Lawsuit: Geronimo's Great Grandson Asks Yale Secret Society to Return Ancestor's Skull

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It's the stuff of legends: an elite secret society that includes what would become some of the most powerful men of the 20th century allegedly invading the grave of an Apache chief to steal his skull for fraternal rituals. It's also the stuff of a new lawsuit filed Tuesday by descendents of that Apache chief.

On the 100th anniversary of the death of Geronimo, 20 of his blood relatives have asked the courts to force Yale University and the school's secret organization, Skull and Bones, to release his remains for return to his native land and a proper burial.

The lawsuit also names President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Army Secretary Pete Geren as defendants because they are responsible for maintaining Geronimo's remains on a U.S. Army base in Oklahoma, the group said.

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Lorraine Paul - 2/18/2009

This is just one more example of imperialism and the dismissive and despicable manner in which indigenous peoples were treated by colonialism.

Would this society have used the skull of Lincoln or Jefferson in their paraphernalia whilst indulging in infantile play-acting?

I hope they have their grandfather's skull returned to them with a hefty compensation bill from Harvard and the US government which abrogated its duty of care in this outrageous case!

John D. Beatty - 2/18/2009

Let's see if we get this straight:

Geronimo's skull is supposedly in the hands of a private organization, one that's been around for quite some time and may predate the Indian's death. Are we certain that it is indeed the old man's cranium?

Further, a guy who's been in office for about a hundredth of the time this bone fragment has been at Yale is deemed to be responsible for it being there, probably before he was born. I don't like the guy, but this is pathetic.

This is the very pinnacle of barratry.