intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing

Native American film ‘Dawnland’ to be screened in Belfast

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    BELFAST — Dawnland will be shown on Wednesday, May 10, at 6 p.m., at the Belfast Free Library with time allowed for post-viewing discussion led by Waldo Reads Together facilitators. This program is free and open to the public.

    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 tried to erase their cultural identity.

    For the first time, they are asked to share their stories when a historic investigation in Maine—the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in the United States—began a bold journey. For over two years, Native and non-Native commissioners traveled across Maine. They gathered testimony and witnessed the dramatic 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 feature-length documentary Dawnland follows the TRC to contemporary Wabanaki communities to witness intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing. With exclusive access to this ground-breaking process and never-before-seen footage, the film reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous child removal in the United States. The TRC 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?

    Waldo Reads Together (WRT) invites all interested community members to come watch Dawnland to learn more about this question. The showing of this documentary culminates the One Book, One Community Waldo Reads Together 2023 program in which over one hundred community members have read and discussed Night of the Living Rez written by Penobscot Tribal member Morgan Talty. Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a debut collection of fictional stories that depict one young man’s experience of growing up in a Maine Native community in the twenty-first century. Since its July 2022 publication, this book has been placed on many national “best of 2022” lists (Time, NPR, Esquire and Publishers Weekly, among others) and received numerous awards including the National Book Critics Circle award and the New England Book Award.

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    Event Date: 

    Wed, 05/10/2023 - 6:00pm

    Event Location: 

    Belfast Free Library


    Belfast Free Library
    Belfast, ME 04915
    United States