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When I began the project of publishing “Still They Remember Me”: Penobscot Transformer Tales, Volume 1, I placed a primary value on working responsively with Penobscot language keeper Carol Dana, who wanted help to restore Penobscot language use. Dana wanted to make bilingual text versions readily available to young people in her community. Reading the narratives as literature, I saw that they contain deep knowledge about how human beings have understood life in this place, teaching ecological knowledge, community values and relationships from a Penobscot perspective. As we work on solving complex 21st-century problems, reading traditional stories like these can offer invaluable insights for creating a resilient world.
Margo Lukens is professor of English at the University of Maine; her research interests include Wabanaki literary and storytelling history, Indigenous plays and playwrights, innovation and antiracism work. Her work has included producing and directing plays by Indigenous playwrights on campus and in the region. “Still They Remember Me”: Penobscot Transformer Tales, volume 1, a bilingual book of traditional Penobscot stories with Carol Dana and Conor Quinn, is due in June 2021 from the University of Massachusetts Press.
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