Awikhigan is an Abenaki word which originally referred to birchbark maps and scrolls, but came to encompass letters, petitions, maps, books and works of art. In our time, this word extends to encompass our creations in digital space. The word is fluid and thus adaptable to many contexts, including both colonization and Indigenous innovation. The prefix awik- means to draw, to map, to write. The suffix -igan means a tool or instrument. This digital awikhigan is a tool to help us to navigate the complex historical terrain from which we have emerged.
The phrase, "a new history" is drawn from Joseph Laurent's remarkable awikhigan, New Familiar Abenaki and English Dialogues (1884). He includes these phrases, in succession: pili kisos, “the new moon” pildowi ôjmowôgan, “a new history”
This awikhigan is not "a new history" in the sense of creating some thing, entirely new and different, or offering a definitive replacement for a History that is old or outdated. Rather, in the Abenaki sense, the book and website are part of a cycling or spiraling of ôjmowôgan (history), which refers to a process of telling a collective story, an ongoing activity in which we are engaged. Every manifestation of history-telling, though, like every new moon, may shed light on "new" insights, experiences, and knowledge, depending upon the position from which we view or engage it.