History & Culture

Explore the stories of people who have called Chiricahua home over the years.

Hand-tinted photograph of wikiup, with adults and children standing outside or sitting inside.

Chiricahua Apache Before 1861

The Chiricahua Apache lived in the Southwest for hundreds of years and clashed with Mexican and American governments.

Photograph of sotols, distant green mountain ranges, and a small road.

The Apache Wars: Cochise

Apache Pass was the site of many conflicts between the Chiricahua Apache, especially Chief Cochise, and the US government.

Sepia-toned photograph of one man on a horse, and a line of warriors on foot.

The Apache Wars: Geronimo

Geronimo played a crucial role in the Apache Wars, despite not being a chief.

Sepia-toned photograph of seated man wearing a jacket, with hair cropped above his shoulder.

After the Apache Wars

After the Chiricahua Apache surrendered, they were considered prisoners-of-war and sent to Florida, and later Oklahoma.

The Chiricahua Apache are Native Americans who once moved about the American Southwest "like the wind." As the United States began to settle the region in the 19th century, the two sides waged the longest war on American soil.
Old wooden fence in field with grass, bordered by trees, and a rocky hill in the background.

Early Pioneers of Bonita Canyon

Discover a few of the early pioneers who first settled in and around what is now Chiricahua National Monument.

Log cabin in grassy field in front of large rocky hill.

The Stafford Family

The Stafford family homesteaded Bonita Canyon from 1880 to 1918.

Stone monument in a field behind a fence.

Garfield Monument and Henry Flipper

Discover the relationship between the Buffalo Soldiers who built a monument to President Garfield and 2nd Lieutenant Henry Flipper.

Mounted Buffalo Soldiers (10th Cavalry, Troop M) charging.

History of the 10th Cavalry

Learn about African American soldiers (Buffalo Soldiers) in the 10th Cavalry.

Old pair of brown, tall riding boots against a gray background.

Roster of Individual Soldiers

Uncover the lives of soldiers who were stationed in Bonita Canyon in 1885-1886 during the Geronimo Campaign.

Black and white photograph of field and trees in front of tall hills with rock pinnacles.

Camp Bonita and the Geronimo Campaign

Unearth the connection between Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Camp Bonita and the larger Geronimo Campaign.


While Buffalo Soldiers are usually associated with western expansion in the United States, their role in southeast Arizona is often overlooked. Buffalo Soldiers stationed in Arizona played an important role in ending the “Indian Wars” by eventually capturing Chief Mangus, who surrendered a month after the more famous Geronimo and Chief Naiche, in October of 1886.

Often people feel uncomfortable discussing skin color in modern times. During the 1860s to 1900s, Buffalo Soldiers usually called themselves “colored,” but the National Park Service prefers to say African American or black.


Last updated: August 19, 2018

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12856 E Rhyolite Creek Rd
Willcox, AZ 85643


(520) 824-3560

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