This is just tangentially writing related, but I'd like to remind all my blog friends about We Shall Remain a five episode series of American Experience presenting some basic Native American history from the Mayflower through Wounded Knee II. The series will be airing on most PBS stations starting tomorrow night, Monday April 13. This is a real part of American History often ignored.
The series is a great way to see the history from a Native perspective, and while I haven't seen all the episodes (only a preview of Episode 2, Tecumseh, that I previewed at my local PBS station), it promises to emphasize that American Indians do not just exist in our history books. I hope it will also emphasize that American Indians are more than Native dance troupes and story tellers. According to the Federal Register in 2002 there were over 300 Federally Recognized tribes in the US. Several more are seeking recognition and many others go unrecognized because they can't meet government criteria. Federally recognized tribes deal on a daily basis with issues of sovereignty, law enforcement, finance. They have their own political bodies varying from tribe to tribe that include tribal councils, tribal courts, tribal law enforcement. Yet few people know they even exist let alone about the special government-to-government relationship they have with the US government.
From time to time Independent Lens airs something on more current American Indian issues. My PBS station, at least (WHYY in Philadelphia), often skips these episodes.
I do hope you will all tune into this series. I also hope that, as it did for me, learning more about American Indian history will lead to an interest in more current political issues, more reading of American Indian authors (you'll find several at Cross Reference), seeking out music and movies by Native American artists, and maybe some visits to Indian Country where you will get a better perspective than any white gal like me can give you.