10/28/2010 2:25:10 PM

In Memory of Betty Settee

Betty Settee"Live off the land, never take more than you need." These are the words that Betty Settee of Churchill lived by. Betty passed away unexpectedly on October 27, 2010, shortly after sharing insights into the northern way of life with yet another group of PBI Leadership Camp students. She will be deeply missed by everyone in the PBI family.

Robert Buchanan, PBI's president, met Betty and her husband, Jim, through his close friend and PBI Advisory Council member, Parker Fitzpatrick of Churchill. Robert had asked Parker to suggest someone who could talk to PBI's groups about the experience of living in the Far North. The goal was to expand their understanding of the area and the people who live there.

Jim and Betty when they were youngParker suggested Betty and Jim, who graciously shared memories of their traditional way of life. Although Betty and Jim had recently moved to town (Churchill), Betty grew up across the Churchill River, where she lived and worked the trap line for many years.

Betty was born on September 24, 1933. She told the students that she started trapping on her own at 12 years old. She worked the trap line with her team of dogs and would stay out on the line for days on end working by herself. When asked if she was lonely or scared to be out there on her own, she would tell say that she had her dogs and she was surrounded by the natural world that was familiar to her and that gave her comfort.

One of the more memorable stories she would share with PBI groups was her view of Mother Nature. Betty would say "When we are born, Mother Nature takes cares of us. She gives us life, she nurtures us, and she watches us grow as we get older. In return, we must take care of our Mother."

Betty and Jim with Leadership Camp StudentsWhen asked for her thoughts on trapping, Betty would say, "The importance of fur is to keep you warm. Therefore, fur must be used for warmth and not fashion."

She also emphasized that you should never take more than you can use because it won't be there for future generations.

Betty and Jim were committed to working with PBI and sharing their experiences. Betty once said to Robert after a visit with our Teen Leadership Camp students: "I love talking to the PBI teens. I receive so much love, affection, and respect from them."

We offer our deep condolences to her family and friends.

Photo credits: Top two, ©Andrew Fore; Bottom, ©BJ Kirshhoffer.

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