Documentary Films | 2018 | 87 minutes
SIFF Says:For much of the last century, the United States government maintained a genocidal policy that forcibly removed Native American children from their homes and placed them into white communities. Many of them faced traumatic physical and emotional abuse by white adults in effort to erase their cultural identity and history. DAWNLAND is a heart-bleeding documentary that reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous child removal in the United States. Recently, Maine became the first state to sanction a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), with the sole purpose of recording the actual history of this policy, its devastating effects on Indigenous people, and the formulation of a more genuine healing process. The film follows both native and non-native commissioners as they travel across the state speaking to tribes of the Wabanaki people. Their recorded meetings, the first state government sanctioned of its kind, produce intimate and harrowing moments of truth and reconciliation. But they soon discover these atrocities are more than just history, as current state policy continues to shatter Wabanaki families and threaten the tribe’s very existence. What begins as a learning process evolves into a modern fight for a people’s inalienable human rights.
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