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Chiricahua Chokonen N'de Chief Naiche
Naiche's painting

Chief Naiche (ca. 1857-1919) was the final hereditary chief of the Chiricahua band of Apache Indians.[1]


Naiche, name which in English means "meddlesome one" or "mischief maker", is alternately spelled Nache, Nachi, or Natchez.[1] He was the youngest son of Cochise and his wife Dos-teh-seh (Dos-tes-ey, - “Something-at-the-campfire-already-cooked”, b. 1838), His older brother was Tah-zay aka Chief Taza.[2] Naiche was a tall, handsome man with a dignified bearing that reflected the Apache equivalent of a royal bloodline as the son of Cochise (leader of the Chihuicahui local group of the Chokonen and principal chief of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache) and Dos-teh-seh, daughter of the great Warm Spring/Mimbreño Chief Mangas Coloradas.


In 1880, Naiche traveled to Mexico with Geronimo's band, to avoid forced relocation to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. They surrendered in 1883 but escaped the reservation in 1885, back into Mexico. They were captured in 1886, and Naiche and others were imprisoned in Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida.[1]

Upon the death of his father Cochise, Naiche's brother Taza became the chief; however, Taza died only two years later, and the office went to Naiche. In the 1880s, Naiche and Geronimo successfully went to war together.[2]

Naiche and other Apaches requested to return to Arizona, while still imprisoned in Fort Marion. The US did not allow their return, but Kiowa and Comanche tribes offered to share their reservations in southwestern Oklahoma with the Chiricahua, so Naiche and 295 members of his band moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma,[1] where they became the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. In 1913, Naiche moved to the Mescalero Indian Reservation in New Mexico.[1]

Naiche had the reputation of being the finest Indian artist of that period. He painted his pictures on deer skin in color. His subjects were flowers, deer, other wild animals, turkey, and various objects of nature, as he saw them. He also carved canes from wood and painted them in different colors.


Naiche died on March 16, 1919 in Mescalero, New Mexico.[1]

In fiction[edit]

Naiche is one of the central characters in the novel Cry of Eagles by William W. Johnstone. The story features Naiche leading a renegade band of Apache in open warfare against white settlers and miners as they attempt to join Geronimo in Mexico. In the final chapter Naiche is killed by the books protagonist, Falcon MacCallister.[3] Naiche is played by Rex Reason in Douglas Sirk's film Taza, Son of Cochise.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Johansen, Bruce E. "Naiche (ca. 1857—1919)." Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (retrieved 25 Sept 2011)
  2. ^ a b Chief Naiche
  3. ^ William W. Johnstone Cry of Eagles. Published October 1999, Pinnacle Books/Kennsington Publishing Corp.