Like most Apache women of her generation, Lozen trained at horseback riding and combat from a young age. By the time she reached adulthood, Lozen was a skilled fighter and an excellent rider. Married Apache women often participated in military maneuvers, but most functioned as support personnel rather than as warriors. Lozen was unusual in that she never married and devoted herself to the life of a warrior. She was also a healer and midwife. Legend says she had the ability to divine the movements of her enemies.
The US government forced the Apache onto reservations in the 1870s. Frustrated by the poor conditions on the reservation, Lozen joined her brother Victorio and his followers when they fled the San Carlos Reservation in 1877. The group raided forts and other settlements until October 1880 when Victorio and half of his followers were killed by the Mexican Army in the Tres Castillos Mountains south of El Paso.
Away from the group at the time of her brother’s final battle, Lozen survived. For the next six years, she took part in raids led by the Apache leaders Nana and Geronimo. In 1886, the renegade Apaches surrendered to US forces. Lozen died in prison from tuberculosis sometime after 1887.
House Approves Bill to Give Apache Lands to Foreign Corporation
On December 4th, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a provision to transfer 2,400 acres of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands to a foreign mining company.
“Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland. We’ve had dancers in that area forever – sunrise dancers – and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.”
~ Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe
Prior to the House vote, the House and Senate Armed Services Committee attached a provision to the NDAA that would transfer Apache ancestral lands located in the Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto an Australian-English mining company. Sen. John McCain (R- AZ) was instrumental in pushing to get the provision language included.
Apache leaders learned of the inclusion of the provision to the NDAA while attending, ironically, the White House Tribal Nations conference. Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, but have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers.
Dahteste was an Apache warrior and a follower of Geronimo. Fluent in English, she served as a translator and messenger for the renegade Apaches. Along with Lozen, Dahteste negotiated Geronimo’s surrender to the US Calvary in 1886.
After the surrender, Dahteste was imprisoned for twenty-seven years. She married twice and although she had no biological children, she raised six step and foster children. Dahteste’s oral history, recorded by Eve Ball, is a significant source of information regarding the lives of Geronimo and Lozen.
AH-64A Apache advanced attack helicopters of the 101st Airborne Division stand ready at a forward operating base during Operation Desert Storm. Three OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters are behind the Apaches. DoD photo.