“Dawnland” Profiles Struggles Facing Maine’s Native American communities. | ThinkTV

“Dawnland” Profiles Struggles Facing Maine’s Native American communities.

Posted by Kellie May on

For most of the twentieth century Native Americans have been facing separation struggles that have torn families apart. Independent Lens: Dawnland reveals the untold stories of indigenous child removal, through the lens of the Wabanaki community in Maine, but these traumatic removals impacted most of the Native American community well into the 1970s.

Nationwide during this era, government agents removed one in four Native American children from their families in efforts to “assimilate” them by erasing their cultural identity. Dawnland focuses on the Wabanaki people and their children, who were placed into non-Native foster care, adoptive homes and boarding schools in an effort to give then better a better future by placing them in white societies. Unfortunately, a lot of these children were victims of physical and mental abuse, which is just now coming to light.  

For the first time, the Wabanaki people share their horrifying experiences through the separation and assimilation process so many years ago. Dawnland talks to people from four different communities that make up the Wabanaki people about the issues they still face today in the welfare system. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) launched an investigation (between 2013 to 2015) and found the devastation issues that still affect these communities and others across the nation to this day.

Independent Lens: Dawnland, directed by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip, premieres at 10pm on Monday, November 5, on CET and at 10pm Thursday, November 8, on ThinkTV16.