Natives American Chiefs

Geronimo Mescalero-Chiricahua: lit. 'the one who yawns'; June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Ndendahe Apache people. From 1850 to 1886, Geronimo joined with members of three other Central Apache bands – the Tchihende, the Tsokanende (called Chiricahua by Americans) and the Nednhi – to carry out numerous raids, as well as fight against Mexican and U.S. military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora and the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona.

Geronimo's raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with the American invasion of Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848. Reservation life was confining to the free-moving Apache people, who resented restrictions on their customary way of life. Geronimo led breakouts from the reservations in attempts to return his people to their previous nomadic lifestyle. During Geronimo's final period of conflict from 1876 to 1886, he surrendered three times and eventually accepted life on the Apache reservations. While well-known, Geronimo was not a chief of the Bedonkohe band of the Central Apache but a shaman, as was Nokay-doklini among the Western Apache. However, since he was a superb leader in raiding and warfare, he frequently led large numbers of 30 to 50 Apache men.

In 1886, after an intense pursuit in northern Mexico by American forces that followed Geronimo's third 1885 reservation breakout, Geronimo surrendered for the last time to Lt. Charles Bare Gatewood. Geronimo and 27 other Apaches were later sent to join the rest of the Chiricahua tribe, exiled to Florida. While holding him as a prisoner, the United States capitalized on Geronimo’s fame among non-Indians by displaying him at various fairs and exhibitions. In 1898, for example, Geronimo was exhibited at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska; seven years later, the Indian Office provided Geronimo for use in a parade at the second inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt. He died at the Fort Sill Hospital in 1909 as a prisoner of war. He was buried at the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery, among the graves of relatives and other Apache prisoners of war.

Cochise  Apache: lit.: having the quality or strength of an oak; later K'uu-ch'ish or Cheis, lit. oak; c. 1805 – June 8, 1874) was the leader of the Chiricahui local group of the Chokonen and principal nantan of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache. A key war leader during the Apache Wars, he led an uprising that began in 1861 and persisted until a peace treaty was negotiated in 1872. Cochise County is named after him 

Mangas Coloradas or Mangus-Colorado (La-choy Ko-kun-noste, alias "Red Sleeve"), or Dasoda-hae ("He Just Sits There") (c. 1793 – January 18, 1863) was an Apache tribal chief and a member of the Mimbreño (Tchihende) division of the Central Apaches, whose homeland stretched west from the Rio Grande to include most of what is present-day southwestern New Mexico. He was the father-in-law of Chiricahua (Tsokanende) chief Cochise, Mimbreño chief Victorio, and Mescalero (Sehende) chief Kutu-hala or Kutbhalla (probably to be identified with Caballero). He is regarded as one of the most important Native American leaders of the 19th century because of his fighting achievements against the Mexicans and Americans.

The name Mangas Coloradas (Red Sleeve) is the Spanish language adaptation of his Apache nickname Kan-da-zis Tlishishen ("Red Shirt" or "Pink Shirt"). Named A Bedonkohe (Bi-dan-ku – 'In Front of the End People', Bi-da-a-naka-enda – 'Standing in front of the enemy') by birth, he married into the Copper Mines local group of the Tchihende and became the principal chief of the whole Tchihende Apache division. His influence also included the neighbouring Mimbreño local group of the Warm Springs Tchihende, directly led by chief Cuchillo Negro (in Apache language, Baishan), second chief of the Tchihende Apache division and his long-time companion.

Victorio (Bidu-ya, Beduiat; ca. 1825–October 14, 1880) was a warrior and chief of the Warm Springs band of the Tchihendeh (or Chihenne, often called Mimbreño) division of the central Apaches in what is now the American states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

In Victorio's War from September 1879 to October 1880, Victorio led a band of Apaches, never numbering more than 200 men, in a running battle with the U.S. and Mexican armies and the civilian population of New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico, fighting two dozen skirmishes and battles. He and most of his followers were killed or captured by the Mexican army in the Battle of Tres Castillos in October 1880.

Taza (c. 1843 – 26 September 1876) was the son of Cochise, leader of the Chihuicahui local group of the Chokonen and principal chief of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache. His mother Dos-teh-seh (“Something-at-the-campfire-already-cooked”), was the daughter of Mangas Coloradas, leader of the Copper Mines and last leader of the Mimbreños local groups of the Chihenne band and principal chief of the Cheyenne band of the Chiricahua Apache. 

Alchesay, also known as William Alchesay, Alchisay and Alchise, lit. '(the) Swollen'; May 17, 1853 – August 6, 1928) was a chief of the White Mountain Apache tribe and an Indian Scout. He received the United States military's highest decoration for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Indian Wars.

He tried to convince Geronimo to surrender peacefully on behalf of the United States government and remained friends with Geronimo until his death. After the wars, he returned home to his wives, became a rancher, and was active in Indian affairs.

Sitting Bull Lakota c. 1837 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who led his people during years of resistance against United States government policies. He was killed by Indian agency police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him at a time when authorities feared that he would join the Ghost Dance movement.

Before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull had a vision in which he saw many soldiers, "as thick as grasshoppers," falling upside down into the Lakota camp, which his people took as a foreshadowing of a major victory in which many soldiers would be killed. About three weeks later, the confederated Lakota tribes with the Northern Cheyenne defeated the 7th Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on June 25, 1876, annihilating Custer's battalion and seeming to fulfill Sitting Bull's prophetic vision. Sitting Bull's leadership inspired his people to a significant victory. In response, the U.S. government sent thousands more soldiers to the area, forcing many Lakota to surrender over the next year. Sitting Bull refused to surrender, and in May 1877, he led his band north to Wood Mountain, North-West Territories (now Saskatchewan, Canada). He remained there until 1881 when he and most of his band returned to U.S. territory and surrendered to U.S. forces.

After working as a performer with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota. Because of fears that Sitting Bull would use his influence to support the Ghost Dance movement, Indian Service agent James McLaughlin at Fort Yates ordered his arrest. During an ensuing struggle between Sitting Bull's followers and the agency police, Sitting Bull was shot in the side and head by Standing Rock policemen Lieutenant Bull Head (Tatankapah, Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Pȟá) and Red Tomahawk (Marcelus Chankpidutah, Lakota: Čhaŋȟpí Dúta), after Sitting Bull's supporters fired upon the police. His body was taken to nearby Fort Yates for burial. In 1953, his Lakota family exhumed what were believed to be his remains, reburying them near Mobridge, South Dakota, near his birthplace.

Red Cloud (Lakota: Maȟpíya Lúta; 1822 – December 10, 1909) was a leader of the Oglala Lakota from 1865 to 1909. He was one of the most capable Native American opponents the United States Army faced in the western territories. He defeated the United States during Red Cloud's War, a fight over control of the Powder River Country in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana. The most significant action of the war was the 1866 Fetterman Fight, with 81 US soldiers killed; it was the worst military defeat suffered by the US Army on the Great Plains until the Battle of the Little Bighorn 10 years later.

After signing the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), Red Cloud transitioned his people to reservation life. Some of his opponents mistakenly thought of him as the overall leader of the Sioux groups (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota). Still, the large tribe had several major divisions and was highly decentralized. Bands among the Oglala and other divisions operated independently, though some individual leaders were renowned as warriors and highly respected as leaders, such as Red Cloud.

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