Introduction: New World Rising (02:21)
By 1492, 100 million Native Americans spread across two continents are connected by ancestry and cultural networks; they invent systems of science, government and writing, building massive celestially aligned cities. Europeans attempted to annihilate them; to fight extinction, they pass traditions and knowledge to successive generations.
Mounted Warriors (04:49)
Severin Fowles and Jhane Myers investigate Rio Grande Gorge for evidence of Comanche. They are known for quickly disappearing without trace; stone etchings reveal their presence, depicting an equestrian raid. Horses were brought to the Americas in the 1500s, changing civilization by mobilization; they refine horsemanship, ruling a large empire and fighting colonialism.
Cultural Genocide (02:23)
In 1521, Conquistadors kill 40,000 Aztec warriors, and their emperor surrenders; David Carrasco explains that natives were forced to tear down their temple to erect a Catholic church. Spaniards strive for spiritual and intellectual conquest. See dance celebrating the clash of societies and religions.
Subverting Colonialism (04:29)
In 1493, the Vatican issues the Doctrine of Discovery, allowing Europeans to kill nonbelievers and take their lands; Friar Bernardino De Sahagun sought to convert by understanding, enlisting Aztec artists to design a cultural encyclopedia. The Florentine Codex contains twelve volumes chronicling history, religion, and invasion.
New Assailants, New Allies (03:33)
Comanche chronicle European invasion in stone; see archaeologist Lindsay Montgomery trace petroglyphs, revealing a battle against enemies on horseback with muskets. Hear the story of the horse seized from Europeans; natives see them as a gift from The Creator. They become master equestrians within a generation.
Equestrian Connections (02:47)
In 1706, after seizing the horse, Numunuh call themselves Comanche, indicating warrior. Native ties to the animal continue; Morgan Tosee's family prepares for a tribal fair. Myers and her son ride in the parade; she shares traditions and stories to preserve culture.
Remaining Quechua (04:14)
In 1533, Spanish defeat the Inca; in high Andes, traditional infrastructure defends from invasion. Q'eswachaca people annually slash and rebuild a grass suspension bridge; see women weave as a girl sings in native language. Villagers pull the new span in place; Victoriano Arizapana explains the family tradition and ceremony subverting colonization.
Lord of the Plains (04:21)
Fowles and Myers examine a petroglyph depicting Comanche whirling attack formation; master horsemanship gave them an advantage over colonists. The animal is used as currency, and they control the market, ruling a large empire by the mid-1800s. They command routes of movement, leaving only rock etchings behind.
Shades of Pestilence (05:19)
Diana Magaloni explains the significance of the Mayan blue cape worn by Montezuma in the Florentine Codex. Aztec artists create pigments from organic matter; written after 1521, the last volume contains only three colored images. European invaders bring deadly illnesses to the Americas, killing 90% of the population within 200 years.
End of Empires (02:55)
In 1875, the United States army attacks the plague stricken Comanche, slaughtering their horses; the tribe is forced onto a reservation. In 2005, the Supreme Court cited the Doctrine of Discovery to deny land rights to Haudenosaunee; natives discuss colonists' genocidal attempts and ancestors’ resilience.
Retaining Traditions (05:32)
Hutke Fields teaches children to find medicinal plants; he discusses efforts to preserve Natchez customs. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band burns the forest to renew it; Valentine Lopez explains the once banned process. See a burning ceremony; Nicole Heller discusses how the practice protects indigenous species.
Native Territory (04:00)
In the Rio Grande gorge, Fowles finds Comanche teepee drawings, leading to Montgomery's discovery of encampment rings nearby; it is the first found physical evidence of tribal residence. See Myers acknowledge her ancestors, giving thanks through prayer offering.
Lawton, Oklahoma is now the center of the Comanche nation; thousands annually gather for the fair. Hear the legend of horse spirits running free in the valley of their slaughter; hear children speak tribal languages.
Epilogue: New World Rising (02:29)
Native Americans achieved successful agricultural practices; contributed ideas about government that inspired the U.S. Constitution, and supported stewardship of the Earth by connecting spirituality and nature. These ideas are kept alive today through tradition. (Credits)
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