The American Experience: Season 1, Episode 8

Geronimo and the Apache Resistance (22 Nov. 1988)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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The life of Geronimo, as told by the Chiricahua Apaches.


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The life of Geronimo, as told by the Chiricahua Apaches.

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22 November 1988 (USA)  »

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A more modern interpretation of the Chiricahua Apache.
2 April 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The term 'Apache' is very broad, as in fact, there are various branches of this group. The most famous Apache was actually a member of the Chiricahua--also known as the Chiricahua Apache. There are about a half dozen other Apache tribes--similar but distinctly separate and their own people with the own customs. This film was made with the assistance of the Chiricahua in order to tell their side of the Indian wars--how they perceived it and their great warrior, Geronimo. Not at all surprisingly, they present the story of a group of people that just wanted to be left alone and resorted to violence (and the occasional slaughter) only after the tribe had been decimated by attacks from the Mexicans and Americas. Geronimo himself resorted to violence after his wife and kids were killed by Mexicans--and this puts his violent actions in context. Unlike the TV or movie version of Indian wars, this was clearly NOT a war by natives who liked killing or wanted to fight--they just didn't have any other choice.

In addition to discussing Geronimo's aggressive behaviors, the film also discusses his surrender and life afterwords. It also follows the tribe to today--showing that they are holding on to the memories of their nation. All in all, a fascinating portrait of a proud people who have somehow survived despite attempts to disperse them and enforce western lifestyles on them. Well worth seeing--and very well made.

By the way, living in Florida, I was surprised that for some time, much of the tribe was forcibly relocated to a climate very foreign to them--here in St. Augustine, Florida. I never knew that when I visited this fort it was where so many Chiricahua lived around the turn of the century.

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