American Experience (1988– )
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We Shall Remain: Part V - Wounded Knee 

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On the night of February 27, 1973, fifty-four cars, horns blaring, rolled into a small hamlet on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Within hours, some 200 Oglala Lakota and American Indian ... See full summary »


Stanley Nelson


Marcia Smith



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Episode credited cast:
Dennis Banks ... Himself
Clyde Bellecourt Clyde Bellecourt ... Himself
Benjamin Bratt ... Narrator (voice)
Carter Camp Carter Camp ... Himself
Madonna Thunder Hawk Madonna Thunder Hawk ... Herself
Russell Means ... Himself


On the night of February 27, 1973, fifty-four cars, horns blaring, rolled into a small hamlet on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Within hours, some 200 Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement activists had seized the few major buildings in town and police had cordoned off the area. The occupation of Wounded Knee had begun. The protesters were demanding redress for grievances-some going back more than 100 years-and the expulsion of Pine Ridge tribal leader Dick Wilson, who governed the reservation through corruption and intimidation. In Wounded Knee, the gripping and controversial story of the armed standoff between American Indian activists and the federal government that captured the world's attention for 71 suspenseful days is brought to life. Written by We Shall Remain

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Release Date:

11 May 2009 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A strong backlash to acculturation.
14 June 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"We Shall Remain" is a five-part series by Ric Burns (Ken's brother) on the history of the American Indians from "The American Experience". However, it should be understood that it is NOT a comprehensive history. There are many gaps, omissions and most tribes are not discussed in the shows. This is simply because with five parts, there just wasn't enough time to do the subject justice.

Folling the Indian wars of the 19th century, there was a strong movement by the United States government to acculturate the various tribes. In other words, to use white culture to strongly influence away the 'negativeness' of being an Indian! Bording schools were created where native children were taken hundreds or thousands of miles from home and were not allowed to speak their language or express their culture. Moves were also made to try to get folks off the reservations and to blend in with folks in cities. As a result of these things and racism towards the various Indians, it's not at all surprising that the Wounded Knee Occupation occurred.

Indian activists (such as AIM) surprised everyone when they took over their reservation--tossing out their dictatorial leader and eventually declaring their independence from the USA! Why did they pick Wounded Knee in particular? It was the site of the last big massacre of tribesmen by the US military.

This show is about the attempt at acculturation as well as the events that occurred during the occupation as well as how little things actually changed. Overall, it's a very gut-wrenching but important finale to the series. Well made but ultimately a bit depressing.

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