Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA

 Victorio ’ 1825-1880

Although he was considered one of the fiercest Apaches, Victorio desired to live in peace with the white settlers. As a young man he fought by the side of Mangas Coloradas and when Mangas was killed he became the leader of the Mimbreno Apaches who lived at Ojo Caliente (Warm Springs). In 1870 he agreed to live on a permanent reservation in Southwest New Mexico. When ordered to move to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona in 1877, Victorio and his band submitted, but left behind a cache of hidden weapons. That fall he left that reservation, but agreed to go to the Mescalero Reservation.

In 1879 he fled once again, deciding a new judge and district attorney would try him for past crimes of killing and horse stealing. Additionally, promised food allotments from the U.S. government for his people were not forthcoming. At one time the Apaches had been allowed to hunt off the reservation, but settlers were afraid of the armed Indians and the practice was stopped.

For over a year Victorio and his band moved back and forth between the United States and Mexico conducting raids on settlers to stay alive. He eluded the armies of both countries so many times that one army official called him the "greatest Indian general who had ever appeared on the American continent." In 1880 the Mexican army trapped Victorio in the Tres Castillos Mountains. Two days of fighting ensued. When it was over Victorio lay dead along with 60 warriors and eighteen women and children. Sixty-eight women and children were taken prisoner.

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