Makepeace Productions



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Docs on the Cape: The 20th Woods Hole Film Festival
We Still Live Here: As Nutayunean tells the extraordinary story of Jessie Little Doe Baird and fellow tribal members as they attempt to bring back to life their dead language. The last speaker of the Wampanoag language died over a century ago. No language in America has been revived without native speakers. The Wampanoags are attempting to be the first.
Veteran filmmaker Anne Makepeace with animator Ruth Lingford present a finely woven story of resurrection, a story about the human will conquering the dark forces of the past that eradicated the Wampanoag's language and today threatens its collective identity. It's a stunning tale that gives hope to the human spirit in a time when diversity is losing the battle to survive.
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Amy E. Den Ouden
University of Massachusetts, Boston

We Still Live Here—Âs Nutayuneân (2010), the most-recent award-winning film by Anne Makepeace, is about Wampanoag language reclamation and the stunning work of Mashpee Wampanoag linguist and educator Jessie Little Doe Baird, the founder and director of the Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) Language Reclamation Project ( WLRP).
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Wakening Wôpanâak
"If the Wampanoag could bring back their language without a single Native speaker, then anything is possible," said Anne Makepeace, the creator of a documentary about the revitalization of the Wôpanâak language. "I think this film can serve as a cautionary tale for Native people whose languages are endangered and a model of inspiration for those working to preserve and revitalize their languages."
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Huffington Post

Why should we be grateful for translation? […] Translation can also have a profound effect on the lives of individuals and communities. It can even help revive a language. Consider the case of the Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) of Massachusetts, whose language died out in the mid-19th century. […] Spearheaded by a heroic and determined woman by the name of Jessie Little Doe Baird, the project has led to a language revival. In great part, the language was revived because of the existence of a large corpora of texts in Wampanoag, which enabled Jessie to re-construct a grammar and a sizable dictionary.

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Throughout the film, Makepeace succeeds in bringing out emotional connections to the past and present and the spirituality of the scholarly work. The film offers an inspiring story: language can be brought back. This film also offers a positive portrayal of Native people—a people who are strong, persevering, and full of hope for an even brighter future.

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Festival Documentary Highlights: "We Still Live Here"
Filmmaker Anne Makepeace's latest work is a beautiful film about a fascinating subject—the death and subsequent rebirth of the Wampanoag language.
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Bringing Wampanoag Back to Life
The film documents the efforts of a Mashpee Wampanoag, Jessie Little Doe Baird, who was summoned by her ancestors in a dream vision to reclaim the language of her nation, and her community's support and nurturing of this vision. ...
"It is a story about the resurrection of a language and of a culture that's quite unprecedented,'' Makepeace said last week of her film, which has won prizes from the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. "It's the first time a language with no living speakers has been revived as a living, spoken language in a Native American community.''

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The Gift of Gab
An Interview.
Mashpee Wampanoag linguist jessie little doe baird, 47, on bringing back her tribal tongue.

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University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology,
Kansas State University

"An exquisite portrait of an indigenous community creatively engaged in an inspired resurrection of their ancestral tongue. Guided by Jessie Little Doe, founder of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project and academically mentored by Ken Hale of MIT, children now learn to think and speak Wampanoag after seven generations of silence, thus breathing new life into their long-repressed culture. Beautifully crafted, this superb documentary is most highly recommended."

Library Bookwatch
We Still Live Here is an extraordinary DVD documentary about a cultural revival among the Wampanoag Tribes of Cape Cod. ... [The film] is a powerful and emotionally moving documentary, highly recommended for public, high school, and college library DVD collections.
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For all that the linguistics and history are interesting and tragic, the film in many way shines because of what we see of the Wampanoag people. The film spends the most time with Jesse Littledoe Baird, who makes for an endearingly unlikely heroine - a middle-aged wife and mother whose passion leads her to do something truly extraordinary.
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Filmmaker Anne Makepeace on We Still Live Here and the Indigenous Film and Arts Festival
?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.
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Inspiration, Filmed
An encounter with Anne Makepeace, Director of We Still Live Here, in her Lakeville, Connecticut offices.
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Âs Nutayuneân—We Still Live Here
"Loss" isn't a word we use often on this paradise of an island. Rather, our everyday vocabulary is much more apt to include words like "breathtaking," "wonderful," and "spectacular." It is easy to forget that this picturesque land hasn't always been ours. The true natives to Nantucket are the Wampanoags, better known as "the Thanksgiving Indians" who saved the Pilgrims from starvation. This year's Nantucket Film Festival brings us an extraordinary documentary about the 100-year-long loss of the native Wampanoag language and its recent, groundbreaking exhumation. In native Nantucket tongue, "Âs Nutayuneân" literally means, "We still live here."
Read the full article on the "Yesterday's Island" website

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How Wampanoag Woman Found the Right Words: We Still Live Here
For more than a century on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, the words of the Wampanoag were not their own. ... The remarkable story of how the Wampanoag language came home is the subject of filmmaker Anne Makepeace's remarkable film.
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An Interview with Anne Makepeace

Former Santa Barbara resident and Emmy Award winner Anne Makepeace returns to SBIFF with her latest documentary, We Still Live Here (Âs Nutayuneân), which is a perfect-for-PBS look at the Wampanoag people's quest to revive their ancestors' language. These New Englanders find help and inspiration in the oddest of places, and the viewer comes to quickly realize that the value of dead languages just might be infinite.
She recently answered some questions via email.
How did you find out about this revival?
I grew up in New England and, like most Americans, I had never heard of Wampanoag, did not know that they were "the Indians" who helped the Pilgrims to survive, and was completely unaware that any of these Indians still lived on their homelands in Massachusetts. Then, in 2006, I was hired to ...

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Berkshire Film Festival Features Wampanoag Documentary
Years ago, Jessie Little Doe Baird started having recurring dreams, of familiar-looking people speaking a language she didn't understand, even though it sounded like something she'd heard before.
"I thought I was getting a little nutty," Baird says.
Later, she saw a street sign with the word "Sippewissett" on it. The light bulb went on, and Baird realized that her dream visitors were speaking Wampanoag, the language of Baird's ancestors.
Later, the dream people told her, in English, "We've got a job here for you if you'll accept it."

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We Still Live Here: Witnessing the Rebirth of a Language
In the ultimate irony, Little Doe and other linguists were able to use a body of texts created largely through the efforts of Christian missionaries—who effectively sought to destroy the native culture of the Wampanoag—as source material in rediscovering words that had not been spoken aloud for at least six generations, with a Wampanoag-language Bible serving as perhaps the most useful resource.
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This a film that should be shown to students studying languages – any of them – because it shows the power of language and the gift of learning one. I challenge you not to want to pick up a language class after seeing this film.
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Recreating the Lost Language of the Wampanoag People
There was a prophecy among the Wampanoag that their language would disappear, but if they wanted it, there would be a way to welcome the Wôpanâak language back.
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Film: Save Native Tongue

Language, heavy muscles in our backsides that hold us erect and opposable thumbs—these are the three elements, some anthropologists contend, that made human evolution possible. Of these three, spoken language most distinguishes us from other species. So what, then, is lost when a language dies? No less than cultural identity, tradition and subtle information about the environment in which that culture existed.
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Anne Makepeace's extraordinary film documents the origin and continued efforts of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. The indigenous Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts is noted for aiding the Pilgrims after their arrival in the so-called "New World" four centuries ago. That foreign invasion ultimately resulted in the rapid decline of their once-thriving culture. The tribes lost their lands and became subject to the laws of the dominant culture, and soon their language began to recede as the native-speaker population dwindled in the years following the American Revolution.
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More Motivation to Fight for My Language

When Jessie Littledoe first met Ken Hale, she was unimpressed. Here was another "elderly white man," she says, offering instruction. In this instance, he was bringing news of her people's lost language, Wampanoag. "I thought, 'Isn't this ironic?' and that bothered me to my core," she remembers. "We would have to depend on some white person to do this work. So, I was really nasty to him."
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