The Mescalero Apache Tribe will commemorate the centennial of the release of the Chiricahua Apache prisoners of war from Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1913 with a series of events beginning April 5 and 6.
The Chiricahua Apache were imprisoned in 1886 by the United States and held in Florida, Pennsylvania and Alabama before being moved to Oklahoma. The prisoners of war included Geronimo, Naiche and other Apache warriors in addition to many women and children. The Mescalero and Lipan Apache, located on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, offered to allow the Chiricahua to live with them. The Chiricahua Apache were never allowed to return to their homelands in western New Mexico and Arizona. Descendants of the prisoners live in Mescalero today.
Tribal President Frederick Chino Sr. noted, “The centennial of the release of the Chiricahua Apache is a momentous occasion for the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Their release ended the hardship of twenty-seven years of imprisonment and was followed by the long trek from Oklahoma to Mescalero. At the same time, thanks to the Mescalero and Lipan, their release was also a cause for celebration” President Chino added, “The Tribe wishes to remind the world of the Chiricahua Apache imprisonment and to honor their survival.”
The public is invited to attend the Chiricahua Apache Centennial Celebration. The Celebration will begin with a traditional Apache blessing to take place at the Ceremonial Grounds in Mescalero beginning at 7:00 A.M. on April 5. Various dignitaries will speak on the 5 beginning at 9:50 A.M. Apache war and social dancing will take place throughout the day on each day of the Celebration. Evening meals will be provided on each day beginning at around 5:30 P.M. The Dance of the Mountain Gods will take place each evening at 7:00 P.M.
In addition, a parade will take place on April 5 at 8:30 A.M. and a documentary film created by the Mescalero Apache Language Program will air on April 6 at 1:00 P.M. The Apache Freedom Run from Fort Sill, Oklahoma and tracking the journey of the Chiricahua Apache to Mescalero began April 1 and ends on April 5 at the Ceremonial Grounds. The Chiricahua Centennial Journey will begin in Tularosa, where the Chiricahua exited trains to begin the final leg of their journey on foot to Mescalero, and conclude at the rodeo grounds in Mescalero.
Arts & crafts will be on display and for sale throughout the celebration. Arts & craft vendors should contact Debbie Martinez at 575-464-1052 for booth space information.
For further info, go to the celebration's official Facebook page by clicking here.