When the people of the “new world” first laid eyes on Christopher Columbus, they thought he and his crew were gods sent from heaven. They freely accepted the presence of the White man and shared with them. But within a single generation entire tribes of what used to be ancient and peaceful kingdoms were completely wiped out due to disease, slavery, and torture.
The Europeans carried a deep desire to dominate the world and they willingly did whatever it took to subdue the natives and establish themselves as the rulers of the land.
This documentary tells the story of six of the major Native American tribes. It uses vivid reenactments, maps, artwork, and breath-taking scenery to feature the lifestyle and culture of the Iroquois – a confederacy that was comprised of several Indian tribes.
This confederacy that included the Seminoles, the Shawnee, the Navajo, the Cheyenne, the Lakota Sioux, and later the Tuscarora, brought a sense of security and peace to the Iroquois.
The Seminoles in Florida welcomed escaped slaves and fought three major wars with the United States before meeting their ultimate defeat. The Shawnee allied with the French against the British. The Navajo are today the largest remaining Native American tribe. Also included are the Cheyenne and the Lakota Sioux, which was the dominant Sioux tribe comprised of the bands called Oglala, Brule, Hunkpapa, and Minneconjou.
As time passed the Iroquois warred with other tribes such as the Huron and the Erie. All who remained alive from these two tribes were absorbed into the confederacy. When the Tuscarora were driven from their land by White settlers, the Iroquois invited them into the confederacy too. This last group became the sixth nation of the Iroquois.
By the 1700s the Iroquois Great Law of Peace began attracting the attention of many colonists. In fact, Benjamin Franklin was very impressed by the Iroquois form of government and his contributions to the US Constitution may have come from Iroquois philosophy.
In 1763 the English beat the French and took control of all French holdings south of Canada. But trouble was brewing in the British colony and although the Iroquois had pledged to remain neutral, they were soon swept into the American Revolution. For the first time since The Great Law of Peace, Iroquois fought against Iroquois. When the British fell, the newly established country treated the Iroquois as conquered goods and they were forced to surrender their lands. A once powerful and flourishing nation succumbed to poverty, drunkenness, and lack.
This was only the beginning of many years of unfairness, rejection, and the destruction of the dreams of a people.