Wantastegok: The Place of the River Where Things Are Lost
A Land Acknowledgement
Like every place in the United States, Brattleboro was built on stolen land, and the European settlers who came here during the colonial period did everything they could to drive out the Indigenous people who lived here.
Those people are the Sokoki Abenaki (or, translated into English from the original Sokwakiak, the People Who Separated), and despite centuries of persecution they survive today. Their native tongue, Aln8ba8dwaw8gan—the Western Abenaki language—survives as well, but is greatly endangered. To the Sokoki Abenaki, this place is known as Wantastegok, the Place of the River Where Things Are Lost, referring to the confluence of Kwenitekw with Wantastekw, what we now call the Connecticut River and the West River.
Every corner of this land holds their stories. Below are research sites featured on the Brattleboro Words Trail that document the history and enduring presence of the Sokoki Abenaki and their homeland, Wantastegok.
Western Abenaki Language Glossary
Brattleboro, or literally, the place of the river where things are lost
The Great Meadows, or the place now Putney Great Meadows
The West River
The Connecticut River
The Great Falls, or the place now called Bellows Falls
An Abenaki concept encompassing many forms of “texts” created and presented to facilitate communication between people, from bark scrolls, wampum belts, and oral history to symbols and messages written into the land itself.
About the Research sites
The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Research Teams – classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours.