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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Mohawk Grandmother, Betty Brant - A Wisdom Keeper
by Danny Beaton, Mohawk - News From Indian Country -

Her name is Katsitsiase or Betty Brant.

I know her as Ista in Mohawk, that is Mother and she is such a wisdom keeper. Ista lost her partner/husband this past year and I lost my partner two years ago so it brought us closer I think! But the love that we both had and lived help us both in so many ways and that love grows in both of us for life, Creation, Mother Earth and our people all peoples!

So when my friend Rick asked me for a story about one of our elders in Ontario my mind went to the Brant family.

In Tyendinaga the Mohawk community gathered at the sacred fire at the Brant home last year during July, the Fire Keepers there were tending the Sacred Fire at their home for ten days for Jacks Sacred journey to the Spirit World. We all offered our condolences and I heard later that Tom Porter our Mohawk Spiritual Leader had conducted the Sacred Ceremonies for Jack/John Hill’s funeral for his Sacred Journey.

Katsitsiase Speaks Out For Life

Since the passing of my partner, I look at life quite a bit different, you know I go out and sit on the deck and I look at all the plants and the trees and everything in the yard and I think about him because he was a part of it all, he helped me plant all these trees and take care of everything so he’s always present in my memory and my thoughts but at the same time not so much that, I can see the beauty, I can see beyond my loneliness or my pain.

I just feel so grateful that we had the time we did together. So our home and our yard is a reinforcement of his presence here but now as time goes on I see new life it’s a new life it’s a new chapter in my life. I am not anxious to get on with it, I am very content where I am, if anything this has made me more excepting of anything that comes along Even the hard time and the pain of losing Jack.

Whatever, no matter what happens I will be able to stay connected to this natural world until it’s time for me to leave, because I feel I have been through one of the hardest pains that humans go through by loosing someone they really love. But I realize there are so many people that truly care about you and love you for who you really are. People are always there to help you and support you in any way they can so life is still beautiful here and we need to, or for me I need to embrace every moment of every day because I don’t know when I will be leaving this world and I love it here, especially the environment that my partner and I have created.

He has come to visit me a few times because our daughter was having an operation and I was thinking I have to get up at four o’clock - will I get up, because I never use an alarm clock so I said to my daughter please call me and wake me up that morning but you know she did not have to call me because my partner came and knocked on the wall three times.

I knew he was there to wake me up and I knew it was him and it was time for me to get up to be with my daughter. So he’s still taking care of us the family. I don’t have any fear as I am so contented with everything and I am just so grateful, truly grateful to the spirit guides I have.

I know who they are, I acknowledge them and praise them for the gifts that they bring... the protection... everything because they are as real as any human being that would stand before me.

I give thanks to our Great Creator for being able to be here, what a wonderful gift, no matter what one goes through in life it really builds who you are. We wanted to come here, we were granted that wish to come here. We weren’t promised that life would be easy or we were not promised anything except we came in this world and were able to breathe the air and be in the water that protected us in our mother’s womb.

That’s the beginning of the gifts that we were given, when we come, we come in this world we need to acknowledge that and be grateful for those spirits that helped us because the water has a spirit and that spirit of the water helps us protects us then when it’s time to come here that water comes forward and falls on Mother Earth and Mother Earth takes care of that.

It’s not hard to be grateful everyday, its very simple, life is very simple, we make it complicated for ourselves. For me, I understand those things and the gifts of Creation so life is beautiful.

I am excited about life and I want to do the things I came here to do. A few weeks ago it came to me after my partner crossed over to the other side, my slate was being cleaned so I could move forward and do the work that I said I would do years ago when my daughter was so sick, I made a commitment to our Great Creator and Creation and Future Generations to do my part to take care of the natural world so that the generations coming will be able to enjoy the things that I have been able to enjoy in my life.

It isn’t hard to be happy and be grateful every day now I am on a new path and new chapter in my life and I am excited about it. I started writing a book, the spirit visited me a couple of times now and it’s been on hold since my partner passed away but now I am ready to move forward with it because the spirit said my book will be finished in eight months.

My life will change again once my book is finished greatly. I don’t know what it all means but I am ready to embrace whatever comes along. Because I know I have nothing to fear because those spirit guides are with me every day little things happen that reassure me every day that they are there so I am excited about life.

I get sad when I see people that are disconnected and don’t understand because life would be so fulfilling for them if they could see everything has a purpose here, plant life, the air, water insects and animals but to be really grateful to life it’s hard to see the positive side when your hurt but there is a positive side.

Our pain is teaching us a lesson that makes me sad because people can’t see life in so many ways, so life is suffering in many ways. If we never suffered how would we teach anybody when they are suffering? How could we comfort someone if we didn’t suffer?

When you have to go through pain and suffering it comes from the heart when you have to share that with someone else because you have lived it and experienced that. So we enrich each other that way.

That’s what I understand about my life and the things that happened to me. Even though something is happening with someone else what they are going through but when they share it, it’s a great gift to you to be able to experience what comes through their pain and suffering.

There is no greater gift than that of suffering from someone. You look at the trees and plant life now they suffer because this summer is so hot and dry there is no rain. The plant life would love a drink of water but there’s none for them. They too are suffering if we look at life that way, our own personal suffering wouldn’t be so heavy on us humans and we would be able to embrace it in a good way.

Thank you for listening.
I was born October 13th, 1949 in New York State, we moved to Tyendinaga when I was three and my name is Katsitsiase which means flower opening or what the flower is doing is blossoming like a new flower opening up in the world.

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