It is quite easy to find a Spaniard or a Mexican who, if you ask who Geronimo is, does not know how to answer something. This regardless of their cultural level or that they have higher education. At a minimum you will know that he's an Indian who comes out in the cowboy movies. Or something like that. But it will be very difficult to run into someone in one or another country who knows Geronimo spoke Spanish and who knows about the true history of this Apache and the Bendokes, his tribe; of Cochise and the chiricaguas, of Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, Pósito Moragas, Irigoyen, Ponce … All of them Indian chiefs in the Apache wars against the United States, one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of this country in its conquest of the West. Although in reality the Apache insurrection had begun before, after the independence of Mexico. It seems that during the viceroyal period there were no notable conflicts and that the Apaches lived reasonably integrated within the empire.
For the reader to locate himself, it is necessary for him to know that more than a third of what is now the United States was at some point in his history part of the Spanish empire. U.S occupied in 1848 52% of the Mexican territory. We are talking about more than two million square kilometers, that is, the surface of Spain multiplied by four. In that strip there was approximately Apachería, which is what is called the region in which the Apaches settled when they crossed the borders of the Spanish empire in the eighteenth century seeking protection against the ferocious incursions of the Comanches. It's a shame, but the indigenous paradise has never existed except in books. The first document mentioning the existence of the Apaches was written in Taos in 1702. In 1720 an Apache embassy arrives there requesting permission to settle in the territory, permission that is granted by the Spanish governor. A long and difficult process continues to accommodate the Apaches in a region where there were already other peoples who did not feel much sympathy towards them (Silence has a price, E. Roca, Magazine of the West, September 2018).
All this is said to explain that the staging a thousand times repeated in the wéstern according to which the whites advance with their carts from the east, through unexplored territory and inhabited by hostile tribes that have never had contact with the white man, is completely false, because it obviates the existence of the true reality with which the Protestant target He stumbled as he occupied most of the territories: a Hispano-Spanish world where there were towns and Spanish was spoken, among other languages. More or less the same as there was in Arizpe (today, in the Mexican state of Sonora), where Geronimo was born on June 1, 1821. The town was founded by the Jesuit Jerónimo del Canal, so the name was common among the bendokes . Geronimo and his parents were baptized, and recently discovered baptism items are preserved (Apaches, Sierra Madre Ghosts, M. Rojas, 2008). They were sedentary and productive, that is, they did not engage in predatory raids. That came later, when between Mexican and American authorities left them no other option to survive.
Just published in Spain Now I give up and this is all (Anagrama), by the Mexican Álvaro Enrigue. Halfway between the vindication and the homage, Enrigue tries to rescue the life of the Apachería from oblivion, astonished to have discovered a good day that Gerónimo was "more Mexican than the green sauce". The novelist, on the other hand, does not seem to be surprised or wonder why he has reached adulthood without knowing this part of Mexican history, which lies in the deepest oblivion. Not by chance. It limits itself to blaming the Yankees and the Westerner for having offered, popularized and exported a completely false version of reality. And it's true: the Western is a fake, since The diligence (1939) up Django Unchained (2012), passing through Kung Fu. But the reasons why Enrigue and the vast majority of Mexicans know nothing of Geronimo or the true history of the Apachería are not only in the United States. They are also in Mexico itself and have a lot to do with the implacable persecution to which successive Mexican governments subjected these people (see Ignacio Almada Bay and Norma de León Figueroa, The perks for hair. A Tactic in the Fight against the Apaches, 1830-1880, Social Interstices 11, 2016, pages 1-29 -very interesting-) after independence.
The whites who were advancing with carts did not encounter hostile tribes but with a Hispanic-like world
It may seem an exaggeration to consider that the western is part of the black legend, but with it it shares two essential characteristics. First, it falsifies historical reality through literary fiction (cinematographic in this case) and propaganda, and also hides what really happened by operating a gigantic distraction maneuver. Actually, the black legend is that: a distraction maneuver, simple, but tremendously effective. In this sense the western connects with what is happening in California, where they remove the statues to Columbus and destroy those of Fray Junípero Serra, a distraction maneuver WASP (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, for its acronym in English) to cover the true responsible for the extermination of native populations, which were neither Columbus or Junipero or the Spanish, as irrefutable evidence research that has just been published at Yale University (An American Genocide, The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe [Un genocidio americano. Los Estados Unidos y la catástrofe india de California], Benjamin Madley, 2016). Madley's work is devastating. The great men whose memory is venerated and taught to respect in schools are the real culprits. The day after joining the Union in California, Colonel John Frémont, one of the parents of the Californian State (has street, squares, schools and even a city that no one will take his name from), presented before the Senate of United States 10 legal projects whose objective was "to transfer vast tracts of Indian Californian land to non-Indians and to the new state Government" and declared there (and thus is recorded in the corresponding journal of sessions): "The Spanish law, clearly and absolute, assured sedentary Indians property rights over the land they occupied. This is beyond what this Government can allow in its relations with our domestic tribes "(page 163).
The real tragedy today is that the Hispanic population buys this damaged commodity. The WASP, increasingly concerned about the Hispanic demographic power that will soon leave them in a minority in the territory (the Trump Wall it will not prevent this), they fabricate it to cover up mischief and to make it fall on others. It is not very different from what happened in other centuries. It has the advantage that, as it is happening live and direct before our eyes, perhaps it helps to understand those who speak Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic how history is falsified. Maybe.