Originally produced on 35mm film, this priceless footage, recently discovered within the lost treasures of the National Archives is re-mastered to include an original music score and soundtrack to further preserve Native American history and culture.
Three motion pictures that shed a hitherto dim light on an important chapter in the history of a proud people who inhabited the land before it was "conquered" by another race.
It's kind of like a "live" version of Edward Curtis photos. Although the film was released in 1916, there are no signs of modern life or technology other than rifles.
The narration makes some good pro-Indian points:
The white man came. Civilization made aggressions upon the Indian's home, his honor, and his life ... robbed him of his God-given heritage. The Indian resisted. It was his right to resist.
Because he was masterful in fighting a masterful foe--because he resented broken treaties and gross injustice--we called him a savage.
Rodman Wanamaker Expedition of Citizenship
Unfortunately, the film consists of a series of repetitious rituals: explaining the flag's symbolism, dedicating the flag, raising the flag, and signing a declaration of allegiance to the US government. Seeing them once is enough.
The film ends with a plea to give Indians their rights and free them of government control--good. And with odd images of sheep and Biblical passages that somehow link Indians and Christianity--bad.
These films are important for historical reasons. But I don't think they're "a must have resource for schools and libraries," as the package says. I'd say they're worthwhile if you're doing research or if you're a Crow--since the majority of the films feature the Crow--but most people won't find them fascinating.
In fact, if I were Rich-Heape Films, I would've done things differently. Sure, I'd include the films in their original form to preserve them. But they're in the public domain, right? If so, that means anyone can freely edit them.
I'd do something radical like splicing the highlights of the three films into one. Ditch the original flutes-and-drums score for something less New Age-y. Most of all, replace the pro forma narration with one or two historians talking about the scenes. These films desperately need some context to make them meaningful. Tell us what's happening on and off the screen and why.
Add this film to the existing films and then you'd have an interesting package. As it is, I wouldn't recommend Romance except to special libraries. A book of Curtis photos will give you more information at a lower cost.
For a previous Rich-Heape film, see Our Spirits Don't Speak English. For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.