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Makepeace Producitons
Makepeace Productions

HEROES AMONG US

It was thrilling to discover the extraordinary news that Jessie Little Doe Baird, featured in my documentary We Still Live Here, has just received the “Heroes Among Us” award from the Boston Celtics! Here she is on the court at Boston’s TD Garden.

Jessie honored at the Celtics
Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

we still live hereJessie is being honored for her astonishing work in bringing back her people’s long forgotten language. Together with other members of the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, she is reviving Wampanoag as a living language in her communities. For more information, go to WLRP.org, ‘like’ the film on Facebook, and order a DVD of We Still Live Here! And congratulations, Jessie!
 


MORE HEROES AMONG US:
FIGHTING FOR TRIBAL JUSTICE

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, production continues for my current work-in-progress documentary, Tribal Justice, We're filming the heroic efforts of our two featured California Indian judges as they bring restorative justice to their communities.

Tribal Justice

Yurok Judge Abby Abinanti and Quechan Judge Claudette White are fighting for the survival of their tribes and the future of their children.

A Quechan Film Clip

While Judge Claudette White uses her powers in tribal court to help those who come before her, she is also fighting for a member of her own family at home. In the clip below, we meet her nephew Isaac, who was taken away from his parents at age 11. He was 16 when he finally returned to the reservation. Claudette became his guardian, and is trying to guide him on the right path.

Isaac scenes

Claudette is personally dealing with the fallout of generational trauma that is all around her in Indian Country. Her primary focus is on keeping Quechan families together, saving children from being separated from their tribe and family, and becoming lost.

Yurok Child Support Program

In Northern California, Judge Abby Abinanti is doing groundbreaking work to assure that Yurok kids stay connected to their families. Here, she is signing the first tribal child support agreement in the state, a program spearheaded by Abby and her staff.

Tribal Chairman Thomas P. O'Rourke, Sr.; Alisha Griffin, Director of the California Department of Child Support Services; and Judge Abby Abinanti
Tribal Chairman Thomas P. O'Rourke, Sr.; Alisha Griffin,
Director of the California Department of Child Support Services; and Judge Abby Abinanti

With this agreement, cases of Yurok children that are in state court will move to the Yurok Tribal Court. Abby can now require child support payments in salmon, regalia artwork, or other culturally appropriate contributions. For Abby and her court, the important thing is to ensure that both parents remain involved with their kids, and that these children remain close to their tribe and their culture.

Meet these awesome judges in our ten-minute trailer:

Tribal Justice - ten minute trailer

And here is a comment about the trailer from a professor at UMass Boston:

"I watched the 10 minute trailer ... It is such a beautiful and immensely powerful film, and the Yurok and Quechan knowledge of justice and healing are so strong and indelible in the voices of Abby Abinanti and Claudette White. The project goes directly to the heart of the life and the future of the communities. Thank you for doing this project and for your amazing gift for connecting people through film."
— Professor Amy Den Ouden, UMass Boston


WE STILL LIVE HERE
SCREENINGS and PRESENTATIONS

On April 19th, We Still Live Here will be featured in a Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association in Chicago.

Toward Justice

Recent screenings of We Still Live Here include a presentation at the University of New Hampshire with Wampanoag Cultural Consultant Linda Coombs, a screening at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Dallas, and a screening at the Sharon, Massachusetts Library. Here are some wonderful comments:

From Dallas:
Carol Darcy and I co-chaired the FILMedia @ NAEYC last week and viewed a clip of your amazing film. My husband who is an anthropologist by training, called it "magnificent." The number of levels on which the film worked was very special; we especially liked the a the animation and the voice-overs. It was an important reminder of how we have interpreted so much of our past. I especially was pleased to hear about Jessie Little Doe Baird's journey through MIT and the mention of Noam Chomsky. Best of all were the children throughout the film and Jessie's daughter's role in the recovery of the language.

One of Carol's and my goals with the FILMedia event is to inform early childhood educators and advocates about the existence of films and about the effort that goes into creating and making them. Yours was a welcome participant. Thank you very much.
—Edna Ranck, EdD
From Sharon, Massachusetts:
Incredible screening in Sharon, MA last night w/ 40 enthusiastic attendees who had so many questions about Native languages for WSLH researcher Jennifer Weston. After more than 2hrs, library trustees had to start turning off the lights to get folks out the building.

From Paris:
Thank you for sending this update on your work. I have seen We Still Live Here many times and have given the DVD as gifts to friends. I'm also especially interested in you your up-coming Tribal Justice Documentary. I work in the field of conflict resolution and am always looking for ways to broaden my vision.I'm looking forward to seeing the Tribal Justice Documentary and I hope it will be available for European viewing, as I believe here in Europe there is also quite a sizeable community interested in the subject.
Wishing you the best,
—Nancy Caldwell

DVDs Available from Makepeace Productions



Speaking Our Mother Tongues —

Explore Our Language Website!

Our Mother Tongues

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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