I Fought with Geronimo
Jason Betzinez with Wilbur Sturtevant Nye
Stackpole Company, 1959
“Every one of us replied to Geronimo that we wanted to go back right away. We believed what he told us.”
The start of the second half of this book is very interesting, and still includes many disputes, but everyone seems to always listen to Geronimo. To start off, Jason explains their territory as having a grass fire. The fire grows and grows until it almost gets to him, but he gets out of the area with his horse just in time. After the fire, they go to a canyon where they set up two teams to stop oncoming Mexicans: one to directly target them in their attack and another group on the hills to roll boulders down on them as they approach. The Indians win the battle, but do not excessively celebrate. They lose two men and when they lose any men in general, they don’t find the issue to be totally a victory.
After their dispute with the Mexicans, the Indians go on a raid to Chihuahua to take Mexican prisoners for trade and for hostages. They take some men, but end up mainly taking Mexican women. These people, as well as many Indians, go to the plains to get one hundred cattle. Once they get these cattle back to their camp, they butcher and eat them instantly. When they get back, Geronimo informs the Indians gone that those who were left at camp are taken by U.S. troops led by General Crook; everyone continues to do what they’re told and listen to this statement with truth, just because Geronimo said it. General Crook was led to their camp by an Indian everyone calls “Peaches.” Geronimo and another leader go down the canyon to scope out what is going on. General Crook greets them warmly, and Geronimo goes back to get the rest of the Indians to meet the U.S. officials. After meeting General Crook, many Indians are happy in the aspect that they don’t have to worry anymore about who’s in charge and battles; they also have help if needed when fighting the Mexicans. Many Indians that are not at the scene disagree with General Crook being so close, but Peaches persuades them to be okay with the situation.
One of the first things General Crook does is sends the Mexican women back to where they came from. The Indians end up settling with this decision, even though they don’t necessarily agree. Then, they head North with Peaches and General Crook leading the way. They encounter the Mexicans and other roadblocks, but are able to get through them.
Their next destinations are San Carlos and the Fort Apache reservation. At these locations, General Crook reminds them to stay busy doing duties for each other such as continuing to plant crops. Geronimo and his men try converting themselves from Indians to farmers. While at the reservation, Geronimo sends two women to Mexico to tell authorities he wants to have a meeting, which is a great example of doing what their leader says. Geronimo then meets with General Crook and disagrees with him; The general wants to make peace with the Mexicans, but Geronimo doesn't want this because the Mexicans have only given them harm. The Mexicans end up coming, but Geronimo tells them they are too late. He then escapes with his men until he hears gunshots from drunk Indians and has to return; he thinks a fight had broken out, but that’s not the case. General Crook then asks to step down, and General Miles replaces him.
During this time, Jason begins applying to places for work. He spends nine years in Carlisle Indian Industrial School and works in Darlington, Oklahoma, for eighteen months. After working in Oklahoma, Jason works at the Pennsylvania Steel Company, then ends up moving back near Fort Sill. Jason starts showing authority; an example is when General Miles shows back up and ends up getting drunk, gambling, and dancing excessively, he kicks him out. Geronimo then goes back to Florida and meets with his family. Geronimo dies two years later due to issues such as drinking problems, but ends his life as being a great leader that all Indians worshipped and listened to. Jason gets married to Miss Heersma. She becomes ill shortly after marriage, and Jason gets in a car accident. They both end up in the hospital for over three months, but then are released. Jason’s wife remains severely sick, but Jason is feeling great. He sells some of his land to the city of Lawton, and is doing great now in his eighties.This book was an excellent book and it definitely kept me on my toes from beginning to end. The endless disputes and roadblocks that Jason and Geronimo have are very interesting. I am amazed that they’re able to fight through all their issues, and in the end, they prove to all listen to Geronimo. Geronimo ends his life as a successful leader, and Jason is happy with his at the end of the book. This book gave me a great outlook to life: Life is full of positives and negatives, but no matter what, instincts should be trusted and follow your leader. Whether it is an important figure such as Geronimo or one such as a parent, respect and trust should be shown. They give much more than life: They give respect, responsibility, and love.