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The Native Americans based on Turner Publishing's acclaimed, and beautiful book by the same title. This in turn drew on artwork by Native artists comissioned and compiled for several of Turner TV Broadcasting's Native series. There's an overview history, profusely illustrated by modern Native artists and photos of museum items, supplemented by interviews with Native people which were used on some of the shows and are out-takes from the published book. Available in combined Mac and PC Windows format. $24.95 from The Edutainment Company's catalog, order # 135044. (800)338-3844, or order from their web page. You won't find it posted in thir catalog there; only their top-sellers are up so far, though you could still order it (phone ordering is easier). This is a must-have for every school and anyone with the slightest interest in Native people (and a CDROM player), given its price, the best deal around -- actually cheaper than the book (which you should also get!). There's also a videotape -- the 1993 Turner Native Americans PBS boradcasts, which AISES sells for $60, unaccountably describing it as the 1995 broadcast. Why they don't carry the CDROM (and junk the one below) I don't know. They don't carry the book, either. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
American Indian Encyclopedia CDROM, Facts-On-File, discontinued, 1994, available from AISES ((DOS PC format only) at $295. This is the worst deal I've seen for anything to do with CDROM's. It's not very good even if the cost was the 1/10th that th several other Indian CDROM's are, pretty standard price for CDROM's of all types. -- antique out of copyright books as references. Black and white photos from the 1800's to modern (about 1980) times. Poor visual quality on both pix and text, and only antique PC sound cards are supported, i.e. yours won't work. But if you could use the pix for your project, get 'em off the web image gateway set up by Prof. Troy Johnson of California State University; he got permish to use the discontinued product's images, and he's prepared and annotated them. If you wanna support AISES, buy some of the nice books they carry or just give 'em the money. Tell 'em to play lacrosse with their stock of these things Incomprehensibly, this is the only CDROM AISES carries in their book and videos catalog, when there are good ones (all reviewed here!) selling for one-tenth the price. This one isn't just much too expensive; it's also very bad. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
Timeliner Software, $79.95 with Native Americans datadisk ($19.95). Available on disk (not CDROM) for both Macs and PC's (and even old Apple II's), Mac version is by far the snazziest with the most features. The program includes several historical timelines you can add to or edit (create a powwows timeline! a timeline of events that affected only your tribe; recent events affecting your rez!). You can timeline a day, week, month, year, or eras. You can illustrate any happenings-in-time (kids' birthdays is always popular) with the main software. The Native datadisk has a variety of events important to non-(ndian historians -- which you'll want to add to and easily can. With the Mac version you can also import graphics (the program and datadisk supply many) drawn by students or scanned from books and photos.Timelines can be printed as big banners that run all around the classroom, or in pages, or in small snapshots for page publication. A whole bunch of other datadisks are available, many ideal for science: Dinos (that every little kid loves), science and technology, world events, women in history and many others. Great software (especially for Macs) and a good price. Available from Educational Resources (800)624-2926 for their catalog), See their web page catalog too. Every educator should be aware of ER, very wide selection for K - college software, good deals on educational software and some computer items, many specials if you get on their mailing list. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
The Indian Question, Objective Computing, $39.95, Only for PC's unfortunately. Over 10,000 pages of searchable text with keyword, date, and fulltext searching utilities. All 372 ratified treaties (and some of the unratified ones) are here, as is Felix Kappler's monumental 5-volume legal analysis, long out of print, still the foundation for researching Indian law. Several other good reference works for those interested in sovereignty, Indian law, etc. I keep hearing about projects to put all treaties on CDROM. Hey, it was done in 1994, and the guy's going broke not-selling them. (I keep telling him to put it on Mac compatible CDROM's). There are also more than 1,000 pix, including high-quality (i.e. competent digitization) old photos, maps, paintings, drawings from the 19th century. Myths are from the out-of-copyright 19th century sources, tend to be quaintly expressed by primitive early anthros. A complete illustrated book on Indian sign language with clear, simple illos. It ain't Iron Eyes Cody signing with that Hollywood flash, but if you want to learn Plains sign, here you are: the book he learned it from. But the complete treaties (and lawbook) are the thing here. Everyone who wants all the treaties (and has a PC with CDROM) get this. Available from EduCorp, the CDROM giant, (cat# WIN 1-50645). (800)843-9497. This is another vendor (CDROMS only) whose catalog you should get pronto. Visit their web site (whose URL is due to change soon, this one that they gave me sure doesn't work!) Just about anyone who would like all treaties for reference (and who has a PC CDROM) should get this. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
THE AMERICAN INDIAN: A MULTIMEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA, CDROM for DOS PC's only. Facts on File, Inc.,c. 1993, available from AISES, $295.
This has to be AISES's worst deal, and is the worst deal going for Native American CDROM's, at 10 times the price of good ones. And this is a bad one. It was prepared perhaps too early in the technology of CDROM, (the FoF copyright date is 1993, so there is no excuse for all the obsolescence that makes this CDROM unworkable in most modern PC's.). It uses long obsolete, obscure authoring software that cannot recognize a drive greater than drive-letter G (which lets me out, my CDROM drive is H). Its sound support is for the earliest version of the Soundblaster card, which has not been in any PC's since 1989 or so. Therefore its sound and CDROM visuals drivers usually conflict with the SCSI driver for your PC's CDROM drive. Though it is said to work with "VGA or SVGA drivers" it conflicts with most modern SVGA (that's what's on your PC if you bought it or upgraded after 1992). The software drivers frequently conflict with all modern software (no one has been able to run this with Windows 95 and there are many problems trying to run it under Windows 3.1 or later; it conflicts with all modern memory managers and most modern video boards). The graphics used are mostly old photos, low resolution. Browsing is not easy because the authors of this disk didn't understand hypertext. A so-called "ethnohistorical consultant" does not appear to be Indian and either doesn't know much about Indian history or didn't write connections and contexts for the old docs included, a random assortment. Many of the visiuals are inadequately identified or not at all. On a laser printout pamphlet -- which contains no info about content -- there is a whole variety of info about all kinds of technical problems and conflicts mostly with no solutions except "contact the manufacturer" of your hardware. Of course they aren't going to be able to do anything about the conflicts which are caused by the use of primitive and conflicting long-obsolete authoring software, reliance on obsolete drivers for obsolete hardware, etc. At 10 times the price of 2 recent very good ones this would be a CDROM to avoid, even if it didn't have so many technical problems I haven't been able to get it working right yet, after trying it on 10 different PC's belonging to friends. For the outrageous price of this one, you could get all the others. And if you have a Mac, you can't use this one anyway. It is totally puzzling why AISES carries this disk in its catalog -- the only CDROM carried -- it should be dropped. Anyone asking to order it from the present catalog should be told it has ben dropped because the probability of its actually working on any PC made after 1989 is very close to 0. Plus of course the fact that its price is a major ripoff anmd its content (assuming you hae an antique you can run it on) is uninspiring, poorly organized, and of rather low general interest.
I found this thing several years ago, discounted to $9 by a CDROM mail order dealer who was getting rid of his stock. On the off-chance I had a defective, I contacted FoF recently for a new review copy. The new disk has all the same problems, and is now accompanied by an "Installation and troubleshooting guide" which basically explains why it is unlikely to work for you either, i.e. obsolete technology, made with technical incompetence. FoF should stop offering this thing, but whether they do or don't nobody should buy it -- even at $9, much lss $295. Reviewed by Paula Giese
500 Nations Microsoft. Kevin Costner narrates. Available from (catalog# 150135, PC) is $29.95, the mac is late because they're adding a lot of Quicktime Movies, sound, speech, and general pizzazz, so the price goes up to $39.95 (catalog# 150123, Mac). Available from The Edutainment Comapny, (800)338-3844, or see their web page. (Neither of their Indian CDROM's are on their web page.) Inferior to the Turner CDROM both as a reference and for its graphics; Turner used plenty of Indian artists, Costner-Microsoft doesnt have any. There are video-like live interviews (very short) of Native people. See review of the book on the Art Books Page here. Bottom line: the Turner ative Americans CDROM covers the same history, same materials, and does it better. using mostly Native artists, not so many old sepiatone photos, and better content coverage. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
A Second Look: This review appears in the June 13, 1995 issue of Computer Currents and might be available on the Internet at: Newmedia CDROM Reviews [PG Note: Server is always down, 1996]
This is Microsoft's most sobering CD-ROM to date. It's hard to hold your head high and hum a few bars of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when you learn the other side of the story of how the West (and East) was won. This CD-ROM title - like the 500 Nations project's eight-hour CBS special and huge coffee-table book - tells the tale of the Native Americans who were here long before the first waves of European immigrants hit these shores 370 years ago. Some of the stories here are familiar. The Wampanoag introducing the Pilgrims to their harvest celebration of Thanksgiving in the early 1600s. The 1774 impersonation of Mohawks by tea-dumping New England revolutionaries. Custer's Last Stand. The battle of Wounded Knee. The reservations.
Many of the stories and perspectives are new, such as creation stories, oral histories of various battles between whites and Native Americans, and the brutalities of the cultural assimilation of a century ago. But the storytelling is interactive: You click around for narrated slide shows of sepia-tinted century-old photos, video footage, and rendered computer re-creations of the way things were. Although you learn about the outrages inflicted against Native Americans, the nonlinear delivery of information creates the impression (illusion?) that your feelings aren't being manipulated by smooth production values. But even so, the stories are powerful: brutal land grabs, incarceration in concentration camp-like reservations, the force assimilation of Native American children into white boarding schools (which included burning their belongings and beating them if they used their own language). This is a powerful, shocking title, but the effect is diluted here and there. The oral history of the Nez Perce, Mohawk, and other tribes has a tremendous impact, yet they're introduced by the flat drawl of Kevin Costner. Why does the script commit the egregious political incorrectness of calling Native Americans "Indians" - to play better in Peoria? And why is it so difficult to find the computerized renditions of tribal villages, as promised in the introduction?
With the support of the TV series and 468-page Alfred Knopf book (which sells for about the same price as the disc), 500 Nations should do well. It's a good example of superior CD-ROM production, and earns its place in future editions of Jeopardy as being the first Windows 95 auto-playing CD-ROM. But if you can't stand Costner, you won't lose too much by getting the book instead. Reviewed by Morgan Frew, Computer Currents, June 13, 1995. Note: As of spring, 1996, the server on which this first appeared seems to be gone.
Wiping the Tears of 7 Generations, a video made of the first Bigfoot Memorial ride in the winter of 1990, when the Bigfoot Riders were formed. Find out more from one of the founders on Arvol Looking Horse's Pages here. See the ads about the film by Kifaru productions -- but it's all graphics, not a word of text (except incorporated within the graphics), so your browser must support that (probably does or you'd be having a hard time here). Kifaru sells its videos for the same price as AISES (and its on-line ordering mechanism doesn't work), so get it from AISES and the profits will support Indian students. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
Red Road to Sobriety, $40, Kifaru Productions. Another good one, prepared with a history of the effects alcohol has had (many cession treaties were signed only with its aid, the effects ae political not only personal), spiritual, and an overview of some good programs for Native people. Inspiring and interesting. Reviewed by: Paula Giese
The Peyote Road, $30, Kifaru. This is an award winning film, now a video, which examined a Supreme Court case about Native Religious freedom, for the intertribal Native American Church, which uses peyot as a ceremonial. The emphasis is on religious freedom, many tell of how the NA Church has helped them, and how peyote opened a road to spirituality for them. We also see harassments of the law, directed against these quiet, devout people. Reviewed by Paula Giese. Several of Kifaru's videos ar available from AISES.
Babies in Waiting, $29.95, Family Care Communications, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55347, 512944-5350. This videotape is necessary for Unit 4 of the AISES "Science of Alcohol Curriculum for American Indians" (SACAI) material. It shows fetal alcohol syndrome and how it affects the community. It is not available from AISES, even though it's required for the AISES SACAI curriculum, and must be purchased here.
Note: Find out is this a remake or retitling of the 1990 Circle of Life Fetal Alcohol Syndrome video made by Lynn Thunem and them specifically for Indian people at White Earth. Blandin Foundation financed it. There was a big premiere and state reps etc present for it at White Earth in Feb. 1990.
Bullfrog specializes in environmental-related videos (with a few films that can be rented or puyrchased for showings to larger audiences). Their prices tend to be high. Their offerings tend to be quality-professionally made, which were sometimes TV science series, or prizewinners. They have a number of Native productions. Catalog (and orders) at 800-543-3764; Bullfrog Films, Box 149; Oley, PA 19547. They have a web catalog, but it's really an all-text gopher (cannot be ordered from), which the items below are described on.
Mystic Fire Videos
Available from this web store, these videos range in price from about $25 - $30, and are 60 to 90 minutes. Good descriptions, with some screen shots, on their web pages for each.
Webmistress --Paula Giese. Text and graphics copyright 1996
CREDITS: The eagle started life as a real golden eagle photographed as he was being released from the Minnesota Raptor Center, much worked over with graphics utilities for the iridescent abalone-shell wing effect.
Last Updated: Sunday, May 12, 1996 - 6:01:06 AM