On Monday evening I watched the premier episode, "After the Mayflower," from PBS's new series on American Indians, We Shall Remain. In the coming weeks four other episodes will be aired in the following order: "Tecumseh's Vision," "Trail of Tears," "Geronimo," and "Wounded Knee."
"After the Mayflower" told the intriguing story of the relationship between the Wampanoag Indians and the newly arrived English settlers in what would become Massachusetts. The Indians under the leadership of Massasoit, and later his son Metacom (aka King Philip) tried to appease the English at first, but a European hunger for land, and misunderstandings and extreme differences in cultures led to a brutal and devastating war.
I am anticipating seeing all five episodes, because I have a self-recognized weakness in my knowledge of American Indians that I wish to strengthen. This series excites me for a number of reasons; first, because I have some Native American ancestry, and secondly, because American Indian heritage is the center pole of American history. After all, the Indians were here long before other peoples and they have influenced American culture more than most Americans realize; and certainly more than they get credited.
"Tecumseh's Vision" should be a fantastic portrayal of one Indian's attempt to confederate the diverse tribes to resist continued European encroachment in the early 19th century. "Trail of Tears" promises to be a sad but interesting story of the Cherokees and their forced removal from the Southern Appalachians. How can "Geronimo" not be interesting? I am looking forward to finding out more about this Apache and his style of fighting. "Wounded Knee" is to tell the story of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of the 1970s. My father once told me he went on a pheasant hunting trip to Nebraska back in the 70s just a week before a heavily armed demonstration at one of the reservations. So, I am looking forward to learning more about those events as well.
All Americans could benefit by learning more about American Indian history. PBS is making it easy for use to gain a better understanding of that history. Please join me in watching the next few weeks' episodes. For more information go to: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/