Geronimo’s Descendants Sue Skull and Bones Over Remains

February 19, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Descendants of Indian Apache legend Geronimo have sued the secret society at Yale University – Skull and Bones —  claiming that its members stole the remains of the legendary Apache leader decades ago and have kept them ever since.

After years of famously fighting the U.S. and Mexican armies, Geronimo and 35 warriors surrendered to Gen. Nelson A. Miles near the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1886. Geronimo was eventually sent to Fort Sill and died at the Army outpost of pneumonia in 1909.

Membership into Skull and Bones with only 15 Yale seniors are asked to join each year are linked to presidents (both George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush) and other powerful figures at the Ivy League school.

The federal lawsuit filed in Washington on Tuesday — the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death — also names the university and the federal government.

Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimo said his family believes Skull and Bones members took some of the remains in 1918 from a burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., to keep in its New Haven clubhouse, a crypt. The alleged graverobbing is a longstanding legend that gained some validity in recent years with the discovery of a letter from a club member that described the theft. According to lore, members of Skull and Bones — including former President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush — dug up his grave when a group of Army volunteers from Yale was stationed at the fort during World War I, taking his skull and some of his bones.

Harlyn Geronimo, 61, wants those remains and any held by the federal government turned over to the family so they can be reburied near the Indian leader’s birthplace in southern New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness.

I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released,” Harlyn Geronimo said.


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