The Scripture of Nature
The Last Refuge
The Empire of Grandeur
The fourth episode, Going Home, mentions Indians only in the context of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once again it's instructive to compare the episode with the PBS website.
Here's the narration from the episode:
Many were offered leases for up to two years as the park took shape, becoming tenants on the land they had once owned. As the isolated cabins and their small communities—Web’s Creek, Ravensford and Smokemont, Cataluchee and Cade's Cove—emptied one by one, Horace Albright, now in charge of the Park Service, assured the people that they would always be allowed to maintain the cemeteries near their now-vacant churches. It provided small comfort against the bitterness of removal. Their hearts were broken, one resident remembered, and most of them left crying.
And yet it is also true that these national parks are not in the local place that they are in. They are in the nation. They stand for the nation. And so, by that understanding, the democratic institutions that should defend them are not at the local level, but at the level of the nation. And this tension between federal control of our democracy, and local control of our democracy, is hard-wired into what we think democracy is.
The Race to Save the Smokies
Stephen Mather supported their cause and in 1926, Congress authorized the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There was one catch: Congress insisted that money to buy the land come entirely from the states or private donations. Local people--churchgoers, hotel bellhops, children raiding their piggybanks--rallied to the cause, but it was uncertain whether the required $10 million could be raised before the Great Smokies were completely logged.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. came to the rescue when he offered the remaining $5 million that was desperately being sought. But with the Great Depression devastating the country, people were unable to fulfill many of the pledges they had made to create the park. Inspired by the contributions of ordinary people, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to intervene, allocating $1.5 million in scarce federal funds to complete the land purchases. On June 15, 1934, the park was officially established. It was the first time in history that the United States government had spent its own money to buy land for a national park.
The only time the website mentions Indians is in a photo caption in this section:
The Ranger System
To remedy the situation, Mather began hand-picking new superintendents. He put Jesse Nusbaum, a professional archaeologist, in charge of Mesa Verde.
"Superintendent Jesse Nusbaum with Native Americans, Mesa Verde National Park, 1927."
Comment: Nice of those Indians to disappear so we don't have to think about them (and what we did to them) anymore!
For more on the subject, see Review of Burns's National Parks and Burns on Our National Parks.