Filmed over the course of more than six years in some of nature's most spectacular locales—from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska—the documentary is nonetheless a story of people from every conceivable background—rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. It is a story of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, stirring adventure and enduring inspiration—set against breathtaking backdrops.
"There was a sense that in Europe, you had the Roman coliseum or Notre Dame or the Cologne cathedral, but we didn't have anything like that in America," said Dayton Duncan. "But we did have these spectacular natural landscapes that were as unique and ancient as anything in the Old World. So they would become our treasures. They would be the source of our national pride. But unlike in Europe, they did not belong to monarchs or nobility. They belong to everyone."
After a list of all the non-Natives who helped develop the park system, here's the only Native participant mentioned:
One more mention of Indians:
Indians and parks
A whole book has been written on the subject of American Indians and National Parks. A whole documentary could be done on the subject also. But this documentary doesn't seem to be that documentary.
Indian issues and conflicts were central to the founding of such major parks as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Mesa Verde. Will The National Parks discuss or even mention these issues and conflicts? Judging by this writeup, I have to wonder.
Note that this is a press release from PBS itself, not a third-party article. So we can't blame someone for misstating Burns's vision. To me the writeup seems to describe a very white, mainstream viewpoint. How many Natives were consulted in the film's making?
Burns was criticized for shortchanging the role of Latinos and Indians in The War, his World War II epic. Has he learned a lesson from that experience? Or will history repeat itself yet again? Only time will tell.