October 30, 2015


If it feels as if the M9 team has gone dark on you for a bit, we are to shine at the upcoming Indigenous Coast to Coast Film Festival at the University of New Hampshire November 6 and 7.


We are thrilled to have an opportunity to network with other Native filmmakers, spread the word about our ongoing effort, and show a brand new trailer including some of the new footage collected over the summer. We will also be sharing a sneak peak of the latest video produced by SmokeSygnals with our filmmaker partner Wes Ennis. The two and a half minute Messenger Runner video with a surprise ending will accompany the next chapter “Our”Story, 400 Year of Wampanoag History exhibit sponsored by Plymouth 400 Inc. The exhibit debuts on Thursday, November 12 at the Mashpee Wampanoag Government Center.


May 27, 2016

Documentary short on Mashpee Nine to premier June 30

MASHPEE - The premier screening of Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On will be held on the eve of Mashpee Powwow at 7:00 pm on Thursday, June 30, in the Mashpee High School auditorium. The documentary short film (approximately 40 minutes) features the story of nine Mashpee Wampanoag men brutally arrested after a summer night of feasting, socializing and drumming on Mashpee Pond 40 years ago. Remembered as a cultural injustice throughout Indian country the incident sparked local outrage and activism, and a response by the American Indian Movement.

The DVD of the film and companion book, Mashpee Nine: A story of Cultural Justice, written by the film’s producer Paula Peters will go on sale at 6 pm when Ms. Peters will be available for a book signing. The book and film will be offered at an exclusive premier night introductory price of  $9.99 each.

Tickets for the screening followed by a reception can be purchased at the door for, you guessed it, $9.99.

Unapologetically told in the Wampanoag voice the film includes diverse perspectives and recollections in the context of cultural perseverance in a period of dramatic growth and change for a rural Native American community on the threshold of gentrification. 

Four decades later this story continues to be relevant in terms of the Wampanoag culture, town and Tribe relations in Mashpee and the more global issue of law enforcement abuses of power.

The product of more than two and a half years of research and interviews the film will refresh the memories of some while providing a historically accurate snapshot of Mashpee in the 1970s for others with a few surprises in the end. 

May 1, 2016

Hopefully you enjoy this new trailer developed by our very passionate and inspired production team. Once again we are asking for your help. Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On is in the final editing phase, the critical efforts that will make this film the compelling documentary it deserves to be. However the project has exhausted all previous funding and unfortunately passion and inspiration does not pay the bills. Because those who are engaged in the most tedious and time-consuming part of the filmmaking process deserve to be compensated we are launching an Indiegogo campaign to help cover the remaining post production costs and secure a screening location. We appreciate any support for the Mashpee Nine Finishing Fund. 

June 15, 2015

So what's next?

Today I woke up a bundle of excitement about being funded and moving ahead with this project with the confidence all of the backers and supporters have given to Wes and I. 

Then as I was out and about in town I bumped into one of you who are excitedly anticipating this documentary and asked, "When do we see it? Will you show it at powwow next month?"

And it dawned on me that people really have no idea what goes into this kind of production so I better explain it in more detail and I promise to keep you updated, here, on our Face Book page and on our webpage, www.MashpeeNine.com.

Creating a documentary is actually a long process and I anticipate conducting more research and as many as two dozen more interviews. In addition to formally scheduled interviews we will be talking to folks at the Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow July 3 to 5, and at the community feast being organized for July 28. 

In the fall we will begin the postproduction process which involves the distillation of hundreds of hours of interviews and assembling them with the facts confirmed in primary source documents for a compelling half hour documentary which may end up being more like an hour with all the rich stories being shared. This will take months. 

Some have also wondered if people who are interviewed are paid. This is much the same as the work I did as a journalist only I am now working as an independent producer. The integrity of the story is based in large part by the willingness of those who are telling it to do so freely and without bias or persuasion. So no, they are not paid. 

Then I have been asked if I will be paid? I hope so. Regardless, Wes and I are passionate about telling this story and will likely do it anyway, but we are professionals who work as freelancers and compensation is important. That is why efforts like Kickstarter and other grant opportunities are so important. 

Lastly, when can you expect to see the finished documentary? With any luck it will be done early next year. How and when it is released may depend on how we get funded. I do however have every expectation that there will be a showing of the finished documentary at the 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow.Type your paragraph here.

June 11, 2015

Thanks to the success of our Kickstarter campaign the M9 team was hot on the trail of our next interview subject today. We found Robert Alan Maxim at the Forestdale Post Office in Sandwich, Massachusetts where he is the postmaster. In 1976 Bob, or Alan as we know him tribally, was both a selectman for the Town of Mashpee and vice-president of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council. A pretty precarious place in the midst of local tensions over the town’s extraordinary growth and development by new comers and the tribe’s efforts to maintain a traditional foot hold on our ancestral homelands. He remembers, “Mashpee had already been identified as the fastest growing town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” For local natives, primarily living off of the land and sea as farmers, fishermen and hunters neighborhoods popping up in the middle of deer runs were among the dramatic changes that had to be absorbed as a new normal. And newcomers with no experience with the Wampanoag were threatened by the cultural norms of a tribe entrenched in the region for more than 12,000 years. “I was in a position where I was expected to make everyone happy,” said Alan, “And no one was happy.” 




Project Updates

May 20, 2016       It’s a wrap!

Last week we filmed the last of the b-roll for Mashpee Nine and the editing team is hard at work to complete this documentary. But they still need your help!

As a writer I only kind of understand what they have to do. In my work I collect interviews from many sources and information from primary source references about complicated and compelling stories. I sort the information, details, facts and quotes, evaluating and prioritizing. I assemble words that seek balance and clarity for readers to digest with the ease of a bedtime story.

I don’t even want to try to do that with film. So I leave that to the experts Talia and Bill who are skillfully knitting clips of salient points building on the story of the Mashpee Nine and the impact it had on the Wampanoag and the community of Mashpee

Trust me as I tell you this is the most tedious work to be done. Work that could be made easier with support for the finishing fund. If you haven’t donated yet, remember that a donation in any amount helps us to meet the goal and we are grateful.


Earl "Chiefy" Mills, Brad Lopes, Billy Pocknett, Marlene Black, Martin "Bruzzy" Hendricks waiting for the cameras to roll at the Mashpee Wampanoag Rod and Gun Club.

February 21, 2016

Today the team took a break from post production activities to take a unique approach to gathering more of the story from four of the Mashpee Nine as well as reactions from a multi-generational group of Tribal observers gathered at the Mashpee Wampanoag Rod and Gun Club. To our delight we collected some of the most powerful and compelling footage to date.

Much of this was thanks to an inspirational reading by Marlene Black, daughter of Chief Silent Drum. Marlene produced a long lost poem written by her late mother Mary Lopez and dedicated to the Mashpee Nine and read it as an introduction to today's filming. Many in the room were visibly moved by Mary's literary portrait of the time, place and events which inspired the men to share perhaps in the most vivid detail yet. 

We can add this to another compelling interview conducted last week on the campus of UMass Amherst with law professor emeritus Peter d'Errico who worked on the case remotely with lead attorney Lew Gerwitz. 


Earlier this fall we welcomed Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member Talia Landry to the production team. Her dedication is already showing as she helps with the most tedious and time-consuming postproduction work logging video footage. What a trooper!


While postproduction work is not exactly the most glamorous part of filmmaking, it’s where the magic happens. So please be patient with us while we pull all the pieces together. As always, stay tuned!

August 1, 2015

July 28, 2015 marked the 39th anniversary of the community feast on Mashpee Pond that resulted in the incarceration of the Mashpee Nine. More than a hundred tribal members and community friends turned out to once again celebrate our heritage and love of Mashpee. A storm threatened but circled around the pond to the east leaving us dry as the food was laid out on tables and children splashed in the pond.

We are grateful for the gathering of families that included every Mashpee clan. They are all truly the ones responsible for such a beautiful gathering and of course the many contributions of food, water and soft drinks in abundance including Sherry's amazing chowder and fritters, both items unceremoniously wasted in the police raid on the Nine nearly 40 years ago but savored by all last night. I am personally grateful that my blueberry slump did not burn and that even while I did not get a taste myself it was enjoyed with generous dollops of whipped cream thanks to Doug’s hard work with the mixer earlier in the day. We are grateful for the Wakeby Lake drum and the Lady Hawk Singers who brought their songs and the heartbeat of our ancestors. Grateful as well to Wes and Sandy for documenting the event to contribute to Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On to be completed in time for the 40th anniversary of the raid on the Nine next summer. And also grateful that a call to Mashpee PD asking to extend our time on that glorious night was met with a cooperative spirit and granted that such an incredible gathering should not end with the traditional closing of the gate to the pond parking lot at 7:30 pm.

We have come such a long way with a long road ahead. Kutaputush – many thanks to all those who came in the spirit of honoring the sacrifices of the Nine and continuing our traditions in Mashpee. Please enjoy this You Tube video of the gathering round the drum as the AIM Song was proudly sung. The beat truly does go on.