Diane Katsitsawaks Hill A member of the Bear clan of the Mohawk Nation situated at the Six Nations of the Grand River (Haudenosaunee) Territory in Ontario, Diane works as an Integrative Programs Consultant and administrates the R.E.A.L. School (Reality Education & Applied Life skills) Leadership program at: www.getrealschool.com Diane is also the Director, Owner & Operator of a private Healing Lodge & Learning Center entitled Ka’nikonhriyohtshera: Fostering Emergence of the Good Mind. She travels extensively in the delivery of these innovative wellness programs. All programs are situated in the context of an Indigenous worldview and incorporate recent research and discoveries drawn from the quantum sciences. Diane is a dynamic speaker and bridges the Western-Allopathic scientific perspective with the ancient Indigenous-Multi-dimensional approach to wholeness. For more info, please visit her website at: www.dianehill.net or contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This moment occurred when I was watching myself and my mother running around the kitchen table. I think that I was about 5 years old when this moment happened. I was aware that I was watching myself and my mother from the level of the kitchen ceiling. To this day, I can vividly remember and I know that I was looking down on this scene. I could see myself crying and I could see that my mother was chasing me and trying to catch me. I could hear her say, “Stop running! What’s the matter with you?” I ran around the table a couple of times and then ducked underneath the table and as my mother grabbed my arm, I was like poof back in my body! I can clearly recall just looking at her and I was no longer crying! Today, I now know that the look on my face was one of what just happened to me? I never ever forgot that experience and I still wonder about how I could make that happen.
The book entitled, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is one of my favourite books because it changed my life! To understand the ego and how it worked to separate me, not just from myself, but from all things and everyone else in the world was a major breakthrough in my spiritual development. My favourite teacher is Louise LeBrun, a provocative, compelling and visionary thinker, writer, speaker, educator and coach, Louise is the Founder of the WEL-Systems Institute and author of several books, podcasts, CD’s and of course, her own blog. Louise is the transformative coach who assisted me in transforming my own limiting, repetitive and negative belief system. I was already doing similar work in unburdening myself and letting go of the erroneous assumptions that I carried within me, but Louise helped me to connect my work to the power of using the breath and the body to reveal and to surface the beliefs, values and attitudes that allowed me to further transform my perception of myself, others and the world more broadly! And following alone in this same vein of human transformation stories, I love the Marvel movie, Dr. Strange! Seeing Dr. Stephen Strange transform his ego mind into an expanded consciousness of himself and the world around him is a must see film! I can watch that movie over and over again!
One cold winter evening, I was visiting my then boyfriend at his home in northern Ontario. He used an airtight woodstove to heat the house and the fire had to be fed a few wood logs from time to time. One evening, I remember being preoccupied in my mind as I reached for the metal door handle of the wood stove. I didn’t stop to think that it might be hot. And so, “OWW” was my reaction as I touched the handle and yelled, “Shit that hurts!” As I grabbed the middle finger on my right hand, I noticed that the skin was already starting to blister. I went to the sink and ran it under the cold water and then grabbed my Native Indian tobacco and went to the stove to pray with it! I opened up the door of the stove, but this time with a glove! As the door swung open, I just focused on the glow of the flames licking gently up into the air just above the burning logs inside the stove. I started to “pray”; to have a talk with the fire about what I was trying to do earlier when I burned my finger. My finger was hurting so bad that I remember crying as I was asking for help from the fire and from the Creator in the healing and repair of my finger that had I just burned. I remember speaking in earnest as I made my request because my finger hurt so bad. All the time, my boyfriend watched me and never said a word, until I finished my prayer talk and then he said to me, “You know, you have a second degree burn. Let me put some aloe vera juice on it. It may help you. I have a plant here and I can break one of the green spikes off.” I said, “Sure, please do that!” So, I sat back and watched as he threw a couple of wood logs onto the fire and swung the wood stove door shut. He put the aloe vera juice on my wound and since it was late, we just went to bed. The next morning, I woke up and took a look at my unbandaged finger. I didn’t bandage it, the night before because it was so sore and was sensitive to touch. Miraculously, the burn on my finger was gone that next morning and my finger was completely healed! I shook my boyfriend to wake him up and excitedly told him that my prayer was heard and that my finger was healed! He sat up, looked at my finger and in a quiet voice said, “No. That’s impossible. You had a second degree burn. That kind of burn takes time to heal and it leaves a scar. But you no longer have the burn and you don’t even have any scarring or signs of a burn. How did that happen?” I saw the incredulous look on his face, and I just smiled and said, “I prayed and asked for help and my prayer was answered! I was given a healing!” Nothing more was said between us as my boyfriend got up quietly to go and take a shower. I was so happy and grateful that I continued to lie in bed that morning and reflected upon all that I had and have been given.
Well, I was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River Indian Reserve in the nearby town of Hagersville, Ontario, Canada. My tribal ancestry goes back through a long line of mostly Mohawk people extending back into the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory at St. Regis, Quebec on my mother’s side of the family. On my father’s side of the family, I am the 5th Great Granddaughter of Joseph Brant and his 3rd wife, Catherine Croghan, a woman of Irish descent. I descend from their 5th child, a son named, Jacob. But, perhaps the most interesting thing is that my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Brant is the Mohawk Indian that the city of Brantford, Ontario is named after. Joseph Brant was a very controversial figure because of the business dealings and land transactions he initiated and that were related to the now infamous 99 year land leases. In those early settler years, there were a lot of Upper Canada colonists looking for land to farm and to establish a home on. So, the colonial government officials assisted by the acts of manipulation from other unscrupulous people of that time in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s conspired together to create land deeds. These land deeds carried the fraudulent signatures of Indian chiefs and so the colonists who held these deeds declared that the various parcels of land was now their land to rightfully own because the Indians had signed off on them. This huge scandal of acquiring land through fraudulent means has never been settled. Today, my community, the Six Nations of the Grand River are now embroiled in one of the longest standing and most complex land reclamation suits in history.
My purpose for incarnating in this life time is to work in the roles of healer and teacher. I am descended from highly evolved, deeply spiritual people of peace, but I was born into a time of great hardship and suffering for not just my own people, but for Native people in general. We are struggling to retain our Native languages, our cultural belief systems, our practices and traditions as we crawl out from under the residual weight of the forces of colonization, assimilation and fraudulent land and resource transfers. Today, Native people in both Canada and the United States have the highest levels of suicide, family violence and unemployment in comparison to the mainstream populations. There are and have been huge government enquiries into the high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and boys. My people suffer from poor mental and physical health and addiction issues and all of these are just to name a few. So, my purpose has always been about helping my people to heal; to re-build their self-confidence, self-esteem and to help them to recover their human dignity and to help them to restore their pride in their cultural heritage and ancestry. This work requires me to act as an educator/teacher as well as a healer. I have been doing this work now for the past 38 years so it’s easy for me to look back on my life and to see that this is what I was born for!
I have many animal spirits and spirit helpers in general that assist me in my work with people and in my travels to various Native communities. But, if I have to pick just one animal, then I would have to say it’s the BEAR! Why? The Bear is my clan emblem or totem. He/She is my relative as well. I possess and exhibit certain characteristics and qualities of the bear in my personality. In addition to having the bear as my clan totem, the black bear and white bear are also my main spiritual helpers. Their energy has stood me up and kept me going whenever I needed their protection and their strength to assist me not just in everyday life, but also in the healing of both myself and the people who I encounter. Bears are awesome creatures especially with their children. That’s why I work in partnership with my son, Jordan Miller. He is the founder and visionary of a unique Leadership program for people of all ages called, R.E.A.L. School: Reality Education & Applied Life-Skills. R.E.A.L. School Leadership transfers knowledge of self-healing and wellness in the context of an Indigenous cultural framework that is explained using models of energy drawn from the quantum sciences. Our interactive learning environment creates opportunities for self-discovery, personal growth and the development of life-skills. I work as the program administrator for R.E.A.L. School.
I would have to say the practice of mindfully being in the present moment is the best way to stay connected and grounded for me. If I get out of tune, then I use breathing exercises and meditative work to connect me to my inner guidance. I am also quite a vivid dreamer at times. So my dreams, my intuitive messages and my regular manifestations all work together to remind me that I am well; all is well and that everything is working out for me! I also rely on my keen sense of self-observation and self-awareness to catch myself in ego-based or emotional pain-based thought patterns. Once I catch myself, I then move to deconstruct and/or dissolve the negative energy patterns that have the potential of keeping me stuck in repetitive thought cycles and behaviours. It helps to know and to believe that I am 100% responsible for my own emotions, thoughts and behaviours. So, there is no one to blame. Nevertheless, I can still get triggered because I’m not perfect, but I don’t want to kill the messenger anymore.
Some people may think that this is a cop-out when I say that I really don’t have a favourite genre of music. I suppose you could say that I have a favourite decade of music because I tend to listen to. I have satellite radio in my car and I subscribe to the SiriusXM Canada music streaming platform. So when I’m driving, I tend to listen to the rock music of the 80’s. But I can listen to pretty much any kind or any type of musical song or musical artist derive some pleasure from it. Yes, even heavy metal music. I guess you would say that I have a very eclectic taste in music and artists.
Oh my god, here is another cop-out answer, lol…. I also have a very eclectic taste in
food. But here is one of the things that I just can’t seem to go without and that’s fresh
buttered bread in all of its many forms! And as I write this, the voice in my head says,
“Bread is not a food!” The bottom line is that I will eat most things that are set before me. So much so, that I can’t think of what I wouldn’t eat. I know there are a few things…..but I just can’t seem to think of them right now.
I love learning new things in general, but I especially love learning new things related to developing human consciousness and our potential to work with energy in multi-dimensions! I can get excited about that! For many years, I loved learning about how to heal myself and others and I still do. But on the creativity side, I would have to say that having the opportunity to create a PowerPoint presentation for a keynote address on a topic related to one of my many interests is always fun and helps me to get my creative juices going. The side note being that I do have a tendency to leave such tasks until the very last minute….which is what I am doing with these 11 things about me for NFTS! Sorry……
In 1999, I wrote my master’s thesis in adult education on a model of holistic learning based on Aboriginal cultural philosophy. In one of the chapters, I wrote about the art of “perspective transformation”, a term coined by American adult educator, Jack Mezirow. At that time, I had no idea that the practice I was engaged in; the helping and healing of Native learners in my work as an adult educator in a Native culturally-focused Social Service Worker program was all about engaging them in a process of perspective transformation! In my mind, I thought that I was simply helping Native people to unburden the mental suffering and the emotional trauma they had experienced. In short, I was helping my people to heal by helping them to unburden the painful emotions of their past. From my experience, I knew that once the emotions of their past cleared, their perception of how they saw themselves, others and the world more broadly changed also. I had no idea until I went to study for my master’s degree in adult education that there was another name for this work of helping people to transform their perception or change their perspective. I have to giggle at myself nowadays because I am sure that there are many people out there who are doing the same or similar work as I do, but calling it by different names and likely using different processes and approaches in helping their people to achieve the same outcome!
Since realizing the fact that all knowledge exists in the quantum field and that all people have equal right and equal access to that energy and information, my work today is all about helping people of all nations, cultures and races to unburden themselves and to release the emotional anchors that may be keeping them stuck in repetitive, limiting and negative thought patterns and the behaviours associated with those thought patterns. No one is ever too old to learn! We can expand our minds, open our hearts, achieve other levels of consciousness and create a new and different reality for ourselves and others! As the black reggae singer, Bob Marley sings in his Redemption Song, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.”