Segments in this Video

Introduction: American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties" (01:24)


Robert A. Williams Jr. talks about dueling Western perceptions of indigenous people. (Credits)

Perception of Indians (02:29)

People pay little attention to America's treatment of Indians, and treat Indians as monolithic. Bill Moyers introduces lawyer and activist Robert Williams.

Sacred Land (03:28)

Tribes often oppose exploitation of sacred lands, but face internal disagreements about what land is sacred, and whether this is more important than economic benefits.

Land Claims (01:32)

Congress took land from Indians through illegitimate treaties; Indians believe they should have these lands and appeal to international human rights laws.

Views of Land Ownership (01:21)

Europeans did not think the Indians could claim land, as they did not have private property. Tribes recognize sovereign territory.

Concept of Savagery (01:15)

Williams traces a Western war on tribalism to the Greeks and Romans.

Doctrine of Discovery (03:27)

Chief Justice Marshall denoted natives as savages and denied Indian sovereignty. Congress uses the "Doctrine of Discovery" to do as it likes with Indian land.

Founders' Views of Indians (01:12)

The Founders believed the Indians were a declining race, defeated by the white man.

Dispossession (03:06)

Treaties from about 1800 to the Civil War were not particularly unfavorable to Indians, but after the Indian Wars, the 1887 General Allotment Act dispossessed them.

Recent Court Decisions (01:41)

Rehnquist's Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe opinion expressed stereotypes.

Indigenous Movements (00:57)

Indigenous peoples reject Western culture and demand sovereignty.

Rejecting Stereotypes (02:28)

A Congressman backing a land bill recently characterized Indians as wards of the federal government. Williams calls for the rejection of such stereotypes.

Additional Resources (00:44)

Bill Moyers discusses the last broadcast and invites viewers to visit the website.

Credits: Moyers & Company: American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties" (01:34)

Credits: Moyers & Company: American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties"

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Moyers & Company: American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties"

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In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill speaks with Robert A. Williams Jr., a professor specializing in American Indian law, about American Indian’s tragic history of dispossession. Williams says stereotypes about American Indians have been codified into laws and government policies, with devastating consequences. Williams, who is of Lumbee Indian heritage, says, “very much like African-Americans, the history of America is taking away resources, whether  labor or land, from one racial group to give them to the dominate racial group." Broadcast date: December 26, 2014.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL66051

ISBN: 978-1-60057-706-2

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.