Saturday, 7 May 2016

Women Warriors - Lozen and Dahteste, Apache warriors

"Lozen is as my right hand, strong as a man, braver than most and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people." So said the Apache chief Victorio, her brother. When Victorio's band left the San Carlos Reservation in 1877, where they had been sent to live in terrible conditions, Lozen fought by his side. While retreating from the US Cavalry, Lozen led the women and children of the band across the Rio Grande while the warriors held off the cavalry.
Victorio died fighting the Mexicans in 1880. On that occasion Lozen was not with the band, having left to escort a woman and child to the safety of the Mescalero Reservation. On that journey, she stole horses, and killed a longhorn with a knife rather than shoot it so as not to betray their position.
Lozen rejoined the band, now under the command of the elderly chief Nana, as they fought their way across New Mexico.
She was also with Geronimo when he broke out of the San Carlos Reservation in 1885, in the last campaign of the Apache wars. She also acted as a prophet for the band, praying to Ussen (the supreme god of the Apache) before battles.
She and Dahteste, another Apache warrior woman, started negotiating a peace treaty with the Americans. Dahteste was fluent in English, and had worked as a scout for the US Cavalry.
During this time, the Chiricahua Apache were rounded up and sent to Florida, and eventually Lozen and Dahteste surrendered.

This is a picture of a group of Apaches waiting to be taken by train to Florida in 1886. Geronimo is somewhere near the front, and Lozen and Dahteste are sitting near the back. (Picture found on Red Power Media wordpress site).

Lozen died of tuberculosis while a prisoner of war in Alabama in 1890. She was fifty years old.
Dahteste survived tuberculosis and pneumonia and later married Kuni, another ex-scout. They lived at the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. Dahteste lived until 1955.

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