Earning Your Bones In Court: Descendants of the Apache leader Geronimo Sue Yale and Skulls and Bones Society for Return of His Remains

Descendants of the Apache leader Geronimo have sued the ultra secret society, Skull and Bones, over rumors that the society stole his skull in a grave robbery detailed in society lore.

Twenty members of the legendary warrior’s family are suing senior federal government officials, Yale University and the society Skull and Bones in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They are seeking return of Geronimo’s remains as well as punitive damages. However, the parties are a bit curious since the society is not part of Yale University. They are also suing the government because the remains were held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This is the 100 year anniversary of his death.200px-yale_university_shield_1svg

The complaint is largely based on a long-held rumor that the society store the skill and some members have broken the vow of secrecy to tell journalists that there is indeed a skull called Geronimo.

“I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released,” Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimom, the leaders great-grandson, insists until he is returned to a proper resting place “I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released. Presently, he’s still imprisoned. The only way to put this into closure is to relieve the remains and his spirit so that he can be taken back to his homeland, on the Gila Mountains, at the head of the Gila River.”

Society lore says that 1918 or 1919 members broke into the grave and took the skull. There are rumors of a variety of stolen items at the society. Of course, that would mean that Bush family member have been in knowing possession of not just stolen property but bones covered by federal criminal law on the return of such remains to Native American tribes (under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) and possible artifacts covered by federal criminal laws. Such members include Prescott Bush, father of former President George H. W. Bush ’48 and grandfather to former President George W. Bush ’68. Both presidents are reportedly members as are members. H.W. is shown just left of the clock in the picture to the right. 200px-skull_and_crossbones_c1947_ghw_bush_left_of_clock

For many who have long despised the society, the very prospect of discovery is an irresistible temptation. The society, however, is likely to seek a protective order over the really good stuff. At the outset, however, the society may have to deny the allegations in its answer. It will be interesting to see if the lawyers try to avoid a direct denial in favor of attacking the complaint as based on mere speculation. The descendants clearly want the information in their Complaint: “To assure that all existing remains of Geronimo and funerary objects are recovered by Geronimo’s lineal descendants, the Order of Skull and Bones and Yale University must account for any such articles that are or have been in their possession, or on their property. And persons with knowledge must provide any facts known to them concerning the claims.”

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13 thoughts on “Earning Your Bones In Court: Descendants of the Apache leader Geronimo Sue Yale and Skulls and Bones Society for Return of His Remains”

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  2. To paraphrase the wit: I refuse to join a secret society that would have me as a member.

  3. Why am I not surprised that this group wouldn’t have the decency to just return the bones, without being asked, way before anyone decided to sue. I know that Yale is an exclusive school and except for tools like the Bushes, it’s made up of smart people. Why in hell would anyone want to join such a society in the first place, you too John Kerry, unless they felt an overwhelming sense of entitlement or overwhelming need to fit it. I laughed at the frat boys when I went to college, the idea of me demeaning myself by pledging was abhorrent. However, I had good friends that were Frat boys and I even enjoyed spending some weekends as a guest, in an Animal House like atmosphere.
    Skull N’ Bones is a horse of a different color and to me, pre-judgment or no, I am suspect of anyone who’d be a member.

  4. Can’t wait for the discovery phase, if it gets that far. Would be fun and interesting!

  5. i hope they give them back. i know a man whose mom is apache and he was raised on a rez.(his word) he’s a few years older than i am(a vietnam vet) and he really would like them returned. we have spoken about this a few times over the past years.
    it is a huge insult.

    think about it. would any of you want someone of your family or someone important to your history having their skull used by some club??

  6. Why is arrogance such a failing? What is the root cause? How do you go through life thinking that because of your upbrining you are somehow fundamentaly better than someone else?

    My theory is that humans just naturaly need to feel superior to someone so arrogance is in the same vein as racism. Dressed up a little bit.

  7. I hope there is a curse to be honest. It’d be nice to think Geronimo got some satisfaction from the grave, but in the end, the curse of organizations like S&B is self-inflicted. It’s the curse of arrogance.

  8. give back the bones. Maybe that is why Bush screwed up so badly Geronimo put a curse on him. Thank God for an explanation that is other worldly, now I dont have to go through life thinking he was an arrogant prick. I feel much better now.

    Too many Yalies in positions of power. How about some presidents from Ohio State University or Kansas State.

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