Now in her eighties, the great-great-granddaughter of Sacajawea looks back on a life that has mirrored the social and cultural changes that have filled the years since 1909. Philosophies of life are rooted in the lives of those doing the philosophizing. In the case of Essie Burnett Home, that life has generated deep-seated conclusions about activism, education, feminism, grandmothering, who is Indian? spirituality, and death.
The thoughts of a wise but unassuming woman concerning these central issues of life comprise the culmination of this life history.
I have traveled around the United States, to Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and through Europe. I wrote a book on Indian education that was not published. I was blessed with a loving and understanding husband, and I have wonderful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I feel very fortunate that the Great Spirit has blessed me with many honors and a full, happy, and rewarding life.
I continue to be involved in education and to act as a consultant for individuals, schools, and colleges across the United States and abroad. Interviews that I've granted have been taped and used for reference material. Over the years I have had numerous students who have contacted me to come to their classes or schools to deliver presentations on Indian values and the contributions of American Indians to American society. I still regularly visit the Naytahwaush school on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota to talk to the children about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and I am an adopted grandma of the children of the Wahpeton Indian School in North Dakota, now known as the Circle of Nations Wahpeton Indian School. I am grateful that I've retained my physical and mental health. The following sections include stories and thoughts about my philosophies of life.