Naiche was born into the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apaches, the youngest son of the great chief Cochise. After the sudden death of his older brother Taza in 1876, he became the last chief of the free Chiricahuas. Initially he was peaceful and co-operative with whites, leading the Chiricahuas into surrender to Gen. Oliver O. Howard in 1876. After the surrender the band was moved north to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona.
In the summer of 1881 news came of the first Ghost Dance where Cochise and the spirits of other chiefs would soon return. That summer at Cibecue in Arizona, a number of solders and an Apache medicine man were murdered. Troops came pouring in and Naiche and his followers fled the reservation.
Naiche and his people surrendered to General Crook after being traced to their hideaway in the Sierra Madres. They returned to San Carlos and were later moved to Turkey Creek (Arizona). The army tried to force the Apaches to be farmers, and straining under the restrictions Naiche, Geronimo, Nanay and their followers fled again. For 10 months in 1885 the band raided on both sides of the Mexican border.
After meeting once again with General Crook, Naiche and Geronimo left the camp by the next morning, refusing to negotiate. The U.S. government replaced Crook with Gen. Nelson A Miles. Taking only scouts, Miles followed the Apaches and finally set a meeting. Naiche and Geronimo agreed to one last surrender.
In 1886 the Apaches were sent first to Florida, then Alabama and finally to Ft. Sill, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Even after Naiche’s family built a house and he became a government scout, attempts were made to seize his land. Finally after an appeal he was allotted land in the Mescalero Reservation in central New Mexico. He moved in 1913 and lived there the rest of his life.