Betty LaFontaine – Virtual Expo – My Experience Surviving Covid 2020
Betty “Red Ant” LaFontaine Navajo Educator, Speaker and Teacher
Betty “Red Ant” LaFontaine is a full blooded Diné (Navajo) born of the Red Clay Bottom Clan, for the Salt Clan. Raised on the Navajo Reservation, she lived most of her youth in New Mexico in the traditional ways of the Diné. Betty is the middle child of eleven children, most of whom continue to live on the Reservation. Her father is Charlie (Man in the White Meadow) White, and her mother is Helen Yazzie White. Her ties to her family and homeland remain strong. Her family was taught by missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in about 1967 her mother was baptized by LeGrande Richards. Her mother later took out her endowments in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Helen served as a Relief Society President in her hometown of Crownpoint, New Mexico, and has always been very sensitive to the Spirit, despite her lack of a formal education. Betty did the Temple work for her father Charlie, after he passed away.
At age five, Betty began her formal education. While attending school she was taught English as a second language. She was not permitted to speak her native tongue during the school day. Betty’s mother Helen chose to have Betty attend the LDS Indian Student Placement Program, giving her access to a better education and an introduction to the modern world. During her seven years in the program, Betty met her husband of 38 years, Mike LaFontaine originally from Florida, and is of Chippewa heritage. Mike’s parents are Melvin J. and Dellene M. Peterson LaFontaine. Mike and Betty were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1982 and they currently live in Orange Park, Florida where they have been for 25 years, spending time with their beautiful 5 children and 18 grandchildren.
As a modern urban Indian, Betty’s passion is to educate others about the realities of reservation life, and the history and culture of her people. Betty loves helping others become outstanding members of their communities, and especially loves strengthening her brothers and sisters in the LDS Church. As an Indian educator, Betty makes presentations about her native culture, life-ways, heritage to school assemblies, clubs, groups, organizations, and business employees. Betty has served in Relief Society, Young Women, and as a teacher in Sunday School, and Primary. She is from the tribe of Manasseh. Her testimony of the veracity of the Book of Mormon has engendered in her an interest in recent archaeological and DNA evidences and the ties she has to her heritage and native culture. Her Native American brothers and sisters are a chosen yet scattered people and her passion is to bring them home to the Savior where they may lead in building the New Jerusalem.