The People of the Dawn

Nov 11, 2018

9pm INDEPENDENT LENS - Documentary - A showcase of award winning independent documentary films featuring diverse subjects and character driven stories captured from edgy and creative filmmakers. 

DAWNLAND - An untold story of Native American child removal, the stakes of family separation policy are no less than cultural survival.  



They were forced to assimilate into white society: children ripped away from their families, depriving them of their culture and erasing their identities. Can reconciliation help heal the scars from childhoods lost? Dawnland is the untold story of Indigenous child removal in the US through the nation's first-ever government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission, which investigated the devastating impact of Maineís child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people. The Wabanaki are the people who are there to greet the light, "the people of the dawn," in the upper Northeast. For decades, Maineís child welfare system placed Wabanaki children in foster or adoptive homes under the presumption that assimilating into white society would improve their quality of life and give them a better future. Many children in the system suffered untold physical and psychological abuse. Their story brings to light how getting to the heart of the truth can offer a flicker of hope.



Dawnland co-directors Ben Pender-Cudlip (left) and Adam Mazo

Adam Mazo (Co-Director/Producer) co-directed and produced the short documentary First Light. His hour-long film Coexist (Africa Movie Academy Award nominee, 2011) aired on public television and WORLD Channel. He is co-founder and director of Upstander Project, a filmmaking and learning collaborative which helps bystanders become upstanders through film and learning resources. Coexist, First Light, Dawnland and their companion resources are the cornerstone of Upstander Projectís flagship program, the Upstander Academy. Adam is a member of the core faculty at the weeklong inquiry-based summer professional development experience. Originally from Minnesota, Adam was transplanted to Sarasota, Florida, for high school and later graduated from the University of Florida. He now lives in Boston with his wife and family.

 Ben Pender-Cudlip (Co-Director/Director of Photography) also co-directed and served as director of photography on First Light. He has directed numerous short documentaries and contributed cinematography to independent documentaries, such as Tickling Giants, The Peacemaker, and Best and Most Beautiful Things. He was selected as a 2014 Points North Fellow at the Camden International Film Festival alongside Mr. Mazo. He graduated from Bard College at Simonís Rock and lives in Boston.