Kanatiiosh


Autobiography

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised by my mother and maternal grandmother, Louise Martin Serra (tota).  I am enrolled at Akwesasne, the Mohawk Nation also known as the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation. My Tota was a great friend and teacher, she is greatly responsible for the person that I have become today. Tota taught me through traditional methods and stories the ways of the Haudenosaunee - (how to be a good person in harmony with all living things). My mother gave me the fire to seek justice and truth, which burns strong in my heart and is a constant driving force in my life today. 

My father, George Gray, and my sisters, Rachel, Francine, and Helen reside at Akwesasne (Mohawk Nation) as do many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My father is a fluent speaker of the Kahniakehaka language, as was my maternal grandmother and grandfather.

I enjoy writing and try to write in a manner that is culturally sensitive and accurate.  I also love to create artwork.  I use an array of traditional and contemporary mediums to create my artwork. I do traditional quill work, bead work, corn husk arts, paint on leather, birch bark, and paper.  I create many items using traditional and contemporary Haudenosaunee subject matter, designs, and themes. 

Although I have been seeking a formal education, I keep in constant contact with my traditional chiefs, clan mothers, and other respected Haudenosaunee. While away at law school, studying the American law, I did not lose track of my Haudenosaunee traditional ways. Interestingly, the more I learned about American law, I felt compelled to learn more about my own traditional laws and ecological knowledge. I believe fully in the traditional teachings, and in the teachings, and I believe in the teachings of the Kaswentha (Two Row Wampum), which says one cannot have their feet planted in both a canoe and in a boat, for a big wind will come and knock the person into the water. Although I have learned the American laws, both my feet and my heart have remained planted in the birch bark canoe of the Onkwehonweh. 

I am deeply concerned about preserving Haudenosaunee traditional culture, language, ecological knowledge, and in planting the seeds of this knowledge within the minds of our children and people. I believe that through understanding, restoring, and preserving traditional teachings and mutual respect for all living things, we can restore the people and natural world back to Sacred Justice, harmony, and provide a safe and healthy community for the future generations yet to be born. I have learned that through working together in unity, and with the entire community, peace and harmony can be obtained for all.

I am currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy at Arizona State University School of Justice Studies, Tempe, Arizona. I anticipate graduation in May of 2003. As of May 1999, I received my Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University College of Law.

I am a writer of children's books concerning Native Americans.  I am also a researcher and consultant concerning Native American related issues.

This page and art is protected by copyright law Kanatiiosh 2001©

Website created May 20,2000: Updated August  2001 

   click picture to go home

 

Webmaster Kanatiiosh