On November 25, PBS local, national stations offer a wonderful array of good programming for all ages. A highlight for children is the PBS premiere Nature Cat, on November 25, which is designed to encourage children to explore and develop connections with the natural world. The best program this week for young teens through adults is the wonderful history of “The Pilgrims” on PBS’ American Experience. This amazing historical presentation of the history of the pilgrims, the Mayflower voyage, and Plymouth Colony is scheduled for many showing times on November 25 on local PBS stations and on the national PBS station via streaming. This two hour series authentically covers the strength, courage, and faith of the Pilgrims and aligns with the history that is also presented this season on National Geographic’s scripted drama of this period in “Saints and Strangers.”
As Americans we can be thankful for the powerful example of William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony, who sought to respect and work with the Native Americans rather than dominate them as has been depicted in the PBS series “Indian Summers” about the corruption of abuse of power in British colonialism in India. Both PBS “The Pilgrims” (as well as Nat Geo’s “Saints and Strangers”) and “Indian Summers” are raw and gritty (although “Indian Summers” is even more raw due to immoral scenes between unmarried men and women). “The Pilgrims” provides a better example of foreigners in settling in new lands with a humble missionary spirit to serve, respect, and cooperate with the indigenous peoples. PBS’ “Indian Summers” almost exclusively focuses on the pervasive and layered corrupting influence of abuse of power. “Indian Summers” is raw and gritty as it deals with the immoral, arrogant, blinded domination of British colonialists. “The Pilgrims” (like “Saints and Strangers”) is raw due more to the hardships and harsh conditions on the Mayflower, the founding of Plymouth during winter, as well as adjusting to the Native Indian complexities. Both “The Pilgrims” and “Indian Summers” seek to authentically depict the histories and show both good choices and bad choices, good behaviors and bad, good decisions and poor ones; but “The Pilgrims” leading characters are better role models and give a better picture of how strangers should behave in a strange land. “The Pilgrims” is a documentary that features throughout it the words of William Bradford and others, while “Indian Summers” is a scripted drama.
All Americans should take time this Thanksgiving week to watch the PBS American Experience, “The Pilgrims.” On PBS Web sites for this two-hour program, PBS has provided a great deal of extra information about this history on videos, teacher guides, related Web sites and more. One of the best aspects of this program are the references of William Bradford’s own words as he documented the history of these perilous and amazing times. Most importantly, we as Americans need to remember and celebrate the character of such founding fathers as William Bradford, his mentor William Brewster, and Dr. Edward Winslow.
Happy Thanksgiving! Celebrate our American Heritage and all for which we can be thankful as Americans! Many have paid a great price to establish, preserve, and maintain this great nation! May we continually reclaim the great values of the Christian men and women who first came to this land and sought to work constructively with the Native Americans, foreigners, and strangers.