HomeLocal HistoryApache HistoryGeronimo’s Autobiography – Excerpts From His 1905 Book

(Italics are my comments to assist readers in understanding the fuller context. jg)


Geronimo: The True Story of America's Most Ferocious Warrior

Because he has given me permission to tell my story; because he has read that story and knows I try to speak the truth; because I believe that he is fair-minded and will cause my people to receive justice in the future; and because he is chief of a great people, I dedicate this story of my life to Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States.                   Geronimo.

(Over many months in 1905, Geronimo told his life story to S.M. Barrett. Barrett transcribed Geronimo's spoken words into English with the help of an interpreter whom Geronimo trusted. That interpreter was Asa Daklugie, Geronimo's nephew. Many years after the death of Geronimo, Daklugie told author Eve Ball that, out of fear of incriminating himself, Geronimo did not tell near as much as he could have. It seems that the old medicine man was also an artful spin doctor.) 


S.  M.  Barrett: 1905

Geronimo 1904

By the time he dictated his autobiography to Barrett, Geronimo was a national celebrity.

Early in October I secured the services of an educated Indian, Asa Deklugie, son of Juh (pronounced Ho or sometimes Whoa), chief of the Nedni Apaches, as interpreter, and the work of compiling the book began. (Chief Juh was Geronimo's brother-in-law and best friend They fought many battles together. Juh stuttered and Geronimo often spoke for him. When directing his warriors, Juh usually gestured his commands, rather than try to speak.)

Geronimo refused to talk when a stenographer was present, or to wait for corrections or questions when telling the story. Each day he had in mind what he would tell and told it in a very clear, brief manner. He might prefer to talk at his own tepee, at Asa Deklugie’s house, in some mountain dell, or as he rode in a swinging gallop across the prairie; wherever his fancy led him, there he told whatever he wished to tell and no more.
On the day that he first gave any portion of his autobiography he would not be questioned about any details, nor would he add another word, but simply said, “Write what I have spoken,” and left us to remember and write the story without one bit of assistance. He would agree, however, to come on another day to my study, or any place designated by me, and listen to the reproduction (in Apache) of what had been told, and at such times would answer all questions or add information wherever he could be convinced that it was necessary. Read More