Beth Brant

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Beth E. Brant (Indian: Degonwadonti) (born 1941) is a Mohawk writer.


Beth Brant is the daughter of a Scots-Irish American mother and a Mohawk father. She grew up with her father’s family, on the Bay of Quinte Mohawk in Ontario. Most of her life she stayed in the border region of Ontario, Canada and Michigan, USA.

She married at 17, and gave birth to three daughters. In 1981 she began to write and to edit anthologies, dramatically building up indigenous literature by providing both showcase and courageous example. Between 1989 and 1990 she lectured at the University of British Columbia, and in 1993 at the University of Toronto.

In 1984 and 1986 she was awarded the Creative Writing Award of the Michigan Council for the Arts, in 1991 the National Endowment for the Arts and 1992 the Canada Council Award in Creative Writing.

Brant passed away in August of 2015.


Brant did not begin her writing career until the age of forty. She recalls an encounter with Eagle at that time, as she and her lover drove through Mohawk Valley: "He swooped in front of our car... and sat in a tree, his wings folded so gracefully, his magnificent head gleaming in the October afternoon sun... He stared at me for minutes, maybe hours, maybe a thousand years. I knew I had received a message to write."[1] In her narratives, she broaches the issues that link many aspects of life, e.g. nationality and sexuality, caste and class, often focused on dramatic experiences with racism and sexism, with great compassion. Through fiction and nonfictional means, she challenges her readers to move from a greater place of truth, both in history and in daily life, and to take responsibility for the role each person plays moment by moment in both receiving and regenerating both aspects of collective reality.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Day, Frances Ann (2000). Lesbian and gay voices: An annotated bibliography and guide to literature for children and young adults. Greenwood Press, quoting from "To Be Or Not To Be Was Never the Question.