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“…Strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.”
Lozen was born into the Warm Springs Apache band during the late 1840s - times of great uncertainty and bloodshed. For decades, the resourceful Apache warriors had frustrated and defied the entire might of the US army. But the threat to Apache survival also came from the Mexican cavalry and bounty hunters who were intent on obliterating the Apache tribes. These bounty hunters were paid handsomely for every Apache scalp they brought to the Mexican government - man, woman, or child. In fact, any black hair and scalp was accepted as proof, so profiteering ‘backyard barbers’ wiped out entire villages of peaceful Indians.
The Apache were born warriors - the fiercest of all the tribes. No other tribe could match them for their tracking and fighting skills. They used speed, stealth, surprise, and even the land itself as weapons. They also had one distinct advantage over the ‘White Eyes’ (white settlers) - knowing where water was. In the knowledge that good water existed underground in even the most inhospitable locations, they could pollute the obvious water sources if pursued. In this way, the Apache killed many of their enemies.
Lozen was the younger sister of the famous Victorio – a fearless warrior and leader, who often sought peace, despite the provocation and deception of the US army. Victorio’s fighting prestige was due in part to his ability to know from which direction the Mexican and US armies were approaching. His ambushes were so well planned; it was as though he had eyes everywhere. But, according to accounts left by the Warm Springs Apache, his secret weapon was his sister, Lozen. In fact, he is quoted as saying: “Lozen is my right hand”.
Victorio was elected Chief of the Warm Springs Apache and went to war against the US cavalry. Legend has it that Lozen was able to use her powers in battle to predict the movements of the enemy and that she helped each band she accompanied to successfully avoid capture. Lozen was a multi-talented woman: not only was she a prophet and a skillful warrior, but a healer and midwife too.
In 1872, the US government began its policy of detaining all Apache tribes together at San Carlos. Time and time again, Victorio and his sister Lozen sought peace in return for their right to go back and live undisturbed at Ojo Caliente. Finally, they made their escape. With the US Cavalry determined to hunt them down, Lozen insisted on stopping to help one of the Apache women who had gone into labour. Meanwhile, Victorio was killed, along with the 400 men in his tribe.
After Victorio’s death, Lozen continued to ride with Chief Nana and eventually joined forces with Geronimo’s band, eluding capture until she finally surrendered with the last free group of Apaches in 1886. At the age of 50, Lozen died of tuberculosis in the Mount Vernon Barracks in Mobile, Alabama. Today, Lozen is remembered for her acts of bravery and her clairvoyant ability to guide her people away from danger, as they fled the settler armies in Arizona and into Mexico.