When doing research for my book, sometimes Geronimo makes me laugh. Apaches have a great sense of humor which they rarely get credit for.
Sometimes the old bird makes me angry. He killed a lot of people and he got a lot of his own people killed in the process (according to Robert Utley, the Chiricuahuas suffered 80% casualties in the G-Man's many wars on both sides of the border). Yet, even in this crazy, darkness I sometimes find myself shedding a tear for the old bastard.
Here are just a few of the Geronimo's I have found in my research.
The U.S. Army, which has long been vilified for placing Geronimo in a "concentration camp," actually saved his life, more than once, and then allowed him to open a bank account in Lawton, Oklahoma, to keep his earnings from his appearances. I fail to see any efforts of "genocide," at least in this sordid chapter and all this guilt ridden "poor, poor Geronimo" is so misguided and wrong. So where does this come from? It comes from Americans, just like me, who feel so damn guilty we want to fall all over ourselves to sanctify and deify Geronimo and remove all his sins and place them on the rest of us! Oh, the madness. I totally agree with the old vaqueros:
"History is a cruel trick, played on the dead by the living."
—Old Vaquero Saying