Feathered Bastard

Geronimo's Heirs Declare War on Yale's Skull and Bones: It's About Damn Time

My question is, what took 'em so long? I'm talking about the descendants of the Apache warrior Geronimo demanding his remains back from "one hundred years of imprisonment at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, the Yale University campus at New Haven, Connecticut, and wherever else they may be found," according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court.

In case you missed that lesson in your junior high social studies class, Geronimo was the scourge of the Southwest in the late 1800s, having been driven into the life of a warrior after his first wife and their children were slaughtered by Mexican soldiers. (Other wives and offspring were to follow.) Relentlessly hunted by American cavalry, he was caught and escaped on more than one occasion, and eluded over 5,000 American troops in pursuit of Geronimo and his small group of Apaches.

Ultimately, Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson Miles near Douglas, Arizona. He spent the rest of his days as a prisoner of war, and died in 1909 at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where he was subsequently buried. Though he was pretty famous and much in demand toward the end of his days, he was not allowed to return to his homeland, as he had requested of President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Now his lineal descendants want to take him back to his birthplace located in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, so his spirit can be at peace. But there's a possible snag in the return of the remains-- the rumor that the ofay aristocrats of Yale University's secret Skull and Bones society may have Geronimo's skull, and other bones or items looted from Geronimo's grave.

"It has been claimed and widely repeated," states the suit, which is as a good a primer as any on Geronimo's life, "that in 1918 or 1919 a group of Yale University students, members of a campus organization called the Order of Skull and Bones, including Prescott Bush, father of former President George H.W. Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush, opened the tomb of Geronimo and removed his skull, other bones and items buried with the body and took them to the Order's premises on Yale campus..."

Can you think of a scummier thing to do than to raid the tomb of a Native American warrior and make off with his remains? But that's what many claim Yale's elite, WASPy "Order of Death" did back in the day. Like a lot of idiot college frat-head pranks, this was apparently regarded as a super-cool thing. Speculation is that the thieves were serving in the Army at Ft. Sill when this was done. There have since been numerous reports that Geronimo's bones are on display at Skull and Bones HQ, "the Tombs," or that they may even be used in sicko sub rosa ceremonies enacted by upper crust a-holes such as George W. and John Kerry.

Either way, Bonesmen are finally gonna have to own up to whether or not the legend is true, and if it is, they should be rightfully forced to cough up the goods. And if they do have Geronimo's remains at the Tombs, what a perfect metaphor for the ruling class of the United States, capitalists, thieves and grave-robbers all.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons