We Still Live Here

We Still Live Here

Âs Nutayuneân

  • BY Anne Makepeace | IN Identity
    Premiered November 17, 2011

About the Film

We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân is the story of the revitalization of the Wampanoag language, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country. The Wampanoag’s ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims in New England, and lived to regret it. Nevertheless, through resilience and courage they kept their identity alive and remained on their ancestral lands. Now a cultural revival is taking place. MORE

The story begins in 1994 when Jessie Little Doe, an intrepid, 30-something Wampanoag social worker, began having recurring 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? Later, she realized they were speaking Wampanoag, a language no one had used for more than a century.

These events sent her and members of the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag communities on an odyssey that would uncover hundreds of documents written in their ancestral language, lead Jessie to a earn herself a masters degree in linguistics at MIT, and result in something that had never been done before – bringing a language alive again in an American Indian community after many generations with no native speakers. With commitment, study groups, classes, and communitywide effort, many are approaching fluency. Jessie’s young daughter Mae is the first native speaker in more than a hundred years.

The Filmmaker

Anne Makepeace
Anne Makepeace has been a writer, producer, and director of award-winning independent films for more than 20 years. Her films include We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân which won the Full Frame Inspiration Award and the Moving Mountains Prize at Telluride MountainFilm; I.M. Pei: Building China Modern, (PBS/American Masters 2010); Rain in a Dry Land (lead show on P.O.V. 2007) winner of the Full Frame Working Films Award, Emmy nomination; Robert Capa in Love and War, (PBS/American Masters 2003), national Prime Time Emmy Award; Coming to Light (PBS/American Masters 2003), short-listed for an Oscar and winner of many prizes; and Baby It's You (lead show on P.O.V. 1998), Whitney Biennial 2000. Makepeace also wrote the screenplay for Thousand Pieces of Gold and the American Experience documentary Ishi, the Last Yahi.


Film Credits

A Film by
Anne Makepeace

Ruth Lingford

Researcher and Assistant Producer
Jennifer Weston

Directors of Photography
Stephen McCarthy
Allie Humenuk

Mary Lampson
Anne Makepeace

Joel Goodman

Drum Group
Black Brook Singers

Donald Sosin
Hartman Deetz
Macey Levin

Story Editor
Doris Baizley

Additional Photography
Craig Marsden
Brian Dowley
Austen DeBesche
Anne Makepeace

Text and Map Animation
Tim Szetela

Business Manager
Maureen Fahey

George Shafnacker
Mario Cardenas

Research Assistants
Jerad Mulcare
Tia Ray
Kraynal Alfred

Legal Counsel
Shelley Surpin

Assistant Editors
Maxwell Anderson
Felix Trolldenier

Online Editor
Rikk Desgres

Sound Mixer
David Wilson

Still Photography
Trisha Barry
Jonathan Reed

Kerry Anne Bradford
Adam Clark Estes
Lucy Mackinnon
Jonathan Reed


Deputy GM for Content and Delivery
Lynn Page

General Manager
Russell J. Peotter

Webmaster and Web Designer
Jen Moulton-Proctor

Production Coordinator
Keith Clark

On-Line Editing
Ray Laferriere

Archival Photographs Courtesy of
Linda Coombs
Massachusetts Historical Society
Massachusetts State Archives
Falmouth Historical Society
John Carter Brown Library at Brown University
Harvard University Libraries
Plimouth Plantation
Harvard Map Collection
Harvard Center for Geographical Analysis
Rhode Island School of Design
Sally Hale

Special Thanks
The Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project
Cultural Survival
Charles Church
Noam Chomsky
Blue Mountain Center

Dedicated to Kenneth Locke Hale

All tribal member interviews are personal opinions,
and do not represent the views
of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

Fiscal Sponsor
Center for Independent Documentary

Funding Provided by
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation
The Sundance Documentary Fund
The National Science Foundation
The LEF Foundation
The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân is a co-production of Anne Makepeace
and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), presented by WGBY,
with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

This program was produced by Anne Makepeace
who is solely responsible for its content.

©2011 Anne Makepeace. All rights reserved.

Is it possible for a language that has not been spoken for generations to become vibrant once more?
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Is it possible for a language that has not been spoken for generations to become vibrant once more?