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 valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture.
"We Shall Remain," a groundbreaking new American Experience mini-series establishing Native history as an essential part of American history, begins this April. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native-American perspective. Benjamin Bratt narrates.
Beginning in the 1600s with the Wampanoags, who used their alliance with the English to strengthen their position in Southern New England, and ending with the bold new leaders of the 1970s, who harnessed the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement to forge a pan-Indian identity, "We Shall Remain" upends two-dimensional stereotypes of American Indians as simply ferocious warriors or peaceable lovers of the land.
While the tale of European settlement of North America has been told countless times, it never has been presented from the perspective of the land's original inhabitants. "We Shall Remain" tells the story, not from the point of view of the white people looking West, but of Native people looking East.
"You can't understand America in the 21st century if you don't understand the Native experience," says director Chris Eyre. "What connects these five films is the resolve of their characters. This country is founded on people striving, being tenacious and moving forward ... This is a look at that, through Native eyes."
American Experience "We Shall Remain" is a production of WGBH/Boston. More information can be found at We Shall Remain