Dawnland Screening + Live Q&A

February 25, 2021
7:00pm Eastern Time
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For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. National News & Documentary Emmy® award winning film DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

Join chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission David Fakunle, educator and linguist Roger Paul (Passamaquoddy), filmmaker and Upstander Project director Adam Mazo, and Upstander Project learning director Mishy Lesser for a live Q&A moderated by Dodd Human Rights Impact director Glenn Mitoma after the film. The discussion will center on the burgeoning conversations and moves to create truth and healing commissions in the land now known as the United States. Panelists will explore lessons learned from the Maine-Wabanaki experience and ask: who truth commissions serve, what are their goals, who should lead these efforts, and what role documentation might play in how a truth commission’s work could impact public understanding?

This is a special opportunity to see the 86-minute directors' cut of DAWNLAND!

Video Descriptions

Dawnland Trailer 2018

NATIONAL BROADCAST: November 2018 on Independent Lens on PBS. Local listings here: www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/dawnland/ OFFICIAL WEBSITE: dawnland.org SCREENINGS: dawnland.org/screenings FACEBOOK: facebook.com/dawnlandmovie INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/dawnlandmovie TWITTER: twitter.com/DawnlandMovie SYNOPSIS: For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

Abbe Museum Video

Blessing of the Creatures | Virtual MICA Presents

This listening video - Blessing of the Creatures - was created to celebrate Earth Day and honor all the creatures, including us humans. The Passamaquoddy Drum Song was reunited with the Passamaquoddy people through recordings that were made in 1890 on wax cylinders. It is held in reverence as one of the most ancient songs and offered here as a Blessing of the Creatures. 'Blessing of the Creatures' was created by Vera Francis (Passamaquoddy) and theater artist Marty Pottenger with support from 350 Maine and Sierra Club Maine, the Abbe Museum, Maine Art Commission, Maine Bicentennial Commission, MAP Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town program.

Dawnland Feature

150 minutes


  • Upstander Project


  • Glenn Mitoma (Panel Moderator)

    Glenn Mitoma is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute and the Neag School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Glenn is inaugural Director of Dodd Impact, previously serving as director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center since 2013. Glenn’s research and teaching focus on the history of human rights and human rights education, with current projects on the role of education in advancing respect for human rights, the history of human rights education, a biography of the Lebanese philosopher and diplomat—and prominent UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights author—Charles H. Malik.

  • David Olawuyi Fakunle

    David Olawuyi Fakunle, Ph.D. is a “mercenary for change,” employing any skill and occupying any space to help elevate everyone divested from their truest self, especially those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. David serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine, and Associate Faculty in the Mental Health department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. David also serves as Chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first state commission in the United States dedicated to chronicling and bringing justice to racial terror lynchings.

  • Roger Paul

    Roger Paul (Passamaquoddy, Wolastoq) was born to a Passamaquoddy mother who, soon afterward, walked on to the spirit world. His father, who was Wotastoq, went to great lengths to protect him from state “child welfare” officials who wanted to send him away to a boarding school or place him in the foster care system. While growing up on various reservations throughout Maine and New Brunswick, he was shuttled between the communities. His older brothers and sister were not as fortunate. They were taken and sent to the residential school at Shubenecadie. Roger grew up speaking the local Wabanaki dialects and began learning English around the age of five. He soon realized the public’s lack of understanding and connection to the indigenous peoples and especially those of northeastern North America. He has since chosen a path to help educate anyone interested, about the importance of indigenous Wabanaki People and their vital role in the communities in which they are ever-present. Roger holds a masters in linguistics from MIT and works as a Wabanaki Languages teacher with the Penobscot Nation, the University of Maine at Orono, and the University of Southern Maine. He takes an active and diligent role towards the preservation, continuing growth, and prosperity of the Wabanaki language, culture, and people.

  • Mishy Lesser

    Mishy Lesser, Ed.D., is an Emmy® award-winning researcher and the learning director for the Upstander Project and Education Fellow at the Dodd Human Rights Impact at the University of Connecticut. She is co-director of the Upstander Academy, a weeklong professional learning experience for teachers and museum educators that focuses on genocide, decolonization, and developing the skills of upstanders. Currently Dr. Lesser spends much of her time researching and writing the Teacher’s Guide for Bounty. Mishy authored the twelve-lesson Dawnland Teacher's Guide to help students explore the relationship between the taking of the land and the taking of the children, as well as authoring the four-lesson Coexist Teacher’s Guide to promote learning about the complexity of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. She is a Circle Keeper and has been featured on WBUR (Boston) and PRI/BBC’s The World. Mishy was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador and spent 12 years learning and working in the Andes.

  • Adam Mazo

    Adam Mazo is an Emmy® award-winning filmmaker and the director of the Upstander Project. He co-founded the Upstander Project with Mishy Lesser in 2009. He is the co-director and producer of the Emmy® award-winning feature-length film, Dawnland (Independent Lens, Woods Hole Jury Award for Best Documentary 2018), First Light (Camden International Film Festival 2016) and Dear Georgina (Camden International Film Festival 2019). Adam directed and produced Coexist (WORLD Channel, Africa Movie Academy Award Nominee 2014), and he is currently co-directing and producing the upcoming short Bounty. His films have been broadcast on domestic and international television, programmed at film festivals and international conferences, and screened at universities, middle and high schools, where they are also often used in curricula. He is originally from Minnesota, graduated from the University of Florida, and now lives with his wife and sons in the territory of the Massachusett people in the place known as Boston.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.