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  • 9/20/11

    We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân to Premiere on the PBS Series Independent Lens on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 10 PM

    Film Captures a Linguistic Miracle as Cape Cod’s Wampanoag Indians Reclaim Their Lost Language

    “A language is not just words. It’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It’s all embodied in a language.” -- Noam Chomsky, We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân

    (San Francisco, CA) — We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân tells the remarkable story of the recent cultural and linguistic revival of the Wampanoag tribe of Southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims — and lived to regret it. Now they are bringing their language home again. Produced and directed by Anne Makepeace, We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân will air nationally on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Mary Louise Parker, on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 10 PM (check local listings).

    The story begins in 1994 when Jessie Little Doe, an intrepid, thirty-something, Wampanoag social worker, began having recurring visions and dreams: familiar-looking people from another time addressing her in an incomprehensible language. Jessie was perplexed and a little annoyed — why couldn’t they speak English? She soon realized they were speaking Wampanoag, a language no one had used for more than a century. This astonishing discovery sent Jessie and the members of her community on an unprecedented odyssey that would lead her to a linguistics research fellowship at MIT and the discovery of a huge trove of documents written in Wampanoag, including deeds, contracts, and an entire translation of the King James Bible (published at Harvard in 1663). Together with her MIT colleagues and the Wampanoag community, Jessie achieved something that had never been done before — bringing an American Indian language back to life after many generations without native speakers. By unlocking the secrets of the Wampanoag language, the community has been able to rediscover their history and culture. Now a new generation of children is breathing life into what was once thought to be a lost language.

    Our Mother Tongues

    OurMotherTongues.org is a companion website to We Still Live Here - Ās Nutayuneān and invites audiences to meet and celebrate 12 American Indian communities striving to revitalize their languages by training younger generations of fluent speakers. Visitors to the site can hear nearly 50 introductions in beautiful mother tongues, access additional footage from We Still Live Here - Ās Nutayuneān, send e-postcards in six Native languages, explore a Google map of each community’s location featuring facts on culture, language, and history, and read a blog with current news from Cultural Survival's Endangered Language's program. Our Mother Tongues was developed in association with Makepeace Productions, Cultural Survival's Endangered Language program, Interactive Knowledge and ITVS.

    To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the film’s companion website at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/we-still-live-here/. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.

    About the Filmmaker

    Anne Makepeace (Producer/Director) has been making award-winning independent films centering on cross-cultural themes for 25 years. We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân, her most recent work, won the 2011 Full Frame Inspiration Award and the Moving Mountains award at Telluride MountainFilm. Other feature documentaries by Anne Makepeace include I.M. Pei: Building China Modern (PBS’s American Masters, 2010); Rain In A Dry Land (Emmy® nominee, PBS’s POV 2007, winner of the Full Frame Working Films Award); Robert Capa In Love And War (National Prime Time Emmy® Award, PBS’s American Masters 2003); Coming To Light (Oscar short list, PBS’s American Masters); Baby It’s You (PBS’s POV ); and Channel Four UK’s True Stories series.  For more information, visit www.makepeaceproductions.com.

    About Independent Lens

    Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing Thursday nights at 10 PM on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS; it is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen.

    CONTACT Voleine Amilcar, ITVS 415-356-8383 x 244 voleine_amilcar@itvs.org Mary Lugo 770-623-8190 lugo@negia.net Cara White 843-881-1480 cara.white@mac.com

    For downloadable images, visit http://pressroom.pbs.org