Native Filmmakers Show Love for Geronimo’s True Legacy

The Native leader's compassion and bravery still live on.

By Jamilah King Jun 02, 2011

We’ve shown love before for the 1491s courageous filmmaking, but we’ll do it again. This time, the innovative group of Native filmmakers are taking on the true meaning of the legacy of Geronimo. Recently, it was uncovered that the 19th century Indian war hero’s name had been appropriated as code for the U.S. military’s hunt to kill Osama Bin Laden. Of course, it wasn’t the first time that a revolutionary of color had been re-branded for imperial glory. Still, given the overtly nationalist fervor surrounding bin Laden’s death, this time it seemed particularly ironic.

In this poem by the 1491s, Geronimo’s true legacy is revealed. And what comes to light isn’t the image of an appropriated martyr, but a valiant fighter whose bravery and compassion live on in indigenous communities fear and wide. "Geronimo was not killed in Pakistan," says one person in the video. "He is alive in a woman from Oakland, who tutors and mentors Indian kids growing up in the city." The message reverberates strongly with powerful verbal images of a single mother who "talks to her children in Indian;" a track star from Gallup, New Mexico; elders who refuse to die; and countless others. Watch this video. You’ll be glad you did.

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