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Makepeace Producitons
Makepeace Productions

NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN

HERITAGE MONTH!

November is a time for honoring and celebrating the resilience, vibrancy, and diversity of indigenous cultures across the country. At Thanksgiving, we honor the ‘Indians’ — actually the Wampanoag Nation of Southeastern Massachusetts — who helped the pilgrims survive their first winter in America.

tribal logos

we still live hereFew Americans are aware that the Wampanoag still live on their homelands. My recent film We Still Live Here, about the astonishing revival of their language, is screening around the country this month in venues ranging from a huge conference in Dallas to a small library in Mashpee, Mass (listings below and on our screenings page). The film is also available on DVD and on many digital platforms.
 


TRIBAL JUSTICE

Meanwhile, production on the Tribal Justice Documentary continues apace. Last month we filmed many scenes with Judge Claudette White on and off the Quechan reservation. 

Quechen

We were fortunate to arrive just in time for Quechan Indian Days, a colorful cultural celebration, and to film with the judge in situations ranging from meetings with the Tribal Council to marching in Phoenix to protest the name and mascot of the Washington D.C. football team.

One of the ongoing challenges that both of our featured judges face is how to use traditional forms of justice to address the issues that come before them. Judge White is now working to revamp the Quechan Juvenile Justice Code, and we were fortunate to observe meetings with tribal and city police, school officials, elders, state court judges and child advocates as they discussed how to keep their children out of the juvenile justice system, and prevent teenagers from being funneled into prison. 

Isaac

As busy as she is, raising her son as a single mother and wearing so many hats in and out of court, Judge White is personally involved in rescuing her 17-year-old nephew, Isaac Palone, from falling into the prison system. Isaac spent a good deal of his childhood in foster homes and state care, and was recently charged with two burglaries. Judge White has taken him into her home, become his guardian, is keeping him in school and helping him navigate his case. Isaac’s story could go many different ways, and we're hoping the judge’s care and attention will keep him on a good path.

Filming at Yurok

The issue of the school-to-prison pipeline is a crucial one at Yurok as well, and Judge Abby Abinanti and her staff are addressing it head-on with programs to help families stay together, prevent truancy, and move juvenile cases into tribal court where children can be monitored and helped in the community. In the one minute video clip below, you will meet three families being helped by the Yurok Wellness Court.

We'll be back at Yurok next week to film ongoing stories in and out of Abby's tribal court. In December, we'll return to Quechan to follow up with Judge White, Isaac and others. Stay tuned for more news about Tribal Justice as these stories evolve.


WE STILL LIVE HERE
NOVEMBER SCREENINGS

November is a great time to watch We Still Live Here. Here are a few of the upcoming screenings, or watch it on iTunes, Amazon, or on DVD.

wslhOn November 6th, linguistics professor Colleen Fitzgerald presents clips from We Still Live Here at the annual conference of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education at the Dallas Convention Center, for teachers, parent coordinators, specialists, family care providers, administrators and others.


wslhOn November 20th, there will be a free screening from 5:30–7:00pm at the Mashpee Library in Mashpee, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Presenting the film will be members of the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project. Jessie Little Doe Baird, featured in the film, will attend if her tribal council meeting lets her out in time. She is now Vice Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.


Strawbery BankeOn November 25th, the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will host a free screening of We Still Live Here, followed by a Q+A with director Anne Makepeace. The screening is part of a Native American Heritage Month speaker series held on Tuesday evenings throughout November.

 
A Wonderful Article in Slate.com
Slate.com recently published an insightful article — complete with video — about We Still Live Here entitled "They Helped the Pilgrims—and Regretted It. How the Wampanoag Brought Their Language Back." A perfect read for the story behind Thanksgiving. Check it out by clicking here.

A Recent Visit to Shinnecock
Last month, We Still Live Here screened at the Southampton African American Film Festival on Long Island. It was a great screening, made especially meaningful by the attendance of more than 50 people from the Shinnecock Indian Nation. 

Shinnecock1
Photos courtesy of Eileen Dugan       

The next day, I met many tribal members at the terrific Shinnecock Museum, and explored some of the tribal lands with Elizabeth Haile, Roberta Hunter and others. Theirs is a compelling story; my next film may be percolating out on Long Island.
 
Shinnecock2
 

SEPTEMBER AT THE AQUINNAH POW WOW

In September, I was thrilled to see many friends at the Aquinnah Wampanoag Pow Wow on Martha’s Vineyard. You may recognize Jessie Little Doe Baird with her husband Jason and their daughter Mae, all featured in We Still Live Here. Jessie is the Wampanoag linguist who spearheaded the revival of their language. It was also great to see Jennifer Weston (Hunkpapa Lakota), co-producer of We Still Live Here who now works with the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, dancing in her jingle dress!
 
powwow
 

RAIN IN A DRY LAND
SCREENING AT BARD

I am excited to announce that my 2007 P.O.V. documentary Rain in a Dry Land will screen at Bard College on November 19th. The screening is free and open to the public, and will be held at 5pm in the Fisher Studio Arts Seminar room. The event is co- sponsored by Africana Studies, Human Rights and the Studio Arts programs at Bard College. If you’re nearby, I would love to see you there!
 

DVDs Available from Makepeace Productions


Recent Comments from Two Viewers Down Under!

From Ray:

I saw We Still Live Here on SBS TV Channel 4 over here in Australia a little while ago and was really pleased to see how the Indigenous people of North America were reclaiming and reigniting their language and culture. It is a pity that Australia is just now realising what we have lost with what we have done in the past to our first Australians. I don't know how many Indigenous Australian languages we have lost but it must be quite a number. A real tragedy for Australia as a nation.
From From Annie Edwards-Cameron, of the Wangka Maya Aboriginal Language Centre, South Headland:

Recently We Still Live Here was broadcast on NITV here in Australia and we believe it would make a valuable resource for our Aboriginal run non-profit community language centre. The DVD would be kept in our library for access by linguists and Aboriginal language workers/activists. With your permission we would like to have a public screening of the film with the aim to increase community awareness and engagement on language issues.

Speaking Our Mother Tongues —

Explore Our Language Website!

Our Mother Tongues

FitzgeraldColleen Fitzgerald, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas, Arlington, kindly presented We Still Live Here at a conference in Dallas today. Colleen works with many indigenous language programs, and has recently published two articles in The Huffington Post: "The Indigenous Language Challenge" and "Saving Native American Languages." Read both on the OurMotherTongues Blog — a great resource for Indigenous Language news and events.
 

Can you guess which icon below goes with which tribe on the Our Mother Tongues website? Click to find out!

Check out great photos, watch Videos and learn about many Native American languages from Alaska to North Carolina, Oklahoma to New York, Montana to Massachusetts. There is even an Interactive Map, a Voices page where you can listen to thirteen different Native tongues, a Blog, and a fun feature called ePostcards offering an entertaining way to connect with friends and family by sending audio greetings in a Native American language.

Please visit OurMotherTongues.org


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