(The Approaching Dawn)

Pronunciation and Style Guide
Pronunciation: Weckuwapok [Wetch-guh-WAH-buhk]

When writing the title, please include the English translation after: Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn)

By | Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, and Lauren Stevens

Producers | Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Kavita Pillay, and Tracy Rector.

Waponahkik (the people of the dawn land) bring gratitude to the sun where it first looks our way. Song and stories invite us to accept the new day and put behind us any harm done the day before. Featuring Passamaquoddy citizens Christopher Newell, Roger Paul, and Lauren Stevens; and Yo-Yo Ma.

Through song and stories, Waponahkik (the people of the dawn land) bring gratitude to the rising sun.

About Reciprocity Project
Facing a climate crisis, Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since the beginning of time. To heal, we must recognize that we are in relationship with Earth, a place that was in balance since time immemorial. This short film series and multimedia platform invites learning from time-honored and current Indigenous ways of being. Reciprocity Project is a co-production of Nia Tero and Upstander Project, in association with REI Co-op Studios.

Technical Specifications
TRT | 13 minutes
Aspect Ratio | 16:9
Format | Digital
Audio | Stereo
Language | English & Passamaquoddy
Location | Filmed at Moneskatik (Schoodic Point, Maine)


Collective Bio
Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) was made by a collective of storytellers with a shared affinity for all beings and uplifting Indigenous voices. We are 8 people creating story together. We are Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Wolastoqey, Cherokee, Walla Walla / Northern Cheyenne, multicultural, and settler. Supporting us is a marvelous and diverse team including educators, program managers, advisers, editors, artists, and more who collectively make up the Reciprocity Project team.

Our names are (alphabetically) | Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, and Lauren Stevens.

Artist statement
Just before the sun peeks over the horizon, weckuwapok – the approaching dawn – has magical power. We believe that moment is full of promise, possibility, and power: a gift about to be given. This is what we celebrate in our film: reverence for our awareness of dawn breaking and an opportunity for pomawsuwin – the standing bears – to reconnect with the energy that gives us all life. Wabanaki languages are manuals for sustainability if we take the time to listen and share. Gathered at Moneskatik for weckuwapok – the approaching dawn – we welcomed the day with stories and music wishing we could all be together, so this film is our gift to bring the magic
to you.

About Reciprocity Project
In Season One of this multimedia project, storytellers and community partners created films in response to a question: What does ‘reciprocity’ mean to you and your community? Facing a climate crisis, the Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since time immemorial.Reciprocity Project invites global Indigenous filmmakers to center Indigenous perspectives about the reciprocal relationship between all beings — seen and unseen — and the lands we inhabit.


Nia Tero is a US-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide with a mission of securing Indigenous guardianship of vital ecosystems. Nia Tero is committed to an antiracist and inclusive culture centering Indigenous rights, wisdom, practices, worldviews, and protocols.

Upstander Project
is a Boston-based non-profit that uses storytelling to amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth. Upstander Project envisions a world rooted in responsibility and respect for all where upstanders confront injustice and repair harm to ensure all beings thrive together.

REI Co-op Studios develops and produces stories that entertain, enrich and explore the power of time spent outside, while complementing the co-op’s broader climate and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion commitments.

PRESS & Acclaim

“This film captures our language, our culture, our life views and how we have managed to survive genocide. We all have a role on this earth and when we take the time to celebrate our strengths and work together, we can create beautiful things. Wayne Newell’s wisdom expressed it more than walking away and feeling good, “We have a lot of work to do!” This work is important and we must never give up!”
- Chief Maggie Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik

Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) premiered at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2022 and subsequently screened at film festivals internationally, including: Skábmagovat Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival, Cartagena International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, Māoriland Film Festival, Martha's Vineyard Film Festival, Northwest Folklife Festival, Māoriland Film Festival, Indy Shorts International Film Festival, Presented by Heartland Film, and imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival.



Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn)
A collaborative film by Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, Lauren Stevens Filmed at Moneskatik (Schoodic Point, Maine)
A Nia Tero and Upstander Project Production
In association with REI Co-op Studios

Chris Newell
Roger Paul
Lauren Stevens
Matt Dana II
Secretary Deb Haaland
Hawk Henries
Yo-Yo Ma
Lynn Mitchell
Wayne Newell
Rolfe Richter

Hawk Henries, Flute

“Untitled Powwow Song” Composed by Kenny Merrick Jr. Arranged by Chris Newell Performed by Chris Newell
and Yo-Yo Ma

“Welcome Song” Composed by Blanch Sockabasin
Vocals: Lauren Stevens Drums: Matt Dana II, Lynn Mitchell,

Chris Newell Cello: Yo-Yo Ma

“Summer in the High Grassland” Composed by Zhao Jiping Courtesy of Silkroad
Performed by Yo-Yo Ma

“Humbling Song” Traditional
Translated by Deanna and Marten Francis

Performed by Lauren Stevens

Jacob Bearchum
Taylor Hensel
Adam Mazo
Chris Newell
Roger Paul
Kavita Pillay
Tracy Rector
Lauren Stevens

Adam Mazo

Taylor Hensel
Kavita Pillay
Tracy Rector

Matt Perez-Mora
Ben Severance

Jeff Griecci
Ben Severance

Filipp Kotsishevskiy
Ben Pender-Cudlip
Jared Lank

Justin Lacroix

Jacob Bearchum
Chi-Ho Lee

Riss Bickford

Paul Froman

Brianna Smith

Cousin Charlie
Lynn Mitchell
Dwayne Tomah

Filipp Kotsishevskiy

Peter Campbell

Wayne Newell

Acadia National Park,
David J. Goldstein, Office of the Secretary of the Interior, Daniel Lin,
National Park Service, Schoodic Institute,
Sound Postings (Office of Yo-Yo Ma), Sunlight Media Collective, Timber & Frame

Wayne Newell

For Series Credits please see the Season One Press Kit

Download the full press kit and trailer.


Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) key still

Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) still 2

Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) still 3

Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) still 4

Christopher Newell Roger Paul Lauren Stevens at Schoodic Point

Press Kit PDF, Learning Materials, Transcript


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Updated | 9/21/23