Chiricahua POWs Freed and Moved from Fort Sill

Inevitably, on April 4, 1913, the United States sent 163 Chiricahua prisoners of war from Fort Sill to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in south-central New Mexico.

“(Chiricahuas) … learned to love Fort Sill…. (The) day of separation was a day of great sorrow. There was weeping and wailing, in part due to a new found love for their homes, in part due to separation from friends and relatives…. (There was no) sense of freedom or big sigh of relief that (imprisonment) … was all over … (w)hen they were on the train. ‘What’s going to happen to us?’  (T)hey did not know…. ‘Is this really true?  Are we going to find a paradise? … (Is) everything waiting for us over there?  (Are) we going to begin a new life like we had in the old days?’  (Apaches were) not overjoyed, they were not happy; they were disturbed.”  (Raymond Loco, Chiricahua Apache POW, discussing the relocation to Mescalero, April 1913. Turcheneske 1997:162-164. Interview with Turcheneske.)

On March 7, 1914, the government moved 77 of the Apaches who remained at Fort Sill to small farms carved from nearby Kiowa and Comanche land. With these relocations, the War Department ended twenty-seven years of Chiricahua Apache imprisonment.

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