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Cochise
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Native American Icon
    (circa 1810-June 8, 1874)
    Birth name was Gochi
    Probably born in Arizona, New Mexico or Sonora, Mexico
    Chiricahua Apache chief
    Led an uprising against white settlement in the Southwestern US (1861-72)
    Son-in-law of fellow chief Mangas Coloradas
    Namesake for Cochise County, Arizona
    He refused to discuss his early life.
    At the end of the Bascom Affair that triggered the Apache wars, he tortured and executed three hostages (1861).
    His early successes in the Apache wars may have less to do with his military prowess than the fact that most of the US Army was otherwise occupied with the Civil War.
    When he agreed to a peace treaty with the US, several of his younger warriors refused to abide by it and rode off to join Geronimo.
    He was buried at a secret location and a band of Apache rode their horses over the grave site to eliminate any evidence of it.
    Mel Gibson calls Danny Glover 'Cochise' at least once in each 'Lethal Weapon' film.
    The war with Cochise might have been avoided if Lt. George Bascom had not falsely accused him of kidnapping a rancher's son and then tried to arrest him.
    At the end of the Bascom Affair, the Americans also killed their hostages, who included Cochise's brother and two nephews.
    He was described as having 'carried himself at all times with great dignity.'
    He was said to outdo all other Apaches with a lance or a bow and arrow.
    An observer said about his control over his men, 'A private soldier would as soon think of disobeying a direct order of the President as would a Chiricahua Apache a command of Cochise.'
    He was depicted sympathetically in the films 'Fort Apache' (1948) and 'Broken Arrow' (1950).

Credit: C. Fishel


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