Chiricahua ( Apache ) Chief



As a young man, Naiche (means "the Mischief Maker" or "Meddlesome One") led many raids against white settlers.

When his older brother Taza died of pneumonia in 1876 he became chief of the Chiricahua Apaches.

In 1879, Naiche resisted relocation to the San Carlos Apache Reservation and went to Mexico with Geronimo's Band.

While ensconced in the Sierra Madre south of Rio Grande, Naiche and Geronimo attacked American and Mexican communities with relative impunity.

While Naiche was certainly the hereditary chief of the Chiricahua Apaches at this time, it appears that Geronimo was viewed as the great leader and probably persuaded Naiche, the younger man, to submit to his leadership during these campaigns.

During the early 1880s, the U.S. Army relentlessly tracked the rebellious Chiricahua Apaches until Naiche surrendered on May 25,1883, to General George Crook.

For a while, Naiche and Geronimo languished at the San Carlos Reservation, but in 1885, the two leaders left with over one hundred men in a last attempt to avoid American control.

By September 1886, Apache scouts and detachments of the U.S. Army were able to force their surrender in the inhospitable terrain of Mexico.

Soon after the Chiricahuas were captured, Naiche and Geronimo and their men were incarcerated first at Fort Marion, Florida, and then at Mount Vernon Barracks in Alberta.

Although Naiche and his men wanted return home to Arizona, angry white settlers there prevented it.

After Kiowa and Comanche leaders invited the Chiricahua Apaches to share their reservation, Naiche and 295 other Apaches relocated to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on October 4, 1895.

Naiche remained in Oklahoma until 1913. He eventually returned to the Southwest, where he lived in peace for eight years, dying of influenza at Mescalero, New Mexico, in 1921.