“As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after death … We held that the discharge of one’s duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life, family and tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we did not know it.”
–Geronimo, The Last Free Apache (1905); the prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars.
No one ever told him… How sad for not knowing the true religion brought by the Prophet. He lived so far that Islam couldn’t reach his land at that time.
Based on his biography, he once embraced Christianity because that was the only religion he knew; “I have advised all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion, because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live right.” But he got expelled from the church because of some sin. In his end of life he had ambivalent feeling toward religion. He then held his old religion, old Apache Religion, again.
What a life of a human being… keep looking for something so essential, fundamental.
Best source: Wikipedia/ Geronimo & YouTube/ Geronimo: The Last Free Apache
“I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. 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.
When a child, my mother tought me to kneel and pray to Usen for strenght, 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 Usen.
The soldiers never explained to the government that an Indian was wronged but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong each other or to scheme 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.
I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.”
Geronimo or Goyathlay (“one who yawns”), was born in 1829 in what today is western New Mexico. Geronimo is the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. He became the most famous Apache of all.
Geronimo died in 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland. He is said to have had magical power, could see into the future, walk without creating footprints and even hold off the dawn to protect his own. His last words were reported to be said to his nephew, “I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.” He was buried at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery.