American Indian veterans outraged over ‘Geronimo’ code name for Osama bin Laden
RAPID CITY, S.D. — “We have a visual on Geronimo,” CIA director Leon Panetta told President Barack Obama and his team who sat listening in the Situation Room at the White House shortly before the life of the world’s most wanted terrorist was extinguished.
However American Indian Veterans across the country expressed outrage when CNN announced that the message to Obama when bin Laden was killed was “Geronimo EKIA,” (meaning enemy killed in action).
“What totally misguided member of the United States government came up with this hideous misrepresentation of the great Apache leader and warrior, Geronimo?” asked American Indian Veteran Tim Giago.
“It was a great thing that happened on Sunday in Pakistan in bringing an end to the terrorist bin Laden, a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, Muslims as well as Americans. But to tag him with the name of one of the great Indian warriors in this Nation’s history is a sign of ignorance of the highest order. It is imperative that the United States Department of Defense let all of the Native American people in America know why this horrible thing was done and if an apology is not forthcoming, this great happening will go down as another attack upon the heroes of all Native Americans,” he said.
Lloyd Goings, another American Indian Veteran, said he has never been so offended in all his life.
“I just heard it on CNN that bin Laden’s code name was Geronimo. That was the most racist thing that they could do to us. I haven’t been this mad in a long time. They place us in the same category as the world’s most wanted terrorists. They called us terrorists. They let us serve their country and die for them and then they tag us with this? All the Indian Veterans are angry. They just demeaned every Indian that ever served this country. That just shows what the Pentagon and the CIA thinks of us.”
Per capita American Indians serve in the armed forces at rate higher than any other minority group in the United States. Every tribe across the nation holds their Akicita (warriors) and Tokala (soldiers) in high esteem and they are frequently honored at gatherings.
The code name Geronimo was probably chosen because Western intelligence believed bin Laden was holed up in a cave along the Pakistan-Afghan border, in a remote region of soaring mountains and thick forests.
Geronimo was forced to hide in the mountainous regions of New Mexico and is said to have entered a cave which had only one visible entrance, and then disappeared as US troops waited at the front.
Geronimo evaded capture for years and was said to be able to walk without leaving tracks and that he could survive being shot.
The governments used more than 5,000 soldiers to hunt him and his small band of Apache and it wasn’t until they hired other Apache scouts that they were able to find him. But Geronimo was never captured and instead surrendered in 1886.
According to Indian veterans, Geronimo was a man who was defending his people and land from invaders and that he was not a terrorist.
(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at
Copyright permission by Native Sun News