By David Higgs
The story has been retold many times. It has been depicted in books and motion pictures to reveal the events that led to the end of the Apache Wars. They tell of the surrender of Geronimo’s band of Chiricahua Apaches to General Nelson A. Miles at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, September 4, 1886, and the deportation of all Apaches associated with Geronimo to imprisonment in Florida, Alabama, and eventually Oklahoma. However, the story does not end there. For these Apache Prisoners of War, it meant a new life of constant change and acculturation as many of these people lived well into the twentieth century. The world they knew ceased to exist. As parents, Apache families tried to pass along wisdom and life-skills to their children, only to be contradicted by modern education. Concepts of legal structure, religion, even the measurement of time proved to be obstacles for the next generation of Apaches. Their children developed into people alien to the original life-ways of Apache culture.