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United States History
Unit I: Early America Books and Films
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  Christopher Columbus: Explorer of the New World (1995) Review and Guide for Teachers                  
  Christopher Columbus: Explorer of the New World (1995)                  
While there are not as many films about the pre-Columbian history of the United States compared to other historical periods, there are still some notable movies that explore this fascinating era and the centuries that followed. Here are a few films that provide insights into the pre-Columbian and afterward history of North America: Apocalypto (2006) Directed by Mel Gibson, this action-adventure film is set in the declining Mayan civilization in Central America. While it focuses on the Mayan culture, it offers a glimpse into pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and its complex societies.

The New World (2005) - Directed by Terrence Malick, this historical drama tells the story of the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, in the early 17th century. While it primarily covers the arrival of European colonists, it offers some insights into the interactions with the native Powhatan Confederacy.

Windwalker (1980) - This film is set in the American West and follows the journey of an aging Cheyenne warrior who embarks on a quest to rescue his kidnapped daughter and grandson. While it is a fictional story, it incorporates elements of Cheyenne culture and history.

Black Robe (1991) - Although primarily set in Canada, this historical drama explores the interactions between French Jesuit missionaries and indigenous peoples in the 17th century. It provides a perspective on the early contact between Europeans and Native Americans.

Last of the Mohicans (1992) - Based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel, this film is set during the French and Indian War in the 18th century. While it focuses on the conflict between European powers, it features interactions with Native American tribes, including the Mohicans.

The Revenant (2015) - While the main focus of this film is on the survival story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, it also offers a portrayal of the harsh environment and encounters with indigenous people in the American wilderness in the early 19th century.

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) - Although set in the Canadian Arctic, this Inuit-language film explores the culture and traditions of the Inuit people in pre-contact times. It provides a unique perspective on indigenous life.

It is worth noting that pre-Columbian history in the United States focuses on the diverse indigenous cultures and civilizations that existed before European contact, and Hollywood has not shown much interest in portraying it on the silver screen. While there are limited films directly centered on this topic, some movies indirectly touch on aspects of this history within the broader context of European colonization and exploration. This in itself is a topic worth discussing with students. As for films, we suggest showing clips that focus on indigenous people and how they lived.
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