Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Codename "Geronimo"

Geronimo (1829-1909), a Chiricahua Apache leader

There were details of the killing of Osama Bin Laden on various newspapers and websites yesterday. You may have noticed that some mentioned he had been codenamed Geronimo by the US military.

Calling US enemy number one Geronimo, the name of a legendary Chiricahua Apache leader, is indeed disturbing. It understandbly caused consternation in various  Indian communities across the US. Lise Balk King  writes for the Indian Country:

"It is being interpreted as a slap in the face of Native people, a disturbing message that equates an iconic symbol of Native American pride with the most hated evildoer since Adolf Hitler...The death of bin Laden is arguably the most important news story of the year, and embedded within it is a message that an Indian warrior, a symbol of Native American survival in the face of racial annihilation, is associated with modern terrorism and the attacks on 9/11."

Various news sites are now correcting the information and emphasizing that the mission was codenamed Geronimo, not Osama Bin Laden. 
See more details on Indian Country. A piece on the Washington Post today  discusses the impact of using Geronimo's name and another on the ABC website asserts this will be discussed in the US Congress. See a letter the Chairman of Fort Sill Apache wrote to President Obama here

See Geronimo's entry on Wikipedia here

1 comment:

  1. It is a huge disrespect to a brave and heroic defender of Native American people. A mistake, no doubt.
    Peters, Guëll


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