Monday, June 10, 2024

Tales of the Adirondacks, Past & Present: Hidden Roots: The Western Abenaki Nation by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac

Our next OurStoryBridge story share is titled, “Hidden Roots: The Western Abenaki Nation” by Joseph Bruchac. This captivating tale is about a man who embraced his Abenaki heritage, even at a time when it was not widely recognized by others. Bruchac discusses his book Hidden Roots, the story of a boy learning about his Abenaki heritage, and learns that our commonalities are stronger than our differences. Listen to this story in its entirety by clicking here. 

The Adirondack Almanack will share stories written by those who live, work, and play in the ADK, courtesy of OurStoryBridge. These stories, which will be a combination of current and past events, people, outdoor activities and more, will be published on a weekly basis. The stories will focus on various locations situated in the Adirondack region, including the High Peaks, the town of Keene, and many other areas around the Park. Stories are compartmentalized into the following categories, arts & culture, catastrophes, work, people, outdoor activities, daily life, community, and natural & man-made environments.

black and white family photo.

My Abenaki grandfather, Jesse Bowman, and me in 1944. Photo courtesy of storyteller, Joseph Bruchac/OurStoryBridge.

black and white family photo

Ghana in 1968 with my wife, Carol, and our first son, James. Photo courtesy of storyteller, Joseph Bruchac/OurStoryBridge.

black and white photo of man in suit

My Abenaki great-grandfather, Louis Bowman, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of storyteller, Joseph Bruchac/OurStoryBridge.

To listen to more stories from Freedom Story Project visit

Those who wish to contribute to OurStoryBridge can find more information on how to share a story of their own and create their own OurStoryBridge by utilizing tool kits at the link here.

About OurStoryBridge:

OurStoryBridge is a national project, led by a team of volunteers and implemented at the grassroots level by local libraries, historical societies, museums, and issue oriented organizations, that supports the creation of three- to five-minute, locally created audio stories with related photographs, as well as their online accessibility, by posting them on a website that appeals to both young and old and can be produced at low cost.

About Freedom Story Project:

Freedom Story Project is a project of John Brown Lives! that collects and broadcasts three- to five-minute audio stories and related photographs online, centering around themes of freedom and justice, human and civil rights, activism, and engagement, at local, national, and international levels. We seek to inspire younger generations to tell their stories and connect to their communities and these issues, including through especially powerful personal narratives by elders who share their experiences. Freedom Story Project uses the OurStoryBridge methodology, making stories easily accessible and shareable.

Story Credit to OurStoryBridge/Freedom Story Project. 

Photo at top: Joseph Bruchac. Photo by Trish Miller. Photo courtesy of OurStoryBridge/storyteller, Joseph Bruchac.

Related Stories

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. louis curth says:

    Hello Joseph Bruchac, and thanks for sharing this story. If my memory is correct, I met you many years ago (late 1980s?) at a book signing party for authors of new books hosted by Alice Gilborn at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mt. Lake.

    As I ponder so much more about all our “hidden roots” these days, I keep thinking back to bits and pieces I heard earlier in my career (1960s-1970s?), about an original inhabitant known as Free Burley (sp?), who lived out his days near North Creek on land owned by the Matzke family near Jim Cross Pond. I wonder if you ever came across or heard of this person in your extensive research and travels?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and stories for the benefit of all.

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