Monday, June 1, 2009

We Shall Remain


PBS has many valuable curriculum materials that connect directly to all three years of the Encounters and Exchanges in US History themes. Many of the grant participants have already utilized the series The American Experience, especially the episodes revolving around Kit Carson. The first year of the grant focused on the Colonial Era in US History and as part of the Primary Source Summer Institute, many of us were privileged to hear from Marge Bruchac, an Abenaki Indian, author, educator and scholar. In her presentation, she directly confronted the myth that Natives and their culture became extinct during the nineteenth century. In her presentation, she utilized many obituaries from that era that listed a member of a native group as the 'Last of the (insert native group name here)" that also, ironically, listed many family members for the deceased.
A great new resource, one to also confront this myth, is the new PBS documentary entitled We Shall Remain. Also part of the American Experience series, it focuses on the impact of Native Americans on US History and, as the title implies, blows to smithereens the myths that movies like The Last of the Mohegans perpetuate and Bruchac debunked in her presentation. Not only does this series demonstrate Native American History, but how this history is one of resilience, strength, and perseverance; not of Native Americans as supporting characters in their own stories, as too often is portrayed by textbooks. This series covers curriculum for all grade levels- from the first Thanksgiving to the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk to Wounded Knee. The companion website to the series (found at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/) is excellent; providing both full length online episodes and behind the scenes information. I am looking forward to utilizing this series in my classroom for next year, and hope that you will consider it as well.

1 comment:

Helen said...

I was only able to watch the first episode so far- but it was excellent, and Caroline, you are so right, so many great connections. Especially to the elementary book club choice "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick.