April 23, 2009

PBS didn't consult Wampanoag tribes

Wampanoag:  PBS failed to get tribe perspectiveThe head of the Public Broadcasting Service is rebutting criticism from local American Indian tribes that the nonprofit network did not consult tribal historic preservation officers for its TV series "We Shall Remain."

The series, which tells U.S. history from the American Indian perspective, debuted on April 13 and is scheduled to run Mondays for five episodes, said Patrick Ramirez, a spokesman for WGBH Boston.

The first episode, "After the Mayflower," detailed the Wampanoag's dealings with the Pilgrims, among other topics.

A joint statement sent to the network by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Narragansett Indian Tribe said that PBS did not consult them and offered a "radically altered interpretation" of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh.

The tribes also argued consultation is guaranteed through the National Historic Preservation Act because federal money was used for the project through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"We should have been consulted," said George "Chuckie" Green, a Mashpee selectman who also serves as a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag's Tribal Historic Preservation Authority and is a medicine man in training. "It's an unauthorized version of the story."
Comment:  One Wampanoag noted "some wardrobe inaccuracies" in After the Mayflower, but that's separate from the joint statement. Those who wrote the statement didn't note any problems with After the Mayflower. They're simply upset that they weren't consulted.

For more on the subject, see Reviews of After the Mayflower.

No comments: