Geronimo (Goyathlay), a Chiricahua Apache, kneels with rifle in this 1887 photograph taken by Ben Wittick.
The battle between descendants of Geronimo, Yale University and a secret society over who has the famous Apache warrior’s bones is over, at least for now.
Apache’s descendants claimed that a Yale University Skull and Bones, an elusive secret society, stole some of Geronimo’s remains from a burial plot at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1918. Last year, 20 of them filed a suit in Washington, D.C. and a federal judge has dismissed it.
It is rumored that Prescott Bush -- father of George H.W. Bush and grandfather to George W. Bush -- was involved in taking the remains from Geronimo’s grave and bringing them back to their society in New Haven, a claim that has been disputed for some time.
In the lawsuit, the family named President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren as defendants because Geronimo’s remains are the property of the federal government.
Geronimo died in 1909 and his descendants want to rebury him near his New Mexico birthplace.
Judge Richard Roberts last month granted a Justice Department motion to dismiss, saying the plaintiffs failed to establish that the government had waived its right not to be sued without its consent.
He also dismissed the lawsuit against Yale and the society, saying the plaintiffs cited a law that only applies to Native American cultural items excavated or discovered after 1990.