We Shall Remain Shallow

Okay, after looking forward to what seemed MIGHT be a serious presentation  of a few Native American historical events via the PBS series We Shall Remain, I am utterly disgusted at the overall shallow treatment given to all all segments of the series. The final episode on Wounded Knee of 1973 did not even bother to present a behind the scenes segment. And what was with that strange presentation of childish drawings for illustrating the boarding school experience of Indian children? What was that mess? Why did the series present such an issue in that manner instead of interviewing those who endured this form of cultural genocide and are still living to tell about it? I think veteran journalist Tim Giago could have enlighted an audience with his own vast knowledge of the boarding school experience. I  know Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart-Jordan could have explained how boarding schools added to the ongoing trauma  of historical issues and their ramifications for the Lakota until this very day. She could have also dealt with how the denial to grieve in a culturally appropriate manner  has had lasting consequences through the generations. But did We  Shall Remain search for depth, substance,  and dialogue that might have built some tenouse awareness of such ongoing cultural issues and values? No, they went for the lowest level of presentation. 

And for all the touting of lots of unseen footage–well there was not a single image presented that I had not viewed elsewhere.

But the more distrubing issue is that the series focused on Wounded Knee of 1973 rather than the insanity of Wounded Knee, Decemeber 29, 1890.  Now there’s a horror story that apparently no one wants to really deal with. I have my own ideas about that terrible ‘mess’ of inhumanity–and they don’t include who shot who first—let’s question the entire LACK of any true state of war —there was no ‘Indian War’ in 1890—perhaps the series researchers/writers discovered that if they ventured into the National Archieves to dig into the military records and agency records. Once they made the discovery that no Lakota people were on any warpath then they were at a complete loss as to how to deal with Wounded Knee 1890? Think about that PBS American Experience.  Yes, consider the possibility that at least 300 children, women, infants and men were murdered because of a lie constructed by a military looking for a reason to continue its own existence after the Civil War.  

And as for the segement on Geronimo—here is an important name the We Shall Remain folks declined to mention:  Charles Gatewood—he was sent to get Geronimo to surrender—unlike Lawton and Wood who were sent with orders to search and destroy.   Louis Kraft wrote a very enlightening little tome titled Gatewood and Geronimo–if nothing else, you can learn just how ‘close’ to the actioon Nelson A. Miles truly was not.

Hmm…and where was Sand Creek? the hanging of 38 Indian en masse and why? Black Kettle’s second go round with a massacre at Washita? and on  and on it goes…America has a long and dark history that no one wants to face and the likes of We Shall Remain did little to bring anything to light.   Then again, the series is a step up from the textbooks used in history classes across the country. Or is it? Is anyone aware that the poorest counties in the United States are Shannon, Douglas, Bennett —-or the Pine Ridge,  Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Reservations. 

For a real step in the right direction regarding some of the ongoing issues facing Native American women see Amensty International’s report–“Maze of Injustice”—unless you’re the squeamish sort…….

http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/maze/report.pdf

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