'We Shall Remain' From American Experience - Jim Kirwan

Jim Kirwan



The title comes from an American Experience video production, broadcast on PBS Television, which is currently available to rent or purchase. This five part series gives Americans a comprehensive view of the native history that has formed a huge part of what this nation was, as well as what it has become. It is not simply a political diatribe; nor are these observations as clear cut as many have believed they were.

"With depth, breadth and richness, Native American history is told through indigenous eyes in this revolutionary five-part docudrama. Exploring five pivotal periods, the series spans 300 years of Indian adversity, resilience and self-determination. Benjamin Bratt narrates the sweeping series as it reexamines a cornerstone of America's story and offers insight into how history's heartbreak and hope resonate with American Indians today."

What this series uncovers are a number of critical junctures between the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, and the various conquering influences that came from the East to colonize this land; under the terms of what was then the basic law for Europeans of conquest, blood and power.

This is not an easy or a simple story-it is however the story of the birth-pangs of what later became the United States of America; and this story is told against the various truths that obtained at the time in which they happened. It is above all a mixture of values, of traditions and violations of contracts, treaties, and intentions; coupled with the realities of the times in which they occurred. Had these events been taught to Americans as a basic part of our actual history-which they are-then the current takeover of this nation could not have proceeded as it has with so little resistance to the barbarity that has come to us, cloaked as it is, in the threadbare rags of a 'democracy and freedom' that is no longer even a shadow of its founding concept.

Part One, 'After the Mayflower' begins with the landing of the first settlers and their initial struggles, which ended when white settlers began to arrive by the thousands: This totally changed the integral early relationship between strangers on a strange land, and the people that had welcomed them. It also describes the slaughter of the 700 Indians that we still perversely refuse to refer to when we celebrate 'Thanksgiving,' as "our" national holiday. In addition part one introduces us to the virulent diseases of the Puritans that brought with them their hatreds and their racism as they sought to build a New Puritanism in which they were the only beings that mattered-and where all the people here had to be destroyed in order for their puritanical passions to survive and prosper.

Part Two, 'Tecumseh's Vision' outlines one of the stories of resistance that is seldom discussed, but is pivotal to understanding exactly how colonialism has always created slavery, and plants the seeds of ignoble empires, wherever it has planted its bloodstained boots. This part describes their debt-management of the native population, and how through duplicity and treason, amid so many lies, the leaders of the colonial powers were able even then, to crush all else in their own imperial drive to own-it-all: Well before this place was even considered to be a real nation in its own right.

Part Three, 'The Trail of Tears' describes the terrible battle of the Cherokee people in their very different approach to the coming of the settlers into their lands. Here we discover the origin of the term 'civilization' which was used to change the habits of native people, to get them to conform to the artificial ways of the white's over their more traditional natural-rhythms for living with nature, instead of on it, as the white man then preferred to do. The term "CIVILIZATION" was and still is the name of a Christian project designed to steal the language, the rituals and traditions of a people and to erase 'other' people from the earth.

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