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Kim — University of Nebraska Press / Page 77 / / The Apache Indians / Ingstad [First Page] [77], (1) Lines: 0 to 30 ——— 12.6pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [77], (1) 7 An Expedition Is Planned I had returned to the Apache camps on the mountain plateau of the White Mountain Reservation when one evening I found myself once again sitting in front of the tent of my friend Tenijieth, the medicine man. We talked about Apache wars and how the Indian scouts contributed to helping the American soldiers. Then we began talking about the Chiricahua Apaches’ fierce leader, Geronimo, and his desperate fight for freedom in 1885–86. He and a handful of warriors were pursued by several thousand soldiers and chased into the Sierra Madre in Mexico until they finally surrendered and were taken East to spend years in prison. It went quiet between us for a while and then Tenijieth said, “Geronimo and some of the Chiricahua Apaches surrendered and were taken prisoner, but not all of them.” I bewilderedly asked what he meant by that and the medicine man replied, “Some of the Chiricahua Apaches hid in the mountains and the Americans didn’t know. Today they are still living in the Sierra Madre. They are free people but have a difficult time. The Mexicans are always after them and there are many fights. The Mexicans have captured one of their women and several of their children. But Chiricahua Apaches are clever. Nobody finds them.” This sounded incredible. Had the American troops in 1886 given up finding any of the last remaining renegade Apaches or did a band really exist that they didn’t know about? Could it really be possible that in 1937 a group of Geronimo’s warriors still existed deep within the Sierra Madre and continued to fiercely fight with the Mexicans? I ask the medicine man one question after the other, but he could not, or would not, say any more. Nor was it possible to find out how he had heard about these things, he just said, “It is just so.” Kim — University of Nebraska Press / Page 78 / / The Apache Indians / Ingstad 78 An Expedition Is Planned [78], (2) Lines: 30 to 36 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [78], (2) Now, it was a known fact that in earlier times the renegade Apaches had occasional contact with the Indians on the reservation and it’s not impossible that some type of connection had been maintained. Whatever the case, I felt sure that Tenijieth wasn’t just jabbering but had facts to support what he was saying. Time spent with the Apaches had taught me one thing: their observations and reported accounts were generally well supported and accurate. I just couldn’t ignore Tenijieth’s fantastic story about the mountain Apaches. As I sat there pondering this, it seemed as if the Sierra Madres were suddenly closer and I could see scenes from the Apache wars and that wonderful mountain life south of here: A range of mountains so rugged and unmanageable that the American troops’ mules just tumbled off the cliffs one right after the other; cliffs that rose like natural fortresses where the Indians could keep the enemy at bay just by throwing rocks down onto them; a summer heat so intense that the soldiers burned their fingers on the iron fittings of their guns and a rainy season so miserable that any attempts to make an advance were hopeless; country where the Apaches could wander like mountain goats but where the white men floundered; a rugged mountainous tangle of peaks and valleys with beautiful small oases deep in the heart of the forest-clad ranges where game was plenty and berries and edible plants abounded. This all indicated that it was a most suitable area for a band of Indians who wanted to hide away and continue their native lifestyle. The more I thought about the whole thing and the history of it, the more I was sure that the old medicine man was right. Might it be possible to find the last of these roaming Apaches? It was an encouraging thought, and it took hold in me. When it was time to leave Tenijieth I told him that I was thinking of traveling down to the Sierra Madre to search for Geronimo’s tribal relations. The medicine man looked at me, shook his head and replied, “You are a young man and many times the sun can rise...


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