One of the most feared and respected Indian warriors, Geronimo fought overwhelming odds in trying to win freedom for his people. Described as having the “eye of a hawk, the stealth of a coyote, and the courage of a tiger,” the great warrior was finally defeated after more than 5,000 troops were deployed against him.
A Chiricahua Apache, Geronimo’s given Native American name was Goyahkla - “one who yawns.” Embittered by the death of his mother, wife, and children at the hands of Mexican soldiers, a fearless Goyahkla killed Mexicans with a vengeance. During one battle he repeatedly ran through a hail of bullets to kill Mexican soldiers with his knife. Seeing the warrior running towards them, the soldiers began to yell out “Geronimo!” - most likely a plea to St. Jerome to spare their lives.
In 1876, the Chiricahuas were moved to a reservation in San Carlos, Arizona. But Geronimo, refusing to give up his freedom, fled with 700 followers. After his capture, he escaped and eluded the authorities for nearly ten years. During that time he faked surrender on three occasions, but fled at the last moment. Surrendering for the fourth and final time in 1886, Geronimo was moved in 1894 to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where he spent the remainder of his life.