FRIDAY

The National Archives’ massive film holdings don’t encompass just visual history; they also provide an unintentional survey of historical attitudes, some of which now seem antiquated—or worse. That’s obvious in the World War II-era propaganda films the Archives periodically screens, and it should be equally clear in the five shorts that will be shown today, marking Native American History Month. Made between 1913 and 1954, the films in this 90-minute program range from an eight-minute silent documentary that shows President William Howard Taft and Indian leaders opening the National American Indian Memorial in Fort Wadsworth, N.Y., to a 22-minute film (the only one that’s in color) that depicts traditional ceremonies of Navahos, Hopis, and Apaches in the Four Corners area. Mostly produced by the seminotorious Bureau of Indian Affairs, the films document ancient cultures and modern programs: The 1933 Rebuilding Indian Country, for example, shows Indians engaged in both traditional crafts and New Deal projects at an Indian Emergency Conservation Camp; another film made the same year, The American Indian: Moving Forward, depicts cultural conflicts between young, technology-minded Indians and their elders. Sixty-five years later, of course, rebuilding Indian country and moving the Indian forward seem much more complicated issues than they no doubt did to the makers of these films. At noon at the National Archives Theater, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 501-5000. (Mark Jenkins)

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