The Fort Sill Apache Tribe: Portraits of our Ancestors

Paintings by David Martine, with commentaries and history by Leland Michael Darrow

In the Fort Sill Apache Tribal Office, just north of Apache, Oklahoma, we have this collection of twelve paintings by David Bunn Martine, a great-grandson of Charles Martine Sr. Martine Sr., an Apache Scout for the U.S. Army, was one of the two scouts who persuaded Geronimo to negotiate with General Miles, a negotiation that led to his final surrender in 1886.

David is an accomplished artist and we are very pleased that he donated these paintings to us. They are paintings of leaders and historical figures within our tribe. These are portraits of individuals who are significant in our history and people that in our tribe we hold in high regard.

David Bunn Martine

David Martine’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in his 30-year body of work as a painter and sculptor. He is of both Native American and Hungarian ancestry: Shinnecock/Montauk and Chiricahua Fort Sill Apache on his mother’s side and Hungarian on his father’s. He holds degrees in art education from Central State University, Oklahoma; in advertising design from University of Oklahoma, Norman, and in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was also awarded the Andy Warhol Curatorial Research Fellowship. His work has been widely exhibited. He has also received many commissions as a painter and book illustrator. He is currently Director/Curator of the Shinnecock Indian Cultural Center and Museum on the Shinnecock Reservation, Southampton, New York.

Leland Michael Darrow

Leland Michael Darrow is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe and is serving on the Tribe’s Economic Development Authority. He has been the designated Tribal Historian since 1986. He graduated Shawnee High School in Oklahoma 1975, attended the University of Oklahoma, majoring in botany, and received an associate degree in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Michael Darrow has worked for the Tribe for years on NAGPRA (Native American Grave Protection and Reparations Act), and on cultural and language preservation issues. Michael Darrow has consulted on documentaries, films, and museum exhibits regarding Apache history and culture. He also does some artwork including traditional Apache products. He currently resides in Oklahoma with frequent trips to the Tribe’s properties in New Mexico and Arizona.

Chief Chihuahua

Chihuahua was one of the people who would be considered a chief. He was in the Chakamen band and that group was primarily in the Arizona area. He was one of the leaders that left the reservation in 1885-1886 and was pursued by the U.S. Army.He came in after negotiations with General Cook. But the U.S. government did not honor the agreement they made. As a result, Chihuahua was the leader of the first group that was shipped off as prisoners of war in March of 1886. That was the start of the imprisonment period. There were 77 people in that first group. Some of them were women and children who had been captured earlier and the rest were Chihuahua’s group that came in and they were put on a train after the negotiations with General Cook. They were shipped off to Florida as prisoners of war.

Like the rest of the leaders, he remained in charge of a group of people when they were eventually moved to Fort Sill. There the tribe divided into different villages and Chihuahua was the head of those villages. He passed away and is buried there in a cemetery along with quite a few of his other children and relatives. Chief Chihuahua died as a prisoner of war of the United States.


Tahdeste was a notable woman. She was known for her effectiveness as an intermediary in dangerous situations. If some of the group had gone down into Mexico and they were waiting to do some negotiations, if any of the men showed up anywhere where the soldiers could get to them or even the general Mexican population – there was likely to be a big battle. But it was much more likely that the woman would go into a community and sit down in Mexico or something and negotiate things – trade supplies for food or other necessities that the group might have, or try to contact officials to do negotiations – and this woman was one who was noted for doing that. It was generally considered a fairly dangerous job.


Geronimo was one of our tribal members and he was a leader. From our tribe’s perspective, he was not a chief. Geronimo was a leader in our tribe, but not a major leader. He was a medicine man. He was not held in the same status or regard as chiefs within our tribe. However he is a person who did get a lot of attention from non-Apaches and so that has developed quite extensively and it’s to that extent that a lot of our people are even now being influenced by non-Apaches’ concepts of what Geronimo is and that our tribe should be based on what they think of Geronimo and how the image of Geronimo exists in their minds.

When they hear about our tribe, the first thing they think of is Geronimo and once that name comes up, they have difficulty focusing on anything else. So, we have to work quite a bit to get that information across to them – that there are other aspects of the tribe other than simply Geronimo.

In David’s painting of Geronimo the background looks very much like Southern Arizona or Southern New Mexico. Geronimo is wearing headdress. He was photographed with several different headdresses that he wore on various occasions.

In this one, you can see that there are symbols that represent stars and suns, which for Apaches are sources of power. They invoke the world around them, the natural world – and so the stars and the sun, the mountains, lightening and rain – all these different aspects of the natural world are things that are evoked for their ceremonial purposes for Apaches for the power that they have.

The eagle feathers on here are for the strength of the eagle, a communication that is set up there between the earth and the sky. They have what looks like small white circles. It would be buttons or shell buttons, which would be indicative of water, which is a symbol for strength for the Apaches. These symbols that are incorporated in a lot of his clothing, and a lot of Apache ceremonial objects, are things that invoke the powers of the world around the Apaches.


Gouyen was the mother of James Kaywaykla. (James collaborated on a book that is considered a classic of Apache literature, in The Days of Victorio.) Gouyen and James were present at the Battle of Tres Castillos where Chief Victorio was killed in 1880. Gouyen was considered to be very strong. Her name means “wise woman” and she was held in very high regard. In our tribe women generally held fairly high positions and were highly esteemed as people and as contributors to the society.

Chief Loco


This is Chief Loco. After the death of Mangas Coloradas, there were a couple of other chiefs who also passed away fairly quickly, which left the main leadership to the chiefs Victorio and Loco.

There are various stories as to how he got his name. Apparently when he was younger, he had gotten into a fight with a bear and was injured; you can see his eye has come damage. He was very highly regarded. He was a person who sought peace, generally, and tried, as best he could to get the Apaches in a situation where there would not be any conflict with the White people who were moving into the area.

He and some of the other leaders on the reservation made a trip to Washington, D.C. to negotiate with the President of the United States to try to make sure that the people who stayed on the reservation were not punished for the things that were done by those who had left the reservation.

They were given assurances, false assurances as it turned out, and they were on their way back from Washington, D.C. when they were stopped in Kansas and kept at Fort Leavenworth for several months before being diverted to Florida as prisoners of war. Their people who had been waiting for their return to the Arizona reservation, were also rounded up and put on trains and shipped off to Florida as prisoners of war in the fall of 1886.

From Florida they were sent to Alabama, and from Alabama to Fort Sill. Here Loco was made head of Loco’s Village and his son John was enlisted as a scout, and they raised crops near Four-Mile Crossing. Loco was the last living chief of the Warm Springs Apaches. After his death in 1905 his son John became head of Loco’s Village. Chief Loco died on 2 February 1905 at the age of 82, and is buried in the main Apache cemetery by Beef Creek on the military reservation. Buried near him are his 3 wives, his son Fritz, and his granddaughter Ruth.

Carl Mangus

This is Carl Mangus. He was a son of our leader or chief Mangas Coloradas. Mangas Coloradas was in our tribe, gennerally regarded as probably the greatest chief, the greatest leader our tribe had, as far back as anybody could remember. Mangas Coloradas was killed in 1863 when he came in to try to do some negotiations with the United States and he was instead taken as a captive and killed. There is an unpleasant story regarding his skull being removed and sent off. Mangas Coloradas had several children. One was my great grandmother, so Carl Mangus was my grandfather’s uncle and my grandfather – when he was a boy, a young man – was raised by Carl Mangus.

Carl Mangus, through he was the son of Mangas Coloradas was not nearly so high a level of a chief or leader of a significant portion of the tribe. But Carl Mangus was with the group that left in 1885 along with Chief Chihuahua and Chief Naiche and Geronimo and the rest of the bunch. It was about 137-something people who left the reservation in 1885.

It was found out by these people who left that they had been sort of tricked into it – tricked into leaving – but by that time, it was too late. The couldn’t easily come back in. Mangus separated from the rest of the group and stayed out until Chihuahua’s group had come in, in the spring of 1886 and in September of 1886, Naiche and Geronimo’s group came in. And then in October 1886, Mangus with his very small group came in.

Carl Mangus was the last of our leaders to surrender. Like the others, he and his group were shipped off to Florida as prisoners of war. Eventually he became a leader of one of the villages at Fort Sill. Carl Mangus died at Fort Sill and he was buried in the Old Post Cemetery. He was a U.S. Army scout at the time so, instead of being buried at the prisoner of war cemetery, he was buried at the Old Post Cemetery.


Naiche was a son of the highly regarded Chief Cochise and younger brother of Taza, who succeeded Cochise as Chief. When Taza died, the leadership segmented amongst the different leaders who had been under Chief Cochise, and Naiche was a minor chief of a small portion of the tribe, the group to which the medicine man Geronimo belonged. Geronimo was supportive of Naiche who, along with Chief Chihuahua and Geronimo, was part of the group that negotiated with General Crook in the Spring of 1886. Afterwards, they went down into Mexico, suspecting treachery from the United States. When they came in, they’d been promised they wouldn’t be prosecuted for anything they had done when they left the reservation, but once they were in the United States’ control they were held as prisoners of war from 1886 onward. Naiche lived through the entire prisoner of war period. He was with the group that in 1913 went to the Mescolero Apache reservation in New Mexico, and passed away there in 1921.


His name is Nana, sometimes read as Na-na (nah-nah). He was not a chief. He was a leader renowned for his skill in military encounters and such. He was very old when he was doing some of this. He was associated with Chief Victorio. After Chief Victorio was killed when Nana was 80, he led expeditions to recover many of the scattered people as possible and get some semblance of the tribe back together again. Though crippled with arthritis, he still rode hundreds of miles, staying well ahead of the U.S. Army. He is highly regarded within the tribe for these exploits.

Noche (Taza)

This is another one of our tribal leaders who also had a village at Fort Sill. My Grandmother, when she was young, lived in his village. His name was Noche. This painting was done from a photograph that was taken when Noche went to Washington as a delegate from the tribe to do some negotiations with the United States government, and because his name Noche resembles the name Naiche, some people got it mixed up and decided, “well, it’s obviously not Naiche because Naiche didn’t go, so it must be his brother Taza, because Taza had gone on a delegation to Washington.” In many publications, this photograph is incorrectly identified as “Taza.”

Apparently Taza died before there were any photographs that were done of the people in that delegation. David’s painting is based on a photo that has been fairly well identified as Noche, who was on the the leaders of our tribe.

Siki Toklanny

This is a portrait of Siki Toklanny. She is another example of the strong, powerful women in our tribe. She was married to a scout, and was one of those women tribal members who would function as an intermediary in tense situations, helping with negotiations and things like that.


This portrait is popularly identified as Victorio, but to the best of our information this is not correct. There was a San Carlas Apache leader named Victor and this photograph of him was misidentified as an image of Victorio. The San Carlos Apaches are a different tribe from the Chiricahua Warm Springs Apaches and are a subdivision of another nation known as the Western Apaches. There is no photograph that we have identified as an image of Victorio, one of the highly regarded chiefs of the Warm Springs Apaches, who lived on a reservation in New Mexico. When the government decided to shut it down and move the people to San Carlos, Victorio fought to get the United States to honor their agreements to let the people stay in their homeland.