November is Native American Heritage Month
Free Streaming of We Still Live Here
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, PBS will stream We Still Live Here for free throughout November. The film is especially relevant now, as it features members of the Wampanoag Tribes of Massachusetts, descendants of the people we celebrate every Thanksgiving for the help they gave the "Pilgrims." We Still Live Here tells the near miraculous story of present-day Wampanoags reclaiming their language and rediscovering their culture. Click here to stream for free at PBS.org, or buy the DVD on our site Here.
Restorative Justice in Action
Filming for The California Tribal Justice Project
A few weeks ago, we were finally able to film with Judge Claudette White on the Quechan reservation for The California Tribal Justice Project.
Cameraman Barney Broomfield arrived just in time to catch the judge and her son Zion winning awards at the annual Indian Days celebration.
Over the weekend, the team filmed with Claudette and Zion in their home and at their church, as well as a conversation with Judge Juan Ulloa, a state court judge who has worked closely with Claudette on many cases over the years, supporting her efforts to keep Quechan kids from being taken off the reservation.
The team also filmed a dramatic case in Claudette’s courtroom. Two brothers, Ryan (14) and Brandon (16), began getting into trouble when their mother got sick, and were in state care when she passed away. An aunt and uncle, pictured here in court, took them into their care. Three weeks later, the boys ran away.
Because Brandon violated his probation, he has been charged as an adult for an assault he allegedly took part in earlier, and faces up to seven years in prison. The younger brother, Ryan, is back home with his aunt and uncle. The hearing was to decide whether they should continue as guardians for one or both brothers.
Most moving and impressive was the way Claudette talked to Ryan. She reminded him that he and his brothers had been star athletes and leaders in their school. She listened with compassion, and impressed upon him his responsibility for what would happen next. If he acts out again, he could land in state care.
We intend to follow the case of these young brothers through the film. Brandon has just been released from juvenile detention, and for now the boys will continue on probation with their aunt and uncle. As Claudette said in court, they have a choice right now which path to take, the path towards a positive and productive life, or one that leads only to heartbreak.
A Fantastic Journey!
Last month, we filmed Wangechi Mutu and her team installing A Fantastic Journey
at the Brooklyn Museum
for our documentary, A Necessary Madness.
This is her first survey show in the United States, and it's right in her American hometown.
Throughout the rooms, collages glow from the walls, Heaven Roots climb to the ceiling with ‘panty fruit’ bursting from felt bark, and videos play on screens large and small. The show is up through March 9th, so see it if you can. For information, click here.
To watch our trailer of A Necessary Madness, click here
Screenings Near and Far
We Still Live Here in B.C. and Boston
We Still Live Here
just screened in two Native communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the tiny towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. This message just in from Marika Swann of the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation, who helped organize the panels and screenings:
"The themes in the film brought out some interesting dialogue about the work being done in our area and also what brought our language champions to the work. It is inspiring to see the parallels between our communities and the incredible achievements of our determined mothers." (More observations from Marika in our Comments section below.)
We Still Live Here
screens at the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference in Boston on November 23rd. As a former English teacher, this is particularly meaningful to me. We Still Live Here
is a film about the power of language, and about how language both embodies and reveals culture, in this case through the poetry and beauty of the newly recovered Wampanoag language.
On November 18, Rain in a Dry Land
will be broadcast throughout Australia on NITV, the National Indigenous Television channel. The film tells the story of two refugee families from Somalia resettling in the United States.
Rigorously intimate and disarmingly affectionate.
—John Anderson, Variety
A sharp, deeply felt, humanist tale.
—Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
The particular strength of this film is its intimacy.
—Stephen Holden, New York Times
for more about Rain in a Dry Land.
Stream it on iTunes, download it on Amazon, or click here
to buy the DVD
Speaking Our Mother Tongues —
Explore Our Language Website!
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
From Marika S —
Thank you so much for sharing We Still Live Here. I first came across it while watching TV at a hotel room for a conference. It was on in the middle of the night but I couldn't shut it off. It really touched me with hope and I have been looking for an opportunity to share it with the community at home. I hope that it will encourage the wonderful people championing our language in our communities and reaffirm their paths.
From Ivan B —
We Still Live Here is a joy — touching, inspiring, funny, honest. You never want it to end! I hope I can invite a couple of my friends of Ainu descent to watch it in the near future.
From Erik U —
I love learning of some details of my own heritage in We Still Live Here. Wonderful episode ... Thank you all for its production.
Stream it at PBS.org Free Through November 30th!
Stream it on iTunes!
Download it on Amazon!