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Geronimo Descendant Asks For Apology

Calling it "a grievous insult," a great grandson of Apache Chief Geronimo today asked President Obama or Defense Secretary Robert Gates to apologize for the military's use of the codename Geronimo during the raid that ended with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's death.

Harlyn Geronimo, an Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, also asked in a statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that "this use of the name Geronimo" be expunged "from all the records of the U.S. government ... leaving only for history the fact this insult to Native Americans occurred in all its pity."

The committee is this afternoon holding a previously scheduled hearing on "the impact of racist stereotypes on indigenous people." As we reported Wednesday, the hearing is also addressing the anger among many Native Americans about the use of Geronimo's name during the mission to get bin Laden. They believe it equated the Apache chief with one of history's most-hated men.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.