Why do we chose to call our organization Lost River Racial Justice?
We gratefully acknowledge Rich Holschuh as the primary source for this acknowledgement (presentation at VT Indigenous Peoples’ Day).
We live, work, and organize on land near where the West River and the Kwanitekw/Connecticut river meet. The Sokoki band of the Abenaki called this place Wantastegok.
Sokoki people lived in Wantastegok during their annual traverse from their northern summer hunting grounds (near the lake we call Lake Champlain) to their more southern winter settlement. The Sokoki (people who separated) live furthest south of other Abenaki tribes. The Abenaki are part of a larger Wabenaki (people of the dawn) group. There are 20-30 Wabenaki tribes in New England today.
The name “Wantastegok” is a loose transliteration – “Wantasiquet” is an example of an alternate spelling. This word contains “wantas” meaning lost, “tekw” meaning flowing water, and “gok” meaning place. This name could reference the point in the river where you get lost.
We chose Lost River as our name to honor the indigenous communities in whose land we, of settler ancestry, are visitors, and to reflect our commitment to organizing regionally without division by artificial state borders.