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In the final year of his life Allan Houser would refine and complete his vision for the work Unconquered. Created first twenty-one inches high in clay for a bronze edition, he utilized the powerful image often seen in historic photographs of two armed Chiricahua warriors proud and fearless as they face their enemies. In the final months of his life, Houser enlarged the form to nearly ten feet in height for the casting of a monumental bronze. Allan Houser passed away on August 22, 1994. He had completed the full-scale clay model of the sculpture, and the molding and casting of the large version were just beginning. Although he never felt the bronze of the finished casting, his vision lives into posterity. To Houser, Unconquered symbolized not only Apache history but that of all American Indian people. Today, Allan Houser is internationally recognized as one of the preeminent American Indian artists.

Allan Houser

In late 1993 Allan Houser conceived a monument for the Apache nation symbolizing their history, pride, and survival. The Apache were among the last tribes to be confined to reservations. Some refused to live on the government assigned lands. Among the last holdouts was a group of Chiricahua tribe members led by Geronimo. In retribution 1,200 Chiricahua Apache were sent to Florida prisons in 1886, then moved to a camp in southern Alabama in 1888. A number of the children and adolescents were forced to the Carlisle boarding school in Pennsylvania where many died.

Those adults and other children who remained imprisoned in Florida and Alabama also suffered a high death rate, with nearly half perishing between 1886 and 1890. In the early 1800s, the US Government designated the area now known as Oklahoma to be Indian Territory. In the 1820s the government began the relocation of sixty-seven tribes from throughout North America to Indian Territory. In 1890 a decision was made to move the remaining Chiricahua survivors to Fort Sill in west-central Oklahoma. They remained in confinement there for another twenty-three years, finally being released in 1913.

Having lived through the twenty-seven years of confinement, Allan Houser’s father, Sam Haozous, was among a small group who chose to remain in Oklahoma rather than resettle in southeastern New Mexico. Allan Capron Haozous, who would become known to the world as Allan Houser, was born on the family farm June 30, 1914.