In anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the police raid on a group of Native American drummers, the documentary “Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On” will be filmed this summer.
In the early morning hours of July 29, 1976, the men were ambushed as some slept and others sat quietly around a campfire on Mashpee pond. As a press release about the documentary says, they were taken by surprise and fell victim to a “perfect storm of social and political controversy.”
“This is a story begging to be told both for it’s significance to the Wampanoag and it’s relevance on a national level,” said Paula Peters, documentary producer, in the release. “The case was pretty high profile for Mashpee 39 years ago, but is in danger of fading into distant memory.”
According to the release the nine men were beaten, handcuffed, loaded into a van and then sprayed with mace as they were taken into custody for charged ranging from excessive noisemaking to assault and battery to attempted murder. Local activists rallied, and the American Indian Movement sent an attorney specializing in Indian law—10 months later all men were exonerated.
Peters is a nationally recognized former journalist who has turned her efforts toward the preservation of Native stories. She began this project with a $10,000 grant and has applied for others. On May 15 she launched a Kickstarter campaign that is halfway to raising a goal of $12,000 by June 15.
“This story has a broader audience, particularly as a white police officer in Cleveland joined the ranks of the acquitted last week,” Peters said in the release. “This is the story of determination for justice and vindication without violence or retaliation.”
To read more about the nine, check out the Mashpee Nine Facebook page.