February 20, 2009
Posted: 03:04 PM ET
NEW YORK - This week marks the 100th anniversary of Geronimo's death. Now, the Apache warrior's descendants are suing to recover his remains.
In Session anchor Jami Floyd
Geronimo was born and wanted to be buried in New Mexico. But he died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1909. According to legend, Prescott Bush, father of former president George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush, broke into the grave and made off with the skull, two bones, spurs and some other items personal to Geronimo. Skull and Bones, of course, is the name of Yale University's infamous secret society (Yale does not officially recognize the group, it is important to note). According to legend, Skull and Bones still have the remains.
Whether this is true or not, Geronimo's heirs have a right to know; and they have a right to the dignified memory of their ancestor. The disrespect demonstrated by Skull and Bones is disgraceful and completely out of place in the modern context of diversity and change. Our dishonesty, as a country, about our history is shameful - beginning with the slaughter of countless Native Americans, a genocide for which we have never fully compensated. We continue to disrespect native communities and culture with sports mascots that should offend us all, and with unsettling traditions, like the lore in which Skull and Bones is rooted. (These kids reportedly have a skull encased in a glass on display, and they call it Geronimo.)
I know the Apache story is complicated. Geronimo put up fierce resistance to white settlers, for nearly three decades. I know there are those who would not celebrate that history. But neither should we denigrate it.
-Jami Floyd, In Session anchor
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