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Cochise: Apache Indian Chief
Cochise was an important 19th-century Apache warrior and leader.
He was the tribal chief of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apaches,
located in what is now
New Mexico and Arizona. He was also known for his family ties, as his father-in-law was the principal Chiricahua chief
Mangas Coloradas and the Mimbreno leader
Victorio was his brother-in-law.
Cochise was a renowned military commander and one of the driving forces during the Apache Wars, proving himself formidable
against both Mexican and American forces. In the end he negotiated a peace settlement with the Americans in 1872, though many
of his Chiricahua kinfolk decided to fight on.
The name "Cochise" is directly derived from his Apache name, variously spelled Kochizh, or K'uuch'ish.
In all likelihood this was a nickname coming from the Apache word for "nose" (kochi); it could
also have been a name related to the Apache word for "firewood" (chizh). Cochise was said to
have a prominent nose, and it was typical of Apache men to give each other everyday nicknames based on
physical features. It was even more typical of 19th-century Apache Indians to give out little information about
their personal names, believing that using or discussing them too much in public was a waste of spiritual power.
If Cochise also had a more formal name he went by among his own people, it was never recorded.
Books about Cochise
Cochise: Chiricahua Apache Chief:
A good biography of Chief Cochise.
Cochise: Firsthand Accounts of the Chiricahua Apache Chief:
Interesting compilation of quotes and writings about Cochise by his contemporaries.
Once They Moved Like The Wind: Cochise, Geronimo, And The Apache Wars:
Excellent overview of the Apache rebellion and the men and women who fought in it.
Making Peace with Cochise:
Autobiography of an American soldier narrating the end of the Apache Wars.
Here are some links to online information about Cochise:
Apache Chief Cochise
Cochise, Strong Apache Leader
Chiricahua Tribal Leaders
And here are our webpages about the Apache tribe and language:
Southwestern Native art
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