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Tribal Justice

In 2011 Salisbury’s Anne Makepeace turned her lens on the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts, exploring their efforts to recover their heritage through the restoration of their language.

That documentary, We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân, went on to win many awards, including the Full Frame Inspiration Award and the Moving Mountains Award at Telluride MountainFilm.

In February Makepeace released her latest documentary, taking a different look at how tribal heritage can be used for the betterment of Indian youth. In Tribal Justice two formidable women—Abby Abinanti, chief judge of the Yurok Tribe on California’s north coast, and Claudette White, chief judge of the Quechan Tribe in the southern desert of that state, are using tribal courts to create alternative systems of justice.

The film will be presented this Sunday at 11AM as part of the Filmworks Forum at the Millerton Moviehouse with a post-screening discussion led by Makepeace. Filmworks presentations are open to the public free of charge.

The two judges are creating systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing offenders to keep their tribal members out of prison, to prevent children from being taken from their communities and to stop the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues many Native American young people.

The film introduces these women, then follows several cases both in and out of their courts. Their stories show how they can assert tribal sovereignty and raise them out of poverty and inequality.

Makepeace has been a writer, producer and director of award-winning independent films for more three decades. Tribal Justice, will be shown on a national PBS broadcasts later this year.

Founded in 1997, FilmWorks Forum is a non-profit community service program that presents important and inspiring independent and documentary films.