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Indigenous Peoples Films
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E77 .F58 2004
500 Nations is an eight-part documentary that looks back at life in North America before the arrival of the Europeans, then follows the epic struggles of Indian Nations as the continent is reshaped by contact.
Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: KF8210.E58 H66 2005
Tells the story of four battles in which Native American activists are fighting to preserve their land and culture.
Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E99.H7 H68 2008
"Hopi : songs of the fourth world is a compelling study of the Hopi that captures their deep spirituality and reveals their integration of art and daily life. Amidst beautiful images of Hopi land and life, a variety of Hopi--a farmer, a religious elder, grandmother, painter, potter and weaver--speak about the preservation of the Hopi way. Their philosophy of living in balance and harmony with nature is a model to the Western world of an environmental ethic in action"
In the Light of Reverence
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E98.R3 I5 2002
Across the United States, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religions. This film presents three indigenous communities in their struggles to protect their sacred sites from rock climbers, tourists, strip-mining and development and New Age religious practitioners. Examines: Mato tipila (Devil’s Tower, Wyoming); Hopitutskwa (Hopi land, Northern Arizona); Bulyum Puyuik (Mt. Shasta, California)
Pow Wow Trail
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E98.P86 P69 2004
Explores the meaning of the drums, songs, and dances of the pow-wow.
We Shall Remain: America Through Native Eyes
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E77 .W4 2009
"They were charismatic and forward thinking, imaginative and courageous, compassionate and resolute, and, at times, arrogant, vengeful and reckless. For hundreds of years, Native American leaders from Massasoit, Tecumseh, and Tenskwatawa, to Major Ridge, Geronimo, and Fools Crow valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture. Sometimes, their strategies were militaristic, but more often they were diplomatic, spiritual, legal and political. These five documentaries spanning almost four hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective, upending two-dimensional stereotypes of American Indians as simply ferocious warriors or peaceable lovers of the land"
The Canary Effect : Kill the Indian, Save the Man
Call Number: Music Library, Media Library, Call No: E93 .C36 2010
Follows the terrifying and horrific abuses instilled upon the indigenous people of North America, and details the genocidal practices of the US government and its continuing affects on present day Indian country
Below are some of the streaming media we have on indigenous peoples of North America.
Databases to locate streaming media:
American History in Video (This also includes historical films made from 1900 to 1930)
Ambrose Video 2.0
Filmmakers Library Online
Films on Demand
Across the Americas: Indigenous Perspectives
In this compilation, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Robbie Leppzer chronicles indigenous people from North, South, and Central America speaking out about their common legacies of survival and contemporary struggles over land, human rights, and the environment. Columbus Didn’t Discover Us The 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage to America also marked 500 years of survival by indigenous people throughout the Americas, whose way of life was fundamentally changed by the European landing. In preparation for the Columbus Quincentennial, 300 Native men and women came to the highlands of Ecuador to take part in the First Continental Conference of Indigenous Peoples. Columbus Didn’t Discover Us features interviews with participants, filmed at this historic gathering, representing a wide spectrum of Indian nations from North, South, and Central America.
Black Indians : An American Story.
Black Indians: an American story" brings to light a forgotten part of Americans past - the cultural and racial fusion of Native and African Americans. Narrated by James Earl Jones, "Black Indians: an American story" explores what brought the two groups together, what drove them apart and the challenges they face today.
Bridge the Gape to Pine Ridge: A Visit with the Oglala Lakota People
Actor and activist Chris Bashinelli is on a mission to learn from cultures that many Westerners know little about. His method? Live among those communities and get to know the people in them. Sometimes that means traveling to the other side of the planet, but in this program Bashinelli visits the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, also known as the Oglala Lakota. While there, he embarks on a life-changing two-day buffalo harvest, gets "schooled" by the girl’s basketball team, meets a 14-year-old who has devoted her life to suicide prevention, and finds himself shoulder-deep in a cow’s backside while trying to better understand employment issues on the reservation. With humor and pathos, Bashinelli discovers stories of hope and learns how the Lakota people have prevailed in the face of hardship and danger.
California's Lost Tribes
’California’s "Lost" Tribes’ explores the conflicts over Indian gaming and places them in the context of both California and Native American history. The film examines the historical underpinnings of tribal sovereignty and the evolution of tribal gaming rights over the last 30 years.
California Indians 1&2
1. Sir Francis Drake and the Miwok author Geoge Emanuels (Early California Voyages; A Mid-California Illustrated History) presents a profile of Sir Francis Drake, the first European to encounter the Native people of northern California; then he takes us on a tour of Kule Loklo, an authentic replica of a Coast Miwok Village; then George offers a history of the Coast, Interior, and Southern Sierra Miwok tribes. 2. Ishi and 8 Northern Tribes Author Geoge Emanuels begins this program addressing the dishonorable actions against Native American populations by many explorers and settlers; then he focuses on the positive legacy left by Native Americans. He introduces us to Ishi, the last known survivor of the Yana people of California. Ishi, which means "man" in his native tongue, was the name given to California’s last surviving Indian by anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, after he was discovered in Oroville, on August 29, 1911. Also George helps us better understand the differences of the Yurok, Karok, Hupa, Maidu, Wintun, Patwin and Pomo tribes.
Ely Parker (Seneca): Warrior in Two Worlds
This is the compelling documentary on Ely Parker (Seneca), a 19th-Century Native American who defied racial barriers to succeed in two very different worlds. He was a Seneca Chief, a federal engineer, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs and, as Civil War Secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant, he wrote down the terms of surrender at Appomattox. Yet his successes became tainted with controversy, and his quest for the American dream turned tragic.
First People, Last Word
For the first time since their land was taken, many Native American tribes have the opportunity to take over the rights to the land they live on and create a cultural consciousness. The filmmakers travel around the United States, talking to an Indian attorney, a movie director, an artist, a nurse, and others. The question remains - will Native Americans be able to maintain their unique culture now that they are participating in the American dream?
Geronimo and the Apache Resistance
For decades in the 19th century, Apache tribes resisted the westward advance of the pioneers and the threat they posed to traditional ways of life. Fighting the longest was Geronimo - one of the most famous, feared, and misunderstood Native American warriors in history. Geronimo and the Apache Resistance, from the PBS American Experience collection, separates myth from reality in the tragic collision of two cultures with dramatically different views of the world - and of each other. It is an illumination of the mysteries of Apache power that made them so terrifying in battle yet so skillful in escaping disaster. In the words of the descendants of those Apaches, the film provides the long-awaited chance to tell their story as it has never been told.
Good Day to Die
A good day to die chronicles a movement that started a revolution and inspired a nation. By recounting the life story of Dennis Banks, the Native American who co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968 to advocate and protect the rights of American Indians, the film provides an in-depth look at the history and issues surrounding AIM’s formation. From the forced assimilation of Native Americans within boarding schools, to discrimination by law enforcement authorities, to neglect by government officials responsible for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, AIM sought redress for the many grievances that its people harbored. Banks’ personal struggle culminated in major armed confrontations at Custer, South Dakota and Wounded Knee -- climactic flash points which saw him standing steadfast as a leader for his cause. Bittersweet and compelling, a Good day to die charts the rise and fall of a movement that fought for the civil rights of American Indians.
Healing of Nations.
A documentary on cultural revival in Native American communities, the film focuses on youth empowerment and the value of traditional ceremonies and teachings and the impact these traditions are having on young native People. Co-produced with native cultural educator George Amiotte, this production is presented and spoken in the words of native spiritual leaders.
The Healing Road
Discusses Native American mental health issues and the combined use of traditional Native American healing techniques and western professional healing approaches. The video contains two sections, one dealing with the historical and cultural forces affecting Native Americans and a panel discussion in the second half. The panel includes four multicultural specialists, representing different racial/ethnic groups, discussing cultural differences between western professional helping approaches and the healing techniques used by other people and cultures.
A Hidden America: Children of the Plains
South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is home to an estimated 35,000 people, most of whom identify as Oglala Lakota Sioux. Unfortunately, 47% of people on Pine Ridge live below the federal poverty level. Most adults are unemployed, and rampant alcoholism combined with underfunded schools make it a tough place to grow up. In this ABC News program, Diane Sawyer visits Pine Ridge to report on the reservation’s problem with poverty and to meet with some remarkable children who are striving to break through its culture of despair. Tashina Iron Horse, a vivacious kindergartener living in a three-bedroom house with 19 relatives, wants to be a cop when she grows up. Louise, at only 12 years old, has already attempted suicide, but teachers are rallying around this girl who loves reading, math, and her Lakota heritage. And 12-year-old Robert Looks Twice, prize-winning powwow dancer who helps support his family with his winnings, aims to become the country’s first Native American president.
Salamanca is the only city in the United States that is situated entirely on land owned by Native Americans. For 99 years, the townspeople have rented the land upon which their homes stand from the Seneca Indians for $1 a year. They have gotten used to their right to live and to do business on Indian property. But on February 19, 1991 the lease expired. The Seneca Nation felt that it has been badly exploited by the old terms, and now insisted on huge increases - or else it would take back the land. Many of the townspeople were outraged at higher rents, especially as the town was suffering from a depressed economy. The film follows the five years of negotiation, as each side heatedly defended their position.
Indian School : Stories of Survival
Proposing to "kill the Indian and save the man," U.S. Army captain Richard H. Pratt envisioned an educational system that would erase Native American culture and "civilize" the continent’s indigenous people. His chosen method? Removing children from Pennsylvania’s tribal communities and confining them in barracks-style schools - initially the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which Pratt founded in 1879. In myopic terms it was a remarkably effective strategy, and Carlisle became a cruel model for institutions all over the U.S. and Canada, including Michigan’s Mount Pleasant Indian School. Subjected to emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse, Mount Pleasant students were inevitably alienated from their families, native languages, and tribal religions. This film combines archival materials with present-day interviews to make clear just how inhumane the system was. Survivors from Tlingit, Chippewa, Choctaw, and Lakota communities describe in raw, unflinching terms the impact on First Nations across North America.
Indian Self-Rule : A Problem of History.
After centuries of struggle, the Indians of North America own less than 2% of the land settled by their ancestors. Indian Self-Rule traces the history of white-Indian relations from nineteenth century treaties through the present, as tribal leaders, historians, teachers, and other Indians gather at a 1983 conference organized to reevaluate the significance of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The experiences of the Flathead Nation of Montana, the Navajo Nation of the Southwest, and the Quinault people of the Olympic Peninsula illustrate some of the ways Indians have dealt with shifting demands imposed upon them, from allotment to reorganization to termination and relocation. Particularly eloquent are Indian reflections upon the difficulties of maintaining cultural identities in a changing world and within a larger society that views Indians with ambivalence.
Indian Warriors: The Untold Story of the Civil War
The common view of the Civil War is of a struggle between polar opposites: North vs. South, urban vs. agrarian, abolitionist vs. slaveholder. But from the conflict’s origins to the complicated progression of its major events, the truth is far murkier and more complex. This A&E Special sheds light on one particularly obscure but intriguing aspect of the time: how Native Americans reacted to and participated in the War Between the States. Notable Indian combatants including Ely Parker, Stand Watie, and Henry Berry Lowery are profiled, while descendants of Native American warrior-soldiers share family lore about their ancestors’ exploits.
Indigenous Ways of Knowing
David Begay, Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University and Nancy Maryboy, President and Founder of Indigenous Education Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico invite us to understand Navajo ways of knowing. They describe a worldview that is place-based, emphasizes kinship and connection, and intimately orients the human within an interrelated and unified cosmos.
Last Call Indian: Searching for Mohawk Identity
By the time Sonia Boileau’s grandfather Mitchell left the Shingwauk Indian Residential School in 1947 he no longer knew how to speak his native tongue. The institution had done its job well - Mitchell married and raised children, who didn’t realize until they had children of their own that Mitchell was in fact Mohawk. Sonia now faces a similar stripping away of the First Nation heritage her family only recently reclaimed. According to Canada’s Indian Act, any children she has will not be "officially Indian" unless their father has the requisite percentage of indigenous blood. In this powerful documentary, filmmaker Sonia Boileau returns to Shingwauk to work out the implications of her grandfather’s life and of his death, especially in relation to Canada’s race policies and her own cultural identity.
Moyers & Company: American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties
In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill speaks with Robert A. Williams Jr., a professor specializing in American Indian law, about American Indian’s tragic history of dispossession. Williams says stereotypes about American Indians have been codified into laws and government policies, with devastating consequences. Williams, who is of Lumbee Indian heritage, says, "very much like African-Americans, the history of America is taking away resources, whether labor or land, from one racial group to give them to the dominate racial group".
Native American Healing in the 21st century.
A comprehensive look at the healing practices of American Indians and how many of those natural remedies are applicable to today’s alternative health-conscious society.
Navajo Warriors: The Great Secret
The famous Navajo Code Talkers, memorialized by Hollywood in the feature film "Windtalkers," were an integral part of the armed forces during World War II. Navajo veterans who fought in the Pacific in World War II, used their unwritten Native American tongue as an unbreakable code language, essential in the American military intelligence machine. Richard West, President, Museum of the American Indian, says, "Ironically, the U.S. military used the Native American language as a potent instrument of war although the government had prohibited [native] people from speaking their own language for almost a century."Successive generations of young Navajo men who fought in the elite division of the U.S. Marine Corps, relate their stories in this film. Vincent and his brother enlisted in the 1970s; his brother died in Vietnam. Benjamin, Calbert and Michael are currently training as Marines in San Diego. The film reveals how their strong Navajo cultural identity and spiritual references correlated with traditional Marine Corps values and a passionate patriotism.
Our Fires Still Burn : The Native American Experience.
This exciting and compelling one hour documentary invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the U.S. Midwest. It dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society. Their experiences will deeply touch both Natives and non-Natives and help build bridges of understanding, respect, and communication. The tragic history of Native Americans is considered by many to be our “American Holocaust.” This can be seen in the history of the Boarding School Era, during which time Native children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into boarding schools. Interviewees explain how this past trauma continues to negatively impact their emotional and physical health today and contribute to urgent social problems.
Our Spirits Don’t Speak English : Indian Boarding School
Told from the Native American perspective, this documentary uncovers the dark history of the U.S. Government policy and will give a voice to the countless Indian children forced through the system.
The People: The West
Experience the rich cultural diversity of Native American tribes and the impact that early white explorers had on their lives. In this program, viewers will learn about the mysterious disappearance of the Anasazi culture and the successful Pueblo revolt against their Spanish conquerors. First-person accounts bring to life the adventures of early explorers, from Cabeza de Vaca, the first white man to enter the West, to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Travelling through the heartland of America, Cree filmmaker, Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world’s understanding, and misunderstanding, of Natives.
The Romance of the Vanishing Race
The romance of a vanishing race includes three historic motion pictures of American Indians and their life-style in the early 1900s. Featuring tribal chiefs who participated in the Last great Indian council and several who fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Originally produced on 35mm film, this priceless footage, recently discovered within the lost treasures of the National Archives is re-mastered to include an original music score and soundtrack to further preserve the Native American history and culture.
Searching for a Native American Identity
This program features the late Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated as writers before his untimely death. They attribute their beliefs in family, community, and place to their Native American heritage: she is half Chippewa, he is half Modoc. As Native Americans, their writing reflects the difficulties of American Indians today. In this program with Bill Moyers, Erdrich and Dorris discuss faith and the search for a Native American identity in a pluralistic society.
Ernestine De Soto is a Chumash Native American whose mother Mary Yee was the last speaker of her native Barbareño language. In 6 generations, her family reaches back to the days the Spanish arrived in Santa Barbara and made first contact. Ernestine tells this history from the perspective of her female ancestors, making her a unique link with the past. Famous anthropologist John Peabody Harrington, whose work focused on native peoples of California, started research with her family in 1913 and continued with three generations for nearly 50 years. This inspired Ernestine’s mother to begin taking notes and, combined with mission records (which survived intact from the late 1700s), they form the heart of this story. Because of these circumstances, her story, possible only in California, is unique in America. The impact of loss of land, language, culture and life itself is made all the more clear as this story is told in Native American voices, who describe the events as they experienced them. Ultimately, it is a story of survival and the fierce endurance of Ernestine’s ancestors, particularly the women.
Tales of wonder. I & II.
Tales of wonder I and II showcases Native American stories for children, as told in the Native American tradition by acclaimed storyteller and linguist Gregg Howard. Tales of wonder has been used in a curriculum unit developed by the Stanford University Program on International and Cross-cultural Education.
Thieves of Time: Who Owns the Past
This program, introduced by author Tony Hillerman, studies Native American burial grounds over five centuries of cultural, scientific, and legal change. The Native American Graves Repatriation Act, covering the ownership and study of human remains and sacred objects, is given special emphasis. Interviews with Martin Sullivan, director of the Heard Museum, in Phoenix; Paul Bender, former dean of The College of Law at Arizona State University; Richard Rabinowitz, Harvard University historian; and Walter Echo-Hawk, of the Native American Rights Fund, are featured.
Thunderbird Woman: Winona LaDuke
This is an inspiring portrait of Winona La Duke, a unique and dynamic activist and member of the Anishinaabe tribe from the White Earth reservation in Northern Minnesota.
The Trail of Tears : Cherokee Legacy.
Explores America’s darkest period: President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma in 1838. Trail of tears: Cherokee legacy is presented by Wes Studi and narrated by James Earl Jones.
Unconquered: Allan Houser and the Legacy of One Apache Family
In decades past, Native-American artists who wanted to sell to mainstream collectors had little choice but to create predictable, Hollywood-style western scenes. Then came a generation of painters and sculptors led by Allan Houser (or Hazous), a Chiricahua Apache artist with no interest in stereotyped imagery and a belief that his own rich heritage was compatible with Modernist ideas and techniques. Narrated by actor Val Kilmer and originally commissioned as part of an exhibit of Houser’s work at the Oklahoma History Center, this program depicts the artist’s tribal ancestry, his rise to regional and national acclaim, and the continuing success of his sons as they expand upon and depart from their father’s achievements. Key works are documented, as is Houser’s tenure at the Santa Fe-based Institute of Native American Arts.
Up Heartbreak Hill
Up heartbreak hill chronicles the lives of three Native American teenagers in Navajo, New Mexico-Thomas, an elite runner; Tamara, an academic superstar; and Gabby, an aspiring photographer-as they navigate their senior year at a reservation high school. As graduation nears, they must decide whether or not to stay in their community-a place inextricably woven into the fiber of their beings-or leave in pursuit of opportunities elsewhere. Largely isolated from mainstream America, they hesitate to separate from their families and traditions, rooted to home in equal parts by love, obligation, and fear. Tribal elders urge members of the younger generation to leave-acquire an education or learn a trade-and return home with the skills to help their people. But, with a poverty rate of 65% and a per capita income under $6,200, Navajo has few prospects. Up heartbreak hill is a moving look at a new generation of Americans struggling with what it means to be Native American in the contemporary world.
The Return of Navajo Boy
The Return of Navajo Boy, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and PBS, is an internationally acclaimed documentary that reunited a Navajo family and triggered a federal investigation into uranium contamination.
This World Is Not Our Home
A short, immersive documentary film into the life story of Elvina Brown, the oldest member of the Pomo Indian Tribe in northern California. Narrated by her granddaughter and told first-hand by Elvina, This World Is Not Our Home shares Elvina’s experiences, perspective and perseverance as a Pomo Indian through a century of change, including a US government relocation off the reservation to the city, the Native American takeover of Alcatraz Island and the transitions of modern day life back on the reservation.
Don’t Get Sick After June : American Indian Healthcare
Declared wards of the state, Native Americans negotiated housing, education and healthcare in numerous treaties with the US Government. Like so many other federal promises, these too have not been met.
The Spirit of Annie Mae
Anna Marie Pictou-Aquash was a leading Native American political activist. A Mi’kmaw Indian born in Nova Scotia, she was killed execution-style on a desolate road in South Dakota in 1976, when she was only thirty years of age. The murderer(s) remain mystery. She was a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM), a militant First Nations organization, and participated in the Wounded Knee uprising. This documentary chronicles the life of Pictou, including her efforts to obtain civil rights for aboriginal peoples and her poignant death.
Buried Stories reveals the life story of a Native American (Ohlone/Esselen) Ella Rodriguez, who, in her seventies, still resents that she was taken from her rural California home at age thirteen and sent to an Indian boarding school. After running away from the school and becoming ensnared in the juvenile justice system, she was forced into marriage by a parole officer at eighteen, then labored as a migrant worker. In the 1970s, when Ella was 44, she protested for weeks to stop the destruction of a Native American cemetery site and dedicated her life to preserving her heritage. After two decades of working on endangered construction sites to oversee and protect Native American burial grounds, Ella obtained an informal but comprehensive education about her ancestors. Ella’s later years bridged her Native American past and modern archaeological research. A resilient and wisecracking woman in a hard hat, Ella fought to preserve her ancestors’ history. In the process, she connected with her painful personal past as she unearthed troubling official documents relating to her youth. Told through Ella’s charismatic and poignant lens, her story incites curiosity about the historical and cultural forces that shaped her destiny and identity.
Examines the role of two-spirit people in the Navajo culture in the context of the story of a gay youth named Fred Martinez. Martinez was a nádleehí or a male-bodied person with a feminine essence, who was murdered in a hate crime at the age of sixteen. Discusses the traditional Native American perspective on gender and sexuality and the need for a balanced interrelationship between the feminine and masculine.
Pre-Columbian America Collection
Central and South America prior to the Spanish conquest harbored some of the great traditions of the ancient world, traditions which have at times been underplayed by Eurocentric histories: those of the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Mayas. Although they never developed the technology of metalworking, or the use of the wheel, these peoples created an advanced written language, a system of mathematics and a ’proto-Pythagorean’ geometry, a sophisticated astronomy and an accurate calendar system. In this respect they were startlingly close to ancient Mesopotamian peoples (see other films from Roland on this topic). North America, meanwhile, was the territory of diverse native American tribes whose more organic, less empirical culture again was rich and subtle, but infinitely fragile. As so often, Christian settlers and colonists burst in where angels might fear to tread, both in North and South America.
No More Smoke Signals
A film about the role of media, as well as an up-close look at present day life on the reservation.
A History of American Indian Achievement
American Indians Populate the North American Continent
Program 1 spans the years before European contact. During the first ten thousand years of occupying North America, American Indians were the most accomplished Stone Age hunters, worked metal into tools and weapons, and created some of the world’s greatest rock art. initiates metallurgy in the United States -- 2000 B.C. : Pecos Culture produces sacred rock paintings.
The Golden Age of Ancient American Indians
Chronicles the classic golden age of American Indians, when they built some of the world’s greatest cities and adopted agriculture and the bow and arrow.
The Great Transition
At the closing of the classic golden age of American Indians, the Anasazi built their spectacular cliff cities. The Iroquois League wrote a remarkable constitution that would serve as a model for the founding fathers. The transition coincided with the arrival of the Europeans. This included tribal interactions with the settlers at Jamestown and the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation.
Resistance and Acceptance
Tells the heroic stories of Indian tribes who attempted to protect their lands from European invasion and stories of how other American Indians found ways to live in peace and preserve their culture.
The New Indian Leaders
American Indian leaders with great vision make a valiant attempt to retain their culture and continue to live on their ancestral lands west of the Appalachians. Without these valiant efforts, it is doubtful the Indian nations east of the Mississippi River and along the west coast would have survived at all.
Plains Indian Wars
Chronicles events from 1853 to 1890, when the Plains Indians horse culture engaged the United States military in its longest conflict.
The emergence of the American Indian Hero
Explains that the first half of the 20th-century was the worst of times for American Indians. They were a vanishing race. Then something remarkable happened: four American Indian women made their voices heard in the courts and the halls of political power, saving American Indians.
American Indian Renaissance
With their survival assured, American Indians finally had the opportunity to fully express their creativity. This program presents extraordinary men and women and their achievements in every avenue of American life. It shows they remain fully anchored in their traditional values.
The Way West
Episode I: Westward, The Course of Empire Takes Its Way, 1845-1864
Episode II: The Approach of Civilization 1865-1869
Episode III: The War for the Black Hills, 1870-1876
Episode IV: Ghost Dance
We Shall Remain--America Through Native Eyes
After the Mayflower
This episode begins in March of 1621, in what is now southeastern Massachusetts, when Massasoit, the leading sachem of the Wampanoag, negotiated with a ragged group of English colonists. The pale-skinned Pilgrim foreigners were in desperate need of Native help. Massasoit’s people had been decimated by unexplained sickness, and he calculated that an alliance with the foreigners could help protect them. A half-century later, as war flared between the English colonists and a confederation of New England Indians, the wisdom of Massasoit’s diplomatic gamble seemed less clear. English immigration, mistreatment, lethal epidemics, and environmental degradation had brought the Indians’ way of life to the brink of disaster.
In the spring of 1805, Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee, fell into a deep trance and claimed to have met the Master of Life, who told him that the Indians were in dire straits because they had adopted white culture and rejected traditional spiritual ways. In this episode the young prophet starts a spiritual revival movement that drew thousands of adherents from tribes across the Midwest. His elder brother, Tecumseh, harnessed the energies of that renewal to create an unprecedented confederacy of often-antagonistic tribes, all committed to stopping white westward expansion. Though the dream of an independent Indian state may have died when Tecumseh was killed, the great Shawnee warrior has lived on as a symbol of Native pride.
Trail of Tears
This third episode opens on May 26, 1838, when federal troops forced thousands of Cherokee from their homes in the southeastern United States, driving them toward Indian Territory in Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died of disease and starvation along the way. For years the tribe had resisted removal from their land. Cherokee leaders had established a republic with a European-style legislature and legal system. Their visionary principal chief, John Ross, would even take the Cherokee case to the Supreme Court, where he won crucial recognition of tribal sovereignty that still resonates. In the end, however, their landmark legal victory proved no match for white land hunger and military power.
This episode takes viewers back to February 1909, when the indomitable Chiricahua Apache medicine man Geronimo lay on his deathbed. He summoned his nephew to his side, whispering, "I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive." To angry whites, Geronimo had become the archfiend, perpetrator of savage cruelties. To his supporters, he remained the embodiment of proud resistance. To other Apaches, he was a stubborn troublemaker, unbalanced by his unquenchable search for vengeance. Geronimo and his tiny band of Chiricahuas fought on. The final holdouts, they became the last Native American fighting force to capitulate formally to the government of the United States.
On the night of February 27, 1973, American Indian Movement (AIM) and Oglala Lakota activists seized the hamlet of Wounded Knee, and police cordoned off the area. Demanding redress for grievances, the protesters captured the world’s attention for 71 gripping days. With heavily armed federal troops tightening a cordon around the Indians, the event recalled the massacre at Wounded Knee almost a century earlier. In telling the story of this iconic moment, this final episode examines the political and economic forces that led to bringing the desperate conditions of Indian reservation life to the nation’s attention. It also proved that despite centuries of warfare and neglect, Indians remained a vital force in the life of America.
We’re Still Here
Directed by Sindi Gordon, this film explores reverse racism, offering a contemporary view of two populations often overlooked in the race dialogue: Native Americans and native Hawaiians.