Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Naiche

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Choto Naiche at Fort Sill, 1912
(3655, W. P. Campbell Collection, OHS).

NAICHE (ca. 1857–1919).

Naiche (Nachi, Nache, Natchez, meaning "mischief maker" or "meddlesome one") was the last hereditary leader of the Chiricahua Apache. As a young man, Naiche, a son of Cochise, led many Apache raids in Arizona. He became chief after his older brother, Taza, died in 1876.

During 1880, opposing relocation to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, Naiche entered Mexico with Geronimo's band. While living in the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Chiricahua attacked Mexican and American settlements. Although Naiche was the chief, he submitted to the leadership of his elder, Geronimo, during these forays. The U.S. Army pursued the Chiricahua until Naiche surrendered to Gen. George Crook in 1883.

The Apaches were assigned to the San Carlos Reservation. In 1885, however, Naiche and Geronimo escaped with some one hundred supporters. During September 1886 Apache scouts aiding the U.S. Army forced the Chiricahua to capitulate in northern Mexico. Soon after, Naiche and his followers were imprisoned at Fort Marion, Florida, then moved to Alabama's Mt. Vernon Barracks.

Apache requests to return to Arizona were denied. Invited by Kiowa and Comanche leaders to share their reservation, Naiche and approximately 295 other Apaches relocated at Fort Sill in October 1894. Naiche stayed in Oklahoma until 1913, and then he returned to the Southwest and lived out his life on the Mescalero Reservation near Ruidoso, New Mexico. He died at Mescalero, New Mexico, on March 16, 1919.

Bruce E. Johansen


Ruth M. Boyer, Apache Mothers and Daughters (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).

Angie Debo, Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976).

Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People, from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller (New York: Henry Holt, 1997).

Dan L. Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Vol. 2 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991).

Browse By Topic

American Indians


American Indian


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bruce E. Johansen, “Naiche,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=NA003.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.