Lexicon Valley

They Helped the Pilgrims—and Regretted It. How the Wampanoag Brought Their Language Back.

Jessie Little Doe Baird and daughter Mae Alice Baird. 

Courtesy of ITVS Pressroom.

We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân is an inspiring documentary about the revival of the Wampanoag language in Southeastern Massachusetts. To quote the film description: “Their ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims—and lived to regret it. Now they are bringing their language home again.” 

The story centers around Jessie Little Doe Baird, a Wampanoag tribal member who’s been working since 1994 on reviving the language, working with both community members and MIT linguists to figure out how to speak the language again based on written records. In addition to a number of adult learners, there are also currently the first generation of children speaking Wampanoag again in seven generations. 


The film aired in November 2011 on PBS Independant Lens, and there’s a brief excerpt from PBS below. More excerpts can be found online here, and the full documentary is available on iTunes.  


Update, Oct. 20, 2014: An earlier version of this post misstated where to find the full documentary.