ON SCREEN · FILM SPECIAL
A story of stolen children and cultural survival: inside the first Truth and Reconciliation commission for Native Americans.
Discussion follows with co-director Adam Mazo, co-producer Prof. N. Bruce Duthu and Esther Anne (Passamaquoddy), Board Member of REACH, the organization that conceived of the truth and reconciliation commission.
For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. As recently as the 1970’s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or boarding schools. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity.
Now, for the first time, they are being asked to share their stories.
In Maine, a historic investigation—the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in the United States—begins a bold journey. For over two years, Native and non-Native commissioners travel across Maine. They gather testimony and bear witness to the devastating impact of the state’s child welfare practices on families. Dawnland follows the TRC to contemporary Wabanaki communities to witness intimate, sacred moments of truth telling and healing. With exclusive access to this groundbreaking process and never-before-seen footage, the film reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous child removal in the United States.
D: Adam Mazo, Ben Pender-Cudlip, US, 2018, 1h26m
Presented in partnership with Dartmouth’s Program in Native American Studies
Part of the Indigenous Rising Film Series