By Steve Minich
MAINE (WMTW) — A documentary produced by members of Maine’s Penobscot Nation is bringing attention to atrocities committed against Native Americans.
The film “Bounty” brings to light the government-placed scalp bounties placed on the Penobscot people in the 1700s.
“I’d like you to know that history is not what you were taught, and there is a lot more to know,” co-producer Dawn Neptune Adams said.
Adams cautions that the lessons the film teaches could be disturbing to some.
“Film contains potentially upsetting conversation,” Adams said. “Viewers are going to be introduced to information that they’ve probably never heard before,” Adams said.
In addition to being Bounty’s co-producer, Adams is one of the film’s key Penobscot figures, along with her son.
“We read the death warrant with our children, and we talk about it,” Adams said.
Filmed inside Boston’s historic Old State House, it is the site where in 1755, colonial setters signed death warrants that placed cash bounties on scalps of indigenous people.
“Settlers were paid to hunt us. About $12,000 for a man. A little less than half that for a woman and a little less than that for a child,” Adams said.
Adams calls it a license to kill. The filmmakers’ research revealed that 375 members of the Wabanaki Nation were murdered. Sixty-nine scalp bounties were paid, and many were Penobscot.
Adams said it is documented history that was buried.
“What we learned in public schools, myself included, is not the truth,” Adams said.
Adams said revealing the truth is not about making anyone feel guilty or apologize for the acts of their ancestors.
She said she hopes “Bounty” sparks a conversation as upsetting as the topic might be.
“When we have ideas in our mind about how the world is and we are introduced to contradictory ideas, the mind takes a while to settle into the new truth,” Adams said.
“Bounty” can be streamed online and more information is available on the documentary’s website.
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