awikhiganak birchbark messages


Messages on birchbark: notations found on the journey, stories shared by intention. I have archived these under the category Awikhiganal. Abenaki scholar Lisa Brooks has elucidated the concept well:

Awikhigan is an instrument, something that is manifested, stillness
Awikhigawogan is an activity, something that is in process, flowing and moving
Awikhigawogan is an activity that is on its way to being an instrument; an activity that can transform, an activity that has power/Manitou
Awikhigan is an instrument that can be used for communication, for recording and remembering, for persuasion, for marking a journey, for telling a story, for sealing a promise
Awikhigan is an active agent in Native space

In the recently published dictionary of the contemporary Western Abenaki language, Gordon Day defines the word awikhigan as “book” or “letter” and awikhigaw8gan as “writing,” while the root word awigha- denotes “to mark, draw, or write.” The word awikhigan has come to encompass a wide array of texts, and its scope is still expanding. It has proven to be an adaptable instrument.

From The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast by Lisa Tanya Brooks

2 thoughts on “Awikhiganal”

  1. Lisa Brooks’ scholarship and illumination of continuous native presence in New England in ‘The Common Pot” is nothing short of extraordinary. She recently won the most coveted mainstream national award for historians — the Bancroft Prize — for her latest most readable book on King Phillips War, “Our Beloved Kin”. Thank you for sharing her work here. So glad she is available to us through her continued work at U Mass Amherst

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed – Lisa’s work of cultural recovery has been insightful, inspiring, and invigorating. She has blazed a path for many to follow. Added to her well-earned recognition two days ago was the award of a Guggenheim Fellowship as well!


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