Episodes: Season One
101 - Day of the Dead: A Mexican Celebration
Many Native American groups in pre-Conquest Mexico celebrated one day each year when their deceased ancestors would return to visit them—El Día de los Muertos. This ancient tradition has become the state of Oaxaca’s most important celebration. Parades, home altars, and gaily-decorated graves welcome back the dead. The custom has spread throughout Mexico and even to Los Angeles and Tucson.
102 - In the Mouth of the Amazon
The Brazilian city of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon is a showcase of products from the great river basin. Now the famed açai berry is expanding Belem’s reputation. Reclusive river people, called ribeirinhos harvest the berries by climbing the tall palms where they grow and rush the produce by boat to the port. There they trade for other goods, and quickly escape the city to return to their tranquil, timeless lives at the edge of the world’s greatest river. Host David Yetman takes us through Belem and visits the homes of the river people.
103 - The Pride of Guatemala: Tikal of the Mayas
Over two thousand years ago Mayas undertook construction of a city deep within the jungles of the Petén region of Guatemala. For over a thousand years the city of Tikal dominated the countryside and the region with its towering temples, affluent society, and hosts of scientists, engineers, and craftsmen. Host David Yetman accompanies archaeologists who explain the unfolding story of Tikal as new discoveries emerge a daily basis. Yetman visits new excavations within the temples and joins a festival at the home of Maya descendents who live not far away from the ancient site.
104 - The Working Coast of British Columbia
The Georgia Straits of coastal British Columbia, Canada are dotted with hundreds of islands. This is lumber and fishing county nearly free of roads. One cargo ship delivers heavy equipment and supplies to remote camps, and takes on passengers to view the wild beauty of the straits and inlets, with towering peaks and glaciers overlooking the sea.
105 - Brazil: The Diamond Range
Far inland from the tropical beaches of Brazil’s Bahia state lies an ancient escarpment that juts up into Bahia’s vast interior. Host David Yetman takes us on a tour of the Chapada Diamantina, once a rich source of diamonds, now an increasingly popular recreational region. The sheer cliffs and steep mountainsides intercept moisture from the distant Atlantic. The resultant rainfall brings flows into the arid sertão and waters the great swamp where runaway slaves hid from their owners.
106 - Peru: A Train to the Clouds
Once each month a train departs the coastal mega city of Lima, Peru, bound for the highlands. Along the way the railroad passes through numerous tunnels and over trestles, crowning out at nearly 16,000 feet elevation. Host Dave Yetman hops on the train to arrive at its destination, the indigenous city of Huancayo, high on the Altiplano of the Andes and as different from Lima as any two cities in the world.
107 - Hawaii’s Big Island: The Volcanos’ Gifts
The Hawaiian Islands owe their existence to a volcanic hotspot, whose spewings over millions of years have created the archipelago. Host David Yetman climbs over old and new lava flows to observe new lands emerging from the ocean. At night manta rays flock to the newly created seafloor of the Kona Coast.
108 - Chiloé and Chilotes: Proud Islanders Of Chile
Chiloé is the second largest island in South America and just one island of an archipelago of southern Chile. Chilotes, as the residents are known, consider themselves a people apart, a proud mixture of indigenous and Hispanic origins. Host Dave Yetman joins Chilotes who demonstrate the traditions of food, towns, and society that extend back well before the arrival of Europeans.
109 - The Cry for Mexican Independence
On September 16 each year, Mexicans from all parts of the Republic flock to the small city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato to commemmorate the "Grito," the call for independence from Spain. The grito's originator, the popular but unconventional priest Miguel Hidalgo, issued the call in 1810 from the steps of the town's stately church. The annual celebration involves the entire community but we are offered a special tour by one of Father Hidalgo's descendents.
110 - Peru: People of the Altiplano
Indians outnumber non-Indians in the Peruvian highlands. Many of them, in cities such as Ayacucho, Huancavelica, and Huancayo and hosts of villages continue to farm and produce handicrafts much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Now they use cell phones and the Internet, but their native dress and languages and their nearness to the soil help them maintain their identity as a people apart. Host Dave Yetman meets Quechua people and learns from them about their fascinating past and present.
The Southwest Center seeks to define, illuminate, and present, through research, teaching, and publishing, the character of the Greater Southwest: the heartland of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua, and its peripheries.
American Public Television is credited as the national distributor of this program.