Osama operation codename `Geronimo` angers native Americans

As the US celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden, many American Indians have objected to use of `Geronimo`, an Apache leader in the 19th century, as the codename for mission to capture or kill the al Qaeda leader.

Last Updated: May 04, 2011, 16:21 PM IST

Washington: As the US celebrated the
killing of Osama bin Laden, many American Indians have objected to use of `Geronimo`, an Apache leader in the 19th century, as the codename for mission to capture or kill the al
Qaeda leader.

As Bin Laden was felled in a US raid on his compound
in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the military sent a message back to
the White House: "Geronimo EKIA" - enemy killed in action.

Geronimo was an Apache leader in the 19th century who
spent many years fighting the Mexican and US armies until his
surrender in 1886.

Loretta Tuell, staff director and chief counsel for
the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said it was inappropriate
to link Geronimo, whom she called "one of the greatest Native
American heroes," with one of the most hated enemies of the
United States.
"These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and
cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts
to Native and non-Native children are devastating," Tuell
said.

Hurt and puzzled by the choice of `Geronimo` as a
codename, Native Americans used Facebook, websites and Twitter
to express their anger, ABC news reported.

"It`s another attempt to label Native Americans as
terrorists," said Paula Antoine from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe
in South Dakota.

"WTF, da gov`t code named osama bin laden "Geronimo"!
wat kinda (expletive) is that?" is how Cody YoungBear LeClair
of Marshalltown, Iowa, put it on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the White House officials have insisted
that the Geronimo was used as the name only for the mission,
not bin Laden himself.

PTI