Samuel J. Brant, LLC is a Legacy corporation dedicated to supporting the healing traditions from cultures around the world. Samuel J. Brant was my Grandfather, a Tribal Healer and Teacher of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
The History of Today
For me, today began in 1961. President John F. Kennedy had just given his inaugural address stressing that each of us should give selflessly for the good of others. Peggy Jennings, our neighborhood Bible teacher had just taught me a Bible lesson on doing things for others without expecting anything in return. And, my mother had just injured her wrist.
The Native tribe of my mother’s father are called Bodewadmi (English, “Potawatomi”), which means “the people of the fire.” We are a Nation of healers in the Council of Three Fires. The “fire” describes the energy of metabolism inside of us. Metabolic energy is like the fire that, when balanced, warms our home, cooks our food and lights the night. Fire out of control is inflammation. Inflammation in our organs and systems will harm us like an ember that smolders unseen until it ignites an inferno and burns down our home. Tribal ancestors gifted the generations with knowledge of plants that would balance the fire and promote the highest state of wellness.
My mother’s injury was minor, but I was not mature enough to distinguish a minor “boo-boo” needing time and kisses from anything more serious. Still, I vigorously applied one of these traditional plant remedies to my mother’s wrist. In this special context, the momentum of Bodewadmi tribal history awakened the healer in my DNA like my Grandfather and his Father before him.
In that instant I sealed my destiny as a Traditional healer.
Traditional Medicine, Naturopathy and Asian Medicine
That was a moment of clarity for me: I was a Healer in a tradition of healers. From then until now I have never faltered in my convictions for even a moment. Still, I needed guidance. But my beloved Grandfather died while I was still young. Thankfully, in 1976 while I was still in my formative years, I met another healer that helped me solidify my course of study. My mentor’s name was Robert Griffin, a Naturopath and Chiropractor.
The term Naturopathy was popularized by Benedict Lust, DO in the early 1900’s. The most important question of Naturopathy concerns Vitality: “What keeps healthy people well and how can I be like them?” This philosophy promotes personal responsibility and participation in our state-of-being. The Vitalism of Naturopathy is contrasted with a victim-rescuer model of pathology, or ‘what makes sick people sick.’ Naturopathy expanded and grew side-by-side with Chiropractic for decades before it started to decline. Dr. Griffin was among a wave of drugless practitioners who were trying to revive Naturopathy as a profession. He challenged me to help resuscitate the dying field of Traditional Naturopathy and I readily accepted the challenge.
Naturopathy was a profession that had not yet been accredited by the United States Department of Education (DOE). With the exception of National College of Naturopathic Medicine, the schools that had flourished earlier in the century had all closed. Traditional Naturopathy was kept alive by a few mentors of small study groups. I attended Dr. Griffin’s Traditional Naturopathy training program in the classroom above his clinic. We learned the history of our profession and how it differed from the other professions.
We learned the beliefs and behaviors that govern our health. We studied the remedies that could set us once again on the path to vitality. This grounding in Naturopathic philosophy reminded me of my Native roots and I saw in Naturopathy a great harmony with the Traditional healing systems from Native cultures around the world.
In 1978 the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CCNE) was formed to promote a program that would meet DOE accreditation. However, that goal would not be realized for another 25 years.
Naturopathy experienced a time of resurgence in Southern California. Victor Frank ND, DC, DO with the counsel of Robert Dishman, ND, DC and Jesse Lester, ND worked to revive the defunct Hollywood College of Naturopathic Physicians and Surgeons as the Hollywood College of Naturopathic Medicine, a school that endorsed Traditional Naturopathy and focused on the philosophy of Vitalism. Dr. Griffin supported the Vitalism of Traditional Naturopathy. However, the CCNE preferred elevating the profession to an equal footing with Western medicine by focusing on pathology – the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Dr. Griffin gracefully bowed-out of the debate. I joined Dr. Frank and others in building Hollywood College of Naturopathic Medicine. I graduated May 6, 1981 and completed my clinic hours later that same year.
At this point I would like to pause and thank the people that helped bring me to this point: My Grandfather, Samuel Brant, my mentor Robert Griffin, my clinic supervisor Charles Otto, Robert Dishman, Jesse Lester, Betty Lee Morales, Paavo Airola, Richard Barmakian, Charlotte Gerson-Strauss, Ghazi Nahle, Ernst Krebs Jr., Morton Walker, Broda Barnes and the many others who fought the fine fight to revive Hollywood College of Naturopathic Medicine. Mostly, my gratitude and admiration go to Dr. Victor Frank, a tireless worker and the driving force behind the struggles to revive Hollywood College. Vic, the passion that burned within you ignited a blaze that burns ever brighter in 21st Century Naturopathic Physicians. Truly, today’s Naturopaths ‘stand on the shoulders of giants!’
Triumph and tragedy
Unfortunately, the Drugless Practitioner Act that supported Naturopathy in California sunsetted and it appeared there would be no Naturopathy revival in that State. Charles Otto, DC my clinic supervisor bowed-out of the battle when the State Board of Medical Quality Assurance began to prosecute Naturopaths. I left his mentorship and the State of California to join a growing movement of Naturopaths in Montana and Idaho in 1984. Working with representatives of the State Legislature and led by Thomas Bump, ND we were able to craft our “scope of practice” documents and define Naturopathic medicine as it was in Washington State and Oregon. I was licensed in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Montana (license number 50) and Traditional Naturopathy in Idaho (certification number 157). It seemed as if we were really closing in on our original goal of reviving this noble art.
Tragically, a charlatan that shall remain nameless wanted to hijack the efforts of Dr. Frank to reestablish Hollywood College. He forged a diploma and secured a Naturopathic medical license in Oregon. He was discovered and prosecuted, but the damage done was irreparable; Hollywood College of Naturopathic Medicine closed once again in 1987.
I did all I could to revitalize Traditional Naturopathy in the Northwest. Meanwhile, I expanded my interests beyond Tribal health and Traditional Naturopathy. I travelled (often monthly) to widen my experience. I studied Mind-Body medicine through clinical biofeedback with Jack Sandweiss, MA of UCLA and Philip Hughes, PhD in Berkeley. I studied acupuncture and Asian Medicine with Ralph Allen Dale, EdD in Florida and Lucy Lee, MD in Hawaii. I earned my Master of Science in Acupuncture in 1993 through Brantridge University – Hawaii. (Asian medicine education did not receive Department of Education accreditation until 1997, though several States licensed our profession. I licensed in Montana, Vermont, New York and Texas and I hold a National Board Certification.)
I travelled to China and Japan and also taught at the Beijing College campus in Dallas, TX. I served two three-year terms as a clinical researcher in Vancouver, BC at Occidental Institute with Walter Sturm and as Director of Clinical Research for Dallas College of Oriental Medicine with Dr. Mark Hanson. I conducted “in-service” trainings as a guest speaker at Albert Einstein School of Medicine in Queens, New York and Yale University’s St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.
My interest in Mind-Body medicine opened many opportunities. I started a Stress Management program at Charter Psychiatric Hospital with Anthony Picchioni, PhD and Gary Malone, MD. I also served as Stress Management Counsellor at the Howard Center, Baylor-Irving with Sally Hill, RN. Later, after completing Functional Medicine training with Jeffrey Bland, PhD I developed the alternative medicine program at Tiena Health with Scott Conard, MD. There we were able to combine the philosophy of Functional Medicine to promote physical and emotional health even in the most seriously ill patients. (Functional Medicine supports the modern application of Naturopathic Medicine in the treatment of disease as well as supporting the principles of Traditional Naturopathy in the promotion of Vitalism.)
As a speaker, writer and teacher I have travelled the world. I have communed with curanderos in Reservations of Tohono O’odham and medicine men and women in the Amazon rainforest. I practiced Qi Gong on Machu Picchu and taught pharmacognosy at the School of Pharmacy, Ankara, Turkey. I provided Continuing Education to Chiropractors at Parker College, Dallas TX and to physicians at the Hospital Especialidades in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. I presented clinical biochemistry at the University of Croatia, School of Pharmacy in Zagreb, Pain Management techniques to a conference supporting by the Canadian College of Family Physicians in Ottawa, Canada and I presented clinical research on cholesterol reduction at the African Conference of Cardiology in Port Louis, Mauritius, Africa. For ten years I was the Chief Science Officer for TriVita, Inc. where I spoke about Vitality at over 100 events in North America, Hawaii and Australia. My books sold copies in the tens of thousands and my newsletter had over 300,000 subscribers. I have drafted legislation, written patents, developed products, organized ad hoc committees and chaired Medical Advisory Boards. All of this to say I have done all I could to promote Traditional healing practices and revitalize Traditional Naturopathy.
I am at peace with my past as I carry these traditions into the future.
Pioneers like Joe Pizzorno, ND and Michael Murray, ND worked to define an accredited Naturopathic medical education program. Along with John Bastyr, they created Bastyr University. Soon, University of Bridgeport, Southwest College, National College and Bastyr University joined to support accreditation of Naturopathic medicine. This goal was finally realized in 2003 when the Department of Education accredited Naturopathic medicine. I acquiesced to this reality as had my mentors Dr. Griffin, Dr. Otto and Dr. Frank – a venerable cast supporting Traditional Naturopathy. In 2004 I stopped using the term “doctor of Naturopathy” to describe myself, though I am still regarded as a Traditional Naturopath.
However, the term ‘doctor’ now belongs to those who attended these newly accredited schools.
The Past is the Future
My role today is to support the time-honored conventions of Traditional Naturopathy, Traditional Asian Medicine, mind-body medicine and the healing traditions of Bodewadmi native culture. However, my main focus in on promoting Spiritual values. I spend my days speaking, writing and teaching about optimum wellness – Spiritual, emotional and physical wellness – as the pathway to a future filled with Vitality.
I am also busy locally promoting Spiritual literacy while working with the Pima tribes and others in Southern Arizona. Recently, I proposed a telemedicine solution to meet the needs of rural volunteers in West Africa and around the World. If approved, this initiative will amplify the work of thousands who promote Spiritual values – ideals in a time when these traditions are needed most!
The calendar tells me it is today, though it may as well be a thousand years ago or a thousand years from now; the calendar doesn’t really matter. The simple principles of health and wellness are the same forever. The charge of becoming a Healer and Teacher is a timeless mission. I work to honor the legacy of my Grandfather and the healing Traditions of the Bodewadmi, the leadership of my Mentors and the momentum of my DNA. The lessons I learned in 1961 remain eternally relevant: Giving selflessly for the good of others and giving without expecting anything in return while supporting the Traditions of wellness. These principles all work together to create Vitality for a life of Purpose.
Passionate adherence to timeless natural law profits everyone: nothing but positive benefits!