Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Skip Navigation

Electronic Publishing Center
Oklahoma Historical Society
Encyclopedia Homepage
Search all Volumes
Disclaimer and Usage
© Copyright 2003

Table of Contents Search All Entries Home

NAICHE (ca. 1857-1919)

Naiche (Nachi, Nache, or Natchez, meaning "mischief maker" or "meddlesome one") was the last hereditary leader of the Chiricahua Apache. As a young man, Naiche, a son of Cochise, led many Apache raids in Arizona. He became chief after his older brother, Taza, died in 1876.

During 1880, opposing relocation to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, Naiche entered Mexico with Geronimo's band. While living in the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Chiricahua attacked Mexican and American settlements. Although Naiche was the chief, he submitted to the leadership of his elder, Geronimo, during these forays. The U.S. Army pursued the Chiricahua until Naiche surrendered to Gen. George Crook in 1883.

The Apaches were assigned to the San Carlos Reservation. In 1885, however, Naiche and Geronimo escaped with some one hundred supporters. During September 1886 Apache scouts aiding the U.S. Army forced the Chiricahua to capitulate in northern Mexico. Soon after, Naiche and his followers were imprisoned at Fort Marion, Florida, then moved to Alabama's Mt. Vernon Barracks.

Apache requests to return to Arizona were denied. Invited by Kiowa and Comanche leaders to share their reservation, Naiche and around 295 other Apaches relocated at Fort Sill in October 1894. Naiche stayed in Oklahoma until 1913, when he returned to the Southwest and lived out his life on the Mescalero Reservation near Ruidoso, New Mexico. He died at Mescalero, New Mexico, on March 16, 1919.

SEE ALSO: AMERICAN INDIANS, APACHE FORT SILL.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ruth M. Boyer, Apache Mothers and Daughters (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998). Angie Debo, Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976). Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People, from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller (New York: Henry Holt, 1997). Dan L. Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Vol. 2 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991).

Bruce E. Johansen

© Oklahoma Historical Society

Return to top


Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site