My name is Geronimo Apache, leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe and I’m writing this letter because of all the pain that my people has suffered during these years and still are suffering, me included, because I have lost my family. I have already spent 4 years in prison since I surrounded to General Nelson Miles in 1886, but I cannot keep hearing how my people is dying, because I believe you have heard about the Massacre that just happen on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Today is December 29, five days after the massacre. As you already know, Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, was the site of two conflicts, between your and my people. But Before we talk about what happened, don’t forget about what you guys did on December 15. Your people made a mistake by trying to arrest and killing Sitting Bull, believing he was a Ghost Dancer, which he wasn’t and you guys increased the tension between with the Sioux. At wounded Knee, we all know that the Sioux didn’t shot that bullet, the Soldiers of the 7th Cavalry saw the chance to take revenge for what happened at Little Bighorn in 1876 and killed 150 Indians and nearly half of them women and children. Also our land, as you well know, the whites took more than half of the Indian Land in Oklahoma. We believe that land can’t be owned, and everybody is free to go anywhere. If that wasn’t enough, we have been receiving population pressure as the settlers are expanding their territory, making us move northward and westward. We receive our land and orders, but we are still not citizens. You guys want us to be part of your society, but we don’t get citizenship. Promises were made to my people but later removed from their homeland and sent to Indian territory, and the promises, forgotten.
Multiple things have been made and tried with us from the whites, and I don’t believe in any of them, because in any of them you guys thought about the Indian opinion. Without caring about my people, about our children, you guys made us move from reservation to reservation, like when the whites found gold in Black Hills or multiple times with the Settlers. We never received what they promised us, and the lands we got weren’t appropriate to satisfy our needs. The Dawes act had a good intention, but again, you guys didn’t think about our opinion, so the only way to get our citizenship was by accepting your conditions, and by living separately from our tribes and that’s why It hasn’t worked.
We won’t be able to keep fighting forever, there is a point where this is going to end, my people has suffered too much, and we are weak now. I can only see a solution to all this, which is the reality that my people has not been wanting to face. We give up, we assume that your technology, as well as your gun power is superior, we are the conquered ones. We can’t keep fighting. We assume that the settling is getting more inevitable every day, and that their technology Is superior. We give up, but under some conditions. If you guys want that to happen, you will receive equal education, citizenship, and we will have a voice on the government.