Geronimo's Song


- Apache -

by Geronimo (Goyathlay)

"The song that I will sing is an old song, so old that none knows who made it. It has been handed down through generations and was taught to me when I was but a little lad. It is now my own song. It belongs to me. This is a holy song (medicine-song), and great is its power. The song tells how, as I sing, I go through the air to a holy place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will give me power to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by little clouds, and as I go through the air I change, becoming spirit only.

Geronimo's changed form is symbolized by a circle, and this is surrounded by a mystic aureole. The holy place is symbolized by the sun, which is decorated with a horned headdress emblematic of divine power. This is the insignia of the Holy Man.

MEDICINE-SONG

Sung by Geronimo

O, ha le

O, ha le!

Awbizhaye

Shichl hadahiyago niniya

O, ha le

O, ha le

Tsago degi naleya

Ah--yu whi ye!

O, ha le

O, ha le!

O, ha le

O, ha le!

Through the air

I fly upon the air

Towards the sky, far, far, far,

O, ha le

O, ha le!

There to find the holy place,

Ah, now the change comes o'er me!

O, ha le

O, ha le!

"Geronimo is said to have had magical powers. He could see into the future, walk without creating footprints and even hold off the dawn to protect his own. This Apache Indian warrior and his band of 37 followers defied federal authority for more than 25 years."

Quotes from Geronimo

"I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak badly of me. Now I can eat well, sleep wells and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.

The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme against each other.

I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.

When a child, my mother taught me to kneel and pray to Use for strength, health, wisdom and protection. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us... and to Use.

I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures."

To the Apaches, Geronimo embodied the very essence of the Apache values, aggressiveness, and courage in the face of difficulty. These qualities inspired fear in the settlers of Arizona and New Mexico. The Chiricahuas were mostly migratory following the seasons, hunting and farming. When food was scarce, it was the custom to raid neighboring tribes. Raids and vengeance were an honorable way of life among the tribes of this region.

Return to Table of Contents