Episode 1: "After the
Mayflower", begins in New England in the 1620's, at the
time of the so-called "first Thanksgiving." In March of 1621,
Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag, negotiated a diplomatic alliance with
a scraggy band of English settlers for the benefit of his people.
It was a gamble that paid off for several decades, as Indians and
colonists coexisted in relative peace. A half-century later, as a
brutal war flared between the English colonists and a confederation of
New England Indians, the wisdom of Massasoit's choice seemed less clear.
Episode 2: "Tecumseh's
Vision", tells the story of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh
and his brother, Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet. In the years
following the American Revolution, the Prophet led a spiritual revival
movement that drew thousands of followers from tribes across the
Midwest. His brother forged a pan-Indian political and military
alliance from that movement, coming closer than anyone since to creating
an independent Indian state.
Episode 3: "Trail of
Tear", explores the resolve and resilience of the Cherokee
people, who resisted removal from their homelands in the Southeast in
every way they knew: assimilating, adopting a European-style
goverment and legal system, accepting Christianity, and even taking
their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Geronimo", takes place at the end of the Indian Wars,
near the close of the nineteenth century. Here, desperate times
catapulted a controversial character to the leadership of an Apache
band. To angry whites, Geronimo was an archenemy, the perpetrator
of unspeakable savage cruelties. To some Apaches, he was a
stubborn troublemaker who actions needlessly brought the enemy's warth
upon them. To his supportors, he remained the embodiment of proud
resistance, leading the last Native American fighting force to surrender
to the U.S. government.
Episode 5: "Wounded
Knee", tells the gripping story of the 1973 siege of
Wounded Knee, examining the broad political and econimic forces that led
to the emergence of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the the
1960's. For 71 days activists engaged in a standoff with the U.S.
government, bringing the nation's attention to the desperate conditions
on Indian reservations. Perhaps even more important, the siege
united Native people across tribes, creating a pan-Indian identity and
new path into the future.