Though gender roles and responsibilities were well defined in Apache culture, Apache women held prominent roles in Apache society. Women often accompanied warriors on raids, took up arms to defend their people, counseled men in battle strategy, engaged in peace negotiations, and served as shamans for spiritual quests. They were known for having the same courage and ferocity as their male counterparts. However, history is written by the victors and there was little appreciation for Native Americans or women in the late 1800s. Fortunately, a woman named Eve Ball became fascinated with the Mescalero Apache after moving to Ruidoso in the 1940s.

Eve Ball

Eve BallKatherine Evelyn Daly Ball was a historian of the American West. She was born in Kentucky on March 14, 1890, relocating to Kansas with her family as a child. Her first husband died during World War I. She never remarried. She was a teacher prior to relocating to Ruidoso in the 1940s. Ruidoso borders the Mescalero Apache reservation and Eve quickly realized that her new neighbors were the sons, daughters and remaining warriors of legendary Apache leaders, like Nana, Cochise, Victorio and Geronimo.

Collecting Apache Oral History

Eve was intrigued. After earning the trust and respect of numerous tribal members, she was given permission to conduct interviews. She spent the 1940s and 1950s researching and documenting the lives of 67 Apache elders from the Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, and Lipan tribes, meticulously recording their version of events during the Apache wars and beyond. Her research began decades before there was any academic interest in the topic. However, later in life, she received recognition and numerous accolades for her work. She was the first woman to win the Saddleman’s Award, which is considered the Oscar for western writing. She received it for Indeh: An Apache Odyssey in 1981.

Indeh An Apache OdysseyPrior to her books on the subject, the only available resources related to the Apache Wars was written by non-native men from the perspective of the colonizers rather than the colonized. The oral histories gathered by Eve provided new detail and insight into the Apache perspective, including the generational trauma of invasion and mass incarceration. She conducted several interviews highlighting the overlooked role and resilience of Apache warrior women like Gouyen, Lozen and Dahteste. These were women you did NOT want to mess with. As friends and allies, they had your back. As enemies, they would track you down and cut your heart out…literally.

Without Eve’s research, these incredible first-hand accounts of survival, perseverance, and tragedy would have vanished from historical records. Thanks to her love and respect for the Mescalero Apache people, future generations have additional insight into the Apache experience in the American West and women worldwide have additional female icons.

Gouyen (ca. 1857-1903)

Born in 1857, Gouyen (Góyą́ń), meaning “the one who is wise,” was an Apache woman revered for her courage. Her birth name is unknown, but her legacy lives on in Apache oral history. She was born into the Chihenne band of the Chiricahua Apache, led by Chief Victorio. She married young. Her legacy began when her first husband was murdered during a Comanche raid in the early 1870s. The Comanche chief scalped him in front of her. The image of him triumphantly waving the scalp in the air on his black horse was seared into her memory.

Revenge and Retribution

Apache culture calls for vengeance as a matter of honor, a life for a life, though on many occasions more than one life was taken in the process of exacting revenge. However, in Gouyen’s case, there was no one to avenge her husband. Her father in law was too old for retaliation and her male relatives weren’t strong enough. She cut her long hair to the shoulder, the Apache custom after the loss of a loved one, and stayed sequestered with her mother in law, mourning for two days, finding resolve within the grief and rage.

Gouyen and familyWhereas she knew that she couldn’t take on the Comanche solo, she was determined to take his life, which was challenging for several reasons. One, the tribe wasn’t likely to endorse the suicide mission, which meant she needed to sneak out of camp undetected. Second, she didn’t have a horse and stealing one was far too risky. Third, she didn’t have a knife, because her father-in-law had taken hers after she cut her hair. She considered stealing her mother-in-law’s knife while she was sleeping, but decided against it, worried she would wake the older woman. Instead, she quietly packed food, water, and the beaded dress from her Puberty ceremony and furtively sneaked out of the camp just as the moon sank below the horizon. She followed the trail left by the Comanche, using the north star as her guide.

Settling The Score

For three days, Gouyen traveled at night. When the sun rose, she found places to hide and rest, constantly vigilant for pursuers from her tribe, as well as potential enemies. On the fourth night, around midnight, she saw the light of a bonfire in the distance. It was larger than necessary for cooking. She could feel the rhythm of the drums. As she drew closer, she heard the singers, confirming that it was a victory dance. Quietly and cautiously, she circled the camp, watching the Comanche dancers circle the fire. As the celebrations wore on into the early morning, older people left the circle, retiring to sleep. The young people continued to drink, dancing off and on until dawn.

Gouyen changed from her buckskins into the ceremonial dress and crept quietly towards the horses, terrified that they would snort or whinny and alert the Comanche. Fortunately, when she approached the Comanche chief’s horse, he sniffed her, but made no discernible noise. She quietly untied him and led him about a half mile east of the camp, roping him out of sight in a low, grassy area before furtively heading back towards the Comanche bonfire.

Stalking Her Prey

Unlike the warriors, the chief did not dance continuously during victory celebrations. After the opening rites and an ovation, he sat in a place of honor until he accepted a maiden’s invitation to be her dance partner. Gouyen didn’t know whether the chief had already chosen a partner as she slunk towards the fire, smoothing her hair and donning a beaded buckskin head band. As she scanned the faces around the fire, her eyes quickly settled on her target, sitting on a colorful blanket outside of the ceremonial tipi. She watched him nursing a jug of whiskey, noting that his head was bobbing as he drifted in and out of a drunken stupor. He was drunk. The dancers were drunk. This was her opportunity.

Gouyen circled the drummers and singers to approach the chief. She stood before him, arms outstretched, inviting him to dance. He staggered to his feet, staring at her with blurry eyes. She wondered if he was sober enough to recognize her, but in the light of the fire, she saw her husband’s scalp hanging from his belt. She beckoned again. He blinked, but he didn’t move towards her. She smiled again, extending her arms towards him. Nothing. Her fourth gesture penetrated the man’s alcohol induced fog. Four is a sacred number for the Apache. He took her hand and pulled her into the circle to dance.

Springing the Trap

As they danced, the scalp on his belt brushed against her, reminding her of her purpose, her mission. She remained with the dancers around the fire for several rounds to avoid raising suspicions, deliberately brushing against him while flashing a come hither smile. As a couple near them withdrew into the shadows, he took her hand and she led him towards the thicket she had staked out earlier. As he drunkenly attempted to grab her, she pulled away and ran, slowing her pace as he stumbled after her, leading him towards the tall grass and deep shadows outside of the camp.

When they were far enough away, Gouyen pretended to stumble, reaching for the knife on the chief’s belt, but she dropped it. She felt his hands on her shoulders as he pulled her close. When he bent over her, she locked her arms above his elbows and sank her teeth into his neck like a pit bull. For several minutes he flailed and staggered, trying to break her grip. When he finally toppled, she lost her hold on his arms and he began tearing at her throat and face as she sank her teeth deeper, crushing his throat. His blood cascaded down her face and dress. Gradually his blows weakened until he finally stopped moving. He was dead.

Gouyen found the knife that had fallen to the ground. She cut the man’s heart from his chest and peeled the scalp from his head. She took his head band, his breech cloth, his belt, and moccasins before dashing into the darkness towards the black stallion, hidden earlier outside of camp.

Long Ride Home

Knowing the Comanche warriors would pursue her, she rode south as fast as she could, stopping briefly to allow the horse to graze, drink and catch its breath before galloping onward. She didn’t sleep or eat for two days before exhaustion overcame fear and she fell asleep while riding. When she woke up, the stallion was headed north, back to the Comanche camp. She turned the horse south. Again, she fell asleep and the horse tried to head home. This happened repeatedly, with Gouyen waking to turn the horse back to the south. Sleep deprivation took a toll. She began to hallucinate, hearing voices and seeing ghosts. Whereas the Apache are not afraid to die, they are afraid of ghosts. All ghosts, including the spirits of their friends and family.

As Gouyen struggled to stay awake, a group of horsemen emerged from behind a rock outcropping ahead of her. It was the Chihenne Medicine Man, Kahzhan, Chief Peso, her father-in-law and other warriors from her band. She didn’t know if they were angry or if they would kill her for leaving without permission and potentially instigating war with the Comanche. In that moment, it didn’t matter. The young woman, exhausted and overwhelmed, passed out.

When Gouyen regained consciousness, her mother-in-law lovingly touched her face, turning to beckon Chief Peso and Kahzhan into the room. Both men smiled at her, admiration in their eyes. Chief Peso took the trophies seized from the Comanche chief, presenting them to the tribe and commending her bravery, “let her always be honored by my people. And let her name be Gouyen.”

Battle of Tres Castillos


Gouyen remarried an Apache warrior by the name of Kaytennae. He was Nana’s war chief and became chief of the Warm Springs Tchihende people. Gouyen joined her husband in Chief Victorio’s band as they dodged American and Mexican troops patrolling the borderlands. On October 14, 1880, the group was ambushed by Mexican soldiers while resting at Tres Castillos in Mexico. The soldiers killed Victorio and 77 Apache warriors, women and children, including Gouyen’s infant daughter. The soldiers scalped all of the bodies for bounty and took about 100 Apache prisoners to sell into slavery. Only 17 Apaches managed to escape, including Gouyen, Kaytennae, and Gouyen’s son, Kaywaykla.

Geronimo’s Last Stand

The U.S. Army sent Gouyen and her family to the San Carlos Reservation in southeastern Arizona with the remaining Warm Springs Apache. They escaped with Geronimo in 1883, joining his band for the final battles of the Apache Wars.

When Geronimo surrendered in 1886, his band and other Apaches, including the Apache scouts who had helped the U.S. army track him down, were sent as prisoners of war to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. The Army held them for about 6 weeks before sending them to Fort Pickens in Florida. They weren’t accustomed to the swampy, tropical climate and humidity. Many died of tuberculosis, typhoid and other contagious diseases.

The U.S. Government transferred hundreds of Apache children from the San Carlos reservation to an Indian School in Pennsylvania, where more than a third of them died from tuberculosis within a year. Most of the prisoners who survived incarceration in Florida were transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1894, including Gouyen. The U.S. government held the Chiricahua as prisoners of war for 27 years. Most never returned to their homeland, including Gouyen. She died as a prisoner of war at Fort Sill in 1903.

Gouyen’s story became part of the tribe’s oral history, recounted to Eve Ball by May Peso, daughter of Chief Peso, and James Kaywaykla, Gouyen’s son.

Lozen (ca. 1840s – June 17, 1889)

“When actually on the warpath the Apaches were under very strict rules. Even words for common things were different. Women could go with their husbands, but they could not live together. No unmarried women were permitted. Lozen? No, she was not married; she never married. But to us she was as a Holy Woman and she was regarded and treated as one. White Painted Woman (an Apache deity) herself was not more respected. And she was brave. Geronimo sent her on missions to the military officers to arrange for meetings with him, or to carry messages.”

Charlie Smith, Mescalero Tribal member, in response to Eve Ball asking why the Chiricahua didn’t want to discuss Lozen

There’s no way of knowing how many remarkable women’s stories have been lost to the fog of time, but among the revered Apache warrior women of the 1800s, no one is more respected than Lozen. She was one of the most formidable warriors and powerful medicine people in Apache history (at least what little we know of it).


Chief Victorio
“Lozen is my right hand . . . strong as a man , braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.” Chief Victorio

Lozen, meaning “Dextrous Horse Thief,was born in the early 1840s into the Chihenne band of the Chiricahua Apache, led by her older brother, Chief Victorio. Given her power, her arrival in the world was timely. She was born in the midst of a brutal attack on her people. The Apache needed her bravery, courage and unique skills.

The Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua introduced bounties on Apache scalps in the late 1830s, paying 100 pesos per warrior, 50 pesos per woman, and 25 pesos per child. Then, the Mexican-American war (1846-1848), and the American land grab that followed, made things worse. The Apache had enemies on all sides, invading their land, taking their food, killing their people, selling their scalps as trophies. This was the brutal reality of Lozen’s childhood.

Lozen made it clear at an early age that she had no interest in learning women’s duties. She wanted to be a warrior. Whereas traditional gender roles were well defined in Apache culture, those roles were not binary. In fact, when Europeans initially encountered Native Americans, all of the tribes acknowledged three to five gender roles. The indigenous inhabitants of North America, unlike Europeans, were far more likely to celebrate differences. They often lauded unique individuals, perceiving them as special/blessed, rather than ostracizing them.

Following the Warrior’s Path

This was certainly true for Lozen. As a child she demonstrated abilities far beyond her years, but her innate gifts were not well suited for looking after home and hearth. She learned to ride a horse when she was 7 years old, quickly becoming one of the best riders in the Chihenne band. She was an outstanding marksman, lethal with a knife, and a gifted military strategist. In her youth, she enjoyed rough housing with the boys and usually prevailed in any physical contest.

Innately athletic, fearless, protective, with a keen intellect and indomitable Will, she wanted to join her brother on the warrior’s path. Fortunately, Chief Victorio recognized his little sister’s inherent ability and took her under his wing, teaching her the skills that she would need to defend her people. She became a respected warrior that all of the top warriors wanted at their side. Whereas Apache warriors didn’t typically allow single women to ride with raiding parties, they made an exception for Lozen. She never married.

Gift from Ussen

Lozen was also a powerful medicine woman, Shaman, and seer, with extensive knowledge of herbology and minerals. She used song and herbs to heal her people and treat wounds. These gifts manifested during a vision quest that occurred as part of her coming of age ceremony. The Apache Creator God, Ussen, gave her the ability to heal and to detect enemies approaching. These supernatural gifts were a powerful asset for a people under siege.

When traveling with war parties, Lozen would rise with the sun, her face to the sky, with the palms of her hands cupped as she prayed. As she slowly moved in a circle, her hands would begin to tingle and her palms would turn purple if enemies were approaching. She was able to discern direction and distance. With each successful prediction, esteem for her power grew. She was invited to participate in the war dances and joined war parties, becoming a full-fledged member of the Council of Warriors. She protected the bands she accompanied, helping the evade capture, becoming a legend among her people during her lifetime.

Chiricahua Apache

The Chiricahua resisted U.S. and Mexican encroachment on their homelands, and depredation of their people, long after other tribes succumbed. Based on Peter Aleshire’s book, Woman Warrior: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman, Lozen fought in more campaigns against the Mexican and American Armies than the renowned Apache leaders.

Aleshire wrote, “Lozen began fighting Mexican soldiers and scalp hunters, eternal enemies of her band, when she came of age in the 1840’s. After the Americans arrived in 1848 to lay claim to her homeland, she battled them as well.”

After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, American settlers moved into the territory in annual waves, with homesteaders, ranchers, and prospectors pushing west, deep into Apache homelands every spring.

Why didn’t the Spanish establish settlements all the way up the Rio Grande and make the trek between El Paso and Santa Fe a bit easier? Apaches. The Apache aren’t fans of mining, no matter how tempting that lode of silver, copper and gold next to your campfire might be. The early settlers discovered that lingering in Apache territory was usually a fatal mistake.

As the death toll rose, the U.S. Army established more forts and outposts to defend the deluge of people arriving from the east. The displacement after the Civil War provided an endless supply of troops. There were plenty of hardened veterans from both the Union and the Confederacy moving west. Most of them were single and needed a wage. Many supplemented their income prospecting or collecting the bounty on Apache scalps offered in Mexico.

San Carlos Reservation

San Carlos reservation
San Carlos reservation

Surrounded by enemies, the Chiricahua Apache endured unimaginable hardships. The Mexican and U.S. Cavalries massacred or enslaved thousands. Lozen’s band was frequently on the run, moving from camp to camp, struggling for survival. She repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to take risks and sacrifice her life for her people.

The U.S. government negotiated with Cochise, Victorio, and other chiefs in the Black Range region. They agreed to settle at Ojo Caliente (aka Warm Springs) in 1869. The area was within traditional Chiricahua homelands. With beautiful hot springs and ample water, it was a Chiricahua favorite. After consulting with Lozen, Victorio agreed. However, the U.S. government changed their minds two years later and forced the Warm Springs Apaches to relocate to Fort Tularosa.

Then, in 1877, the U.S. government decided to concentrate all Apaches on one reservation, San Carlos, in Arizona, forcing Victorio’s band to move again. The conditions were abhorrent. The soldiers referred to the place as “Hell’s Forty Acres.” The U.S. Army didn’t allow the Apache to hunt, allotting meager food rations. It was dirty and crowded. Contagious diseases ravaged the community. Victorio’s band, including old Nana, fled the reservation twice, seeking refuge at the Fort Stanton Reservation with their Mescalero allies and relatives. Each time, the Mexican and American soldiers pursued them relentlessly.

Fort StantonVictorio’s War (1877-1880)

Thousands of troops dispatched from New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico hounded Victorio’s band. They eluded both American and Mexican forces for three years. During this time, Lozen’s skills detecting the enemy were in constant demand. She treated the wounded and frequently ferried vulnerable women, children and elderly to safety when soldiers got too close.

On one occasion, she delivered a baby while the Mexican and American cavalries were in pursuit. Victorio sent her to escort the mother and newborn from the Chihuahuan desert in northern Mexico to Mescalero in the Sacramento Mountains. Lozen had a three-day supply of food, a rifle, a knife, a cartridge belt, and extraordinary thieving skills. As she weaved through the Mexican and U.S. cavalry camps, she stole a Mexican cavalry horse for the new mother and a vaquero’s horse for herself, lifting a soldier’s saddle, rifle, ammunition, blanket, canteen, and shirt on the way.

A U.S. Army officer, Thomas Cruse wrote in his memoirs, Apache Days and After, “in fourteen months of criss-crossing New Mexico and Chihuahua, Victorio’s warriors, seldom more than 75 strong, had taken the lives of more than a thousand whites and Mexicans while eluding three American cavalry regiments, two American infantry regiments, a huge number of Mexican troops, and a contingent of Texas Rangers.”

Ambush at Tres Castillos

Unfortunately her absence left the remaining members of her band vulnerable. In the fall of 1880, Lozen led a group of women and children to Mescalero. The remaining members of her band stayed with Victorio. The Mexican and U.S. cavalry were in hot pursuit. On October 15, 1880, Mexican and Tarahumara Indian forces under Mexican commander Joaquin Terrazas ambushed Victorio’s band in Tres Castillos, Mexico. 78 Apaches were killed, including Victorio, all of the warriors, the elderly, women and children. The soldiers scalped the bodies for the bounty and captured 100 women and children to sell into slavery. 17 Apaches escaped, including Gouyen’s family.

Chief Nana

Lozen found out about the ambush when she arrived in Mescalero. She immediately headed south to find the survivors, led by her uncle, 74-year-old patriarch Nana. Weaving undetected between the Mexican and American military patrols encamped at every watering hole, she stole a couple of horses and supplies on the way. She found the survivors from her band in the Sierra Madres Mountains. She rode into camp with an extra horse and supplies that she stole on the way. Between 1877-1880, Lozen lost her brother, her homeland, and half her people in skirmishes with the U.S. and Mexican armies.

Nana’s Revenge

Nana was in his mid 70s at the time and lame in one foot, but he was still an Apache warrior. Apache customs required vengeance. Nana delivered, but it wasn’t a campaign of spite. Death in the band represents disharmony and imbalance, which is rectified by taking the life of your enemy (one at a minimum) or the life of someone in their band.

Initially, Nana led 15 remaining Chihenne warriors. Within a few months, he recruited 30-40 more Mescalero Apache warriors. They launched a two-month campaign of vengeance, riding over 3000 miles in total, across 1000 miles of territory.

Military Strategy

The U.S. cavalry skirmished with the band seven times, but they never caught them. Nana and his warriors slipped back into the Sierra Madres in August, 1881. Shortly thereafter, Nana and Lozen’s group joined forces with Geronimo. They fought at his side for two years before being captured and returned to the San Carlos reservation in 1883.

“Of all the extraordinary deeds of war ever performed by the Chiricahuas, this was arguably the most brilliant. The summary statistics only hint at the intensity and perfection of Nana’s wild campaign.

In two months, the chief and some fifteen warriors rode three thousand miles – an average of fifty miles a day. They fought seven serious battles with cavalry, winning every one, and attacked more than a dozen towns and ranches. With one thousand soldiers and another three to four hundred civilians chasing them, the warriors escaped every trap. During those two months, they killed at least thirty-five of their enemy, wounded many more, and captured more than two hundred horses and mules. Their casualties are uncertain, but not a single dead or wounded Apache was found by any of the pursuing horde. All this, with a handful of warriors under the leadership of a lame-footed chief some seventy-five years old.”

David Roberts, author of Once They Moved Like the Wind

Final Days of Apache Resistance

On May 17, 1885, Geronimo led 42 warriors and 92 women and children, including Lozen and Nana, from San Carlos Reservation for the last time. The U.S. Army dispatched General George Crook to capture them. Crook’s troops, including hundreds of Apache scouts, chased Geronimo’s band unsuccessfully for almost three years before the Army assigned General Nelson Miles in 1886.

General Miles deployed thousands of troops to search for Geronimo’s band. Additionally, he had 400 Chiricahuas from the San Carlos reservation sent to prison in Florida to prevent them from joining or aiding them, including children and relatives.

The remaining warriors and women wanted to be reunited with their families and friends.Fighting to defend your people is a matter of honor, obligation, necessity, but there’s no way to defend them in Florida when you are on the run in New Mexico.

One of General Miles’ staff, First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, negotiated a surrender on behalf of the U.S. Army. General Miles took full credit, sending Gatewood to the Old West equivalent of Siberia (the Dakota Territory). A few years later, General Miles played a role in the capture of Chief Joseph, the death of Sitting Bull, and the Sioux massacre at Wounded Knee.

Prisoner of War

Geronimo and the remaining Apache resistance agreed to go into exile for two years on a Florida reservation. It was a setup, a deliberate, calculated lie. The U.S. government had no intention of allowing the Chiricahua to return to their homelands. Furthermore, despite promising to exempt the Chiricahua Apache Scouts that allied with the U.S. Army to track Geronimo’s band, the government applied the exile to all Chiricahua.

Chief Naiche and Geronimo didn’t recognize the betrayal. They surrendered, sending a small group of 24 men and 14 women to General Miles on September 3, 1886 to demonstrate “good faith.” Lozen was sent with the first group.

The soldier loaded them into overcrowded cattle cars and shipped them east. Like the reservations, the camps were filthy pits of disease and malnutrition; a typhoid and tuberculosis petrie dish. The death toll was high, including claiming Lozen’s life within three years. She died of tuberculosis as a prisoner of war in Mount Vernon, Alabama on June 17, 1889. She was buried in an unmarked grave with 50+ other Apaches who died at that camp.

The Chiricahua Apache remained prisoners of war for the next 27 years. In 1913, some of them were allowed to return to New Mexico to join the Mescalero Apache reservation. Lozen’s closest ally and confidante, Dahteste, was among them. Dahteste shared her story with Eve Ball prior to her death in 1955.

Eve Ball gathered details about Lozen in several interviews, including Dahteste, Gouyen’s son, James Kaywaykla (Lozen’s nephew), and a Mescalero Apache tribal member by the name of Charlie Smith.

Dahteste (1860-1955)

DahtesteAs extraordinary as Gouyen and Lozen’s stories are, they were not the sole Chiricahua warrior women to fight in the final days of Apache resistance. Lozen’s companion, Dahteste (pronounced Tah-des-te) was known for her skills as a warrior and a linguist.

Dahteste was born into the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua around 1860. Her people remember her as a great hunter and warrior. Unlike Lozen, Dahteste married and had children. She rode with her husband and children in Cochise’s band in southeastern Arizona in her youth, participating in push back against the settlers and soldiers flooding into the region from the east.

Dahteste’s family joined Geronimo’s band after their final escape from San Carlos. She became Lozen’s closest companion. Like Lozen, Dahteste was an adept horse woman and lethal in battle. However, she was remembered as beautiful, well-dressed, sophisticated, and well spoken, fluent in Spanish and English.

Warrior and Mediator

Dahteste served as a translator, negotiator and messenger for the Apache bands she rode with and became a mediator and trusted scout for the U.S. Calvary. She tried to negotiate peace between her people and the army, but the U.S. government lied during negotiations and violated every treaty. She played a significant role in negotiating Geronimo’s surrender in 1886. However, the U.S. government betrayed her people and her…personally. The U.S. Army shipped Dahteste, with the rest of the Chiricahua Apache, to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida as a prisoner of war for 8 years. She survived pneumonia and tuberculosis and divorced her husband.

The government relocated the remaining Chiricahua to Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1893. 19 years passed. Finally, in 1913, after 27 years of internment in Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma, the U.S. government gave 300 Chiricahuas the choice to remain at Fort Sill or relocate to the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Dahteste chose Mescalero, moving to Whitetail where she remarried and lived well into her 90s.

Though Dahteste lived into the modern era, she dressed traditionally and avoided speaking English after returning to Mescalero. She passed away in 1955, outliving Lozen by 65 years. According to Eve Ball, “Dahteste, to the end of her life, mourned Lozen.”

Apache crown dancersResources

Once They Moved Like the Wind
Woman Warrior: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman
Indeh: An Apache Odyssey
Apache Days and After

The Vengeance of Gouyan
In the Days of Victorio
Apache Voices: Their Stories of Survival as Told to Eve Ball
Profile of an Apache Woman | Desert USA


  1. […] New-Mexiko-Nomade erinnert sich an Dahteste als hervorragenden Krieger und Jäger. Sie ritt mit ihrem Mann und schloss sich schließlich Geronimos Band an. Sie war als aggressive und tödliche Kriegerin bekannt, arbeitete aber auch als Übersetzerin, Verhandlungsführerin und Vermittlerin. Viele der Kriegerinnen der amerikanischen Ureinwohner sind sowohl als Kriegerinnen als auch als Diplomatinnen bekannt. Dahteste war Teil einer Gruppe von Kriegerinnen, die gemeinsam kämpften. […]

  2. […] The Mexican-American war (1846-1848) brought enemies from both sides of the white colonizers’ war; the American land grab, that followed that war, made things worse for the Nde. The Nde had enemies on all sides, invading their land, taking their food, killing their people, selling their scalps as trophies. This was the brutal reality of Lozen’s childhood. […]

  3. […] New Mexico Nomad remembers Dahteste as both a superb warrior and hunter. She rode with her husband and eventually joined Geronimo’s band. She was known for being an aggressive and lethal warrior — but also worked to translate, negotiate, and mediate. Many of the Native American warrior women are remembered for both being warriors and diplomats. Dahteste was part of a group of warrior women who fought together. […]

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