Geronimo and Our Indian Policy, The Wasp, June 12, 1886. Pp. 8-9
Geronimo and Our Indian Policy
The Wasp, June 12, 1886. Pp. 8-9
[xfF850 W18 v.16 6/12/1886, p. 8-9]

THE WASP. San Francisco, Calif.: Wasp Pub. Co., 1876-1928.

A variety of images surround a full portrait of the defiant Apache Indian Chief Geronimo, who stands erect with a rifle in his arms. These images juxtapose the sorry plight of poor, urban dwelling Americans with ungrateful, spoiled American Indians.

The unknown artist compares "The Indian Breathing Ground," identified as the Fort Berthold Reservation and its 22,250,000 acres with "A Breathing Spot for the Whites" depicted as a filthy collection of urban tenements amidst a chemical factory. Similarly, a smiling Indian figure holding several scalps is seen to enjoy an allocation of land at "One Square Mile for Every Savage," while city dwellers are faced with living quarters at "One Square Foot For Every Inhabitant."

In yet another comparison, a hardworking farmer appears in a sketch entitled "White Settler Earns His Bread by the Sweat of His Brow," while a group of greedy Indians line up to receive free food and goods from "Uncle Sam." This cartoon is labeled "Indian Demands his Bread by the Size of His Cheek."

Geronimo (jur-ahn'-i-moh), or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache (grandson of Mahko) by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest, he became the most famous Apache of all.

To the pioneers and settlers of Arizona and New Mexico, he was a bloody-handed murderer and this image endured until the second half of this century. In May 1882, Apache scouts working for the U.S. army surprised Geronimo in his mountain sanctuary, and he agreed to return with his people to the reservation.

After a year of farming, the sudden arrest and imprisonment of the Apache warrior Ka-ya-ten-nae, together with rumors of impending trials and hangings, prompted Geronimo to flee on May 17, 1885, with 35 warriors and 109 women, children and youths. Geronimo surrendered (Mar. 25, 1886) to Gen. George Crook, but fled once more and he finally surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles on Sept. 4, 1886.

Geronimo's final surrender in 1886 was the last significant Indian guerrilla action in the United States. At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children. Upon their surrender, Geronimo and over 300 of his fellow Chiricahuas were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida. One year later many of them were relocated to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama, where about one quarter died from tuberculosis and other diseases.

Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland.

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