LA Times: Fort Sill Apache tribe says its roots are in New Mexico

By Cindy Carcamo
January 13, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

AKELA FLATS, N.M.  Each year, Emily Haozous joins other Fort Sill Apache tribal members in a mountain spirit dance in Oklahoma.

But the spirits they pay tribute to and invoke for power and protection belong to a mountain more than 600 miles to the west, in the tribe’s ancestral homeland in southwestern New Mexico.

More than a century ago, Apaches with lineage to Geronimo were driven from New Mexico and taken as prisoners of war before eventually being released in Oklahoma. Now, the tribe’s 700-plus members want to return to the yucca-speckled desert town of Akela Flats.

“I feel like New Mexico is our home,” Haozous said. “I feel like the dirt is part of who I am.”

But a battle still lies ahead.

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