DAWNLAND

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., January 10 at 10:00 pm
Sat., January 12 at 11:00 am

Follow the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission in the United States as contemporary Wabanaki communities in Maine 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.

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 1970s, 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 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 in Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribal communities. Collectively, these tribes make up the Wabanaki people.

The truth and reconciliation commission discovers that state power continues to be used to break up Wabanaki families, threatening the very existence of the Wabanaki people. Can they right this wrong and turn around a broken child welfare system? DAWNLAND foregrounds the immense challenges that this commission faces as they work toward truth, reconciliation, and the survival of all Indigenous peoples.

Living at the easternmost edge of Turtle Island, the Wabanaki people are the first to see the new day's light. If harmony and justice begin in the east, as some prophesize, surely the TRC is a sign of this beginning.

DAWNLAND is produced by Adam Mazo of Upstander Project.

More links:
dawnland.org
pbs.org/independentlens