Arts & Entertainment | National

Film exposes police harassment of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

YouTube: Mashpee Nine Trailer

A new documentary sheds light on the decades-old arrests of several young members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts.

The eight tribal members, plus one of their friends, were drumming and socializing at Mashpee Pond on a summer night in 1976 when they were beaten and detained by police in full riot gear. The young men -- all of whom were under the age of 25 -- came to be known as the Mashpee Nine and were eventually cleared of all charges after a lengthy trial.

Their story is now being told in Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On. The 40-minute documentary by filmmaker Paula Peters features interviews with the key figures and is based on more than two years of research.

"Remembered as a cultural injustice throughout Indian country the incident sparked local outrage and activism, and a response by the American Indian Movement," an invitation to the film's premiere in Mashpee on Thursday reads.

The eight tribal members who were arrested are still alive but their ninth friend has since passed on. A 10th young Mashpee citizen -- who was only 16 years old when he was detained but never charged -- is also featured in the documentary.

Get the Story:
"Mashpee Nine" documentary will premiere June 30 (The Bourne Bulletin 6/28)
'Mashpee Nine' recounts 1976 raid and arrest of Wampanoag tribe members (The Cape Cod Times 6/28)
Mashpee 9 Documentary To Premiere (Cape News 6/24)