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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: We Shall Remain: After The Mayflower

Airs Monday, October 18, 2010 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Pictured: Re-enactment of meeting of Wampanoag tribesmen and a settler. Beginning in the 1620s, the Wampanoags and white settlers lived in relative peace in what is now southeastern Massachusetts. But five decades of English immigration, mistreatment, lethal epidemics and widespread environmental degradation brought the Indians and their way of life to the brink of disaster. The first episode of the five-part miniseries explores the polar strategies - peaceful diplomacy and warfare - the Wampanoag people employed in their struggle to maintain their identity.

This groundbreaking mini-series establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native-American perspective. Benjamin Bratt narrates.

Sovereignty

The federal government today recognizes 562 Indian tribes as sovereign nations within the United States. Watch now

Go Behind The Scenes

View a photo gallery of production shots from the making of "We Shall Remain: After The Mayflower."

"After The Mayflower" - In March of 1621, in what is now southeastern Massachusetts, Massasoit (actor Marcos Akiaten, Chiricauha Apache), the leading sachem of the Wampanoag, sat down to negotiate with a ragged group of English colonists. Hungry, dirty and sick, the pale-skinned foreigners were struggling to stay alive; they were in desperate need of Native help.

Massasoit faced problems of his own. His people had lately been ravaged by unexplained sickness, leaving them vulnerable to the rival Narragansett to the west. The Wampanoag sachem calculated that a tactical alliance with the foreigners would provide a way to protect his people and hold his enemies at bay. He agreed to give the English the help they needed.

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 diplomatic gamble seemed less clear. Five decades of English immigration, mistreatment, lethal epidemics and widespread environmental degradation had brought the Indians and their way of life to the brink of disaster. Led by Metacom, Massasoit’s son (actor Annowon Weeden, Mashpee Wampanoag), the Wampanoag and their Native allies fought back against the English, nearly pushing them into the sea.

Video

Preview: We Shall Remain: After The Mayflower

Above: This groundbreaking mini-series establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native-American perspective. The first episode explores the polar strategies — peaceful diplomacy and warfare — the Wampanoag people employed in their struggle to maintain their identity.

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