Apache Men

Grandfather Goodah

John cody, known as Goodah, was a Western Apache man born in Carrizo, Arizona. In 1875, he was appointed one of four Apaches whose job involved policing the Apache people as an aid to their self-government and survival. Goodah was given the identification number M-61 by John P. Clum, the U.S. government agent for San Carlos.


Goodah, a coyantero, enlisted as an Apache scout for the U.S. Cavalry in 1884, and served during the time time of Captain Emmett Crawford who was killed near the Mexican border in January of 1886. Goodan believed that the only way for the Apache people to survive was for them to stop fighting the Americans. He was motivated by his love for his people. The Chiricahuas were always fighting due to the loss of their land and the U.S. government's desire to put them on the San Carlos reservation. The Western Apache wanted to keep the peace so that they would be allowed to hold on to their lands.

In early 1900, Goodah married his second wife, Clohay, sister of Enolinay, his first wife. He and Clohay had six children, two girls and four boys. Their eldest son, Ernest Cody, known as Eskieah, was born on October 31, 1900, and grew up up at Fort Apache.

Eskieah was educated at the cavalry post because his grandmother hid him when Apache children were being rounded up and sent to schools far from the reservation. She made sure he stayed hidden until winter when the off-reservation schools had been in session for months, making it too late for Eskieah to attend the White Man's classes. One hundred years after the birth of Goodah, Eskieah had a daughter he named Ernestine Cody.


Nochedelklinne was a medicine man. In 1881 he began preaching a vision and teaching a dance which prophesied that whites would soon vanish and the great chiefs would come back to life. As Nochedelklinne's dances attracted more and more adherents, white authorities began to grow increasingly alarmed, fearing the prospect of a revolt. Indeed the movement had united Apache bands that were at odds, but the people interpreted Nochedelklinne's teachings as a call to leave revenge to Usen, the almighty giver of life.

During the summer of 1881 Apache scouts had been slipping away from camp to participate in these dances, and the army was uneasy. Colonel Eugene Carr was given orders that Nochedelklinne be arrested or killed and he sent word for the medicine man to report at Fort Apache. Finally, the Colonel marched to Cibecue Creek (46 miles north of Fort Apache) where the medicine man was encamped and somehow a gun battle broke out. Although Lozen, Juh and Geronimo took part in the fighting, Nochedelklinne, his wife and son were killed. From the first shot at Cibecue, nearly all of the Apache scouts who had accompanied Carr, deserted and fought against the bluecoats. This marked the only occasion during the Apache wars that scouts mutinied against the army.

The death of Nochedelklinne reverberated deeply among the Apaches. One month after his death, Juh and Geronimo escaped from the reservation with a group of Chiricahuas, beginning the last five years of Chiricahua resistance and the last Indian war ever fought in the United States. After Cibecue, Geronimo's awareness of injustice hardened and his iron temper developed a new rigor. The Nochedelklinne religious movement broke apart after his death and was never resurrected,. The more famous Ghost Dance, espousing similar beliefs and dating some seven years later, seems to have spread among the plains groups due to this general climate of religious forment.


Naiche was born into the Chokonen band of Chiricahuas around 1856. He was the second son of Cochise and Dos-teh-seh, Cochise's first and principal wife. His older brother, Taza, was Chief for two years before he died of pneumonia during his visit to Washington, DC, as a delegate. In 1876 Naiche was made the last chief of the free Chiricahuas. In 1881 he and his band fled the San Carlos reservation and allied themselves with Geronimo. Unlike other Chiricahua chiefs, Naiche had no power of any kind and never had any visions. His partnership with Geronimo allowed for Naiche to give the orders but for Geronimo to be the strategist and the intellectual and spiritual leader of the Chiricahuas. Naiche's band surrendered for the last time on September 4, 1886.

While on the military reservation at Fort Sill, Naiche was converted to Protestantism and he became an elder of the Mescalero Reformed Church on the Mescalero Reservation. During his later years, he painted scenes from Apache life, including the Sunrise Dance, on deerskin. He died in 1921.


Geronimo, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born during the early 1820's in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers, although few agree as to why. Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. 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.

One of the most pivotal moments in Geronimo's life occurred in 1858 when he returned home from a trading excursion in Mexico to find his wife, his mother and his three young children murdered by Mexican troops. From then on he took every opportunity to terrorize Mexican settlements and soon after this incident he received his power, which came to him in visions. Geronimo was never a chief, but a medicine man, a seer and a spiritual and intellectual leader both in and out of battle. The Apache chiefs depended on his wisdom.

In 1875 all Apaches west of the Rio Grande were ordered to the San Carlos Reservation. Geronimo escaped from the reservation three times and although he surrendered, he always managed to avoid capture. 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, who were being pursued by 5,000 U.S. troops, or one-quarter of the entire Army, and perhaps up to 3,000 Mexican soldiers. 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 in 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland. He was buried at the Apache cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory.