The history of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas, before and after 1492, has always been told from the point of view of the European settlers and in recent times, by non-Indigenous scholars. Until now. Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) will present the world premiere of the docu-drama series 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus starting November 8th on APTN hd and e at 7:00 p.m. ET, APTN w at 7:00 p.m. MT and n North at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Based on Charles C. Mann’s best selling book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, the eight hour miniseries, produced by Animiki See Digital Production of Winnipeg and Aarrow Productions of Victoria, takes its audience on a journey dating as far back as 20,000 years ago through to 1491. The series focuses on the origins and history of ancient civilizations and groundbreaking achievements in North and South America in the areas of agriculture, astronomy, architecture, environment, governance, medicine, technology, science, trade and art.
The series is produced, directed and written by Indigenous Canadians and most of the 35 historians, archaeologists, cultural experts and scholars interviewed have Indigenous ancestry. The series features an Indigenous cast of actors and cultural leaders who provide context on Indigenous history in the Americas.
“For many years it has been a dream for APTN to adapt Charles C. Mann’s groundbreaking New York Times Bestseller into a documentary miniseries,” said Jean La Rose, APTN Chief Executive Officer. “Many people are now displaying a greater openness to Indigenous perspectives and the time for this authentic story is fitting. Through the work of an amazing team of thought-provoking producers, scholars and talent, we hope to tell a new history of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas and our contributions to the world.”
Mann’s critically acclaimed book, 1491, dispels 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.
“I am thrilled that my book has inspired APTN and two Indigenous production companies to create a docu-drama series on the history of the Americas before Columbus’ arrival,” said Charles Mann. “I’m looking forward to seeing this team create an epic narrative of Indigenous history that is long overdue.”
Two award-winning filmmakers, Barbara Hager (Cree/Métis) and Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe), directed the series in locations throughout North, Central and South America. The series was written by Barbara Hager and Marie Clements (Métis). Other key creatives include composer Russell Wallace (Lil’wat), production designer Teresa Weston, costume designer Carmen Thompson (Nuu-chah-nulth), director of photography Bob Aschmann, editors Michael Clark and Tyler F. Gamsby and narrator Dr. Evan Adams (Tla’amin).
“The opportunity to direct the dramatic scenes in this series that brings to life stories of our collective history, is both an honour and a creative challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, the series’ drama director. “My co-director Barbara Hager and I share a vision that this series must portray the history of Indigenous Peoples in an accurate, authentic and respectful way.”