‘Geronimo’ Use in Bin Laden Mission Prompts Group to Offer Counseling

Kim Kozlowski, Detroit News, May 9, 2011

A local Native American organization is offering counseling to anyone who feels offended or hurt by the use of “Geronimo” as a code name for the recent U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

“Geronimo EKIA” (enemy killed in action) was the message U.S. Navy SEALs sent to Washington officials to let them know bin Laden was dead last week. But the code name upset many Native Americans because Geronimo is the name of Native American warrior many consider a hero, while bin Laden was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.


After “Geronimo” was revealed as the code name for the operation that killed bin Laden, Native Americans across the country expressed opposition. Some changed their Facebook page picture to honor the Apache leader, while others called for a public apology from President Barack Obama.

Now, American Indian Health & Family Services in Detroit is calling on anyone who needs to talk about the continued use of Native heroes in a negative context to come in.


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  • Anonymous

    Geronimo was first and foremost a warrior. He fully understood that you must kill or stop your enemy. If he could communicate to the living; I think he would be pleased that his name was associated with killing the enemy of his land of his birth.

  • Old White Jim

    Native Americans all studied at the Academy of Racial Whining. When the Red Man saw the Blacks getting preferential treatment and free stuff just by portraying themselves as victims in every interaction with Whites they quickly imitated their darker downtrodden brethren.

    In Minneapolis, which has long had a large Indian ghetto on the south side, it went far beyond just mimicking the victim act. Many of the intercity Indians even started talking and acting like bottom rung Blacks.

    I saw Russel Means prowling the bars many times before he race-carded his way into minor roles in Hollywood movies. He always drove a big white on white Caddy and dressed like the mannequins in the windows of the stores that catered to Dolemite impersonators.

    Minnesotans had Indians figured out long ago. When I first went to Minnesota in the mid 1970’s the locals had a name for Indians that told the whole story. The name was “Prairie ______”.

  • Anonymous

    I think they should stop taking government welfare money then, since the government has offended them so bad.

  • Stiv

    To me it’s obvious that this wasn’t used in a negative context. The usage of Indian words and names usually seems to be done in a spirit of tribute. Whether it’s true or not, American Indians are perceived as being tough and fierce; Americans actually respect those qualities. These aren’t slurs.

  • Jeddermann.

    Everyone go look up the facebook page for the tribal chief of the Ft. Sill Apache nation. Jeff Houser. A real Apache if there ever was one? Well, you have to go see for yourself. This is one of the persons complaining about the whitey using the name of Geronimo. Jeff is – – well, go see for yourself.

  • Orv

    The helicopters were not Apaches, they were Blackhawks.

  • WR the elder

    So a military operation that successfully killed a terrorist is now a “negative context”?

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    Anybody else out there ever meet the “real deal”? His grandson,the baby being held in the famous photo, who sat outside Old Tuscon for decades in his own tee-pee selling autographs so as not to take “reservation money”?

    We drove past the sign and the simple hut. My buddy refused to stop. Twelve miles on he let out a swear word and slung the truck around. As we pulled up we were loud and sarcastic. As we entered the sanctum we became subdued and reverant. There were signed well wishes from President Reagan, President Bush AND Willy Brandt!!

    After we shared a peace pipe and Mountain Dew, he told us “The Cochise Braves, they don`t give a damn about the nation! They just want their check every month.” I lost a bundle paying him in advance to autograph 8 OK Corall novelty papers. It took him sooo long to do one , we told him to keep the money and left. I gave the paper to my driver for pulling that U-turn…I still have the photo of him and me showing us Willy Brandt`s fan letter. It`s around somewhere…

  • Turtle

    Speaking as the husband of of a Cherokee. NE band of the Nation. Additionally, if you go back far enough, I have some Choctaw in me.

    I also have German, Scotch-Irish in me. There are many warriors on both sides of our families. I am no more offended by the use of Norse/German warriors, than my wife is by Indian warriors. Brave men and women who will fight for their families and people deserve our respect. Everyone has the right to their own people, but not at the expense of others. As George Orwell noted we sleep peacefully in our bed because hard men who are do violence in our names.

  • Anonymous

    Lol….I should show up there, tell them I am 1/48 Cherokee and demand daily counseling sessions for a year.

    I bet, with enough effort, I could get the “counselor”, maybe even a whole group of them, to give it up as a career and go work at McDonald’s.

  • GenX ANZAC

    As someone who completely respects true Americans and who is also skeptical of the ever changing details of this operation, maybe a more approiate name would have been operation “Sitting Bull”.

    Counseling though, time to get out your handkerchiefs ladies.

    As the word ‘handkerchief’ includes the word ‘chief’, I’ll apologize in advance for any offense that phase may cause (rolling eyes).

  • Tim in Indiana

    Notice the totally accepting, almost reverential tone on the part of this reporter. No quotes from anyone defending the use of the term, or calling into question the sincerity of those who claim to need “counseling” because they don’t like the code-name of a military operation. No scare quotes used around any of the more questionable claims made by this organization, such as the assertion that anyone actually needs “counseling” because of the use of a military code name. If whites, on the other hand, claimed to need “counseling” for something a non-white said, it would be considered a non-story and not even run.

  • nokangaroos

    Like it or not, in American military code pop culture “Geronimo” means “enemy”. Much like the Luftwaffe referred to enemies as “Indianer”. Prolly they have read too much Karl May.

    – Whether Goyathlay (lit:”the yawning one”) would approve of this use of his given name is debatable. But I think he´d find it amusing.

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Out of political correctness, do skydivers no longer yell “Geronimo!” when they bail out of the plane?

  • Anonymous

    Geronimo led the US Army on a wild goose chase all over the desert for years.

    Bin Laden led the US Army on a wild goose chase all over the desert for years.

    Seems an apt comparison if you ask me, and not the least bit mean-spirited.

  • Anonymous

    Like a lot of “white people” I am part Indian. Not offended by this at all. America should ban the use of all Indian names just to shut up the professional victims.

    Rename Souix City Iowa to John Wayne Iowa. Better yet, name it Armstrong Custer Iowa.

    Then stand back and watch the fire-works.

  • Anonymous

    Even if I were a full-blooded 100% Apache Indian, I can’t believe for one single second, that ANYONE would need “counselling” because of this. This is ridiculous. Actually, ridiculous, is not a strong enough word. It sounds like something you expect to hear in the U.K.

  • Anonymous

    Reply to Jeddermann:

    I saw the picture of this Houser fellow. I seriously doubt he has one single drop of Indian blood in him.

  • Anonymous

    As I recall, ‘Geronimo!’ has origins going back to the 82nd and 101st airborne units in WWII, some of whom adopted mohawks and supposedly yelled the name as an exhortation to bravery while going out the troop door of their C-47s into occupied France.

    While putting yourself into a courtyard between a 2 story wall and a 4 story defiladed building is not what I would call good tactical planning on the part of the DevGru, certainly it was a situation fraught with similar excitement and horror.


    An entry from the ”Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, Second Edition” by

    William and Mary Morris:

    = Geronimo =

    >From the earliest wars in recorded history, men have plunged into battle

    >shouting battle cries. Indeed, our common word ‘slogan’ was originally the

    >Gaelic ”sluggh-ghairm,” meaning the call to battle used by Scottish

    >Highlanders and Irish clan. One of the most interesting of these cries is that

    >used by the U.S. airborne paratroopers: “Geronimo!”

    When we speculated in print on why our soldiers use the name of a dead Apache

    chieftain for their slogan, several alumni of airborne regiments reported

    stories of its origin. A plausible one came from Arthur A. Manion. “At Fort

    Sill, Oklahoma,” he wrote, “a series of rather steep hills, called, I believe,

    Medicine Bluffs, was pointed out to all new arrivals. It was said that one day

    ”Geronimo”, with the army in hot pursuit, made a leap on horseback down an

    almost vertical cliff -– a feat that the posse could not duplicate. The legend

    continues that in the midst of this jump to freedom he gave out the

    bloodcurdling cry of “Geronimo-o-o!” Hence the practice adopted by our

    paratroopers. I hope this helps. It’s at least colorful, if not authentic.”

    Another correspondent, who once lived at Fort Sill, added the information that

    the bluff from which Geronimo made his daring leap “is a cliff overlooking a

    small river.” So we know that Geronimo and his steed had water, rather than

    desert floor, to break their fall. Now, this is indeed an interesting tale and

    one that may very well be the real inspiration for the paratroopers were

    trained at Forts Bragg and Campbell. Why, then, did they reach to Fort Sill for

    inspiration for their battle cry?

    R. Collier of Milwaukee offered a less glamorous but probably more accurate

    account of the origin of the call. “In the early days of the 82nd Airborne,” he

    wrote, “the men used to go to the nearby movie in Lafayetteville. During the

    week scheduled for the division’s initial jumps, they saw a movie named

    Geronimo. (If that wasn’t the title, at least the Indian chief played a leading

    part.) Anyway, one guy hollered the name and one of those things no one can

    explain happened. The whole division took it up and from them it spread to the

    later-activated airborne forces.”



    Perhaps they should have called it ‘Pancho EKIA’ instead?

    This is a man who knowingly planned to use three innocent passenger airliners as unwitting and unwilling participants in a surprise attack which, without warning, would slaughter 3,000 innocents.

    Having ‘made his statement’ he then left behind his own people to face annihilation in the Tora Bora campaign. And as far as we know, has been living in this seedy little tenement housing compound (I laugh at the notion that this is a ‘wealthy vacation resort’), ever since.

    Did he honestly think that his end would not be violent? That he would be ‘safe’ with his family around him?

    It is the act, not what you label it that matters and UBL needed killing if anyone ever did.

    P.S. This is at least the fourth use of ‘Geronimo’ in the context of the war on terror-


    And the actual attack operation itself was called ‘Neptune’s Spear’.

  • sedonaman

    This is really reaching new lows. I thought Apaches were supposed to be tough fighters, not thin-skinned sissies.

    “Ni**er” was the codeword used to confirm the breach of the Möhne Dam during the famous “Dam Busters” raid in Germany during WW-II. It was actually the name of a black Labrador retriever owned by the wing commander and was the squadron mascot. The dog was accidentally run over and killed the day of the raid.

    We can only speculate the offense generated if the codeword were used today.

  • Jeddermann.

    “Reply to Jeddermann:

    I saw the picture of this Houser fellow. I seriously doubt he has one single drop of Indian blood in him”

    Jeff apparently is the son of Allan Houser who is the grandson of the grandnephew of Geronimo. The grandnephew acted as a translator for Geronimo.

  • diversity = adversity

    They really are trying to get on the “oppressed” bandwagon and ride the “offended” gravy train. The offer for counseling is just a PR campaign anda way for the ‘tribe’ to meet at ‘counseling sessions’.

    As for operation Neptune’s Trident, I as a white am offended! …NOT.

    I know, lame joke.

  • Seether

    I am part Cherokee Indian and can say myself I am not at all offended by use of the code name to kill OBL.

    If anything it should give American Indians pride in knowing a noble warrior’s name was used instead of trying to do what black crybabies do and cry racism. Race card playing is getting tiresome but then again why are white people dumb enough to give in to blacks every single time about race reparations?

    Anyway keep up the good work Amren, Your news is the most honest news I have ever seen.