The use of Geronimo by the U.S. forces in the code Geronimo EKIA (Enemy Killed in Action) to confirm terrorist leader Osama bin Laden's killing on Sunday has angered some Native American Indians whose leader Geronimo fought against the Mexican and U.S. soldiers.
Originally named Goyathlay or Goyahkla, he was involved in revenge attacks against the American and Mexican soldiers who had killed many of his family members during the Apache wars in the second half of the 19th century.
He was revered by the Apaches as a warrior with spiritual powers and his skill to walk not leaving behind any trace of his footsteps was revered both by his admirers and enemies alike. He was eventually tracked down in 1886 and captured. After serving several years in prison, he finally rendered apology for his freedom.
Geronimo died in 1909 after being thrown from his horse, but the way he died also gave currency to the cry of skydrivers who jump from great heights.
A film was made on him in 1993 with Wes Studi playing Geronimo, besides other actors Matt Damon and Gene Hackman.
Geronimo has been used in different American contexts but the latest use as a code for terrorist leader Osma bin Laden was the last straw for Native Indians for whom he was always a hero.
Chief Counsel Loretta Tuell of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs said the panel will discuss on Thursday the community's concerns raised over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemy of the United States.
Jeff Houser, chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, has dashed off a letter to President Barack Obama saying the operation was based on misunderstood and misconceived historical perspectives of Geronimo and his armed struggle.
He demanded a formal apology from Obama to cool their feelings.