In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, Clark County Television (CCTV) is playing "City Within a City: The History of the Las Vegas Paiutes," a chronicle of the Southern Nevada Paiutes, the indigenous people of the Las Vegas Valley and American Southwest.
These hardy people survived thousands of years of harsh conditions in their native desert until the rapid acceleration of westward expansion, powered by the railroads, brought an end to their traditional lifestyles. In the 20th century, after years of federal back-and-forth policies toward Native Americans, the Paiutes eventually regained some of their traditional lands and a colony in the heart of downtown Las Vegas – hence, the name of this documentary, "A City Within a City: The History of the Las Vegas Paiutes."
Director Stan Armstrong and Screenwriter Terrence Williams saw in this project an opportunity to connect not only with their own distant native ancestry, but with that of our entire nation -- to understand our nation not as a collection of cultures arbitrarily separated by ethnicity, language or culture, but as one people, with many tribes, through the exploration of the beautiful, moving world of the Southern Nevada Paiutes and the Circle Dance which unites us all, they said.
As the documentary demonstrates, the Paiute people, their Ute cousins and all the other tribes throughout Nevada and across the nation, face severe, sometimes systemic social, economic and political problems that have been present since the first contact between Native Americans and European settlers.
"This19th-century holocaust against the indigenous peoples of America is a shameful stain, along with slavery, on our noble experiment in liberty," Armstrong said. "It is only by confronting that history, by preserving these experiences, and now treasuring the contributions of living Native American culture that we can begin to 'do right always,' as our state's Native Prophet once said."
"All is not tragedy," Armstrong said. "The Paiutes are not museum relics. They are a vibrant people with a proud history and a long-term, singular role in the development of Native American spirituality. The aim of 'A City Within a City: The History of the Las Vegas Paiutes' is to let them tell their story to all of the peoples of America, to carry the lessons from their culture and soul into the 21st century, when perhaps our nation tribe needs them most."
The documentary will air throughout November, including Nov. 4 at 3 and 11 p.m., Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. A schedule is available at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov/CCTV. The show may also be viewed at scheduled playing times at www.YouTube.com/ClarkCountyNV. CCTV is available in the Las Vegas area on Channel 4 on Cox cable (Channel 89.13 for those without converter boxes) and on CenturyLink on Channels 4 and 1004 as well as in Laughlin on Channel 14 via Suddenlink. Live streaming of CCTV programming is available at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov and www.YouTube.com/ClarkCountyNV.