Twenty descendants of Geronimo, the 19th century Apache chief, are suing Yale and its infamous secret society Skull & Bones to demand the return of their ancestor’s skull and punitive damages, the Yale Daily News reports. Because Geronimo’s remains were initially buried on a U.S. military base, several government officials, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, also were named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The suit alleges that members of Skull and Bones exhumed his remains in 1918 or 1919 and transported them to the society’s High Street tomb in New Haven. The group that is rumored to have stolen Geronimo’s skull, bones and other items from his grave site is said to have included Prescott Bush, father of former President George H. W. Bush ’48 and grandfather to former President George W. Bush ’68.
It’s unclear whether the society does in fact have possession of the skull.
Officials from Yale and the Skull & Bones corporate parent said yesterday that they were unaware of the lawsuit. The Yale Daily News did its due diligence, though: “Repeated knocks on the front door of the society’s tomb were not answered Tuesday evening.”