Dawnland: Screening and Discussion
For most of the 20th century, the U.S. government systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. Even as recently as the 1970s, one in four Native children nationwide was living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes or boarding schools. Many of these children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm from adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity.
Dawnland, a feature-length documentary, follows the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission in the United States. The film tracks the commission’s journey across Maine, to gather testimony and bear witness to the devastating impact of the State’s child welfare practices on families in Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribal communities. Collectively, these tribes make up the Wabanaki people.
Following the screening, Women’s March San Francisco will host a panel moderated by Michelle Meow to hear directly from members of the Native American community about how their families were impacted by these atrocious acts, and we will explore parallels to similar atrocities happening today with immigrant families being separated at our borders.
The panelists include:
Mari Villaluna, descendent of the Mohawk people, is with The Center for Political Education and Indigenous Peoples Media Project. Previously, she served in the U.S. Army and then as a career counselor and tutor in San Francisco schools. Mari is a Native American activist and has traveled to Indian Island, featured in "Dawnland."
Dr. Melinda Micco (Seminole/Creek/Choctaw) is associate professor emerita from Mills College. Her research has focused on multiracial identity in American Indian and African American communities, primarily in the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. She is the author of several articles on African Americans and American Indians. Her documentary about Native women, Killing the 7th Generation: Reproductive Abuses Against Indigenous Women, has been shown in many areas, including the Bioneers Conference, Intertribal Friendship House, The Queer Women of Color Film Festival, and the University of California, Santa Barbara and Bay Area libraries. She is also working on a book, Seminole Voices in Indian Country, and a film on the Refinery Healing Walks with Chihiro Wimbush. She is a member of Idle No More SF Bay Solidarity Group that is dedicated to affirming treaty rights for First Nations peoples in Canada and American Indian peoples in the United States. She is also a signer of the Indigenous Women of the Americas–Defenders of Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015 and supporter and defender of the Standing Rock Sioux camps in North Dakota.
Please join us for this informative discussion and screening of this important film.
The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105
5:30 p.m. check-in with light refreshments
6:30 p.m. program