Art & Culture (Episode 7): 1491 - The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus
Catalogue Number: 149107
Producer: 1491 Productions Inc.
Subject: Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Arts, Documentary, First Nations Studies, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Social Studies
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2018
Running Time: 45:00
Closed Captions: Yes
The creative spirit was evident in every aspect of Indigenous life in the Americas, from ceremonies, stories, songs and dances to everyday objects. Ancestral art works of ceramic, metal, wood and woven materials communicate the essence of cultural history prior to 1491 in the Americas. Stories keep traditional values, rituals and ways of knowledge alive.
Indigenous art forms created a visual library of history. Rock art is one of the oldest art forms in the world. Petroglyphs were carved or scraped onto rock surfaces using stone or bone tools. Pictograph images were painted on cave walls and cliff faces using organic materials, recording events and traditional life from Patagonia to the Great Lakes.
Mining and metallurgy technologies were very advanced in the Incan empire; tools and art were created using gold, silver, copper, bronze and platinum. The techniques used in weaving natural fibres varied across the Americas. Objects created from pine needles, grasses, roots and bar were enhanced by colorful geometric designs.
Pottery technologies in the Americas evolved into an art form that had both utilitarian and spiritual roles. Carved masks were used by many groups in storytelling, dance ceremonies and potlaches, bringing traditional stories and legends to life. Carved totem poles on the west coast presented family stories. Music, dance and storytelling were important in sacred ceremonies and celebrations, connecting people to each other and to the natural and spirit worlds.
The artistic expressions of Indigenous societies have survived to this day through the preservation of ancient cultural artifacts and in works created by contemporary artists working in traditional styles.
2018 Leo Award - Best Music Composition in a Documentary Series (Russell Wallace)
2018 Leo Award - Best Screenwriting in a Documentary Series (Barbara Hager)
2018 Leo Award - Best Documentary Series (Producers Barbara Hager, Pat Ferns, Desiree Single and Vanessa Loewen)
“1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus is a crash-course in First Nations history that should be taught and broadcast in Canadian schools. I took history all through high school and didn’t learn anything close to what was revealed to me in the first hour of this new series. 1491 boasts 20 dramatic scenes and an Indigenous cast that provide context and blows away long-held theories that prior to European contact, Indigenous peoples were largely nomadic, did not alter the natural landscape and were not as advanced as other civilizations in the world at the time.” - TV, eh? What’s Up in Canadian Television
“The first episode of ‘1491’ is an incredible introduction to what is sure to be the most-watched series of the year...will become an important and integral learning resource for all North American educational organizations and the public at large. Congratulations on an incredibly informing, engaging, educational, enlightening and validating series!” - Lou-ann Neel, Kwakwaka’wakw artist, writer, arts administrator and advocate of authenticity in Indigneous art
“The series is produced, directed and written by Indigenous Canadians and features an Indigenous cast of actors and cultural leaders who provide context. Bolstered by input from historians, archeologists, cultural experts and scholars, most of whom have Indigenous ancestry, the series dispels long-held theories - for instance, that before contact with Europeans, Indigenous peoples were largely nomadic, and not as advanced as other civilizations at the time.” - Times Colonist
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