Arkansas's First People
As part of American Experience's We Shall Remain, Arkansas?s First People is a 5-part series featuring unique perspectives on American Indian cultural legacy, archeological data, and interviews with modern tribal representatives of those who had and still have an impact on Arkansas.
Episode 1: Ancestors
Early people known as Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian Indians begin the story of this land with the objects and artwork they left behind. Tools made of stone and animal bones surface in farm fields and on riverbanks. Beautiful clay vessels that have stayed intact for centuries and curious pictures painted and pecked onto cave walls reveal the ingenuity, intelligence and humor of people who came before. As the descendants of these people begin to settle and form permanent homes, the evidence of their societies laid claim to magnificent monuments such as the sky-reaching mounds dotting Arkansas.
- Arkansas's First People: Flint Knapping
- Arkansas's First People: Hampson/Nodena
- Arkansas's First People: Paleo-Indian
- Arkansas's First People: Parkin #1
- Arkansas's First People: Parkin #2
- Arkansas's First People: Rock Art
- Arkansas's First People: Toltec Mounds
Episode 2: Nations
As European explorers continue to cross the Mississippi River, out of the mysterious past of the mound builders, diverse, communal groups known as the Caddo, the Quapaw and the Osage live in the mountains, valleys and plains of Arkansas. The modern descendants of these great people explain their tribal views and cultures.
- Arkansas's First People: Caddo #1
- Arkansas's First People: Caddo #2
- Arkansas's First People: Caddo #3
- Arkansas's First People: Caddo Bow Making
- Arkansas's First People: Caddo Pottery
- Arkansas's First People: Osage
- Arkansas's First People: Quapaw
Episode 3: Removal
Because of the ever-expanding United States of America, indigenous tribes were forced to move to what is dubbed ?Indian Territory? by way of the heartbreaking, multi-route Trail of Tears. This time of removal is still evident along the geography of the southeast. In the conversations of the tribes affected and preservation groups maintaining the routes, the memory of this greedy period of United States history is kept alive so that it may never happen again.
- Arkansas's First People: Cherokee
- Arkansas's First People: Chickasaw
- Arkansas's First People: Choctaw
- Arkansas's First People: Ft. Smith
- Arkansas's First People: Lake Dardanelle
- Arkansas's First People: Muscogee
- Arkansas's First People: Trail of Tears Claymation
- Arkansas's First People: Village Creek
Episode 4: Warriors
While trying to survive during the conflict of the Union and the Confederacy, Indian militias are formed to fight in Civil War battles such as Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern). Little is said in textbooks about this involvement. In times of military combat, Native people have always been at the forefront of volunteering for the United States military regardless of past aggression.
- Arkansas's First People: Bertram Bobb
- Arkansas's First People: Don Tiger
- Arkansas's First People: Doyle Edge
- Arkansas's First People: Hastings Shade
- Arkansas's First People: Lois Bethards
- Arkansas's First People: Pea Ridge
Episode 5: Preservation
Myths about American Indians are still present. Advertising and entertainment are filled with the mysterious and ridiculous. Indian nations, academic scholars, park interpreters and civic organizations debunk the myths and show the true world of the Native people who are still part of the land we call Arkansas. They are your family, neighbors, friends and co-workers.
We Shall Remain
The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) was chosen, with several other PBS member stations from across the country, to create a community coalition to help tell the history of the indigenous people of the United States of America. The Arkansas?s First People Advisory Council includes the Arkansas Archeological Survey, the Sequoyah Research Center, Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Tech University Museum, the American Indian Center of Arkansas, and the Trail of Tears Association.
In April 2009, American Experience?s We Shall Remain and these special groups of Native peoples, scholars, and civic organizations will bring American Indian perspective to real stories from our nation?s past and present through different types of media, including a library initiative; television and radio broadcasts; various print promotions and community events. This is the first project of its kind and is unmatched in its ambition.
Arkansas?s First People will be the Natural State?s contribution to this unique program. This multi-faceted project will give voice to Native peoples who had and still have an impact on Arkansas. The stories span pre-contact mound cultures to the sovereign nations who now reside in neighboring Oklahoma. Images of cultural legacy, archeological data, and interviews with modern tribal representatives will change stereotypes of these diverse peoples.
Through AETN and the Arkansas Department of Education?s Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools (www.arkansasideas.org), Arkansas teachers will be able to access an online professional development course using the broadcast episodes of Arkansas?s First People, extra video clips, gallery images, virtual tours and a resource list. Links to the individual American Indian tribal Web sites will also be available. All of these components will be unique supplements to classroom instruction for Arkansas students.
AETN will hold special community engagement events for Arkansas?s First People and We Shall Remain. These will include premiere screenings, an atrium exhibit, a Native writer book program and workshops. Each of these events will have components designed to stimulate the viewer?s imagination, connect to the content and provide a new way of seeing Native people. This project is alive in the sense that with the use of these different elements, it will make the viewer want to investigate further.
American Indian Nations
Historic Arkansas Indians
The Caddo Nation, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and the Osage Nation lived in Arkansas prior to their forced removal by the United States government.
Prior to the Trail of Tears
The first official migration westward by the Cherokee and the subsequent negotiations resulted in the assignment of a territory in Arkansas to the Western Cherokee in the form of a Treaty with the United States in 1817.
SOURCE: United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Official Web site
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians www.keetoowahcherokee.org
Trail of Tears
During the decade after passage of the federal Indian Removal Act in 1830, an estimated 60,000 Indians, African slaves, white spouses, and Christian missionaries traveled through Arkansas. The estimate includes 21,000 Creek (whose descendents prefer to be called Muscogee), 16,000 Cherokee, 12,500 Choctaw, 6,000 Chickasaw, 4,200 Florida Indians now collectively identified as Seminole, and an unknown number of emigrants from various smaller tribes.
SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture ?Trail of Tears?
Chickasaw Nation www.chickasaw.net
Cherokee Nation www.cherokee.org
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma www.choctawnation.org
Muscogee (Creek) Nation www.muscogeenation-nsn.gov
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma www.seminolenation.com
Arkansas Agencies and Organizations
Arkansas state and national agencies and non-profit organizations have committed themselves to restoring and maintaining the heritage of Arkansas?s First People.
American Indian Center for Arkansas http://www.arindianctr.org/
Arkansas Archeological Survey www.uark.edu/campus-resources/archinfo
Arkansas Department of Heritage www.arkansasheritage.com
Arkansas State Parks www.arkansasstateparks.com
Arkansas Tech University Museum www.atu.edu/museum
Historic Arkansas Museum www.arkansashistory.com
Sequoyah Research Center http://anpa.ualr.edu
These national agencies are curators of many of our national treasures that portray the history of Native Peoples.