Dear Georgina

15 mins, 2019, documentary

A Passamaquoddy elder journeys into an unclear past to better understand herself and her cultural heritage.

 

about the film

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

At age two Georgina Sappier-Richardson was removed from her home and Passamaquoddy community in downeast Maine by child protection services. She would never see her parents again. Terror and abuse followed over 16 years in four different foster homes.

Dear Georgina follows this Passamaquoddy elder from Motahkomikuk as she tries to fill in the blurry outlines of her identity. Now a grandmother Georgina is still attempting to re-integrate herself into the community she barely knew.

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

She remembers, “When I was 30 years old and I went back to the reservation this Indian lady told me, ‘You look exactly like your mother as a young person.’ So that made me feel special, made me feel real.” This propels Georgina’s lifelong mission to find herself. 

But despite her gregarious personality and infectious laugh, she is stuck straddling two different worlds.  At the end, Georgina travels to her foster community in northern Maine. Determined to reclaim some fragment of her lost childhood she makes an incredible discovery, but will it help heal decades old wounds?

Dear Georgina is a follow-up to the Emmy® award-winning Dawnland (2018), in which Georgina told a portion of her harrowing story of surviving foster care. Georgina is just one of many thousands of Indigenous children with similar stories. 

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(Photo by Jeremy Dennis)

(Photo by Jeremy Dennis)

 

FILMMAKING TEAM

(Photo by Adam Mazo)

(Photo by Adam Mazo)

Filmmakers: Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip

Producers: Adam Mazo, Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole), N. Bruce Duthu (Houma)

Editor: Kristen Salerno

Composer: Kayla Briët (Prairie-Band Potawatomi)

Learning Director: Mishy Lesser, Ed.D.

 

learning resources

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

(Photo by Ben Pender-Cudlip)

The film will focus on a single example of the lifelong impact of Indigenous child removal. The companion viewer’s guide will help teachers understand how historical and intergenerational trauma influence the emotional lives of children and young people. It will also link Georgina's story to the more recent separation of children from their families at international borders.