Arts & Entertainment

Q&A: Preserving Wampanoag language in 'We Still Live Here'

"Anne Makepeace is quick to tell people that the Wampanoag is the tribe that greeted the Mayflower. After all, what better way to quickly illustrate how forgotten this tribe is? Almost everyone in America knows the people of the Mayflower broke bread with a Native American tribe, but most people probably don't know who they were.

In her film, We Still Live Here, screening as part of the 8th Annual Indigenous Film and Arts Festival, Makepeace helps the Wampanoag tell the story of their language.

That language could have died 100 years ago, with the last known native speakers. Now the Wampanoag are working to revive it, a project headed by Jessie Little Doe Baird, who dreamed about the language of her ancestors before she even learned to speak it.

We Still Live Here screens tomorrow, October 13, at 6 p.m. at the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building, Anschutz Medical Center, 13055 East 17th Avenue, in Aurora. The five-day festival begins tonight and takes place at several venues around town. Find more information on the festival web site.

Westword: What attracted you to the Wampanoag's story?
Anne Makepeace:What attracted me to the story is that it's a native story about resurrection and reclamation. So much history and so much media about Native Americans is about the devastation of the cultures. Certainly there was a lot of devastation. But looking back to the past is as important as looking to the future in a positive light. This story is about native people not dwelling on all the terrible things that have happened to them, but reclaiming their identities for their children -- for future generations."

Get the Story:
Film maker Anne Makepeace on We Still Live Here and the Indigenous Film and Arts Festival (Westword 10/12)

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