with the motivation to practice patience and diplomacy with Geronimo, Crook was called “Grey Wolf.” Tragically, Grey Wolf could not keep the promise he made to Geronimo regarding their returning to their reservation after their surrendering and agreeing to being imprisoned in Florida, so that they could return to their reservation.

Geronimo 1829-1909

The Apache warriors were deported to incarceration in Florida without their families – an agreement broken – then Alabama and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory.

The War Department, quite frankly – said no.

When they brought Geronimo to Fort Sill, here’s the general location the put him in.

Specifically, this was the window he had to look out of.

I’m sure that all the stories about how popular he was meant a great deal to him, as did him having some freedom at Fort Sill.

After he died of pneumonia,they buried him here:

To bring this to a close, “an elder told me that the Navaho took Geronimo’s bones and gave them proper burial before the U.S. Army only thought that he remained buried at Fort Sill after they buried him there,” as I stated in the beginning. A look around the cemetery reveals the possibility of that being true, due to the remoteness and seclusion of the area. Note that there was probally more tree cover nearly a century ago.

Dee Brown. Bury My heart At Wounded Knee.p. 413

A legend still persists that not long afterward (his death) his bones were secretly removed and taken somewhere to the Southwest-

The spirit of Goyathlay (“one who yawns”), or Geronimo is quite simply this in my judgment: that people can and do change in extreme circumstances, and when they change for the better and/or for noble reasons in the midst of atrocities beyond their control… that is the spirit of Goyathlay.


I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.

The Wounded Knee Massacre: 118th Anniversary

( – promoted by navajo)


The Sand Creek Massacre and the Washita Massacre both led to the Wounded Knee Massacre. The Sand Creek Massacre brought the realization that “the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves,” and the Washita Massacre added even more genocidal evidence to those facts. The Sand Creek Massacre caused the Cheyenne to put away their old grievances with the Sioux and join them in defending their lives against the U.S. extermination policy. The Washita Massacre did that even more so. After putting the Wounded Knee Massacre briefly into historical perspective, we’ll focus solely on the Wounded Knee Massacre itself for the 118th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Black Kettle, his wife, and more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho had just been exterminated, and Custer’s 7th was burning the lodges and all their contents, thus stripping them of all survival means. Sheridan would wait until all their dogs had been eaten before “allowing” them into subjugation, then Custer would rape the women hostages in captivity.

Jerome A. Green. “Washita.” p. 126.

Far across the Washita Valley, warriors observed the killing of the animals, enraged by what they saw.


What did they see, feel, and think?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?

It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

See it? Feel it?

They witnessed and felt the Sand Creek Massacre happen, again.

Consequently, a number of Cheyenne who were present at Washita helped defeat Custer at Little Bighorn.

So, let us proceed from the Sand Creek Massacre,

Why does this say Battle Ground after there was a Congressional investigation?


and from the genocide at the Washita “Battlefield” –

No, it was a massacre.


Petition to Re-name

The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site toThe Washita National Historic

Site of Genocide


According to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life

calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

WE, the undersigned members of the Native American community and the public at large, request that this site of the attack by the United States military against 8,500 Plains Indians camped as prisoners of war along the Washita River in 1868 be designated as the Washita National Historic Site of Genocide.

– to the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.


Harjo: Burying the history of Wounded Knee

But Wounded Knee was 14 years after Little Bighorn. Would the soldiers have held a grudge that long and why would they take it out on Big Foot? They blamed Custer’s defeat on Sitting Bull, who was killed two weeks before Wounded Knee. The Survivors Association members had the answer: ”Because Big Foot was Sitting Bull’s half-brother. That’s why Sitting Bull’s Hunkpapa people sought sanctuary in Big Foot’s Minneconjou camp.”

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890

The first intention of the U.S. Army in part was to detain Chief Big Foot under the pretext that he was a “fomenter of disturbance,” remembering that Native Americans did not have equal rights at that time in the Constitution.

In addition, the real intention was doing a “roundup” to a military prison camp, which would have become an internment and concentration camp in Omaha after they were prisoners. Colonel James W. Forsyth had orders to force them into going there.

Speculating, I bet at least part of the rationalization for the massacre was so the soldiers wouldn’t have to transport them to the military prison in Omaha. Murdering them would have been easier. Then, they could’ve had another whiskey keg, like they did the evening right before this massacre, when they celebrated the detainment of Chief Big Foot. The soldiers may have even been hung over, depending on amount consumed and tolerance levels; moreover, if the soldiers were alcoholics, tolerance levels would have been high.


n : the wanton killing of many people [syn: mass murder] v : kill a large number of people indiscriminately;

“The Hutus massacred the Tutsis in Rwanda” [syn: slaughter, mow down]


White officials became alarmed at the religious fervor and activism and in December 1890 banned the Ghost Dance on Lakota reservations. When the rites continued, officials called in troops to Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations in South Dakota. The military, led by veteran General Nelson Miles, geared itself for another campaign.


Big Foot and the Lakota were among the most enthusiastic believers in the Ghost Dance ceremony when it arrived among them in the spring of 1890.

Chief Big Foot’s arrest was ordered by the U.S. War Department for being a “fomenter of disturbance.” Chief Big Foot was already on his way to Pine Ridge with his people, when the 7th U.S. Cavalry with Major Samuel Whitside leading them approached him on horses. Big Foot’s lungs were bleeding from pneumonia.

Blood froze on his nose while he could barely speak. He had a white flag of surrender put up as soon as he caught glimpse of the U.S. Calvary coming towards them. At the urging of John Shangreau, Whitside’s half-breed scout, Whitside “allowed” Big Foot to proceed to the camp at Wounded Knee. Whitside wanted to arrest Big Foot and disarm them all immediately. Ironically, the justification for letting Big Foot go to Wounded Knee was that it would prevent a gun fight, save the lives of the women and children, but let the men escape. The Warriors wouldn’t have left their women and children to perish, but since the following was reported to Red Cloud:

Red Cloud

“…A white man said the soldiers meant to kill us. We did not believe it, but some were frightened and ran away to the Badlands.(1)

I believe Whitside didn’t want the Warriors to have such an opportunity, under direct orders by General Nelson Miles.

(1): “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown, pp. 441-442. (December, 1890).

“Later in the darkness of that December night (Dec. 28) the remainder of the Seventh Regiment marched in from the east and quietly bivouacked north of Major Whitside’s troops. Colonel James W. Forsyth, commanding Custer’s former regiment, now took charge of operations. He informed Whitside that he had received orders to take Big Foot’s band to the Union Pacific Railroad for shipment to the military prison in Omaha.

Then, came the disarming.

..Colonel Forsyth informed the Indians that they were now to be disarmed. “They called for guns and arms,” White Lance said, “so all of us gave the guns and they were stacked up in the center.” The soldier chiefs were not satisfied with the number of weapons surrendered, so they sent details of troops to search the tepees. “They would go right into the tents and come out with bundles (sacred objects) and tear them open,” Dog Chief said. “They brought our axes, knives, and tent stakes and piled them near the guns.” Still not satisfied, the soldier chiefs ordered the warriors to remove their blankets and submit to searches for weapons…

Yellow Bird, the only medicine man there at the time danced some steps of the Ghost Dance, while singing one of it’s songs as an act of dissent. Simultaneously, the people were furious at the “searches” when Yellow Bird reminded everyone of their bullet-proof shirts. To me, this was the void in time when the Ghost Dancers chose peace over war, and made it possible for the resurgence of their culture to occur in the future. A psychological justification for my saying so, is the Ghost Dancers would also have been Sundancers. Part of the well-known intent behind the Sundance is “that the people might live.”

Continuing on; next, was false blame.

…Some years later Dewey Beard (Wasumaza) recalled that Black Coyote was deaf. “If they had left him alone he was going to put his gun down where he should. They grabbed him and spinned him in the east direction. He was still unconcerned even then. He hadn’t pointed his gun at anyone. His intention was to put that gun down. They came and grabbed the gun that he was going to put down…(1) in proceeding paragraph, p.445.


…The massacre allegedly began after an Indian, who was being disarmed, shot a U.S. officer.


Hotchkiss guns shredded the camp on Wounded Knee Creek, killing, according to one estimate, 300 of 350 men, women, and children.

My Journey to Wounded Knee

More people survived if they tried to escape through this tree row, because there was more tree cover.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

More were massacred if they tried to escape through this tree row, because there was much less tree cover.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The truth has still been tried to be slanted and concealed, even after over one century ago, because the old sign said that there were 150 warriors. The truth is, there were only 40 warriors.

It was nothing less than false blame, deceptive actions, and blatant lies by the blood-thirsty troopers that started the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. In recognition of the governmental policy of using smallpox infected blankets as germ warfare against Native Americans since the first presidency, the Sioux Wars, and all the “successful” extermination by the U.S. government prior to this last “battle;” would they have had the atom bomb, they would have used it too.

For that would have been more convenient, than loading their remaining victims (4 men and 47 women and children) into open wagons and transporting them to Pine Ridge during the approaching blizzard for alleged shelter at the army barracks, then to the Episcopal mission “unplanned.” They left the survivors out in that blizzard in open wagons for who knows how long, while “An (singular) inept Army officer searched for shelter.”(1)

What that tells me is: they didn’t plan on having any survivors. They planned on exterminating them. Of course, there wasn’t any room at all in the army barracks for 51 people, so they had to take them to the mission. Well…if they’d been white, they would’ve found room for a measly 51 white people.


“…A recurring dream in the mid-1980s directed a Lakota elder to begin the ride as a way to heal the wounds of the 1890 massacre. It continues today to honor the courage of the ancestors and to teach the young to become leaders…The Big Foot Ride began in 1987 at the urging of Birgil Kills Straight, a descendant of a Wounded Knee Massacre survivor. Each year, the riders have come together to sacrifice and pray for the 13-day trip from the Standing Rock Reservation beginning on the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull and ending at Wounded Knee on Dec. 28, the day before the anniversary of the massacre…”


“…The two-week Ride started in 1986 after a dream told one of its founders that it would “mend the sacred hoop” and heal the wounds of the famous massacre. For the first four years, the ride was led in intense cold by Arvol Looking Horse, keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Woman pipe bundle in Green Grass, S.D. It is now carried on by youths from the Lakota nation, starting in Grand River near Mobridge, S.D. on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and continuing south 200 miles to Pine Ridge…”

Bear Butte, Blackwater, & Helicopter Rides…

“Mommy, I wanna see some real Indians praying! Can we take a helicopter ride, pleeeeaasse?” Johnny’s mother, pleased, replied “Yes sweetie, why Blackwater, the greatest homegrown American terrorist organization –

Blackwater Down

The frightening — and possibly illegal — presence of heavily armed private forces in New Orleans only demonstrates what everyone already feared: the utter breakdown of the government.

– has helicopter rides going over Bear Butte.”


Decision on Bear Butte issue 7-1-08

They spent a hour of the hearing testifying about military issues, and praising David Shoe, since he was previously involved in Blackwater, had been in Afganstitan and Iraq and apparently has secret service clearance, even today. They actually brought previous military personnel here to testify on behalf of David Shoe’s character, for a liquor license at a bar located at Bear Butte.

They used the war, they used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license license.

Does anyone see the irony here? Can someone please explain what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?

“But mommy, mommy, that Blackwater man said he might have to shoot an American citizen, would he shoot an Indian too?” “Don’t worry about that dear, we only commit cultural genocide against Indians and they haven’t been citizens that long,” the mother said. She continued, “I don’t know little Johnny, they ‘have already strong armed some American Indians who were on public land taking pictures,’ and don’t worry your pretty little head about it – you wouldn’t know if they did anyways and few people would care enough to do much about it.”

(Emphasis mine)

Subject: Protection for Mato Paha (Bear Butte)

Despite protests of American Indian People and other supporters, the county has granted alcohol licenses to the bars. Recently, a corporation has purchased majority ownership in the bar closest to Mato Paha and they are going to have helicopter rides over the butte. We are informed this corporation is affiliated with or are former Blackwater high clearance mercenaries and have already strong armed some American Indians who were on public land taking pictures.

“This is fun mommy! They have those funny – looking colored things around them and they’re weird. Should we be seeing this though mommy, isn’t this like if when you go to the priest and confess, having the confessional walls be made out of plexiglass?” She got angry. “Little Johnny. Those R——ns don’t own that land, even if we did promise it to them in some stupid treaty. The Lord gave us this land by his power and his word, and that’s the end of it!”

Little Johnny answered, “But mommy, if that happened to them, then can’t it happen to us one day if we do nothing about it?”

In Land Conservation, ‘Forever’ May Not Last

When people commit to conserving land, the commitment is often meant to last forever. This is true not only of national and state parks, but also of private land.

Private conservation agreements have protected millions of acres across America, but an unanswered question looms. If circumstances change, can “forever” be undone? That question is at the heart of a legal battle in Johnson County, Wyo.

She became enraged and yelled, “Where’s daddy’s belt!!!”