When I listen to the old stories, I am struck by the attention the Ancestors gave to the world around them, and how that informs the old stories, how the Ancestors were reading the Land. The Land, for us, is epistemologically and ontologically primary. That is to say, we know what we know and we know who we are through the Land. We know what we know because the Ancestors paid attention and put it into stories. And through that attention to the Land, we know who we are because we recognize that our life is the life of the Land, the Forest—the lakes, rivers, swamps, ocean, and further, that they are all alive, all persons. I am Alnôbak, an Abenaki woman—Aben-aki, Dawn Land. Our name describes us as the Land we are part of.

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