America's Great Indian Nations

America's Great Indian Nations

1994, History  -   47 Comments
Ratings: 8.21/10 from 182 users.

When Christopher Columbus first encountered the peoples of the new world he was deeply moved. For their part the Taino Indians of the Caribbean thought that Columbus and his sailors were gods who had come from heaven. But within a single generation the peaceful kingdom of the Taino Indians which Columbus first saw would be gone forever, wasted by disease, slavery, torture and war.

This new world, that Columbus found, was in fact a very ancient place and the people he called "Indios" had lived upon the continent for thousands of years. Their ancestors were its true discoverers. Ice age hunters who followed the rising sun east across the land bridge from Asia to discover a continent ruled by glaciers and great bison.

When the ice melted nomadic tribes pushed southward into the green part to the continent following the stars, the seasons and the herds. They conquered the land and they fashioned languages and customs as varied as a feathers of the birds yet between them run spiritual roots buried deep in the Earth.

And then after centuries beyond number the white man came in search of wealth and power. Two million Indians would endure four centuries of struggle before the sun finally set upon their free dominion. These European settlers came in wave upon wave to occupy Native American lands. In the bellies of their ships the Europeans carried horses, guns and disease and in their hearts they carried a belief in their destiny to rule the Americas from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

As the whites pressed ever-westward they finally waged an absolute war on the Indians that would close the frontier and usher in the white man's era of railroads, telegraphs and mining. Yet the history of America is in many ways the history of the American Indians, for they gave the Europeans the skills and knowledge needed to survive in the new world. These are the stories of the mightiest Indian nations.

The Iroquois of upstate New York were a unique confederation of six Indian nations. Their great law of peace attracted the attention of American colonists who were forging their own new country. The Seminoles of Florida who gathered together free Indians and black slaves fleeing the northern lands. Together they built a patchwork nation of peoples mirroring the melting pot of America.

The Navajo whose powerful spiritual link to their land inspired a courageous defense of their territory in the great south-west. The fiercely independent Cheyenne, the beautiful people of the plains, whose families were massacred by US Army soldiers. And their brothers, Lakota, the defiant warriors of the west who united with the Cheyenne to hold back the tide of western expansion for 50 years.

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47 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Jake

    When the movie ends what is the year?

  2. Pamela

    Who is the narrator

  3. Algonquin

    In our tribe, previously of the st lawrence river, it was told to me that there were criminals like every society but the tribes had strict laws and alliances that kept trading relationships good and warfare minimal. there was a very complex social system that was understood by most if not all members of native american society. We were not just a lawless bunch of savages roaming the land fighting each other like alot of people like to see it

  4. the truth

    the story of Columbus is false...."Columbus" that man was hired by the Columbus offspring of the "Spanish Inquisition", the "traveling courts" to destroy the last strong hold of tribal tribal law was and still the first law of the land....the white man, not white tribes came here and killed over 120 million they where friendly? the "Six Nation" was made up by george washinton to destroy the "52 Nations" Confederency....and did a good job at it.....some of us, know the truth, and know the law that supercedes there laws...and im not afraid to speak of it...they know who I am....if there is to be any peace in this world, the law that some of us know and live will be needed....most and when i say most I mean almost everyone doesn not know how to connect again with this Universal Law....but its coming...and another point...the british empire is only a continuation of the roman empire after they where defeated by the white tribes of "europe" the new weapon of war was religion, the concept of God, led by the roman catholic church....hutcha!v we where almost all two legged beings, tribal ppl, that got defeated by the tyrants....all following at a time Creator Great Spirit Laws....the ancient religion using ancient ceremony to live in balance with our Mother the Earth and Universe, the things we see and dont wont here what I just said in there Institutions or

    1. mumjum23

      If you made an effort to learn how to use the language to write effectively your argument could carry some weight. Rather, your spelling, word usage (there/their, were/where, etc.), punctuation, and surrender to the very low bar set by current internet 'writing standards' all work together to make your prose merely difficult to get through, your points vague and diluted, and your intelligence credibility open to question. I'm hardly being snobbish or nitpicking: the statement I'm referencing wouldn't (or shouldn't, anyway) pass muster for a grade school level competency exam. It's simple laziness.

    2. bdoon

      The Truth

      Native Americans made war on each other to the same extent as Euros and Asians. Yet the truth is that the Euros did not just make war...they made genocide, step by step (few were conscious of it and few looked at it as such). Unfortunately , like Hutus and Tsusis in Rwanda, like Muslims and Christians (Hindus in India) , like Prots and Catholics in N Ireland) folks look for differences and see through stereotypes to allow them to exploit others. Perhaps destruction of this self-aware virus we call humanity does not deserve to survive?

  5. breggetta

    The spirits still live on...

  6. kyiani

    the planet's desperately needs a relief bro...we really gotta die and make way for the superior beings to come after us

    1. morrisseyowesmemoney .

      Who cares, the planet is going to die anyway, solar system is going to fall apart, sun is going to fade, Andromeda is on a collision course with the milky way and all this is going to be nothing. Preserving the planet is moot.

  7. dewfall

    My Dear Friends and Fellow Apes, May your Midwinter Celebrations be filled with Love, Light and Laughter and the New Year bring you All the Little Things That Truly Matter xxx

    1. over the edge

      right back at you dew.

    2. Pysmythe

      You, too, Dewy! :)

    3. Achems_Razor

      Happy holidays to you.

  8. JPH

    Law of the jungle seems to be the sentiment expressed by some people here by looking at these post. Those who Live by the sword shall die by the sword so shall be it for any civilization that embraces such inhumanity towards their fellow man. The USA time may very will come as a nation if we do not turn away from such evil views and ways.

    1. Albert Potato

      Name one Empire that wasn't built without such means.

    2. JPH

      Such has been the problem through out human history. In a nuclear age as Pres. Kennedy once said, "that man put a end to war or war will put a end to man", the choice is ours.

  9. bringmeredwine

    And mankind continues to slaughter each other and trample over their weaker brothers and sisters. Like it or not that's how the world is!

    1. Amanda Suppes

      It doesn't have to be ;)

    2. bringmeredwine

      "Peace on Earth" Amanda, and I really mean it. If only!

    3. beastmode355

      you mean Europeans and the European "jews" in Palestine

    4. bringmeredwine

      The Israeli government/military versus Hamas today. I feel for the innocents who get in the way on both sides. The civilians, people who have lives to lead. My heart goes out to all of them. For people in Iraq, Nigeria. I could go on and on but it's pointless, no?

    5. Hap Stone

      You have not followed one news item in north Africa have you Guest - where the Muslims are actively pushing a land grab and genocidal pogrom against Africans have you ,,,,

  10. Albert Potato

    Another lie taught in school, how the Pre Columbian North Americans were all a peaceful and loving group, one with nature and fellow tribes. The peoples of North America were committing acts of war, raiding, mass murder of women and children 1000's of years before the Europeans. The murder rate before the Europeans arrived was way worse than today's modern America.
    A very good source for an unbiased look at this is WAR BEFORE CIVILIZATION:THE MYTH OF THE PEACEFUL SAVAGE by Prof Lawrence H. Keeley

    1. terrasodium

      So the ideaology you subscribe to is that the usurpation by the french, english and spanish impirialists in the americas was for the betterment of the murdering savages, and they now live a better life thanks to the harsh ,albeit neccesary, putting down of the savage people who were hoarding resources and were better metered and squared away by a superiour set of justifiable legallised society with a system to tax. You should read The Decent of Man by Darwin, your views are as recycled as divine right of kings,
      Is real estate a good investment in the americas?

    2. Albert Potato

      Never said that at all. I used a title of a book that has the word SAVAGE in it, if you even took the time to look at the book, you would understand the use of the word. The whole point is that people in North America were killing and fighting over land and resources 1000's of years before the Europeans moved in.

    3. terrasodium

      Right then , the book nothing to do with you then! point taken , the entire scribble about lies and public education wasn't intended as a smearing of an entire continental pre existing set of societies that the impirialists took great pains to comprehend and record for future generations.

    4. Albert Potato

      Actually most academics like to ignore or not publicize the fact that pre Columbians in NA could be just as evil to each other without any help from the Europeans. I find it amazing that people find it hard to comprehend that humans were not always nice to each other regardless of race.

    5. terrasodium

      I find it amazing that people find it hard to comprehend humans were not all following the idea that might is right, painting in broad strokes the notion that all were following the same set of warrrior codes is a tactic that serves to justify warrior justice, thereby revising history to suit that picture and provide excuse for the real issue of what the situation is today, Manifest destiny apologetics.

    6. Amanda Suppes

      So the argument your making, based on the book you referenced (I assume), is that the natives were violent peoples prior to the European arrival? I'd be interested to know where this information came me it seems as though any record of happenings between the many different native tribes, prior to our invasion of the Americas, would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to come by (although I admit I'm am not well-researched on the subject). However, that is irrelevant, as even reliable documentation of said behavior still would not excuse the horrific, greed-driven, disgusting and violent behavior of the invading European "settlers"...and defending such behavior by claiming that violence between tribes pre-existed our invasion, is reminiscent of a child's attempt to defend their own negative actions by saying, "but he did it first!". The inhumane treatment and mass slaughter of native Americans was completely sick, wrong, and unjustified, regardless of what these tribes were doing to one another prior to our arrival.

    7. Michael Jay Burns

      Amanda, living things on this planet compete with one another for the resources needed for their survival. A wolf pack will attack any other wolf that wanders into its territory, e.g. and that pattern is virtually universal. Humans are not morally superior nor inferior to any other species; "morality" is merely a cultural adaption that co-ordinates behavior within the cohort. The cohort's primary drive is survival and its primary competitors are other human cohorts. It is the vivid history of our species that we are murderers and thieves, if you wish to take that perspective. It may comfort you to feel morally superior to the rest of the species but I assure you that is pure self-delusion. You are he beneficiary or the savagery of your ancestors.

    8. Jim Moore

      If it was a battle it meant the Europeans won and if it was a massacre it meant the Native Americans won ! Genocide by Europeans have occoured also in other "new" lands and the violance that stems from Europe is known by most people of the world !

    9. AprilOneal

      I think the self-delusion in this case is when you tell someone else they're not in control of their actions (morality). Whether or not a person FEELS morally superior, in reality they ARE OR AREN'T. Such as Ghandi. He was a Hi-profile case of actual moral superiority, and each person can attain it if they choose to. Maybe not you, but that's just because you don't think you're in control. Maybe YOU aren't.

    10. Albert Potato

      Yes, I am saying that all people can be greedy, violant, caring, peaceful etc, . The Europeans didn't invent war and import it to North America, it was already in full use by the Indians. And they history of this can be found in archeological studies of settlements, drawings, mass graves and general research, you asking how do we know this, is like asking how do we know the history of anything? You research it. I am not excusing the behavior of anyone, but people need to realize that humans will be violent with or with reason.

    11. AprilOneal

      Correction: SOME humans will be violent with or withOUT reason.. Those humans are out of control, and/or psychopathic.

    12. abhishek

      How do you justify the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki. Why was the bomb not used in Berlin or Rome. The human need of survival and spreading own genes is paramount and cohort behaviour always will lead to a situation to benefit own self survival. The present day handling of Asian economies is an exercise in the same direction.

    13. bringmeredwine

      My native friends have told me the same thing about how their ancestors used to constantly wage wars against other tribes and take slaves. I'm assuming those stories were passed down to them, and I have also read books on the subject, too.
      I'm also assuming that you are not condoning what Europeans, the army and settlers (and the government) have done in recent memory. Am I right?

    14. Lony Ranger

      There can be no excuses possible for the treatment of the american indians by the whites.
      An enlightening and accurate historical account and an amazing read is 9 Years Among The Indians 1870-1879 Herman Lehman. University of New Mexico Press. The captivity and life of a Texan among the Indians.

    15. bringmeredwine

      Totally agree with you and Merry Christmas!
      Thanks for the info.
      One book that rocked my little world was by Cormac McCarthy, called Blood Meridian. Although a work of fiction it's historically accurate.

    16. Albert Potato

      One of the last armies of the Confederacy to surrender to the Union Army were Indian tribes that were African slave owners. After the Civil War the slaves were considered as members of the indian tribe, but recently the decedents of the slaves were voted out of the tribe due to concerns about casino revenue. Keeping time honored traditions like slots, black jack and bingo alive.

    17. terrasodium

      maybe the military could provid free amunition to eliminate the slots ,black jack and bingo, you know like they did with the buffalo, it would be in keeping wih traditions your so fond of mentioning.

    18. Albert Potato

      that comment makes no sense.

    19. Jules

      I'd say Terrasodium was being sarcastic yet the comment had a hint of truth in.

    20. Darth Truth

      Pre-contact forms of slavery were generally distinct from the form of chattel slavery developed by Europeans in North America during the colonial period. Native American groups often enslaved war captives whom they primarily used for small-scale labor. While little is known, there is little evidence that the slaveholders considered the slaves as racially inferior; they came from other Native American tribes and were casualties of war. Native Americans did not buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved individuals with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for redeeming their own members. The word "slave" may not accurately apply to such captive people. Most of these so-called Native American slaves tended to live on the fringes of Native American society and were slowly integrated into the tribe. European influence greatly changed slavery used by Native Americans. As they raided other tribes to capture slaves for sales to Europeans, they fell into destructive wars among themselves, and against Europeans.

    21. beastmode355

      there is a big difference between war and genocide....battles between different nations is something that happens in almost all nations...but murder and genocide is something very different....Europeans exterminated an entire race of people purposley

    22. bringmeredwine

      Man's inhumanity to man is practiced by other races, all over the world, with the excuse, well it was a war. People lash out and commit atrocities in the heat of the moment.
      But I get what you're saying. There should be a difference between war and genocide but these days the line appears blurred to me.

    23. Hap Stone

      Muslims are doing it daily Quest even as we speak ...:o)

    24. Don ONeill

      Uh, did you even watch the documentary? It talks about tribal warfare. And what school did you go to where they taught you native americans were all one peaceful group? In my public school, we were taught that there was a wide range of different kinds of people in North America, from the Mayans to the Aztecs and all the different tribes to the north. It was diverse, everyone knows that. Not sure what kind of agenda you are pushing here with this strawman.