'Trail Of Tears' [36 Documentary Collection]
(Various / 2-Disc DVD+Digital / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: This harrowing and compelling compilation of award-winning documentary programs chronicles the struggles of the Native American culture from the forced relocation known as the Trail of Tears to the current issues faced by America's aboriginal people.
DVD Verdict: In the opening chapter, Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy, we get a two hour documentary that explores one of the great historical tragedies of America's aboriginal people.
In 1830, eager to gain access to lands inhabited by Native Americans, President Andrew Jackson enacted the Indian Removal Act which forced the Cherokee Nation to leave their homeland and relocate into unchartered territory.
Many of these forced settlers suffered from exposure, disease and starvation. Upon arriving in Indian Territory, they arrived with no past and no future.
Endorsed by the Cherokee Nation, we begin with the first of five chapters, Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy. As one can guess, this first documentary focuses on the 1838 Cherokee removal from the southeastern United States, dubbed the "Trail of Tears."
In truth, it is very powerful and rather incredible to watch and learn from. The fact that West Studi talks in the Cherokee language only adds genuine authenticity to the chapters subject matter.
I would definitely recommend anyone purchasing this to dig deeper into the history of the Cherokee as this entire 36 documentary series truly tells the tale of the Cherokee's beginning in the South and their removal to OK, but not everything, of course.
Inclusive of those who escaped to NC to live on the Qualla Boundary Reservation, the next chapter is Native American Healing in the 21st Century and gives us a look at the ancient and healing methods of American aboriginals and uncovers the invaluable contribution that Native Americans made to early frontier living.
Next comes Black Indians: An American Story, narrated by James Earl Jones. A stunning and informative documentary, it explores issues of racial identity between the mixed-descent peoples of both Native American and African American heritage.
Indeed, we soon learn early on that James Earl Jones is himself a Black Indian, which is something I myself never knew. Watching it truly brings to life the words of Black Elk (Oglala Sioux) who said: "With all beings and all things we shall be as relatives."
Then comes Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding School, where the award winning producers of everything that has gone before - Chip Richie and Dan Agent aka Rich-Heape - yet again bring us an in-depth documentary.
Told from the Native American perspective, this documentary uncovers the dark history of the US government policy and will give a voice to the countless Indian children forced through the system.
The last in the collection is entitled Native America: Voices From The Land and showcases a 32 part program that provides a historical overview with discovered photographs, paintings, archival footage, interviews, and reenactments.
Here, throughout these 32 entries, we learn about their struggles, traditions, beauty and art.