Medicine Song

"The song that I will sing is an old song, so old that none knows who made it. It has been handed down through generations and was taught to me when I was but a little lad. It is now my own song. It belongs to me. This is a holy song (medicine-song), and great is its power. The song tells how, as I sing, I go through the air to a holy place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will give me power to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by little clouds, and as I go through the air I change, becoming spirit only."


Goyathlay ("one who yawns")

Quotes from Geronimo

"I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.

The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme against each other.

I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.

When a child, my mother taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom and protection. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us... and to Usen.

I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures."

Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest, he became the most famous Apache, and one of the most famous Native Americans of all.

According to legends, Geronimo is said to have had magical powers. It was said he could see into the future and walk without creating footprints. This Apache Indian warrior and his band of 37 followers defied federal authority for more than 25 years.

Geronimo's final surrender in 1886 was the end of the last significant Indian guerrilla action in the United States. At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children. Upon their surrender, Geronimo and over 300 of his fellow Chiricahuas were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida. One year later many of them were relocated to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama, where about one quarter died from tuberculosis and other diseases. Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland. He was buried in the Apache cemetery at: Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Geronimo {jur-ahn'-i-moh}, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache (grandson of Mahko) by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. His wife, Juh, Geronimo's cousin Ishton, and Asa Daklugie were members of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apache.

He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers, although few agree as to why. As leader of the Apaches at Arispe in Sonora, he performed such daring feats that the Mexicans singled him out with the sobriquet Geronimo (Spanish for "Jerome"). Some attributed his numerous raiding successes to powers conferred by supernatural beings, including a reputed invulnerability to bullets.

One of the most pivotal moments in Geronimo's life was in 1850 when he returned home from a trading excursion into Mexico.

In the summer of 1850, Geronimo accompanied his tribe to go on a trading expedition with the people of Janos. While Geronimo and some of the other warriors traded with the people of Janos, their lightly guarded camp was attacked by Mexican soldiers from Casas Grandes. Around 50 were killed and about 100 were sold into slavery. Among the dead was Geronimo's wife, Alope, his three children, and his mother.

That night, Geronimo attended a war council. At nightfall the apaches began to gather at the appointed meeting place. As Geronimo told it:

"Silently we stole in one by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were among the slain. There were no lights in camp, so without being noticed I silently turned away and stood by the river. How long I stood there I do not know, but when I saw the warriors arranging for a council I took my place. Since we were surrounded by Mexicans far inside their own territory, we could not hope to fight successfully. So our chief, Mangas Coloradas gave the order to start at once in perfect silence for our homes, leaving the dead upon the field. I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would do....I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of the feet of the retreating."

It was after this event Geronimo began his famous guerrilla actions. Soon after this tragic event he also received his power, which came to him in visions. Geronimo was never a chief, but a medicine man, a seer and a spiritual and practical leader both in and out of battle. The Apache chiefs depended on his wisdom.

One bizarre chapter of the Geronimo story involves the current presidential election in America. President George W. Bush, Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry (as well as many other powerful people in America) are both members of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones. One of the bizarre things attributed to Skull and Bones, a far-reaching brotherhood of power, is the defilement of the remains of Geronimo. As the story goes, the unearthing of Geronimo’s remains by former Skull & Bones member, the Grandfather of the current president.... Prescott Bush, is recorded in a Skull and Bones log entry provided to San Carlos Apaches. Supposedly the skull of Geronimo is on display inside the highly secretive Skull & Bones building on the Yale campus.


MP3 sample of the melody

(see below) to purchase a notation arrangement
of the Medicine Song, and more music....

Medicine Song Lyrics & Translation
O, ha le
O, ha le!
Shichl hadahiyago niniya
O, ha le
O, ha le
Tsago degi naleya
Ah--yu whi ye!
O, ha le
O, ha le!


O, ha le
O, ha le!
Through the air
I fly upon the air
Towards the sky, far, far, far,
O, ha le
O, ha le!
There to find the holy place,
Ah, now the change comes o're me!
O, ha le
O, ha le!

Music Notation

Music collector Natalie Curtis transcribed 2 of Geronimo's songs, his Medicine Song and another known to have been sung by Geronimo.

We have prepared PDF files with basic arrangements of these 2 songs, with guitar chords, a simple keyboard and drum accompaniment.
The Medicine Song arrangement contains the lyrics, in both an English translation and the original Apache words.
The Song Sung by Geronimo is an instrumental arrangement.

These basic arrangements can be used to create your own version of these historic songs.

We have also included a PDF file of a scan of a sheet music arrangement for voice and piano of Geronimo's Medicine Song, prepared by Carlos Troyer, an American composer who was known to work with Native American music. This includes his piano and voice arrangement, with both the Apache words, and the translation into English with the help of an Apache "Chief Eagle Eye", who knew Geronimo.

Also included are MIDI files of the two songs by Geronimo
(note - MIDI files sound different on each system, depending upon your software and sound card. MIDI files are not full audio files. But MIDI files can be opened in various music notation programs if you would like to work with the notation for these songs)

The above PDFs and MIDI files are downloaded as a "zip" file... zip files can be easily extracted on almost all systems.

MP3 Arrangement of Geronimo's Medicine Song

MP3 Arrangement of the Song Sung By Geronimo

Price - $4.00

After your payment is processed you will quickly be sent by email the download link


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