Project Director Statement

So much of what is portrayed in the media about indigenous cultures focuses on loss and disappearance, but what is really happening in Indian country today is a vibrant cultural revival. The Wampanoag story moved me profoundly because it is a story of hope, of possibilities, of a community that was in many ways devastated by 400 years of contact taking charge of their history, their identity, and their culture by reawakening their language.

While the Wampanoag case is unique in that there had not been a fluent speaker for more than a century, thousands of Native Americans across the country are working to reclaim, revitalize, and perpetuate their heritage languages. Dedicated first language speakers and others are teaching their mother tongues to their communities with a special focus on the young, so that the deep knowledge embedded in their words and expressions will be heard and spoken by many generations to come.

In creating Our Mother Tongues, it has been my great privilege to work with Jennifer Weston, Program Manager for Endangered Languages at Cultural Survival, and through her with people in the twelve language revitalization programs featured here. We hope that We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân and will help raise awareness about the urgency of saving Native languages, and will show a broad audience the richness and diversity of the many indigenous cultures in our midst.


Stay tuned!
Anne Makepeace

About the Producers

ANNE MAKEPEACE has been making award-winning independent films centering on cross-cultural themes for more than twenty years. Her latest film, We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân won the 2011 Full Frame Inspiration Award and the Moving Mountains Prize at Telluride MountainFilm. Makepeace received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute in support of the production, with additional funding from Sundance, ITVS, the National Science Foundation, the LEF Foundation, and Mass Humanities. Her previous documentaries include I. M. PEI: BUILDING CHINA MODERN (2010); RAIN IN A DRY LAND (2007) which was nominated for an Emmy and won the Full Frame Working Films Award; ROBERT CAPA IN LOVE AND WAR (2003) which won a national prime time Emmy; COMING TO LIGHT (2001), which won many awards and was short-listed for an Oscar; and BABY IT’S YOU (1998). All of these films aired nationally on PBS. For more information about Makepeace’s films,
go to

JENNIFER WESTON, (Hunkpapa Lakota), co-producer of Our Mother Tongues, was assistant producer and researcher for WE STILL LIVE HERE while managing Cultural Survival's Endangered Languages Program in collaboration with 6 tribal language programs, and building a network of contacts among more than 300 Native language programs nationally. Raised on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Jennifer served her tribal government as environmental outreach coordinator and grant writer. After studying journalism, environmental and ethnic studies at Brown University, she was a correspondent for the Lakota Nation Journal, and associate producer and web producer for the PBS series “We Shall Remain: A Native History of America.” From the Edwards, Shoots the Enemy, Taken Alive, Grindstone, Kills Crow and other tiospayes (extended families), Jennifer carries a great grandmother's name, Pté San Wašté Win (White Buffalo Woman) given to her by her grandfather Joseph Flying By. She presently works for Wôpanâak Language and Cultural Weetyoo, Inc., the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Language Department, and co-teaches a community engagement course at UMASS-Boston.

Visit the Endangered Languages Blog to learn more about language endangerment and revitalization, and for ideas on how to get involved and lend your support.

Site Credits

Project Director, Anne Makepeace
Co-Producer, Jennifer Weston
Researcher and Co-Grant Writer, Ross Mulcare
Site Design and Development, Interactive Knowledge

For ITVS Interactive:
Senior Content Producer, Cathy R. Fischer
National Community Engagement & Education, Manager Annelise Wunderlich
Director of Digital initiatives
, Matthew Meschery
President, CEO, Sally Jo Fifer
Senior Vice President of Content Management, Jim Sommers

Dru Carr, April Counceller, Sydney K. Freeland, Dan Golding, George Hargrave & Paul Rickard, Sterling Harjo & Matt Leach, Allison Herrera, Shawn F. Holz, Liz M. Jones, Arlan Manatowa, and Tony Torn

“With every film I make, I enter a whole new world of discovery. This project has led me into twelve new worlds, each one unique, fascinating, and full of revelations about the first languages and cultures of America.”

Anne Makepeace
Project Director of Our Mother Tongues
Producer/Director/Writer of
We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân

“This site offers a glimpse into a vibrant tribal languages movement that embodies the indomitable spirits and love of our Indigenous ancestors, and the power of our ancient languages to continue to shape our contemporary lives and cultural survival as Native peoples.”

Jennifer Weston
Co-Producer of Our Mother Tongues
Researcher and Assistant Producer of
  We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân



Thanks to Sponsors

We would like to thank ITVS and CPB for seeing the value of this project and for providing the funds that have made possible, and to extend deep thanks to all those who shared their stories and their extraordinary language revitalization work with us. I would also like to thank the Sundance Documentary Film Program for providing outreach funds for We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân which have also contributed to this website. We also are grateful to the following media organizations for sharing excerpts from their beautiful footage for Our Mother Tongues:
Mushkeg Media
This Land Press


Learn more the language programs featured in the site by clicking on a tribal icon below.