Band of Apache Indian prisoners at a rest stop beside the Southern Pacific Railway, near Nueces River, Texas, on Sept. 10, 1886. Among those on their way from New Mexico to exile in Florida are Natchez, center front, and, to the right, Geronimo and his son in matching shirts. They would eventually be settled in Fort Sill, Okla. National Archives No. 523549
Fort Sill Apaches fighting to reclaim their roots in New Mexico
Emily Haozous of Santa Fe and her father, Bob Haozous, the son of artist Allan Houser, are shown with the sculptor’s artwork titled Heading Home on the grounds of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican
- Fort Sill Apache Timeline
1886: Apache chief Geronimo famously surrenders after years of resisting settlement of Apache lands; the Chiricahua Apache, who would come to be known as the Fort Sill Apache, are removed from Southern New Mexico and held as prisoners of war. Many were taken to Florida and Alabama.
1894: The tribe is relocated to Oklahoma.
1914: The U.S. government releases the remaining prisoners from the tribe.
1968: The U.S. government determines that land in Southern New Mexico, west of the Rio Grande, is the tribe’s legally defined homeland.
1976: The Department of the Interior recognizes the Fort Sill Apache as a tribe.
1995: New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson welcomes the tribe’s repatriation.
2002: The tribe purchases Indian Trust land at Akela, N.M., within its legally defined homeland.
2008: The tribe opens a smoke shop and restaurant on its New Mexico lands.
2011: The U.S. Department of the Interior presents a Reservation Proclamation to the tribe, designating a 30-acre parcel at the tribe’s reservation.
2012: The tribe opens the Apache Casino Hotel in Lawton, Okla.
2013: Plans for the Apache Homelands Casino on the tribe’s New Mexico reservation gain support in Southern New Mexico. But the tribe lacks state recognition.
2014: Observing the 100th anniversary of its freedom and still striving to resettle its New Mexico homelands, the tribe continues to seek state recognition and an agreement with the state to operate a casino. On Monday, lawyers for the tribe and Gov. Susana Martinez will argue before the New Mexico Supreme Court about whether Fort Sill Apaches deserve recognition.
Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014 9:00 pm
Updated: 7:15 pm, Mon May 19, 2014.
They were proud warriors who became American prisoners of war, men and women herded from their homeland in the Southwest by the U.S. government and then held in distant outposts.
Geronimo was the best-known of these Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apaches. They lived in northern Mexico and what are now New Mexico and Arizona until 1886, when the brute force of cavalry soldiers pushed out the last of them.
Or, use your
Saturday, April 12, 2014 9:00 pm.
Updated: 7:15 pm.