Beringians Whine About Osama-Geronimo Link
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will discuss the news that Osama bin Laden was given the codename ‘Geronimo’ by US Special Forces after leaders of the Beringian-American community whined about it.
“To equate Geronimo or any other Native American figure with Osama bin Laden, a mass murderer and cowardly terrorist, is painful and offensive to our Tribe and to all native Americans,” wrote Jeff Houser, chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, in a letter to US President Barack Obama.
While the Pentagon has not confirmed that US Navy Seals used the codename ‘Geronimo’ for bin Laden, and the operation to kill him, every media outlet in the world has reported it as fact.
Houser said the use of the codename was based on “misunderstood and misconceived historical perspectives of Geronimo and his armed struggle,” and demanded a formal apology from Obama, reports Reuters.
“What this action has done is forever link the name and memory of Geronimo to one of the most despicable enemies this country has ever had,” he wrote.
“Unlike the coward Osama bin Laden, Geronimo faced his enemy in numerous battles and engagements,” Houser said.
In response, Senate Indian Affairs committee, chaired by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), will host the hearing titled “Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People,” which will be webcast live at 2:15 p.m. EDT.
Chief council Loretta Tuell said the meeting will discuss “the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemy of the United States.”
Tuell said the committe will use American tax dollars to mull over “these inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures.”
“The impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating,” she said.
Reuters included the bizzare parallels between the two infamous icons:
Geronimo was an Apache warrior leader who fought for tribal lands against U.S. and Mexican forces in the 19th century and who, like bin Laden, evaded capture for many years. He was held as a U.S. prisoner of war from the time he was captured in 1886 until his death in 1909.
Other Beringian-Americans were upset over the codename, too.
“Geronimo wasn’t a terrorist, he was a good man, he spoke the truth about the white man and what they did to his people … He wasn’t like that (bin Laden) at all,” said Chester Rodriguez, 55, an Apache from Arizona.
Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement that “to associate a native warrior with Bin Laden is not an accurate reflection of history, and it undermines the military service of native people,” reports The LA Times.
The Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs in New York state said using the codename was “reprehensible,” “illogical and insulting.”
“The name Geronimo is arguably the most recognized Native American [sic] name in the world, and this comparison only serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes about our peoples. The U.S. military leadership should have known better,” the Council wrote in a statement.