Opinion: Use of 'Geronimo' name defames American Indians

"Political correctness abounds in America. But sometimes it's OK to be politically correct. The code name Geronimo for the operation to take out Osama bin Laden is such a case. American Indians are protesting the use of the name Geronimo—and they are right to do so.

Geronimo was the leader of the Chiricahura Apache. He was a thorn in the side of the U.S. military, which did not exactly employ delicate methods in seeking to extrude American Indians from their native lands. It remains a sorry chapter in American history. There was no cogent reason to recall the ghosts of the past by calling Osama bin Laden "Geronimo." Wikipedia reminds us that Geronimo's skull and other artefacts were allegedly heisted by Yale's Skull and Bone Society. Geronimo himself converted to Christianity, but was expelled from the Dutch Reform Church for gambling, which makes him, all in all, a rather sympathetic figure. In short, he doesn't seem to have embodied anything like the fanaticism of bin Laden and his coterie. Quite the contrary. He surrendered when the U.S. Army cornered him."

Get the Story:
Jacob Heilbrunn: Defaming American Indians: Equating Osama bin Laden With Geronimo (The National Interest 5/6)

Committee Notice:
OVERSIGHT HEARING on "Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People" (May 5, 2011)

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