Saturday, April 11, 2009


Writers, reviewers, editors, teachers... anyone whose work in some way touches American Indian cultures/histories... Please watch the upcoming PBS series WE SHALL REMAIN. It starts on Monday night. Native scholars and leaders were deeply involved in the series. At the website there are guides for teachers to use with students and an abundance of additional materials.

A colleague has a clip from the episode that covers boarding schools. The clip is on Facebook. Cut and paste this link in your browser to view it.

It starts with children singing "Ten Little Indians." The visuals start with animated ledger art of a school bus, with Native children boarding that bus. The animated ledger-art is interspersed with black and white photos, and interviews with Native people who were in the schools. The clip is from one of the episodes that will air later.

It is a powerful clip. In spite of the boarding schools, we are still here, and as is made clear by the series itself and the interviews and activities of Native people today, it is clear why the series is called "We Shall Remain." I don't mean that to sound melodramatic. I do mean to say that Native people are pushing back in greater numbers and in greater ways to the ways that we our cultures and histories are taught and presented in the media, in school, in books, etc.

Here's a preview:

In that preview you see tanks. That's from the Wounded Knee episode (#5 scheduled for May 11th). Previously on this site I've written about the takeover of Alcatraz Island and the activism of Native people during the 60s and 70s. Wounded Knee is part of that. The Wounded Knee episode of WE SHALL REMAIN was an Official Selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. One of the advisors for that segment is Robert Warrior, Osage, currently working here at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as Director of our American Indian Studies. If you wish to read (in advance) of that episode, get a copy of a book he wrote along with Paul Chaat Smith, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. Oyate also has some excellent books filled with photographs of the takeover.


1 comment:

jen holmes said...

Hey Debbie, a belated thanks for the post! Wanted to let you and your readers know we're giving away 20 copies of the We Shall Remain DVD set through our web site; people can register at through Sept 1.

Thanks for your support!