Paula Peters is an active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe based in Mashpee, Massachusetts and owner of SmokeSygnals, a media and communications consulting firm.
She is currently producing a documentary on nine Mashpee Wampanoag men jailed in 1976 for drumming and singing their traditional music. The Mashpee Nine were later acquitted and law enforcement held accountable for their actions. Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On will premier at the 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow in July, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the raid on the men.
An independent scholar of Wampanoag history Paula is also the Executive Producer of “Our”Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag Survival,” a traveling multi-media exhibit telling the back story of the colonization of Plymouth from the indigenous perspective.
A graduate of Bridgewater State College she was formerly a writer at the Cape Cod Times where she won numerous national awards for her journalism.
She lives in Mashpee with her husband, two daughters and elder mother.
About the FILM
During the summer of 1976 the revival of cultural and traditional values of the Mashpee Wampanoag was occurring at the same time tribal leaders and town government were clashing over land entitlement. An incident involving an over zealous tactical police force disrupting a group of traditional drummers and singers evolved into a high profile trial of nine young men arrested, eight Wampanoag and one non-native friend. Defended by one of the American Indian Movement’s most skilled and dogged attorneys the Nine won in a rare case of a court ruling against law enforcement. Court documents shredded, news accounts buried in microfilm, the case has faded into distant memory but the stories of the surviving Nine and those who rallied to their defense. What does survive is the tradition the Nine sacrificed their freedom for, even for a night, and fought vigorously to defend, the drum, the songs and the night. This documentary will resurrect that legendary incident and preserve the memory of those who experienced it for the generation now sitting at the drum, and those to come.
INDIGENOUS FILM FEST in New Hampshire: Nov. 6 and 7, 2015 READ MORE