Peninsula College Screening of Documentary Dawnland and Discussion of Indian Child Welfare Act Focus of Two-Part November Event

A two-part event focused on the documentary Dawnland and the Indian Child Welfare Act will be hosted by Peninsula College’s Magic of Cinema, Studium Generale, and ʔaʔk̓ʷustəƞáwt̓xʷ House of Learning, Peninsula College Longhouse on multiple dates in November.

First, join PC November 1-4 for a Zoom screening of the documentary Dawnland.

Then, on November 3, at 12:35 pm, join in a face-to-face and Zoom discussion of the film and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Brandon Mack, the family court commissioner for Clallam County, will be in conversation with tribal court staff of the six Tribes the college most directly serves: Hoh, Quileute, Makah, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, and Lower Elwha Klallam. This will be an opportunity to reflect on the film but more importantly to learn about the work to support children in our community.

Join the discussion in the Little Theater on the Port Angeles campus or via Zoom at, Meeting ID: 823 0855 7946.

The 2018 documentary Dawnland highlights the stories of Native American children, who for most of the 20th century, were systemically removed from their homes and placed with white families by US agencies. As recently as the 1970s, one in four Native children was living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or boarding schools. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identities.

Dawnland follows the first government-sanctioned Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the US. For over two years, Native and non-Native commissioners traveled across Maine gathering testimony and bearing witness to the impacts of the state’s child welfare practices on families in Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribal communities. Collectively, these tribes make up the Wabanaki people. The film is ultimately a story of truth-telling and healing.

To view one of the screenings listed below via Zoom please use the following link:, Meeting ID: 820 6502 8538. The film is roughly 1 hour long.

· Wednesday, Nov.2, at 7 pm

· Thursday, Nov. 3, at 10:30 am

· Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 pm

The film and the November 3 discussion are especially pertinent at the moment because of the upcoming Supreme Court case Haaland v. Brackeen. This case, brought forward by Louisiana, Texas, and Indiana, as well as individual families, seeks to make the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act unconstitutional. ICWA protects against Indigenous children’s removal from their tribes and communities through adoption by non-Native families. Meant to combat centuries of forced assimilation, ICWA respects and upholds tribal sovereignty by giving priority to a child’s extended family or a family within their tribal community. As the Supreme Court begins the hearings about ICWA, it is important to understand what this act has meant for local communities and families.