I, Kathleen Delores Westcott, celebrate this opportunity to enter into conversation with Kristina Amelong, via the Optimal Health Network, on topics of intergenerational patterning, ancestral ties that are timeless, tender and ferocious, transformation that includes our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.
Kristina and I entered into meeting each other in February 2014, driven by our willingness to deepen in our life's work as healers and in our longing to awaken to Truth through relatedness. Our relationship is reciprocal, committed to speaking the truth, passionately rigorous and delightful! Even alchemical!
We want to share our journey with you as an exploration and as a process of self revelation. In part dialogue, in part memoir, in part unknown!
Therefore, I, Kathleen Delores Westcott, will begin by introducing myself as a list of accomplishments and identifications. These are a foundation, a building block for trust, for personal authority through professional competency, application of multi-dimensional skills, discipline and life-long commitment. Hopefully these details will provide you, our readers, with a small window to what I have been up to in the outer world these past 40 years!
I was born in 1946 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I am of mixed ancestry: Ahnishnabe, French Canadian, Irish and Scotch.
I am enrolled at White Earth Reservation, one of eleven reservations within the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. I a member of the Mississippi Band (White Earth has two bands, the other being Pillager). I am Turtle Clan. My name is Ozhaawaaskubinaisiikwe - Blue Thunder Bird Woman.
I am a mother of two children - a boy first, a girl two years later. I am raising my grandson; my daughter's son. He is 15.
Grandson and I live in the Boreal Forest in Northern Minnesota in a tiny cabin surrounded by a quiet wild movement of the natural world.
I have acquired a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Hamline University, a master's degree in studio arts and psychology as an Art Therapist at University of Wisconsin-Superior. UWS granted that one third of my credits be in working with a tribal elder/medicine man. This became a deepening in participation and comprehension of our seasonal ceremonial cycle - most significantly this sweet elder validated the movement of the Mystery through my own creative and introspective perception. Following graduation, I studied Ayurveda formally for three years with Dr. Vasant Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My professional work as Art Therapist for some 22 years has focused on intergenerational trauma, primarily in the Native Communities, primarily regarding the effect of the boarding school system, primarily with high-risk preteens and teens.
In this context I have taught at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.
I have worked as a trainer with NANACOA, Native American Adult Children of Alcoholics, Native American Headstart of New Mexico and Southern Colorado, and as a therapist with the Santa Fe Indian School, and The Acoma Regional Treatment Center for Native Teens of the Eight Northern Pueblo, Apache and Navaho tribes.
I am a self-taught photographer. After receiving a Rockefeller Grant to photograph the Crow Tribe's Ceremonial Cycle, I have participated in numerous exhibits including Eight Native Minnesota Artists, Lead Them in Traditional Song, Contemporary Native Photography, and Women of Sweetgrass Cedar and Sage. One photograph is now in the permanent collection of the Anandarka Plains Indian Museum.
In collaboration with beloved friends, I have co-authored two book chapters with Dr. Eva Garroutte: one in Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion by Micheal D. McNally; the second in American Indian Religious Traditions, edited by Suzanne J. Crawford. My grandson and I are the subject of a chapter in the book Beloved by Diane Wilson.
A great love and a thread of constancy has been my hand work in fabric bead ribbon and brain tan hides. This provides a constancy of silent space within which to observe the Kind-Hearted Great Mystery, rendering into 3 dimensions of color, texture and shape what cannot be communicated in words. Several of these pieces have been exhibited in the Ojibwe Art Expo, one early photograph received first place.
Thirteen years ago I was injured at work incurring a traumatic brain injury and neck and spinal injuries. Since that day, my work has been limited to teaching about the plant nation at the White Earth Wild Food Gathering Summit two days a year. And, of course, the "non work" of being a single parent, raising Grandson in the fierce grip of collision between six generations of trauma and loss for those that have gone before us and a seventh generation of building a "life lived to the fullest" and for us here now and those that are yet unborn.