4-part NATIVE AMERICA docuseries premieres Oct. 23 on PBS | FirstNationsFocus.com

4-part NATIVE AMERICA docuseries premieres Oct. 23 on PBS

First Nation’s Focus
Clockwise from top left: Alan Hunt prepares to become a Kwakwaka'wakw Hereditary Chief; Potlatch cedar carving; Onondaga tribal member Angela Ferguson; Comanche tribal members Philip Bread and Jhane Myers.
Courtesy Providence Pictures

Earlier this year, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced that “NATIVE AMERICA,” a four-part series from Providence Pictures, will premiere this October.

“Weaving history and science with living indigenous traditions, the series brings to life a land of massive cities connected by social networks spanning two continents, with unique and sophisticated systems of science, art and writing,” according to a PBS news release. “Made with the active participation of Native American communities and filmed in some of the most spectacular locations in the hemisphere, NATIVE AMERICA reveals an ancient and still thriving culture whose splendor and ingenuity is only now beginning to be fully understood and appreciated.”

The series will premiere Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 9 p.m. EST, on PBS stations nationwide, including KNPB Channel 5 in Northern Nevada.

According to the docuseries description, recent discoveries informed by Native-American oral histories have led to a bold new perspective on North and South America — “that ancient people across these two continents may have been part of a single interconnected world.”

“This and other research is leading to revelations that will forever change how we understand Native America,” according to the description. “The series highlights intimate Native-American traditions and follows field archaeologists using 21st-century tools such as multispectral imaging and DNA analysis to uncover incredible narratives of America’s past, venturing into Amazonian caves containing the Americas’ earliest art and interactive solar calendar, exploring a massive tunnel beneath a pyramid at the center of one of ancient America’s largest cities and mapping the heavens in celestially aligned cities.”

“NATIVE AMERICA is an extraordinary portal to the past and window to the present,” Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, said in a statement. “The latest scholarship and research have shattered earlier conceptions of indigenous culture and civilization, revealing vast social networks and shared beliefs that have bridged the generations and that continue to flourish in Native-American communities today.”

The series is narrated by Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), who’s member of the famed rock group The Band.

According to PBS, producers were given remarkable access to Native-American communities, going behind the scenes at special events, including a pilgrimage to ancestral ruins at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, a trek across lost territories in the American West, and an investiture ceremony for a chief in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by cedar totem poles and centuries of tradition.

“I can no longer look at this land without thinking of the millions of Native Americans who created a world in which people lived as family with all living things and that their way of life still has the power to make a more just and sustainable future,” producer Gary Glassman said in a statement.

In addition to the series, an expansive companion website on pbs.org and a robust community outreach and education campaign will accompany the series. Go to http://www.pbs.org/native-america to learn more.

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