August 07, 2009

Born to the Wind

Someone e-mailed me the following query:In 1981 or 1982, there was a TV show on, just during the summer, about an Indian village around 1800 or so. It had to be network TV, since we didn't have cable. I thought it was one of the best shows I'd ever seen portraying Native Americans. They spoke in full, grammatical sentences, not grunts, since they were supposed to be speaking their native tongue to each other. It showed them as people, not as violent savages or ignorant children. I was very saddened to see it cancelled at the end of the summer, for the regular fare to return. However, I haven't found mention of it anywhere, including your site. I wish I knew the name of it.
I had no idea what she was referring to, but Todd Tamanend Clark provided the answer within minutes: Born to the Wind. Here's what little I could find on it:

Born to the Wind (1982)by edmustng (Thu Aug 25 2005 11:23:36)

This was a show about a band of plains Indians (Cheyennes? Arapahoes?) on the eve of contact with the whites. I admit that I only saw 1 1/2 episodes when I was 17 (1982), but I remember that it was real quality TV. The episode I remember is when a couple of the men find a French trapper, something none of them had ever seen before, and the tribe was trying to decide what to do with him. Very different from the usual dreck on TV. Kudos for *someone* for giving it a try. I just wish it lasted longer, but that's what happens to really good TV.
Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials: 1974-1984The series, set on the American frontier in 1825, follows the lives of a tribe of Plains Indians who call themselves "The People." Produced in 1978 and first shown on BBC-TV in England. Also known as "Indians."Comment:  Apparently Born to the Wind wasn't a mini-series but rather a short-lived regular series of just four episodes. Some US network imported it from England and aired it in the summer of 1982.

Will Sampson headed Born to the Wind's cast as Painted Bear. Other actors in it included A Martinez, Henry Darrow, and Ned Romero. I don't know many of the cast members, but they seem to be primarily Indians and Latinos.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

No comments: