Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Story of Civilization - The Americas|
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sun gods, human sacrifice and sacred beasts all played their part in the world of the Aztecs. This revealing program explores the mysterious history of the Mayans and tells the fascinating story of the Native Americans. T... more »
Pre-colonial, North American peoples
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 02/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen several documentaries in which the Aztecs and Incas are discussed, but this is the first in which I've seen the Aztecs paired with Natives in what is now Anglo America. Viewers should be warned that South American groups are not mentioned here. I swear I saw civilization spelled with an S in the work, and the narrator is British. In short, I think this work was made and targeted for people across the Atlantic.
Dr. Gayatri Spivak, and other postcolonial theorists, have said that "the subaltern has no voice." In far too many productions, one never hears of Natives on this continent until Europeans arrive. It's just like how you never see dinosaurs in works without them mentioning the asteroid. I appreciated this work because it took time to speak of Native culture and history BEFORE European contact. It doesn't present the group as being nonexistent until Westerner voyaged here. In fact, for the Aztecs, the work spoke of how the Aztecs were not the first group to have significant presence in what is now Mexico City.
In all fairness, the narrator admitted that Native American tribes were diverse and hard to describe as a unitary group. Still, when they spoke of tipis and buffalo, and showed men in feathered headdresses, I thought the work focused on the Lakota more than other groups. First Nations people of Canada don't really come up at all. You don't hear about Cherokee, Navajo, Oneida, Choctaw, etc. either.
Unlike History Channel works were you can clearly tell that underemployed actors are getting paid to dress up and where they only have enough period pieces for about 5 people, the reenactments here were well-done. They were colorful and much effort was put into the outfits. They showed a lot of artwork here and it definitely kept my interest as a viewer. However, I could never really tell what was indigenous and ancient, Western and ancient, or contemporary from Native or non-Native artists. This work was short on interviewees, but I still felt like it provided a strong amount of information.
I enjoyed this. I can imagine this being a great product to show in a history class at the junior high or high school level."