About Apache Tracker

Apache Tracker is a resource about survival, being a Physical and Spiritual warrior, and oneness with nature or "the spirit that moves in all things." I named this site in honor of the Apache. The Apache was the ultimate, survivor, warrior, guerrilla fighter, and lived in tune with his surroundings, on a spiritual and physical level. However you will find many other topics of interest on this site. Tracking is a mind set and awareness that goes beyond the physical to all levels, including the spiritual.

"THUNDER" (wakiya)

"THUNDER" (wakiya)

About the Author

"Wakiya" (Thunder)

About the Author
Roger Thunderhands Gilbert is an accomplished writer, musician, and artist. In his lifetime, he has done many things. These would include aviation, the martial arts, and a life long study of spiritual and tribal ritual. In the martial arts, his study has included three disciplines, Aikido, Kung Fu San Soo, and Tai Chi. He also worked with the Special Forces in a training capacity. In the field of aviation, he obtained his private, commercial, and instrument ratings as a pilot, with multi-engine, and flight instructor qualifications. He learned tracking as a boy and has worked with the sheriff’s search and rescue in that capacity. His spiritual knowledge includes in-depth study, and personal experience, with many shamanistic and esoteric practices. He is a practitioner of Kriya yoga, Kundalini yoga, Tantrika, and Chinese inner alchemy. In addition, he received his certificate in acupressure and uses several modalities for healing. He considers himself an authority on the Biblical teachings of Yeshua or Jesus, but considers himself spiritual, not religious. And last but not least, he has done an exhaustive study and been an activist of North American Native tribes and ritual. His own roots are of M├ętis descent, and his spirituality is universal.


Five Thousand Men against Thirty-Eight Chiricahua Part 6

The Indians met the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Interior and were presented to President Cleveland. But no decision was reached concerning a new location, nor was anything important accomplished. Chatto was presented with a large silver medal, and Secretary Endicott of the War Department gave him a certificate to carry away. These gifts pleased Chatto and set his disturbed mind at rest, for he supposed, naturally, that they were marks of approval from the highest officers of the Government and carried with them the assurance that he and his people were not to be removed from the Apache reservation. He was soon disillusioned. While the delegation was still in Washington, Cleveland and Sheridan had made up their minds that all of the Chiricahuas, both the delegation in Washington and those at home on the reservation, should be sent to Fort Marion, Florida, and held there as prisoners. Sheridan telegraphed to Miles, July 31: "The President wishes me to ask what you think of the proposition to forcibly arrest all on the reservation and send them to Fort Marion, Florida, where they can be joined by the party now here." Miles replied by wire, August 2, giving his reactions, pro and con, to the President's proposal. On the whole, he favored it; but he pointed out this serious objection: "As the delegation went to Washington by authority of the Government with a view of making some permanent arrangement for their future, I fear it would be charged that the Government had taken advantage of them, and believe the Indians would consider it an act of bad faith. . . ." However, he protested against the return of the delegation to Arizona; for he had already taken steps for the forcible removal of the Chiricahuas in Arizona. Colonel Wade, in command at Fort Apache, had been directed to keep them completely under his control. Accordingly, Chatto and his party were delayed at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for five days; and then, notwithstanding Miles' request that they be detained still longer, were again started on their way to Arizona. By the time they reached Kansas, the War Department, yielding to Miles' repeated request, ordered that they be stopped and taken to Fort Leavenworth; and there they were held, in fear and great anxiety of mind, until September 12. The Secretary of War then sent the following order to the Commanding General of the Division of the Missouri: "You will cause the Apache Indians now at Fort Leavenworth to be sent under charge of Captain Dorst, Fourth Cavalry, by the most direct and expeditious route to St. Augustine, Florida, and upon arrival to be turned over to the commanding officer at that post for confinement with other Indian prisoners now there." This disposition of the delegation met the approval of President Cleveland, Endicott, the Secretary of War, L. Q. C. Lamar, the Secretary of the Interior, and Lieutenant-General Sheridan.

During August and September, while the delegation was confined at Fort Leavenworth, Miles had made ample military preparation for the removal of the four hundred and twenty-eight Indians on the reservation. He had added to Colonel Wade's five troops stationed at Fort Apache a troop from San Carlos, two from Fort Thomas, and one from Alma, New Mexico. The Indian men were placed under guard and disarmed; and on September 7 the whole camp--men, women, and children--were started for Holbrook, one hundred miles away, where they were put on the Atlantic and Pacific Railway train and sent by way of Albuquerque, St. Louis, and Atlanta, to Fort Marion, Florida, which they reached on September 20, the same day that Chatto and his party arrived.

It has seemed to citizens of sensitive honor--particularly to men like Captain John G. Bourke, Lieutenants Charles B. Gatewood and Britton Davis, and General George Crook, humane and chivalrous soldiers--that these Chiricahua and Warm Spring Reservation Indians were dishonorably dealt with by the Government. In the closing pages of his excellent book, Britton Davis, with caustic force, arraigns the Government for its treatment of these Indians; and the valiant John G. Bourke, at the close of Chapter XXIX of his great book, On the Border with Crook, has this to say about Miles' campaign against the outlaw Chiricahuas and concerning the final disposition of the well-behaved Indians who had remained on the reservation:

"Not a single Chiricahua had been killed, captured, or wounded throughout the entire campaign--with two exceptions--unless by Chiricahua-Apache scouts who, like ' Chato,' had kept the pledges given to General Crook in the Sierra Madre in 1883. The exceptions were: one killed by the White Mountain Apaches near Fort Apache, and one killed by a white man in northern Mexico. Yet every one of those faithful scouts--especially the two 'Ki-e-ta' and 'Martinez,' who had at imminent personal peril gone into the Sierra Madre to hunt up 'Geronimo' and induce him to surrender, were transplanted to Florida and there subjected to the same punishment as had been meted out to 'Geronimo.' And with them were sent men like 'Goth-Kli' and 'Toklanni,' who were not Chiricahuas at all, but had only lately married wives of that band, who had never been on the war-path in any capacity except as soldiers of the Government, and had devoted years to its service. There is no more disgraceful page in the history of our relations with the American Indians than that which conceals the treachery visited upon the Chiricahuas who remained faithful in their allegiance to our people. An examination of the documents cited [on a preceding page] will show that I have used extremely mild language in alluding to this affair."

General Crook, in a report dated January 6, 1890, to the Secretary of War (who had asked him to assist in finding a suitable reservation for these Chiricahua Apaches after they had suffered four years of blighting confinement in Florida), with his usual gravity and calm clarity, shows just how callous and unjust was the action of Cleveland and the military authorities in their dealings with Chatto and his fellow scouts:

"In the operation against the hostiles, Chatto and others of his band were enlisted as scouts in the service of the United States and rendered invaluable services in that capacity. It is not too much to say that the surrender of Nachez, Chihuahua, Geronimo, and their bands could not have been effected except for the assistance of Chatto and his Chiricahua scouts.

"The final surrender of Geronimo and his small band to General Miles was brought about only through Chiricahuas who had remained friendly to the Government.

"When the services were no longer required Chatto received an honorable discharge and returned to his farm. He planted wheat and barley, raised sheep and owned horses and mules. Before his crops had ripened he was summoned to Washington. After an interview with the President he left the capital expecting to return to his farm at Camp Apache. On the way he was stopped at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and kept there for two months. At the end of this time he was taken to St. Augustine, and placed in confinement with the captive hostiles, whose surrender he had been so instrumental in securing. Ever since, he has been continued in confinement with them on the same terms, and with the yet more guilty band of Geronimo, which subsequently joined them. . . ."During my interview with him at Mount Vernon Barracks, Chatto took from his breast a large medal that had been presented to him by President Cleveland and holding it out, asked, 'Why was I given that to wear in the guard-house? I thought that something good would come to me when they gave it to me, but I have been in confinement ever since I have had it.' I submit that this Indian has received but scant encouragement from the Government in his efforts to become a self-sustaining citizen."And Chatto is not alone in this experience. By far the greater part of the tribe remained true to the Government in the outbreak of 1885, and the most valuable and trustworthy of the Indian scouts were taken from among them. For their allegiance all have been rewarded alike--by captivity in a strange land." (Fifty-first Congress, First Session, Executive Document No. 83.)
The End

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