Upstander Project Films Online at S-WH

S-WH presents the screening of two Upstander Project Films this June, made possible by a grant from Connecticut Humanities. The films – Dawnland, screening on Thursday, June 16th at 7:00 pm, and Bounty, screening on June 23 at 7:00 pm – seek to initiate tough, meaningful conversations about the historically silenced stories of Indigenous peoples and North Americans.

The films are free, virtual, and live-streamed. Each will be preceded by a brief introduction and followed by an hour-long Q&A with three speaker panelists associated with the films. In addition, registrants will also be able to stream two other Upstander Project films, for a total of four, throughout June for further appreciation and engagement. Registration is required - see below for details and registration.


Screening: June 16, 7:00 PM  

For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. National News & Documentary Emmy® award winning film Dawnland goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

The screening will be preceded by a brief introduction and followed by an hour-long Q&A with three speaker panelists associated with the film.


Screening: June 23, 7:00 PM

Bounty reveals the hidden story of the Phips Proclamation, one of many scalp-bounty proclamations used to exterminate Native people in order to take their land in what is now New England.

The screening will be preceded by a brief introduction and followed by an hour-long Q&A with three speaker panelists associated with the film.

About CT Humanities

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. CTH connects people to the humanities through grants, partnerships, and collaborative programs. CTH projects, administration, and program development are supported by state and federal matching funds, community foundations and gifts from private sources.

About Upstander Project

Upstander Project’s work is rooted in their effort to move toward a better world they believe we can all build together. They use storytelling to amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth.

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Upstander Project Team & Collaborators

For more information, and to learn about Upstander Project's Circle of Advisors, visit

Adam Mazo

Adam (he/his) is the director of Upstander Project and an Emmy® Award-winning social issue documentarian. Adam has (co)directed and/or produced all of Upstander Project’s films, including Dawnland, which won an Emmy® Award in 2018. His films have been broadcast on domestic and international television (Independent Lens), programmed at film festivals (Sundance, Hot Docs, Camden) and international conferences, and screened at universities and K-12 schools, where they are also often used in curricula. He is Ashkenazi Jewish and lives with his family in the territory of the People of the Blue Hills — the Massachusett Tribe.

Ben Pender-Cudlip

Ben (he/him) is an Emmy® award-winning independent filmmaker and the co-director and cinematographer of Dawnland, First Light, Dear Georgina and Bounty. He has directed over a dozen short documentary films, including Sanjiban in 2012 (Hot Docs, CIFF) and Fetch in 2014 (Woods Hole). He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Chelsea Strelser

Chelsea (she/her) is the program manager for Upstander Project. She is passionate about human rights, racial equality, and genocide-prevention. Prior to joining Upstander Project, Chelsea worked as a community organizer and activist for nearly ten years. She has a MSc in African politics and a PBC in gender-based violence intervention. Originally from Virginia, Chelsea now lives in Boston on the land of the Massachusett people.

Dawn Neptune Adams

Dawn (Penobscot Nation) (she/her) is a filmmaker and journalist with Sunlight Media Collective, and co-director of and a participant in Bounty. Her grassroots environmental activism began with the protection of Indigenous Sacred sites in Huntington Beach, CA in 1998. Since then, she has been a tireless advocate for environmental justice and Indigenous rights at the tribal, local, state, and national levels. Dawn is actively involved in politics for change across a wide spectrum of influences. She is a Racial Justice Consultant to the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine; an active member of Racial Equity & Justice of Bangor, Maine; and a former Indigenous Peoples' Policy Advisor for the Hunter/Elias 2020 Presidential campaign. Dawn has served as the Wabanaki Liaison to the Maine Independent Green Party since 2016 and was the Vice Presidential Candidate to the Dario Hunter 2020 Presidential campaign.

endawnis Spears

endawnis (Diné, Ojibwe, Chickasaw, Choctaw) (she/her) is the co-director of Upstander Academy. She is also the director of outreach and programming and a founding member of the Akomawt Educational Initiative, an Indigenous education and interpretive consultancy. She has worked with and for Native communities and museums across the country. Previously, endawnis worked in the education, marketing and development departments of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Originally from Camp Verde, Arizona, she lives in Rhode Island with her husband Cassius Spears Jr., and their four children, Nizhoni, Sowaniu, Giizghig and Tishominko.

Laura Hummer

Laura (she/her) is the administrative assistant for Upstander Project. Before becoming a member of the Upstander Project team, Laura taught secondary English for 10 years. She is also a founding member of Building Anti-Racist white Educators (BARWE). Originally from Pennsylvania, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College and currently resides in Maine on the land of the Penobscot and Wabankai people.

Maulian Dana

Maulian (Penobscot Nation tribal ambassador) (she/her) is co-director of and a participant in Bounty. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Maine and advocates for local, state, and federal policy changes centered on tribal sovereignty, the environment, public health, domestic violence advocacy, and other areas affecting the Wabanaki tribes in Maine. She is the co-chair of the state's Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations; co-chair of the Maine Climate Council's Equity Subcommittee and member of the Maine Climate Council; Board President for the Wabanaki Alliance; member of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women; and serves on many other boards and organizations. Her play, Molly, tells the story of Molly Spotted Elk, a Penobscot actress, writer, activist, and dancer in the early 1900s.

Mishy Lesser, Ed.D.

Mishy (she/her) is the learning director for Upstander Project and an Emmy® award-winning researcher. She is also an Education Fellow at the Dodd Human Rights Impact at the University of Connecticut. Mishy has authored Upstander Project’s many learning and viewer guides. She is a Circle Keeper and has been featured on WBUR (Boston) and PRI/BBC’s The World. Mishy was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador and spent 12 years learning and working in the Andes. She is a descendant of Ashkenazi Jews whose ancestral language is Yiddish and lives with her husband in the territory of the Massachusett Tribe.