Essay on Apache Indians

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Apache Prisoners of War

The Chiricahuas, who were once one of the most feared Native American tribes of the southwest, became prisoners of war by the United States for a period of twenty seven years. This period of time was the longest captivity a Native American tribe had ever been imprisoned. The Chiricahuas imprisonment began in 1886, when the United States Army transported four hundred Native Americans from San Carlos and Fort Apache reservations to army posts in Florida (Davis). By 1887, the bulk of the Chiricahuas had been transported to the Mount Vernon barracks in Alabama, and the rest of the dislocated band of Chiricahuas, including the now famous Geronimo were reunited by 1888 (Davis). During the period of 1887-1894 the
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General Crook relied heavily on Chiricahuas turned into scouts since no white man could ever track the elusive Geronimo in his own land. Chiricahua scouts then spread rumors of a possible arrest of Geronimo, which then convinced the proud but, weary leader to turn him into authorities. General Crook had since resigned and his replacement, General Nelson Miles, finally captured the great Geronimo (Davis). General Miles had promised the great leader that all the Chiricahua families would be imprisoned together to further reduce the risk for more conflict. Miles then took it a step further and suggested to the Secretary of War, William C. Endicott, to imprison the Chiricahua scouts that had helped to capture Geronimo, for fear that the former scouts could not be trusted. Geronimo was separated from his family and sent to live at Fort Pickens. The seventeen other families that were hiding with him at the time of his surrender were sent to live at Fort Marion, where disease and lack of nutrition were a huge fallacy for life in that area (Davis). By April 1887, a formal report of these conditions were published that convinced President Cleveland and the war department to move the Chiricahuas to the Mount Vernon Barracks.
The first Chiricahuas to arrive from Fort Marion, to Mount Vernon, set up camp in the forest right outside the barrack’s twelve foot brick walls. The prisoners were not actually imprisoned in a cell but were allowed to move freely
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