The heirs of an Apache chieftain whose remains are rumored to be held inside Yale’s oldest secret society filed a lawsuit today demanding the return of their ancestor’s skull.
Twenty descendants of the legendary Apache chieftain Geronimo are suing government officials, the University and the society Skull & Bones in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to seek the return of his remains as well as punitive damages.
One hundred years ago today, Geronimo died of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Okla., but the suit alleges members of the society exhumed his remains in 1918 or 1919 and transported them to the society’s High Street tomb in New Haven. The group rumored to have stolen Geronimo’s skull, bones and other items from his gravesite is said to have included Prescott Bush, the father of former President George H. W. Bush ’48 and grandfather to former President George W. Bush ’68.
“To assure that all existing remains of Geronimo and funerary objects are recovered by Geronimo’s lineal descendants, the Order of Skull and Bones and Yale University must account for any such articles that are or have been in their possession, or on their property,” the formal complaint states. “And persons with knowledge must provide any facts known to them concerning the claims.”
A representative of the Russell Trust Association, which administers the society, did not return telephone messages on Tuesday.
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