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Get Some American Experience

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Holy cow. Where did my socks go? American Experience: We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears totally knocked them off. I just watched it last night on PBS, and now I have to donate. This is the third in a series of five, hour and a half long reenactment based documentaries. This episode tells the devastating story of the Cherokee as they were force marched by the US of A in the winter from their homes in Georgia to a reservation in Oklahoma. 4000 died along the way. This a hard story, but one that must be told before this nation will stop starting and waging unjust wars.

It is very rare that mainstream American media portrays the true history of the USA taking Indian lands. In this show what happened to the Cherokee is described as ethic cleansing. I generally go one step farther to the big nasty G-word, but this was funded by the NEH and nearly every major PBS oriented non-profit. To achieve a broad apeal to funders American Experience toned down some harsh realities, but this show delivers an unpresidented retelling of the truth. Several of the lead actors are native Cherokee speakers. Much of the film is in Cherokee with English subtitles. All of this effort just goes to show they were honestly striving to show what really happened. My only big complaint, is that they left out much of the savagery committed by white frontiersman and the US government. But the filmmakers were striving to tell the Indian perspective, and in that regard they should be commended. These videos should be in every library and history classroom in the country. For now the released episodes are available online here. You can watch the remaining two episodes these next two Mondays at 9PM. I hope an American president will never again get away with saying “We are liberators not conquerors.”

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