On September 5, 1886, the entire nation rejoiced as the news flashed from the Southwest that the Apache war leader Geronimo had surrendered to Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles.
With Geronimo, at the time of his surrender, were Chief Naiche (the son of the great Cochise), sixteen other warriors, fourteen women, and six children. It had taken a force of 5,000 regular army troops and a series of false promises to "capture" the band.
Yet the surrender that day was not the end of the story of the Apaches associated with Geronimo. Besides his small band, 394 of his tribesmen, including his wife and children, were rounded up, loaded into railroad cars, and shipped to Florida.
For more than twenty years Geronimo’s people were kept in captivity at Fort Pickens, Florida; Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama; and finally Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They never gave up hope of returning to their mountain home in Arizona and New Mexico, even as their numbers were reduced by starvation and disease and their children were taken from them to be sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.
About the Author:
Angie Debo was reared in a pioneer community, at Marshall, Oklahoma, where it has been her privilege to know from childhood the folkways of the Indians and the traditions of the western settlers.
Miss Debo's distinguished reputation as a regional scholar has been enhanced by her book, The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic, which won the John H. Dunning prize of the American Historical Society for the best book submitted in the field of United States history in 1934, and for her later, book, And Still the Waters Run.
She has been a teacher in schools and colleges both in Oklahoma and Texas and was curator of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. More recently she has been state director of the Federal Writers' Project in Oklahoma, in which capacity she edited Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State for the American Guide Series.