“The audience for this is not Native Americans, and it’s not non-Native Americans,” Ric Burns told Elizabeth Jensen in the New York Times about the PBS series American Experience: “We Shall Remain.” “It’s Americans.”
Burns is the writer, producer and co-director — along with noted American Indian director Chris Eyre — of “Tecumseh’s Vision,” one of five documentaries that make up “We Shall Remain.” The series starts with Episode 1, “After the Mayflower,” on Monday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. Central on NPT and PBS stations nationwide.
The five-part “We Shall Remain” television series is at the heart of a multi-platform project that shows how Native peoples valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture — from the Wampanoags of New England in the 1600s who used their alliance with the English to weaken rival tribes, to the bold new leaders of the 1970s who harnessed the momentum of the civil rights movement to forge a pan-Indian identity. The series also represents an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project.
“Most people think of the U.S. as a country of immigrants, and actually there’s a big story there about the original inhabits of this country and their interaction with those immigrants,” said Sharon Grimberg in the New York Times, who along with Mark Samels, is the executive producer of the series.
In addition to the five documentaries, which along with “After the Mayflower” and “Tecumseh’s Vision” also includes “Trail of Tears,” “Geronimo” and “Wounded Knee,” the “We Shall Remain” project consists of an extensive and interactive web site at pbs.org, a companion public radio documentary series, focusing on contemporary Native issues, and a national community outreach campaign. Stanley Nelson, who we met recently while he was in town doing interviews for his upcoming documentary on the Freedom Riders, directs the last installment, “Wounded Knee.”
Learn all about the project at pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/. Tune in Monday, April 13, and the next four Mondays for the complete “We Shall Remain” television series. Benjamin Bratt narrates.