QAHN Heritage Talks Online:
The W8banaki Nation – W8ban (dawn) and Aki (earth), the People of the Rising Sun or the Dawn – is home to more than 3,000 members in two communities: Odanak, located on the edge of Alsig8ntegw (St. Francis River), and W8linak (Wôlinak), on the edge of W8linaktegw (Bécancour River). For thousands of years, the territory of the W8banaki Nation, the Ndakina (our territory), stretched from the Masesoliantegw (Richelieu River) to the Akigwitegw (Etchemin River) and between the Kchitegw (St. Lawrence River) and Pastonki (Boston, Massachusetts).
The W8banaki today face difficult challenges to preserve and protect their language, culture, traditions and history. Learning about the threats to language and culture can be a first step in supporting the positive and dynamic initiatives coming from the W8banaki of Odanak today.
Daniel G. Nolett is a proud Abenaki and member of the Odanak First Nation. He has been the director general of the Odanak Band Council for the last 16 years. Before that, he was the director general of the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki Inc. for 10 years. The Grand Conseil is the Tribal Council that provides services to the Odanak and W8linak Band councils. In all, he has been working for the Abenaki nation for the last 29 years. He is also involved in his community with Abenaki culture. He has been learning the Abenaki language for 20 years. He is also a member of Aw8ssisak akik (for more than 20 years) and the Flying Sturgeons (for almost 3 years), two traditional drum groups in Odanak. He is a community hunter, and along with his colleagues, Daniel hunts year-around on his “ndakina“ (the traditional territory) to provide game meat to his elders and the most vulnerable people in his community.