Willowbrook Student Shares Her Own Native American History
Byline: Jean Hockensmith
While teaching an American Indian unit during Advanced Placement U.S. history, Willowbrook High School teacher Kathy Marcyniuk didn't need to search beyond junior Amy Curtis for an interesting way to introduce the subject.
We were studying native Americans and she came up to me and said, 'I have some pictures of my great, great uncle,' and here was this envelop with these beautiful pictures," said Marcyniuk
The photos were of an Apache Indian named Jason Betzinez and his wife, Anna.
Amy Curtis' uncle was born in 1860 as a cousin of Geronimo. When Betzinez was 3, his tribe engaged in warfare with another tribe in his native New Mexico. At age 10, he went with his whole tribe to Mexico and "for the next 15 years he was on the warpath" along side Geronimo, Amy said.
"When my uncle was living this life, it was normal to be on the trail and not have a home," Amy said, sharing the story of her uncle who, upon his death from injuries in a car accident at age 100 in 1960, was "the last Apache Indian warrior to be living from that (Geronimo's) time," Amy said.
What started with photos in a classroom led to Amy having a time slot in the Willowbrook library during the high school's recent International week to share information, newspaper clippings, a slide show and the book that Betzinez penned at age 99, "I Fought with Geronimo."
"When I was younger, I read parts of the book, but I wasn't aware of a lot of it. I was aware of the fact that I had an uncle Jason, but I really didn't know anything, but now I have so much respect for him," Amy said. …