On Monday of National Library Week, April 13, 2009, the first of five episodes in the American Experience program, We Shall Remain, will air on PBS television stations. Librarians are invited to plan public programming, and help awaits them in a twenty-six page We Shall Remain event kit that can be downloaded in PDF format.
The kit identifies partners in developing programs, including local public television and radio stations, Native communities and organizations, museums and historical societies, and educational institutions. The cover art features a photograph of a teepee with an American flag waving from a lodge pole, an image that provokes discussion about cultural adaptation, resistance, survival, and sovereignty.
Content in the kit is arranged in eighteen sections, including “About the Series,” which presents each episode with a brief abstract, timeline, geographical connection, tribes featured, key historical figures, and themes, and "Beyond the Broadcast," which summarizes other components of We Shall Remain, including ReelNative, films produced by Native peoples depicting contemporary lives.
The kit also describes how to plan open-mic events featuring family stories, local oral history initiatives, and art contests; features a discussion guide for Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves; and offers suggestions for hosting a public film festival. Additional content gives guidelines on evaluating media about Native peoples. The kit concludes with bibliographies of books, films, and websites coded by reading level. The event kit is an excellent resource for librarians before, during, and after We Shall Remain is broadcast.
The We Shall Remain website provides information on five one-hour documentaries that will air on Native radio and National Public Radio stations, offers interviews and a teacher’s guide, and allows users to search for states and cities coordinating local efforts.
I am extremely excited that libraries are included in the launch and national discussion of this important television series. The impact of We Shall Remain is likely to have the same resonance that Roots had on African-American history. I invite you to participate, take advantage of the programming support in the event kit, and celebrate American Indian cultures. What better place to engage the public American Indian history than in your local library. Let me know about your program by sending me an email.