Listen. Remember. Tell his story to others. Never forget the one they called the Clever One, the one who could not be captured, who could walk without leaving footprints on the earth, the greatest warrior the Apaches ever had. Geronimo.
Geronimo, the Apache warrior who fought for his people with weapons and with words. Many stories have been told about him, but little in them has been true. Those who wrote them tried to make Geronimo, my grandfather, look bad or make themselves look good. Even when Geronimo himself told the stories, he didn’t tell the whole truth about his life. There were those who might have used his own words against him. He included many things in his stories that others couldn’t, but he left out more than he included. But now he is gone, and it is time to tell the real stories about the things that I remember. I have a good memory, and I have many stories about my grandfather, his wisdom, his honor, his humor, his family.
So sit down with me and listen. I will tell the story of Geronimo, my grandfather, as best I can. And with each story, I will place a kernel of corn on the ground. When I am finished, the corn will be there on the ground for you to pick up. Eat it, and with each kernel, remember the stories of Geronimo, let them live in your mind as you tell them to others. Don’t fall asleep, or the story will be broken, as our lives were broken. Listen. Remember.
[You can end the talk here for a shorter talk.]
My name is Willie, and I have known Geronimo all my life. He is part of my earliest memories. From the first time he placed me in the cradleboard he made for me, and offered me his power as protection for my life, we were family. Even though we were not related by blood, he was my grandfather. It was September 1886 when we got on the train in Fort Bowie, Arizona. The Apaches were being removed from our homeland by the White Eyes soldiers. Geronimo would never see the mountains, the pinon trees, the wild turkeys or the coyotes again.