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tv   American Artifacts Pocahontas American Indian Imagery  CSPAN  September 2, 2018 6:00pm-6:26pm EDT

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opportunity to have vanessa find your books. so if you will join us in the lobby, let us thank vanessa one more time. [applause] announcer: interested in american history tv? visit our website, up next, we toured the american exhibit in the national museum of the american indian here in washington dc with curator cecile ganteume. pocahontas gallery we see images of the indian princess and how she was used as a symbol for america's founding.
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we are standing in the central gallery of the museum of the american indian's latest exhibition. that premises that a most american people today feel they have very little to do with native americans, and native americans have virtually nothing to do with them or their lives. we believe the exact opposite is true. the natural museum of the american indian is examining the nature of non-native americans relationship with native americans. and we do this through a prism of the national paradox. the paradox is american indians constitute a one to 2% of the u.s. population, yet everywhere you look you see imagery of american indians.
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it's also found on state and county seals. is found in u.s. military insignia. is found on architectural elements, buildings and bridges. it's everywhere you look in american life. whether it was people that came over on the mayflower or indeed onecent immigrant, recognizes this imagery as part and parcel of american life. we wanted to begin our exhibit five -- exhibit by exploring the phenomenon that is familiar, but striking. is a phenomenon that is unique to the united states. there is no other country in the that itat is so fixated
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is constantly creating images of those people. states, this started before the country was even founded. countries with the most ardent patriots. else that aething significant about the phenomenon in this country. although imagery of american is pervasive with american life, it does nothing orbring non-natives closer to understand the nature of the history of they had shared with american indians. this actually masks who native americans really are. we open this curtain and he
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looks what stands behind this imagery. imagery is the intersection between native and non-native. the american exhibit ends with a very clear presentation of the fact that non-native americans and native americans share a deeply entangled history. this is the unique history of the united states. it is a shaped natural -- nationals consciousness. when i would like to show you is one that really fascinated me as soon as i learned about it. this is a sketch for the great seal of the united states. employed a committee,
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or got together a committee of americans with impeccable american revolutionary war credentials to come up with the design for the great seal of the united states. they cut together a second committee. the second committee turned to a man named francis hopkins. -- he was a signer of the declaration of independence. people who know about the history know that this sketch as a formalbmitted proposal for what the great seal should look like. i find it fascinating that at the time when the united states was forming its government, that it was trying to codify foundational ideas and come up with an entity that with an identity. -- come up with an identity.
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the native american was erased from the seal, sad to say, prefigures the history that would soon transpire of the united states erasing the american indian from the landscape. another object is this world war i helmet. .t's actually a marine helmet this is because during world war i, three or four regiments of the u.s. marines were assigned to the u.s. army to fight in france. at that time the army didn't have any insignia, but realized it wanted to have an insignia to distinguish it personnel and its and its vehicle from european armed forces. one enlisted man came up with a trying of a portrait of an indian man wearing an eagle
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feather headdress. the other one came out with a star. he passed this design up the line to request permission , his argument was who is the first true american -- first true original american? that is why this insignia was approved and is used to this day. the other thing that is interesting is of course it was the u.s. army who was fighting and confiningns them to register -- confining them to reservations. in the 20th century it is the army that put forth the imagery of the american indian to represent themselves. this, theymy did employed the colors of red white and blue to depict the american indian. i, when modern
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advertising as we know it took usingdvertisers started an image of the american indian for the same reason to represent when theyuly american would depict american indians in their advertising. they would use the colors red white and blue. we can see the pro-indian made -- you see this over and over again in american advertising, almost cans, but the many advertisers and commercial artists use the imagery of an american indian and the colors red white and blue. they are trying to sell something that is quintessentially american.
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the u.s. military has been naming weapons and aircraft after american indian tribes and weapons for over 200 years. seem --dition picked up picked up steam in the 20th century. the u.s. air force issued a memorandum, saying they would be naming helicopters after a tribe. they justified their reasons for doing this. they said these invoked a and warriors. . done with then is acquiescence of tribes. of the most famous attack helicopters in u.s. military's arsenal is the apache helicopter. arizona. produced in and every time a new model of the apache helicopter is
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unveiled, there is a ceremony. ceremony and also a blessing for the individuals who will be flying the aircraft. is ain the exhibit life-sized tomahawk missile. we are getting across the point that the army is using not only but names of american indians to invoke a fierce fighting spirit. now we have looked at just a few images that is in our indians everywhere gallery. american 300 images of indians in this gallery. each image can be replaced with yet another image. what we find significant about is it is evidence
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of the history that americans and american indians share. we explore the history behind those -- explore the imagery behind that history. we are concerned about getting across the fact that the country's deepest roots are tangled with native americans. talking about pocahontas, who had been famous for 400 years. american, only native she is the only american in the history of the country who had been famous for this long. in this gallery we're looking at how improbable it is that somebody who was born 400 years ago, let alone a female, let alone an indigenous woman, let alone an indigenous woman who died in the early 20's, should be famous for 400 years. know that a lot of our
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visitors aren't really sure pocahontas was an actual historical person, so the first thing we want to get across is this fact that she was a historical person. and how much it is that we know about her. she was abducted by a columnist and held by them. and also that she traveled to london. she passed away just at the outset of her home. pocahontas put a human face on the indigenous people of america for the first time in history. it's important to understand up
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until this time europeans were debating whether or not indigenous people in the americans -- in the americas were even fully human. and with her trip to london she is destined to and are the european history books. her portrait is created from life. it is published in a book of british monarchies and other notables. she is received as a daughter of . powerful leader her life story is published in a famous lion called the grand voyages. and the american volume talks about pocahontas's life. translated ins many languages, so pocahontas life after her death is known to a book reading european audience.
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one of the images we are most interested in is aps from virginia. .- is a piece from virginia four of the u.s. presidents who were born in virginia, the fourth chief justice of the united states, born in virginia, and patrick henry, the famous patriot who said give me liberty or give me death. scene -- standing ofted on the shoulders of pocahontas. saving thehontas life of captain smith, depicted in the rotunda of the u.s. houses? the u.s. capitol the legislative branch of government.
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and the rotunda is the country's grandest ceremonial room, which is evocative of a roman pantheon. pocahontas under the magnificent dome. beingt to know why she is afforded this respect. although historians today dispute and discount the idea that she saved captain smith's in our history people believe that to be true. this incident is painted in the rotunda of the u.s. capitol. in saving captain smith's life pocahontas was credited with the four james colony. in saving the four james colony she is credited with saving the birthplace of democracy players
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-- democracy. electedt assembly representatives in what will become the united states of america. is theimportant motif tobacco leaf. it was not only the cash crop that allowed for james to become a viable colony and and rich england, it is also the cash crop that allowed virginia to become the most powerful and and theial colony wealthiest and most powerful influential state. , sheontas's defiant action is defying her father i saving smith, thiscaptain --elliousness worse
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rebelliousness was associated with the rebelliousness of the american patriots. the united states is extending its lineage back to pocahontas. pocahontas has always been a household name. pocahontas has always been considered and acutely important historical personages. the 300thhen anniversary of the founding of jamestown was being celebrated, president roosevelt oversaw the celebrations. celebrations, once again pocahontas was put forward as not only a savior but a founder of the country. here in what is actually a postcard, she is made to resemble nothing less than lady liberty. she looks westward over the entire country.
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in 1924 something very interesting happened in for genia. the state of virginia is passing racial segregation laws. 1924 to passing in an act which they are referring to as the racial integrity act. this is intended to safeguard the "p earnest of the white race -- the "pureness of the white race." every child born in the state of virginia is registered. at thattime that the -- time the child's race is also registered. the child can be classified as either colored or white. the legislation is intended to and prohibit and
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even punish interracial marriages. and this law is actually also designed to legislate american indians out of existence. what happens is wealthy powerful leader virginians realize if , they will bessed subjected to jim crow laws. , and influence has been associated with lineage. one of the most important -- lineage societies has been the first family of virginia. the first family of virginia traced to their lineage back to english colonists who came to four james. of these first family of
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virginia members to send from the marriage in between son and a member of the randolph family. there are many people who claim haveve dissent from -- to descended from this marriage. includes an exception. in that clause allows for with 1/16 of american indian blood to be classified as white and therefore subject to jim crow laws. in a state that long touted the first interracial marriage between pocahontas and john rolfe is not nothing if actually
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ironic. temperate -- of contemporary americans grew up knowing about pocahontas from the animated film. throughout u.s. history americans have in reproducing her supposedly this. in the early 20th century, a amous philanthropist acquired painting of pocahontas that was made in the early 18th century based on the engraving of pocahontas. it hung in john family home. it was donated to the national gallery bar, and then the national portrait gallery, where of the mosts one
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famous portraits of an early american. pocahontas has a unique place in american history. she is the individual who put a human face on the indigenous people of the americas. and she is a reminder that the country's deepest root are entangled with native americans. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website. this weekend on the presidency, historian peter and re-k talks about the relationship between george washington and alexander hamilton. here's a preview. complex i'm satisfied, we have to clear the field. .> here comes the general
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>> this should be fun. >> lee he will never agree with gentlemen don't speak for me. thank you for your service, let's ride. hamilton, meet me inside. >> meet him inside. >> this war is hard enough without inter-fighting. you solve nothing, you aggravate our allies to the south. >> you're right, john should have shot him in the mouth. i'm not a maiden in need of defending. my name's been through a lot i can take it. >> i don't have your name come i don't have your title, but if you gave me command. >> or you could die. we need you allies. your wife needs you alive. son i need you alive. >> copy sun one more time.
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-- call me son one more time. go home alexander, that's an order from your commander. go home. >> well it was not quite that way. the clashes going to come, because hamilton frankly doesn't want to be an aid to anybody. he wants to concede, issue, and execute policy, not do something for someone else, no matter how high and honor. has almost an unhealthy desire for military glory and even death. it's great if you die young, if you die gloriously. there's a lot of examples i could give you on that line. he's resentful of his dependence he's frustrated
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by washington's indifference to him. >> watch the entire event sunday at 8 p.m. and midnight at eight eastern. only on american history tv. >> this week in american history tv is featuring flagstaff arizona, where c-span's city tour staff travel to see their sites. located 80 miles south of the learn more about flagstaff all weekend here on american history tv. >> we are in a new exhibit called native people of colorado plateau, which opened in april 2018. it is a replacement for an older exhibit that have been here for about four years. this exhibit covers 10 tribes of
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