American Indians Angry Over Use of ‘Geronimo’

Code name of bin Laden operation rankles Native Americans
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2011 3:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – “Geronimo EKIA.” That code phrase, short for Geronimo, Enemy Killed in Action, led to jubilation in America because it meant that Osama bin Laden was dead. But not everybody liked the choice of the raid's code name. “I was celebrating that we had gotten this guy and feeling so much a part of America, and then this 'Geronima EKIA' thing comes up," a former Marine and member of the Creek/Cherokee Nations tells the Washington Post. "Why pick on us?"

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A member of an American Indian advocacy group agrees. “It’s how deeply embedded the ‘Indian as enemy’ is in the collective mind of America,” she says. “To this day, when soldiers are going into enemy territory, it’s common for it to be called ‘Indian country.’ ” Geronimo, too, eluded US capture for a decade, but to equate him with the al-Qaeda leader is an insult, adds a lawyer and Cherokee member. “No one would find acceptable calling this arch-terrorist by code name Man­dela, Revere or Ben-Gurion. An extraordinary Native leader and American hero deserves no less.” Click for a similar take. (Read more Osama bin Laden dead stories.)

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