Dawnland and Maine-Wabanaki Reach

This weekend is the heart of the Independent Film Festival of Boston, a regular highlight of my year. And this year, we got to participate in a special way: by hosting a subject from one of the documentaries playing at the festival.

The film was Dawnland and it’s worth not only seeing it, but also understanding the issues surrounding it. Here’s how an NPR story in 2013 described it: “In Maine, an unusual and historic process is under way to document child welfare practices that once resulted in Indian children being forcibly removed from their homes. Many of the native children were placed with white foster parents. Chiefs from all five of Maine’s tribes, along with Gov. Paul LePage, have created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help heal the wounds.”

The process was modeled after the Truth and Reconciliation process following apartheid in South Africa. But of course the circumstances for Maine’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is unique, and the process had to evolve in its own way. The movie is powerful for its stories and for the courage of the people who participated.

Today, I hosted one of the documentary’s subjects (and her daughter and best friend) and watched the screening and a Q&A. I also donated to Maine-Wabanaki Reach, which is continuing to push the process of truth and healing.

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