‘Dawnland’ screening, discussion

Mar 08, 2019

Camden — Camden Public Library, Main Street/Route 1 at Atlantic Avenue, will host a screening of the documentary “Dawnland” (2018, USA) Tuesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. Maria Girouard of the Penobscot Nation will facilitate a discussion following the nonrated, 86-minute film about the removal of Native American children from their homes by child welfare authorities.

“Dawnland” follows Maine’s tribal-state truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) to contemporary Wabanaki communities to reveal the untold narrative of indigenous child removal in the United States. The film goes behind the scenes as the first such TRC in the United States grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

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 mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity.

Girouard is an historian with particular expertise in the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act. A longstanding community organizer and activist of environmental and social justice, Girouard is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Maryann Hartman Award for her advocacy work on preserving the rights and cultural heritage of Penobscot Nation. She serves Maine-Wabanaki REACH as coordinator of health, wellness and self-determination.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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