Chiricahua Apaches were among the first and last peoples to resist European and Anglo incursion into their homelands. The response to their resistance was genocide and war. The prolonged war prompted a massive Diaspora and a movement to go underground and “pass” as the dominant cultures. The removal of innocent Chiricahua Apache women, children and elderly, remaining at the San Carlos reservation and declared prisoners of war in 1886, culminated these events. These people were removed first to Florida, then Alabama, and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Of an estimated population of 20,000 Chiricahua Apaches at contact, there are less than 1,200 prisoner of war descendants living either on the Mescalero reservation, or on land allotments purchased from deceased Comanches in Oklahoma. In contrast, the descendants of populations of Chiricahua that left the homelands, went underground in two countries, or were relegated to servitude exist in far greater numbers. These Chiricahua exceed 75,000 globally by some estimates. This population lives on and off several Apache reservations, in rural areas and urban centers all over Mother Earth, with greater numbers returning to our traditional territory every year.