circa 1840-1898

Lozen was born into the Chihenne, Warm Springs Apache band, during the 1840’s. She was the sister of Chief Victorio and a she was a skillful warrior, strategist, prophet, and medicine woman. Victorio is quoted as saying, “Lozen is my right hand . . . strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.” She never married knowing early in life that she had no interest in women’s work. At the age of 8 she started physically training, and at her Puberty ritual she was given the power to find enemies.

She began fighting the Mexican soldiers and scalp hunters when she was a child. By time she came of age the Americans arrived in her homeland and she fought in the campaigns to save her people for of the rest of her life. She showed incredible military knowledge and instincts; many believed that the spirits spoke to her and protected her. She fought in more campaigns against the Mexicans and her homeland and tried to confine her tribe to the Arizona San Carlos Reservation, she fought on.

She not only inspired warriors but also the women and children. James Kaywaykla, a child at the time, reported seeing a magnificent woman on a beautiful horse – Lozen, sister of Victorio- Lozen the woman warrior! He remembered she held her rifle high above her head as she lead the frightened women and children a crossed the ragging Rio Grande saving them from the US Military. She then told his grandmother to take charge, and she returned to help the warriors as they battled on.

Another time she left a campaign to escort a mother and her newborn infant across the Chihuahuan Desert. With limited supplies and a rifle she set out through Mexican and US Calvary strong holds. Fearing a gunshot would betray their location, she killed a longhorn with a knife and butchered it for the meat they needed to survive. She also stole two cavalry horses for them to ride, escaping through a hail of bullets. She not only got away with two horses, but also was able to snag a saddle, rifle, ammunition, blanket, canteen and even the soldier’s shirt.

Upon delivering her wards, she learned that her brother had been ambushed by the Mexican and Tarahumara Indian forces on 10/15/81. The Apaches had almost fought to the last man, and Victorio, holding to Apache tradition, fell on his own knife rather than be taken by the Mexicans. Many of the Apache women and elderly were killed in this battle and around one hundred young women and children were taken as slaves.

Knowing that the survivors needed her, she rode out alone. Lozen rejoined the decimated band now being led by the 74- year old patriarch Nana. She fought with this handful of warriors in a two-month campaign of vengeance across New Mexico. Nana said “Though she is a woman there is no warrior more worthy than the sister of Victorio.”

In 1885 in the last campaign of the Apache wars, she joined with Geronimo after he broke out of the San Carlos reservation. It is reported that she used her powers to locate enemies. According to Alexander Adams in his book “Geronimo” she would stand with her arms outstretched, chant a prayer and turn around. She would then feel the location of the enemies, even their number. She was photographed with Geronimo several times, and you would never know that she was a woman. She had no concern for appearance and the ways of women, she not only dressed but lived like a man. Lozen devoted her life to the service of her people. She was the only Apache woman allowed to ride in a war as a warrior without a husband at her side

She had eluded capture until she finally surrendered with Geronimo and this last group of free Apaches in 1886. She died of tuberculosis at the Mount Vernon Barracks in Mobile, Alabama as a prisoner of war. Now that life is bigger than a movie!

I have been celebrating Native American History all month. for other posts and celebrations check out .