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Skull and Bones: Geronimo's

Geronimo’s Heirs Sue Secret Yale Society Over His Skull

Published: February 19, 2009
The New York Times

HOUSTON — The descendants of Geronimo have sued Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University with ties to the Bush family, charging that its members robbed his grave in 1918 and have kept his skull in a glass case ever since.

Agence France-Press/Getty Images

A National Archives image of Geronimo taken in 1887.

Legend has it that Prescott S. Bush stole Geronimo’s skull.

The claim is part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death. The Apache warrior’s heirs are seeking to recover all his remains, wherever they may be, and have them transferred to a new grave at the headwaters of the Gila River in New Mexico, where Geronimo was born and wished to be interred.

“I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released,” Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimo, 61, told reporters Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott S. Bush — father of President George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush — broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group’s clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.

More at New York Times

February 20th, 2009


Comment #1 by Super Amanda on February 25, 2009 - 8:08pm

There is no excuse for this at all, it's a violation of his family's freedom of religion.

Speaking of Native Americans, guess which quotes were "missing" from John Wayne's wikipedia page until I came along:

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them if that's what you're asking. Our so called stealing of this country was just a question of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.... I'm quite sure that the concept of a Government-run reservation... seems to be what the socialists are working for now -- to have everyone cared for from cradle to grave.... But you can't whine and bellyache 'cause somebody else got a break and you didn't, like those Indians are. We'll all be on a reservation soon if the socialists keep subsidizing groups like them with our tax money."

Playboy Magazine Volume 18, issue #5 "John Wayne:The Playboy Interview", Richard Warren Lewis pg 78, May 1971


"I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.... The academic community has developed certain tests that determine whether the blacks are sufficiently equipped scholastically.... I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or ten generations ago these people were slaves. Now I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and can't play football like the rest of us."

Playboy Magazine Volume 18, issue #5 "John Wayne:The Playboy Interview", Richard Warren Lewis pg 78, May 1971

And who is the 'American Icon?" Geronimo? Paul Robeson? no. Wayne

Get out the Public Enemy cassettes everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment #2 by rebecca on February 25, 2009 - 8:49pm
OMG. Thanks for posting.
Comment #3 by Andrea on February 25, 2009 - 9:16pm

I wanted to cry when I saw that these comments were made in my lifetime by John Wayne, a legend, an actor and public figure held in such high regard not only in America but also in the very cultures that he denigrated so loudly and publicly. In Caribbean, he was a very popular "matinee" idol. I never much cared for Westerns. Gimme a Paul Newman or a Marlon Brando anytime.

Comment #4 by Super Amanda on February 26, 2009 - 6:36am

Oh Newman , Redford and Brando! I always point out that Newman was as anti-Vietnam war as Jane Fonda was but nooooo, the Fonda haters perennially see a woman who was supposed to shut up. And they are still picketing her as I write this, despite her apologies while John Wayne the racist red white and blue icon dodged military service.

I don't usually intend to be the harbinger of pop cultural dirty laundry... my hero Paul Robeson was nearly destroyed for his beliefs that human beings all have the right to race pride and a richer better life without white supremacy. He was largely destroyed by people like Wayne who violated the civil rights of fellow Hollywood people like Carl Foreman, getting them blacklisted. The excuses on the discussion page for Wayne's article are like the Twilight Zone none of his fans want to face it.

Geronimo , Ira Hayes, Ishi and so many others are all after thoughts in the national media, compared to someone like Wayne because of being a screen legend. But hey, Abbie Hoffman said it best. In trying to properly wrap up the iconic film image of Wayne that so many of get drawn into and manipulated by (John Ford helped) with those awful John Birch politics, Abbie :

"I like Wayne's wholeness, his style. As for his politics, well—I suppose even cavemen felt a little admiration for the dinosaurs that were trying to gobble them up."

Comment #5 by Spunky Jones on May 27, 2010 - 9:06am

There was so much that was taken from the Indian nation. Furthermore, to here about someone actually robbing Geronimo's grave, makes me sick. It would be nice if people could respect each other no matter what color of skin you have.

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Comment #7 by Authorhouse on February 28, 2012 - 12:28am

This is quite a story. A bit creepy though.

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