Competition: US & Canada
If asked to point to the beginning of my education, my mind would not turn to school. My account might begin with my parents. When I was young, we camped six months out of the year–my father taught me how to fish, how to read the waterways. My mother taught me persistence in the face of adversity. My grandpa told harrowing, hilarious stories about escaping border cops on the Missisquoi River, a boundary they had always crossed. My grandmother told evocative stories of her mountain home of Koszarawa, and terrifying stories of displacement by Nazi forces at the beginning of World War II. When I was older, Missisquoi Abenaki elders and community members took me out on the land, our boots sinking into the swamp, so that I could learn from the ground up how to protect the places that had fed our families for millennia. Wherever my own story begins, it would have to start out on the land, my boots filling with water. Lisa Brooks is Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College and author of The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast and Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War.
Photo Credit: John Weller