Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009
One of the best cartoonists ever, Gary Trudeau, is currently riffing on the inane Twitter phenom and the recent Geronimo news story where a relative of the Apache leader, Harlan Geronimo, is suing to get back the head of Goyathlay from Yale:

I have a couple connections to this story. I met Mr. Trudeau in the late eighties when he came to Phoenix for a benefit. I really enjoyed talking with him and he's very down to earth.

In August of 1994 I took my kids and made a Geronimo research road trip to New Mexico. In Mescalero, New Mexico I met Harlan Geronimo who claims to be a direct descendant to the legendary warrior (there are several "Geronimo" families in New Mexico who have dubious lineage and they all claim the others are fake). I took a couple photos of Harlan, but one of them really intrigued me. I caught Harlan laughing and when I got the pics back (pre-digital) I was struck with the fact that you rarely see photos of Apaches laughing (fierce warrior, noble savage and all that). I utilized the Harlan photograph to create this pen and ink drawing of "He Who Yawns" yucking it up:

I have long believed that Apaches need to get their zane on (when you get to know them they are very funny):

This cartoon, which ran in the Phoenix New Times upset quite a few white people, but the Apaches I talked to loved it.

I don't really believe the Yale secret society has Geronimo's head even though a letter written by a member of the secret society around the turn of the twentieth century claims they do. My theory is that if they do have an Apache cabeza it's probably Mangas Coloradas, who was beheaded and his head shipped back east for "study." Perhaps as time went on and Mangas' fame declined and Geronimo's celebrity increased, whoever had the head of Mangas switched the name to Geronimo. Anyway, that's my theory, but either way it's too weird, even for a comic strip.

"Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy."
—George Carlin

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