Kwai Kwai Ndelewizi Alexander Cotnoir ni waji Askaskwiwajoak ni waji Nikonkogoagik waji olemowziakw. Hello! My name is Alexander Cotnoir. I’m a citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Tribe. I grew up making maple syrup with my parents, older sisters, and my grandparents in Askaskwiwajoak (Vermont's Green Mountains). I’m a recent graduate from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, where I earned my degree in teaching with a specialization in Museum Education.
I majored in Environmental Studies as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. During my junior and senior years, I conducted research in the White Mountains at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, where I completed my thesis on how maple, beech, and ash mast-driven fluctuations in the abundance of seed consumers affects reproductive success in shrub-nesting migratory birds. I also completed research projects examining the impacts of over-harvesting, overgrazing, and forest-edge removal on Indigenous communities’ traditional foods and medicines in South Africa, Namibia, and Costa Rica. These experiences showed me that rural and Indigenous communities face many common challenges no matter where they are in the world, and inspired me to pursue community engagement and environmental outreach work moving forward.
Today, my work is focused on building community and supporting Indigenous environmental storytellers – educators, journalists, and community researchers who are committed to communicating not just science, but Indigenous knowledge, the impacts of climate change on livelihoods and cultural practices, and inspiring people to act. I’ve focused on this work as a Co-Founder and Program Coordinator for Planet Forward’s Ilíiaitchik: Indigenous Correspondents Program (ICP).