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.