Film Documents Revival of Dormant Language

Those who follow Native language news may be familiar with the name Jesse Little Doe Baird. In the mid 1990’s Little Doe Baird, a Wampanoag social worker, began having reoccurring dreams. In these dreams, oddly familiar people from another time spoke to her in a language she did not understand. Eventually she came to realize they were speaking Wampanoag, her ancestral language. In spite of the fact that the Wampanoag language had not been spoken in over a century, Little Doe Baird took it upon herself to learn it. When her daughter was born she proceeded to teach it to her as well.

Film maker Anne Makepeace has documented Little Doe Baird’s journey, following the work she and members of the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanaog communities have undertaken in their historic revival. Makepeace’s film “We Still Live Here” recently won the Moving Mountains Prize at the MountainFilm Festival, in Telluride, Colorado.

“We Still Live Here” will be shown on PBS this November. It is also available to purchase here, and a trailer can be viewed here


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